love of the labyrinth


labyrinths totally fascinate me.  as a kid, i loved the movie the labyrinth.  the whimsical storyline, the music, david bowie.  loved it.  jim henson, the director, apparently wanted to weave the idea of taking responsibility for one’s life as a central theme in the movie.

over the course of history, labyrinths have served different purposes.  originally, they were believed to trap evil spirits or thought to be defined paths for ritual dances.  they have been thought to be symbolic forms of pilgrimage, for those seeking enlightenment.  more recently, labyrinths have seen a resurgence in popularity, as people seek a place to quiet the mind.

i walked a labyrinth recently, one right here in my town.  made from new england fieldstones, it was created to reflect life’s journey.  the spirals represent our passage through time, life’s endless turning points and repeating cycles; life’s changes of direction, transitions, and discoveries.  unlike a maze with dead ends, a labyrinth has a single path that winds to the center and back again.  amazing, yes?

labyrinths clearly resonate with me on so many levels.  no dead ends, just winding my way around.  sometimes losing focus, but my past and future are still there, albeit a little blurred in the background. sometimes passing the same area – the same challenges – to learn life’s lessons.  circling around, coming back to whatever speaks to me.  reminding me to come back to what is important.

Walking the Labyrinth, by Anne Kathleen McLaughlin

I enter you slowly, the grassy way is glossy,

But scrunch of the leaves tells me autumn has come

The wind scarcely touches, so gentle its presence,

The sun is withdrawing, a ripening peach.

But all this backdrop to where I must centre,

Concentric smooth windings of well-watered grass

And slowly the rhythm asserts its transcendence

And nothing else matters but walking the walk.

Walking I move now beyond daily questions

And find my feet take me to places inside

I walk in this wonder of gladness within me

Recalling past graces, and moments of bliss.

The loves that have held me,

The glimpses of freedom

The dawning of knowing

The treasure I am.

At some point much later, as gently as starting,

The ending debouches me back to my life.

I walk from the labyrinth back to my burdens

Of doing and planning, of worry and doubt.

But somewhere within me, my feet are still walking

Still walking in rhythm, still hearing the beat. . .

And all shall be well now and all will be well,

Our walking has purpose, our life’s roots are deep.

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