labyrinth betania retreat house

 

I looked at the labyrinth with appreciation.  The place was flanked by towering trees to the left and a sprawling grassy lawn to the right. It was a sight to behold.  The words leapt up from the pamphlet I was reading.

 

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.”

 

We were at the retreat house because it was Teacher’s Day.  And we had planned the day’s activities with wellness in mind.  Walking the Labyrinth was included in that list.

 

I guided the teachers and staff to enter the sacred circle one at a time.  I was the last in line.  When it was my turn to step into the circle, I observed with surprise that the first person had maneuvered the numerous twists and turns and had arrived at the rock that was positioned at the center.  “Good for him.” I thought.

 

A few minutes after I had begun my walk, rain started to pour from the cloudy skies.

 

“The camera!” my mind warned.  I didn’t want to halt my walk.  It took me exactly three seconds to debate inwardly and then the feeling of responsibility won over.  I broke free from the circle and leapt across the garden to grab the camera and its stand and run for cover.

 

Standing alone at the sidelines, I watched the others continuing their walk – unmindful  of the rain.

 

I felt a pang of envy knowing in that very moment that everyone was able to let go of the cares of the world and was totally focused on their walk.

 

Except me.

 

This realization made me very quiet.  In the stillness, I heard the soft whisper from somewhere deep within.

 

Michelle, don’t you see? Often, you are too preoccupied.  Your mind is always busy.  Your days are so filled with endless duties and responsibilities that you feel you have to attend to. Or else. This is why you are having a hard time going within –  to that place  where I Am.  And where You Are. Where You and I are One.

 

It was an “aha” moment.  I was seeing myself clearly.  How I was always putting everyone and everything first before my own needs.  I also saw the fear of journeying into the depths of myself.  I really didn’t know why.  Perhaps it was because I was frightened of being out of control or facing things that I didn’t want to face.  But I knew keeping myself busy was one way to avoid going within.

 

I knew what had to be done.  I closed my eyes and made a solemn promise to myself, “I will come back and complete the walk in the labyrinth.”    With those words, peace and a quiet joy flooded my being.

 

The world had taken on a different hue.  The rain had stopped.  The sun was shining once more.  I smiled inwardly.  Maybe it was because I had finally said “yes” to Me.

 

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13 thoughts on “A Walk in the Labyrinth

  • April 10, 2016 at 3:59 am
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    I can walk in the woods or on the beach for hours, thinking about a problem and not be able to come up with a solution. Yet I can spend 15 or 20 minutes on the labyrinth and solve everything.

  • May 7, 2015 at 11:17 pm
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    Dearest Michelle :) …Love your new site….Recently I came across one of these Labyrinth thingy`s here on a cliff top on Maui. I discovered it while walking on a beach one afternoon and caught sight of two humanoids walking in a rather comical pattern atop a cliff in the distance. My humorous curiosity got the better of me so I climbed said cliff to check out the Adam and Eve misfits.. After a few leaps and bounds I arrived at the scene of the crime. Low and behold the earthlings were walking a strange looking maze but upon further investigation I realized it was not the later but something the aliens might have left behind as they high tailed it out of Maui .
    But today you have in lightened me and also I would have to say these last 18 months on Maui have been my journey into my own personal Labyrinth .
    You are avery special person in my life and thank for never giving up on this wayward Irishman..
    Aloha and love to you Michelle!!!!
    Michael OOOO :)

    • May 13, 2015 at 12:39 pm
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      Hi Mike, your words and imagery bring a smile. I am imagining the scene vividly. hahahaha I am delighted to be here for you, my dear wayward Irishman…who is crazily and happily journeying in your own personal labyrinth. Take care in all ways.

  • April 30, 2015 at 3:33 am
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    Michelle, what a beautiful and inspiring article that spoke directly to my heart! Thank you for sharing your story with us. The labyrinth is definitely a powerful tool that can help us find our center. I learned from a labyrinth builder that a labyrinth helps us find our way in life. I find it amazing that you just wrote this article about the labyrinth. I am currently working on a new short story in which the characters had just walked a herbal labyrinth. It is amazing how we are on the same wavelength. Michelle, congrats to this beautiful website; and continue inspiring the world with your words and presence.

    • May 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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      Hi Terry, a herbal labyrinth? That sounds incredible! I am smiling thinking of a similar wavelength in this journey. I have been blessed with your gentle spirit and your friendship. Thank you for your uplifting words. Love and light.

  • April 28, 2015 at 7:54 am
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    hi Michelle,
    Beautiful and very thoughtful words of your experience with the labyrinth, perhaps it’s the beginning of a new journey for you and knowing the powerful words ” I am”, God bless xx

    • May 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm
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      Hi Lynn, the journey has begun and ended and begun all over again. Hahaha It has been a circle of love. Thank you for your presence. Love much.

  • April 27, 2015 at 1:22 am
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    Hi Sis! Wonderful article. Profound and refreshing. Continue writing and blessing people with your pristine thoughts and words. Hope to see you again! God bless you!

    • May 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm
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      Hi Kuya Alvin, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. It means a lot. I hope to see you soon too. God bless you.

  • April 26, 2015 at 5:31 am
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    How fitting that I would finally come to understand the labrynith through Michelle’s article. I too was the odd man out at the sacred Labrynth I was taken to on my honeymoon. I seemed to be the only person squirming away from the opportunity before me. I struggled in my mind & then in my body.I spent more time with my camera taking pictures of the thing than being present.
    Perhaps it felt more familiar to fidgit than to turn inward.
    Thank you for this article,it has helped me revisit that memory & get truly in touch with what may have really be going on for me.
    Feeling inspired by this writer,I solemnly promise to take a conscious walk though the same labrynth next year when I return to Arizona.

    • May 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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      Lisa, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Fidget – yeah, that seems to be the word. We fidget more that we are able to turn inward. I look forward to your return trip to Arizona and the labyrinth. Enjoy your journey dear one. Much love :)

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