First, let us set the record straight. Constraints can be a very good thing. Many people I have talked to think the terms limitation and constraint are the same thing. They are not. There are both limiting and enabling constraints. And sometimes those limits enable.
I suspect that anyone who has parented a toddler has had a discussion about obeying rules in order to be able to go out and enjoy an activity in public.
I use the equal and opposite forces described in Newton’s third law in thinking about limits and abilities that become apparent when some sort of constraint is applied. Force is redirected. Nothing disappears, only the direction of the flow changes.
Sometimes what seems especially complex is profoundly simple. Look at the medieval labyrinth. It is but one path into the center, and the same path leads out.
For me the 11-circuit labyrinth is the perfect illustration of how what seems upon first acquaintance to be extremely limiting can be quite enabling. The path is quite proscribed, but many who walk the path of the a large labyrinth find a meditative state can be reached in the walking.
Many cultures use a labyrinth as a way to walk a path to connect with a sacred ancestor. In the Middle Ages labyrinths like the one at Chartres, France began to be built all over Europe and are thought to symbolize pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Labyrinths have been found in the archeological record as long ago as 4000 years.
Tatting or the making of bobbin lace by hand is intricate skilled work that once was a common craft. The repetition of forming the pattern of threads, over and over, can be a soothing, meditative exercise.
Much of the determination as to whether an action or process is limiting or enabling lies in the perception of the task.
I cannot help but think about the pattern of women’s efforts in life when I see how modern culture has redeveloped a love of labyrinths. Oppositional factions in society might try to impede what women can accomplish, but understanding patterns, cycles, and the power of will finds women who are unable to move forward in a task or project most often simply move to one side or the other, climb over, or dig under to go around the impediment, and find strength and wonder in the new path.
I wonder how many of us can find instances where mothers, aunts, grandmothers or mentors simply moved ahead in a different way, undaunted, when obstacles were dropped in their paths? Those are some of the stories I would love to explore.
A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 12, The Letter “L”