The Finish Line Is Now

2:20 PM

Photo by Guillaume Bolduc on Unsplash
So, I've been noticing that when I'm on my walk in the morning and I'm headed towards home, the closer I get to my house, the more I pick up my pace. Like a horse, trotting toward the barn.

Why this instinct to cross an imaginary finish line?

I was thinking about this last weekend to when Pastor Peggy decided to take us all out to the backyard labyrinth for a little collective walking meditation. I've never been on a labyrinth, so it was mesmerizing. It was also unique in that everyone present at the church service was also walking the labyrinth at the same time providing a range of experiences
When this quiet and reflective exercise was over, and we had gone back inside, Peggy asked us what we observed or learned while we were walking. Naturally, everyone had a unique experience.

Of course, I was swimming in a deep pool of thoughts upon which I might to ruminate, but eventually, I settled on sharing these two things.

First, during my walk, I was acutely aware of the interplay between solitude and community.

I wanted to enter my own experience, to focus on breath and connect internally. But surrounded by all these others, I also wanted to interact, embrace, guide and encourage. After feeling conflicted at first, I gradually accepted the oscillation that seemed to happen naturally between the two. Sort of like it tends to happen in life, perhaps less consciously.

The other awareness centered around what I would call an occasional glance toward the finish fine, which in this case, is the center of the labyrinth.

Of course, this is ludicrous with a labyrinth as the whole point is to be on the path, not to "finish," or to get somewhere first. I learned while I was still in my teens that my name is rooted to the Laurel wreath, the garland put on the Victor's Crown after winning an important race. Laury, then, by all accounts, is a reflection of the word victorious.

Laury…the Finisher.

The running of my personal race has always been peppered with a painful sense of loss over terrible mistakes I've made in the past, decisions I made without the tools to choose wisely.
Struggling for a lifetime around codependency, attachments, fear and lack of trust in myself led me to a giant pile of regrets, regrets that tend to make me feel like I have to make up for lost time or redeem the losses somehow. Surely all of this pain isn't for nothing?

Of course, it isn't.

Like an obstacle course, the challenges we face and the decisions we make lead to a destination of our creation.

Although I wish I could have done my obstacle course without hurting anyone else, and without causing myself pain and suffering, when I look at where I've landed at the end of it all, I know I need to make peace with it, choosing gratitude in the present as a guide.

Continuing to suffer for past lapses in judgement will only perpetuate more suffering; it also drives our focus backwards into regret and guilt, or forward into worry or fixing.

I don't know whether I'm "winning" my race, exactly. I do have this feeling though, a feeling that's rich with compassion and joy, that the finish line isn't out there somewhere. It's here, under my feet, right where I stand.

This is where my experiences are coming into focus, and where decisions are being made in the moment, the ones that create my story.

And if the finish line is now, then I guess I've made it. Well done.

                                            Copyright © 2018 Laury Boone Browning

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