It’s the name of Miles Franklin winner Amanda Lohrey’s book, which I’ve been reading. I’ve always thought of a labyrinth being like a maze but in it she describes the difference as a maze being a puzzle of mostly blind alleys designed for entrapment and therefore a challenge to the brain, but the labyrinth being a challenge to the heart. ‘In the maze you grapple with the challenge but in the labyrinth you let go. Effortlessly you come back to where you started, somehow changed by the act of surrender. In this way the labyrinth is said to be a model of reversible destiny‘.
I’ve kept that in mind this weekend where we have all been instructed to hold fast despite the personal sacrifices we are making. Livelihoods have been lost and I’ve heard and seen the despair and emotion for some of those in my local community who’ve been unable to work due to restrictions. For knowledge workers able to work from home, the challenge has been just as immense in a different way, working mothers may find parts of this article by Wendy Tuohy resonating with them. It does feel pretty bleak but we must continue to sail like a boat in rough seas and roaring winds maintaining our balance and journey forward irrespective of the elements, and know in time that we will emerge on the other side of this pandemic perhaps not victorious but still here in one piece.
There have been some interesting articles on wellbeing at this time – one on the value of a third place if you’re lucky enough to have one or be able to create one given the proliferation of backyard pods like these. I also read with interest this article on the vagus nerve (which I’d never heard of) but realised has been naturally triggered in my yoga practice and pranayama breathing – the latter of which I’ve guided those close to me in when they’ve had panic attacks. It’s important to know that all of us can access this when we need during such a stressful time in our lives.
While I’m not putting too much pressure on myself in this extended lockdown period to learn a new skill, I have resolved to ride my bike more and also download the duolingo app to practise my high school French (something I regret not doing in Year 12 as I’ve now watched Lupin 2 and started Call my agent and Emily in Paris also looks fun). Paris also looked amazing if you watched the Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony with Japan handing over the baton to France.
Some of my clever and creative family and friends have been more productive including Mr Rosanna who has released his first acoustic song When you come ’round (don’t we wish) ahead of getting his album professionally produced in the recording studio, which is now on hold. My friend Kath Elliot has also just launched The Alcohol Mindset Coach for those wanting to change their relationship with alcohol. I don’t drink but many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers do and binge drinking was a common theme when we were young. I’m glad that attitudes to alcohol have changed with the range of non-alcoholic drinks now available, Febfast, Dry July and places like Brunswick Aces opening. While we can’t venture far these days, I was also excited to discover HelleniCo Deli in Bulleen Road just about to open while going for a walkie talkie with my bestie Jules last week. We can’t go to Greece for now but we can still get our Greek food fix on.
It’s nice to see too that we can still have a third and fourth act in our lives judging from the release of scientist Professor Peter Doherty’s new book An Insider’s Plague Year and his morphing into a science journalist and commentator in the twilight of his life when he was set to retire. I’ve previously worked with the charismatic Dr Norman Swan and seen his similar journey (although he’s long been a journalist) with his ABC Radio Coronacast series and his new book So you think you know what’s good for you?.
Finally, we could all do with a good laugh at the moment and it’s great to see some comedians doing well on social media given no live performances can happen. Jimmy Rees in particular has made me laugh out loud with this gem from last week Meanwhile in Byron. Between that and the Dees footy game last night (Max Gawn – you are a star) – it’s brought a smile to my face at a pretty grim time. Hang in there everyone – there is something to be said about surrendering to our circumstances at the moment and finding our way back to the start through our hearts. We will get there.