Long Life Movement

Snowball Fight with Buddha – Labyrinth Walk

My numbness was unbearable. Frigid hands compacted wet snow into a ball. I took aim and smacked Laughing Buddha in the head. With a roar of laughter, joy returned to my soul from a labyrinth walk at Kripalu. 

I’ve been here before mentally and physically. Basically, drained, discouraged, and deeply troubled, I found myself numb to feeling life’s pulsation. As well, dealing with demanding family needs was sucking me into the very real dark pit of despair. 

Retreat and a Labyrinth Walk at Kripalu

Recognizing my need to put myself back together and reconnect with the beat of my heart, I signed up for a retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. To clarify, I’ve been here before and the place has worked its magic on me. In addition to nourishing food, the campus grounds inspire me. 

One of my favorite places on campus is the labyrinth. And that’s where I had a refreshing and restoring snowball fight with Laughing, Big Belly – Jovial and Fat Buddha. 

His statue was the exact opposite of how I was feeling.

Walking a Labyrinth

My fascination with labyrinths is ongoing. In addition, I have enjoyed many around the world. 

I find a labyrinth walk at Kripalu contemplative and meditative. Literally, walking a labyrinth re-circuits my brain from destructive thought patterns and returns me home to what matters most in my heart. 

On this particular retreat at Kripalu, I walked the labyrinth at least 3 times a day. 

While it was Spring, a light dusting of snow had fallen, and I could see my footsteps from an earlier labyrinth walk that day. Cold and crisp outside, I was one of the few people leaving the inviting warmth of being inside Kripalu. 

Trying to Find My Center on a Labyrinth Walk at Kripalu

Despite the light snow, a labyrinth walk at Kripalu kept calling me to return. So, I bundled up again and trudged down the hill away from the cozy buildings towards the lake and then up the gentle slope to the labyrinth.

I don’t know why I kept going back outside.

Honestly, unlike past times, walking the labyrinth at Kripalu wasn’t doing its normal trick of re-setting and clearing me. 

In fact, I was irritated. The journey to the labyrinth’s Center annoyed me. Every time I arrived at Center, I did not receive my usual relief and recognition of my heart. 

Blaming Others

At first, I blamed it on all the objects past labyrinth walkers had left at Center. Past seekers had left memory objects and gratitude symbols at Center. 

Because, for me, Center should be empty – the void where we discover ourselves. So, to have all these objects from others cluttering Center added to my internal disturbance. 

What’s Up, Lisa?

Therefore, I had to ask myself the question, “Why was I annoyed that other people were taking up space at Center?”

As I tromped through the dusting of snow, I thought, “I am at a world class retreat center where the work is to go within and discover what’s there.” 

I grumbled, “When I go inside and touch Center, I am encountering everyone else’s stuff.” 

Unquestionably, my feeling was disgust. I hated dealing with other people’s clutter.

Beginning, Again

Retracing my steps from past visits of walking the labyrinth, I found some solace that at least I was processing my experience of me, my thoughts, and feelings.

In fact, a labyrinth is designed so that when you feel like you are getting close to Center, it actually turns you away and you remain on the path walking further away. 

My Recognition on a Labyrinth Walk at Kripalu

Meanwhile, when you think you are at the greatest distance from Center, in a few surprisingly quick steps, the labyrinth leads you right to the middle. 

On those weaving back and forth turns towards and then followed by the away from Center, the recognition finally came. Always surprised by what comes up on labyrinth walks, I felt my annoyance melting like the snow as I realized, “It’s their stuff, not mine.” 

Certainly, I mused, “I can let it all in – and let it all go.” 

Aham. Idam. 

It’s an ancient mantra. It means  — I am. This is. 

Of course. Yes! Standing at Center, I looked at all the objects left by others.


I am. This is. Aham. Idam.

Snowball Fight with Buddha

With a bounce in my step, I began my journey out of Center. That’s when my wild, playful nature re-emerged. 

Packing a snowball, I threw it towards Center. Missed. My aim was off. Missed, again. And, again.

Then, I started aiming for the Laughing, Big Belly – Jovial and Fat Buddha statue at Center. I kept missing him, too.

Without reservation, completely determined and laughing out loud at myself, I yelled at him, “Let’s do it!” 

Emphatically, Laughing Buddha at Center, roared back at me. 

My next throw smacked him right in the head.

As a result, I never laughed so hard by myself before. The roar of Joy arose from my Center. 

about the author

Lisa Long, M.A.

Lisa Long wants to live in a world where Love gives you a "permission slip" to drop the mask and be who you are. Known for her hearty and full-body laugh, Lisa meets people where they are in the present moment. She passionately believes in the healing potential of movement. As a teacher and producer/writer, her work has been featured on Good For You blog, CBS television station affiliates, and telelvision cable channel networks as well her print manual called "Home Practice: A Guide for Healing from Breast Cancer" was published by a 5 hospital health care network. When she's not helping others reach their fullest potential, you'll find Lisa hiking a trail to a waterfall or riding her bike at the beach. Her latest collaboration with an online classroom platform launched in 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Leave your thoughts

Check These Out

Based on your interest, we've curated these articles just for you.

red kayak in water with sea grass

3 Ways to Reduce Stress

Navigating through the unfamiliar requires awareness and skill. Often, we resort to our past experiences of how we have found our way and coped to reduce stress in our lives. Truth be told, sometimes our old patterns, habits, and coping skills are just not working. And even with our best effort, we find ourselves continuing… View Article

5 min read

painting on a wall of a woman leaping with joy holding bags

Change Your Mind

In my early years of work at a local TV station, I barely made any money. I saw convenience stores as overpriced money drains that were taboo in my life. It wasn’t until marriage, 2 kids, and a “full on” schedule that I began to appreciate convenience store culture. I guess I changed my mind…. View Article

2 min read

man on car

Relieve Stress Fast

Stress can be good. Really, I am serious. Stress can be a good thing. We’ve given stress such a bad rap, lately. It’s like the rotten step-child in a Disney move. We blame stress for just about everything. Well, like a good animated film, there’s always a happy ending where we all realize what we… View Article

4 min read