Giving All I've Got…

After a whirlwind week of creating 40 decotage steps for the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path and collecting 7 more from 5 other local artists, I was very happy to install the Labyrinth in two different locations yesterday and share my latest project with my community. In the morning, I packed the steps onto a hand truck and wheeled them down to the Sarasota Bayfront where a few hundred people were gathered for the Occupy Sarasota rally. It was quite surreal pulling my little cart of brightly colored steps down Main Street, through the Farmers Market and an Art Festival that was going on from Lime Avenue to Five Points Park. Wheeling it into the shadow of “Unconditional Surrender” statue, I set the Labyrinth up in about fifteen minutes and used the newly learned tool of the People’s Mike to get some attention.

“Mike Check!” I shouted.

At first, I only had one person repeat it. I repeated it again two more times until I had a few other people echoing “Mike Check” then made the announcement to invite people to walk the path. A swarm of them came over and it was a real thrill to see people walking through it, pointing and smiling to ones that they really liked, and to have some of them come over and tell me how much they enjoyed it.

Shortly after, I asked Chris, one of the event organizers about the stack list for the General Assembly scheduled for 11am. He got me a pad of paper and I numbered it from 1-25, placing my name in the 11th slot. Once the meeting started, I started rolling my camera to capture some of the passion of my people. I’d already strapped my guitar to my back, so when it came my turn, Chris volunteered to hold my camera for me, and I added a little music into the mix with a rousing rendition of The Times They Are a Changin’.

As the General Assembly reached its close, I packed up the Labyrinth and started the 1 and a half mile walk back home. My friend Holly, who had agreed to give me a ride to ArtSlam in Bradenton was running a little late, but it gave me a little time to rest up before packing all of the steps into her car and running it up to downtown Bradenton.

Photo by Jessi Smith

Misha Rubinstein, director of Spiral Entertainment and the guy who inspired me to get involved in the project in the first place, showed me to the space he’d picked out for the installation. Although it was a bit off the beaten path, the circle of brick pavers made for a perfect spot for the first true installation of the Labyrinth. Out of the main stream of traffic and away from the noise of the Main Stage, the location gave those travelers who sought the Labyrinth out the time, space, and focus to walk the path as it was meant to be walked, with a bit of contemplation and meditation.

What strikes me as so interesting about watching people walk the Labyrinth is the individual way that each person finds their own path. Some follow the pattern as it is set up, savoring each step, and even following the same path back out. Others show no regard for boundaries and just walk across the steps, glancing only at those that pop out at them and are easier to read. Although I would prefer that everyone follow the path I designed, it makes me smile to see that everyone has their own way of finding their way through.

Throughout the evening, I got out to see some of the other exhibits, pulling my camera out from time to time to capture a local band or the incredible performance put on my the ever-dancing Fez Meister and Spiral Entertainment. All in all, it was a really great day and a fantastic start to what I believe will be a truly heart-filled and life-changing journey.

One of the steps of the path refers to the Role of Leadership talked about by Stephen Covey as Supporting. It is a quote by Erma Bombeck which says, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” After a day of installing, playing music, filming, and even a little chalk art, I felt incredibly happy to say that I used everything that I had.

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