This article first appeared in ADDitude Magazine online.
“In all things, moderation.” When I first encountered Aristotle’s famous advice, I was (immoderately) indignant. What kind of boring life would it be if we all hit the middle ground; no over-the-top exuberance nor down-to-the-depths depression?
Those extremes – at least the ecstatic and energetic side of the equation – are what make me feel alive and vital. Granted, the downside is less pleasant, but at least I live the feelings. I am fully in the experience.
These days, I have a little more appreciation for the philosophy of good old Aristotle and his Greek friends. I like the serenity of a calm, even-tempered life, especially with a positive twist. I like being happy. I like smiling. But I don’t stay in a Zen-like state of calm all the time.
This morning, I awoke to the distinctive sound of bulldozers in the neighborhood. Trees were being cleared for a new home site. No big deal, right? I should be happy someone is spurring the economy by building a new house.
Except that …
1. I am trying to buy the vacant lot across the street from this home site; because…
2. I need it to meet the requirements of the county planning department for GardenSpirit Guesthouse, my retreat center; and…
3. The guy who owns the lot I need lives in Minneapolis, MN and won’t respond to my emails; and
4. The lot being cleared is owned by a woman also from Minneapolis with the same last name; and…
5. If I don’t buy the vacant lot, I might have to close GardenSpirit permanently! My dream-come-true would dissolve!
Anxiety Anguish pierced my brain, ambushing my plans to work on my website and write a few press releases. Forget work! My mind was building a hundred difference scenarios around the vacant lot, each more devastating than the last.
Then I remembered the advice of a woman who had visited GardenSpirit and was enchanted by its purple tree house, its tranquil, soft furnishings and spiritual connection. She had emailed me about the purchase of the land:
“Go walk the labyrinth and see what you receive. Then set an intention and let it go, knowing that it, or something better, will appear!”
Of course. The Law of Attraction! The labyrinth! The journey vs. the destination! I eagerly pulled on some comfortable clothes and made my way to the mouth of my 60-foot outdoor labyrinth.
A labyrinth is different from a maze; there is only one way in and one way out. No tricks or twists. Just one foot in front of the other, walking the path, looking ahead only as far as the next curve.
I usually ask a question or set an intention at the beginning of my labyrinth walk, then allow the answers to percolate as I make my way slowly to the middle. I have five stumps perched in the center of the labyrinth, so I can sit and meditate or enjoy the towering trees and the sound of the birds. Then I walk out on the same path, integrating what I have learned.
And what I learned today was: moderation in all things. There is balance to life. Walk in and walk out. Cool and warm. Ebb and flow. Buy and sell.
The property for GardenSpirit will be available when I need it and at a price I can pay. Or something better will happen. I can trust the process. And I can allow my mind to be in balance instead of scattered and frightened.
I dare say Aristotle didn’t have an ADD brain. But across those dusty eons, he has offered me a clue to settling my anxious brain.
In all things.
At least occasionally.