By Shae Hadden | BioThis New Year’s Eve was a refreshing break from the past for me: a friend and I went to a local hall to listen to a concert of Buddhist chants and instrumental music while we walked the indoor labyrinth. The hall was crowded, filled with adults seriously intent on purposeful walking. Two little girls were dancing and skipping the labyrinth together—one following the other. Whenever they encountered an obstacle (that is, an adult moving slowly), they would weave around whoever was in their path. While all the adults were focused on meditating or intensely concentrating on their ‘experience’, these two girls were laughing and smiling, joyously taking whatever life placed in front of them at their pace, slip-sliding in their socks all the way to the centre and back out again.
What struck me was not only that all the adults looked as if they carried the weight of the world on their shoulders, but that they took three times as long to do one circuit. And not one of them was smiling. It made me wonder whether we assume martyrdom is part of ‘being an adult’ in our society. Do we really need to lose our sense of joy in living, our sense of play, by carrying our work, our relationships, and the circumstances we find ourselves in as obligations or