Calm: Inhale and Exhale

Hey lovies! ❤

I’m feeling a bit more settled and centered after spending the early afternoon with some lovely friends at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles. I grew up so close to this gorgeous space and I had never heard of it before. I was pretty astounded when I saw the location and that it was only a 10 minute drive from my family home!

The house itself is beautiful, and I really wish I’d taken more photos when I was inside, but I was really caught up in the moment and sharing my life is relatively new to me. Plus, it’s an unappealing idea becoming one of those people who you can’t have a conversation with without it being documented. As much as I want to be more open, and I am slowly getting there, my privacy will always matter to me and it’s important for me to remain someone that people enjoy sharing their lives with purely for the company.

Back to the beautiful space I was in today; the location feels like a oasis away from the zoom that can be a typical day in LA. There was a peace and silence that I really needed to be in, and that was just at the entrance! The gentleman who gave us the tour had the happiest eyes I’d ever seen, and it really made me enjoy the experience so much more. He looked like he loved what he did and he loved exactly where he was at the moment. That’s what I’d ideally like to evoke in the people I encounter. He said a little mantra that I thoroughly enjoyed – “peace is in the present.” In that moment, it certainly was.

As we made our way through the house and the history thereof, I learned that I like the Baroque style of architecture. It’s SO grand, but it wasn’t as opulent as I’d always assumed it would be. The way the home had been restored through the dharma of the residents of the home only added a bit more appeal to the space itself.

Once we made it outside, it was clear how special this space truly is. On a beautiful and very LA fall day, the serenity was overwhelming. It felt almost as if the courtyard of the Getty Center, but without the formality. The reflecting pools lining the path towards the garden were simple and perfectly blue. They gently swayed as we passed by.

Past the reflecting pools was the labyrinth. Honestly, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. My first thought were HUGE hedges with dead ends, and only one path in leading to the exit. The reality was much simpler, but significantly more profound.

The labyrinth is a place to take in your thoughts and speak with your spirit. There is only one entrance which is also the same way to exit. This means when there are multiple people taking part in the experience, you have to take their path into consideration as well. If someone is moving slower than you, there is a choice to either go around to stay on your course or, in very non LA fashion, slow down your pace to stay behind them and lengthen your self-reflection.

My friends went to see the beautiful garden that’s on the grounds, but I chose to take my time on the labyrinth as I had an intention that I wanted to feel out. I set my bag and my phone down, and began the winding voyage. I walked quite slowly repeating to myself “All things are meant to work out for good,” and that was all I thought of during the first part of my walk. As I continued on, songs began coming in and I found myself singing along silently “Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war. When night screams terror there Your voice will roar. In death or shadow, God, I know Your light will meet me there.”

Once I made it to the center of the labyrinth, I stood in the center of one of the flower petals for about 20 minutes just reflecting on my choices to this point. Knowing whether I’m making the right decisions or not is difficult to tell, but I genuinely feel a peace I’ve never known in the last few months. It’s not the labyrinth nor the gardens that have made this change, but it’s something inside of me. Fitting in and being “normal” are no longer appealing. Honoring myself and my needs are now my main concern, and through that I am able to honor others and their needs.

Through understanding my desire to help others is as much of a personality trait as someone who desires to change the world or be financially independent, I have found ways to be more understanding and accepting of those who think differently than me. For a while I felt like people who were selfish with their time weren’t doing enough for the world, but as I’ve gotten older I can clearly see how necessary differing points of view are for the world at large. What I have to offer is very different from each individual I encounter, that’s powerful knowledge.

I’ll definitely be going back, and I truly want to meditate at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth at least for the experience, and I still need to see the garden. So I’ll put that on my to-do list.