A Gentle Invitation to Kick your Own Ass

Introspection is a journey into the labyrinth. The hands of time stop upon entering a new mouth. Here I am, from the inside looking out.

I step in and find myself to be at a complete contrast to my outside world as I know it. I am not taken away from the ebb and flow of my environment, nor am I concerned with the perils of judgment and social acceptance. I am not my occupation, nor my address. I am not my daily interactions nor my cup of coffee to go. But in this inside space, I am challenged. I am forced to evolve, grow and change my approach. But today I stopped growing and stopped being challenged. At this point, I have become what I fear most. I’ve become programmed, mindless, automatic, digital and unaware. A day turns into a week and into a year before I realize when the last time my journal entry was, or the last time I heard the sound of crickets lull me to sleep. In this cycle of realization, I wake up once more, in a rudely manner.

My slowly disappearing storage space is my personal rude awakening. I wake up to a messy home, filled with things I don’t need. My cabinets have been filled and I no longer have space for my new gadgets. My minimalistic ideals have been challenged, even through all my attempts to maintain them. Once a way of life, now a distant memory. This rude awakening is my invitation to kick my own ass.

I take a deep breath, close my eyes and jump in further. The space-time between the quantum leap is the hardest part of initiation. Here we say goodbye and hello in one instance. A form of apoptosis or cellular death, a natural and important biological phenomenon that occurs in all living organisms for survival, with the purpose of removing potentially dangerous mutations. If we are awake enough, we see these mutations happening every day and quite often. I think of this biological concept to ration rude awakenings, moments of anxiety, discomforts that arise from the unknown and mostly commonly, my constant urge to go within.

I find the beginning of my journey within at the doorstep of a labyrinth. Used as a meditation tool and dating as far back as the Middle Ages, labyrinths have traditionally been used as a means of purging, letting go of concerns, and clearing the mind. In this labyrinth, I am in a cocoon of stillness with open sight and mind without dead ends. Because theres only one way in and one way out. I am free to observe and experience all possibilities: the good, the bad and the ugly.

In my first attempt to exit, the first bell rings. Round one, fight! I uncover the cobb webs in my heart and mind, the untold stories, and the steps mistaken. I find a glimpse of an open road to a destination once dreamed then in an instant, gone! Into a shoe box of vision boards and magazine clippings they go. By the 5th round, I am blanketed in my own blood, sweat and tears. By round 9, I surrender. But surrender looks and feels different this time around. My fight was heavier but my surrender was somehow lighter. And in this surrender, I find myself, once again.

I finally exit this labyrinth, look behind me and exhale. Im ready for a new challenge, ready to accept the things I cannot change, ready to apply mindfulness more to my day to day and give myself a gentle invitation to have more compassion for myself.

Introspection can be a battle. But what better person to challenge than yourself.