The Next Time You Give Someone a Gift, Think About This

Last month, I agreed to an interview with a marketing company who was looking for experienced insight on a project they’re working on, related to the fitness industry.  I was happy to help and it was a great conversation.

That was that, but a few weeks later, I got an email from them asking if I’d be open to a small gift for my input.  Sure, why not.  So, the other day, I get this package and when I open it, I find a hand-carved labyrinth, handcrafted from Sheesham (East-Indian Rosewood). 

Pretty nice, but … hmm.  There was a “Thank You” letter attached and while I won’t rewrite the entire thing, here are a few lines:

“We’re all trying to get somewhere.  In life, we encounter countless roadblocks, pitfalls, and other challenges.  The path is never easy.  Just like a labyrinth, there are walls and pitfalls blocking the way.  It requires focus, dexterity, and patience.”

“Labyrinths are also a form of ancient meditation.  Walking labyrinths date as far back as the 5th century and the therapeutic effects are tremendous.  A labyrinth brings order to chaos, focus to the distracted state, and awareness to an overactive mind.  They are designed to quiet the mind, while igniting inner reflection.”

“As a small gift of appreciation for your time and insight, I’d like to present you with this handheld labyrinth.”


Focus, awareness, patience, dexterity, and quieting the mind are all parts of yoga and martial arts, yet I never knew this about labyrinths.  I thought they were designed to drive me insane, which is why I had that “hmm” thought, when I opened the package. 

Some people find puzzles calming.  I don’t.  “Rob; want to help us with this jigsaw puzzle?”  “Uh … no.  No I don’t.”  I remember when I was a kid, my parents must have bought me three or ten of those plastic number slide puzzles and I don’t know why.  I never asked for them and never liked them.  I would pop the numbers out and put them all in order.  There; puzzle solved.

So now, I get this handheld labyrinth.  It really is a nice piece of art and that was all it would have been, until I read that letter.  So, I gave it a shot.  I took a breath and moved it around, with a bit of an anti-puzzle attitude.  I had that face.  You know the face.

Then, I got into it; the overall view as well as focus, dexterity, visual acuity, nuance of movement, trial and error and try again, strategy on the fly, recognizing small wins along the way, and presence in real time.  I actually got all three bearings in the center and no, I didn’t rip them out and put them back in.  I actually did it and it felt good.  Still not a puzzle guy, so don’t get any ideas. 

In life, we need to keep those bearings moving.  Maintain awareness of the big picture, but focus on the process, not the end result.  Less frustration that way.  Success is a byproduct of doing, so embrace the journey for all that it is.  Don’t like it?  Take a different path. 

The letter goes on:  “When we arrive at our destination, we don’t stay for long.  It’s in our nature to stretch ourselves and strive for more.”  Keep going.     

Thanks to Empath for this amazing gift and the thought went into it.

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