Thursday, November 22, 2012


I haven't posted in a long time. Earlier this month I had the chance to go to Maui. While I was there, I and 18 colleagues- admin staff, social workers and nurses- visited The Sacred Garden owned and operated by Eve Hogan, author of The Way of the Winding Path. What a treat!

We listened to Eve talk about the labyrinth as a metaphor for the way we lived our life and few other metaphorical stories to capture our imaginations and allow us to think in new ways. While we were there, we had a chance to walk her 11-circut labyrinth modeled after the Chartres Cathedral in France.

It was a pleasure to walk it with my fellow co-workers and it did indeed reflect a lot of what I have been feeling about my role at the clinic and allowed for an opportunity to pause in time and place and reflect.

What I want to talk about now though is the labyrinth I have busily been working on for the last several days.

I came home and within days went to work on a snow labyrinth in my backyard. Well if walking a labyrinth is a metaphor for how we live in the real world, I can tell you that much more so is the making of a labyrinth. 

I started out with the idea and then told Steve, my wonderful husband. He had lots of input, but wasn't rushing to make it for me. I decided it *needed* to be built and headed outside on a mild Sunday morning. I was trying to make it while being followed around by my 9-year-old twins. I love them dearly, but in a middle of this project all I could say was: "This isn't relaxing yet. This is very stressful, you need to stop talking. I'm trying to do math!" I was being completely ignored by my 11 1/2 year-old daughter. 

I marked out the pattern of where the walls would go by walking the diagram in my hand. No problem. Then I tried to invert it. I needed to make the part that was my foot tracks into walls the parts that were currently raised into paths! This might not be my thing. Did I mention that I *needed* to build the labyrinth? The design wasn't complicated, (classic 7-circuit design), but the inversion was tricky. Was I supposed to put a little wall of snow here or there? Where were the lines and where was the path going to be?

Steve sat quietly out of the way in his office until I called into the back hall and down the stairs (while the 9-year-olds were giving me advice about it all). I couldn't come in to the house too far since I was covered with snow... and determined! Steve came out and followed the drawing like a puzzle to assist me in where the walls would be. You can't tell from the picture here, but when Steve came out, I had the first wide ring of lights; then a ring of a rope; a ring of the garden hose that might have a leak; then a ring of lights that don't seem to work; then a ring of the lights that do work, but aren't plugged in.... all in an attempt to figure out where to stomp down the snow to make a path. Oh, and there were some weird blue lines in the snow made by a spray bottle with blue dye. It kept the twins busy, but I have one sink permanently stained blue.

Steve came out and helped with the end part. He solved the puzzle! It was just about a project that would have no ending (literally, since the labyrinth pattern was wrong and kept going in a never-ending circle!) Just when I thought it couldn't be built, Steve came out and declared it a working labyrinth. It all came together! I took this picture and put it on FB, declaring a success!


Then it snowed. Then I went to walk it. 

I had made a goat path! How could I have invited people over to walk it? I could barely put one foot in front of the other in some places. It might be the most lame labyrinth of the entire arctic wintery history! This is terrible. 

Finally a few days later I had a day off. I went out with a spade, an edger (think: for sod) and a kids size shovel (the perfect width, but a short handle). I spent two hours carving the snow and increasing the width of the paths! What a life reflection! 

First I started around the wide outside edges. No problem. Man! Am I good! People are going to come to this labyrinth walk and think I'm great. They are going to LOVE it! This is wonderful! I am wonderful! 

Then I got tired. I was really sweating under all my fleece at -15 C! What was I thinking? I shouldn't have people over. They are going to judge this, but tell me it's fine. Its not fine!

Okay, I can do this. Its hard, but really love what I'm doing. I'm SO happy to have a labyrinth in my backyard. Who cares what people think? This is fantastic. I am literally carving out my spiritual journey. I need that. My clients need that-- carving out time and space for oneself. This is important (but really hard) work that I am doing. Its so pertinent to personal development. I'm on a roll! 

I started to get REALLY tired, but I was getting closer to the middle- only three more circuits to go. I can't believe that the paths are this narrow. What was I thinking when I made this? Why would I have done such a terrible job? People won't be able to pass on this walkway. I'll do it better next year. Who am I kidding? I won't make this again. This is way too hard. I should give up now. I can't keep shoveling out these paths. They are too narrow and the snow is too powdery to stay up on the little walls. I should just go in and forget about it. 

Then I cleaned out the snow in the centre. 

I can do this. Look where I am. Who else can say that they physically created a spiritual path? Really! I HAVE A LABYRINTH! This should make the news. This is great! This is the best thing of the year! I actually did it! Do I have enough pictures? One picture won't be enough. I should take more. I wonder how I could get more lights. (ie: 'not enough' thinking- even though I had a lot!).


Then I walked the labyrinth. I went inside first actually. I took a shower, changed and ate lunch. I felt rejuvenated. I went out to visit my new-and-improved-paths. I walked along the outside edges and I walked along the inside edges listening to mediation music on my phone. I felt satisfied. I kept thinking about who else would come and walk this labyrinth before it melted? How much joy could the labyrinth mete out before it was gone and the girls' trampoline was in its place? Nothing lasts forever, but I will enjoy this while I can. Holy cow! I am SO lucky!

I came to the middle of the labyrinth and paused with a deep breath. I felt the brightness of the sun on my face. And I felt the cold wind on my cheeks. It was still -15 and now it felt like it. 

"I have arrived!",  I thought.

"I am surrounded by the warmth and beauty of my family and my home and my yard."

"I am grateful for all that I have."

"I am enough. 
I have enough.
I do enough."

Ahhh.... Enough. Is there a better word in the English language? 

Now its time to go in and make supper. 

No pretense. No self-doubt. No judgement. Just living to live. Just walking the sacred path because it is carved. Feeling satisfied. It is carved because I chose it to be. How lucky am I? SO lucky! This will only stay a short while and I will appreciate every minute of it. I promise. :-)

With love,


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