One of the most powerful spiritual tools for me in my spiritual journey has been walking a labyrinth. The first labyrinth I encountered was in college during a retreat at the Mercy Center in Madison, Connecticut. What I remember is a labyrinth that was simply made with small rocks overlooking Long Island Sound. Looking up photos now on the internet of their labyrinth, it looks a lot larger with plants growing amongst the path so perhaps my memory does not serve me well. Stephen can attest to that! Since then I have had the opportunity to walk the outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu. Here’s a video of the labyrinth at the Serra Retreat Center to give you an idea of what one looks like in case you are unfamiliar.
Grace Cathedral has a detailed explanation on their website about how to walk a labyrinth.
Each time I walk a labyrinth, I am reminded of the repetitious pattern of my life, especially in terms of my intimate relationships. I’ve noticed that my life is an endless cycle of circling around the Truth, edging closer, then seemingly becoming distant. It catches me unaware sometimes, and I wonder how I got to this place that seems so far away from where I want to be. It happens with my husband, with my sister, my brother, my mom and dad, some close friends, and of course with my relationship with God. It’s easy in those times when I feel the great distance between myself and my beloved to think that it will always be that way. But the image of the labyrinth is a perfect reminder to keep moving forward because one day I’ll finally find myself smack in the center of it all. And I’ll be reunited with my husband, sister, brother, mom, dad, friends, whomever and know that all is well. This wandering around the center of Truth and Wisdom is a bit how I feel about writing this blog. Some days I feel as though I am walking closer to my own centeredness by writing here, and yet there are other days when I wonder why the heck I’m baring my soul. And still I write. And still I walk with a purpose. I’m encouraged by Emily P. Freeman’s words in A Million Little Ways. She writes:
There is courage in connection-connection with your true self, with the true self of others, and with the one true God. If waking up to your desire is bringing you closer to someone else, if it allows you to be vulnerable in ways you weren’t able to be before, if it reminds you of your desperate need for God, then your art has not been wasted.
I’m hoping to create a labyrinth on our land. A quiet place of meditation. A quiet place to settle into the beauty of the land. It will probably be some time before we’re able to create it. Stephen hopes to get a bulldozer, excavator, and who knows what other man machine to make a space for it. Perhaps we’ll use some cut up trees to mark the path of the labyrinth instead of rocks. Have you ever walked a labyrinth? What was your experience like?