Listening in a Labyrinth

IMG_0034I’m re-builidng a labyrinth at our lake cabin; the one that held this ground before was being overgrown by alders. This time I would lay the ground cloth and find bigger stones. This time I will bring in sand for a softer walk. I will take more care. I will take more time.

A labyrinth has always reflected back to me what is turning and twisting, hoping to come to center in my own soul, not just what is evident in the arrangement of the path. I am taking more care internally as well these days.  Taking more time to pay attention to the details of each moment.

I have built 7 labyrinths and what surprises me every time, no matter how I plan, make a diagram, and get the pattern in my mind, I get lost somewhere in the actual laying down of stones or rope or whatever I use to form the labyrinth. After measuring and measuring again and again, I was sure I had found the center of the pattern on the ground cloth. And yet as the double spiral emerged, I lost my confidence. Wait.  I became confused.  It looked like the lines would cross not run parallel. I lost the sense of the path. I heard myself say, “This happens every time. You know the pattern is here, but you assume you made a mistake.”

I listen to labyrinths and what they teach me. My 25 years of seeking them out, walking them, creating them, drawing them, and learning about them have built a trust in how this geometric form holds the holy. As I knelt in the center, confused, I also knew that what I wanted to create was right before me if I just would breathe in my belly and trust the form. I called to my husband who was working close by and who perceives in the way a builder does. We looked at it together and the path was teaching me of the bond we have. I got out the tape measure. And just with a little adjustment of the arc of the stones, it all suddenly was clear again. The two spirals naturally emerged again. And I felt held in that knowing that it was right there all the time.

That is the grounding of the labyrinth for me. No matter how confusing my life or the world in general may appear, underlying all the superficial chaos is a path, for me and for all creation. It is an intelligent and beautiful path that spirals out with logic, and yet with an inherent mystery. There is always a center I can trust and always a wandering path that will take me in to my deepest self and then take me back with that knowing to live in the world with a new perspective.

When I am restless walking the labyrinth, I notice. What am I restless about? When I get to the center and don’t really remember walking the path, I question my distraction. When the path feels timeless, I let my cells alter. When I come to the center and feel my feet pulled into the ground and become roots, I notice what comes to my awareness. The message is always one of hope and of compassion and assurance. It does not judge or doubt or confuse me. That feels like God.

I love the fact that moose  spend a lot of time in the labyrinth, testified by the number of moose “nuggets” on the path. I trust their inner way of knowing also senses the gifts of  the labyrinth. They bed down there, resting. And although lifting hundreds of stones, hasn’t felt like rest exactly, I know this will be a place of repose for my soul, here by the lake. A place of rebuilding confidence that I do know, that I will be held, that the world is turning as it should and that I have a place in it. In its many turns, the labyrinth returns me to my truest self, where I feel my inherent value. Knowing my value simply in being who I am, not by doing anything at all, I return to wholeness,  walking confidently.

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