Monday, March 31, 2008

the labyrinth

A week after our return from Gatlinburg I think it's time to wrap up the review! As I think you can tell we had a fabulous time and are hooked on the Buckhorn Inn. We can't wait to go back and enjoy everything about it, as well as have more time to explore and enjoy the mountains.
I'll close with a reflection on the labyrinth. The "modern" labyrinth (13th century, Chartres Cathedral) offers the opportunity to journey through the pattern (see black and white figure) as a spiritual or meditative exercise. There is one way from the outside to the center, and the same path is retraced from the center out. Most labyrinths that I have encountered are one dimensional, with the pattern printed on canvas, inlaid in the floor or ground, or outlined with gravel. The Buckhorn labyrinth is the first I have experienced that has dimension: the pattern is made using rocks anchored in the ground with edges protruding up.

I walked the labyrinth each morning that we were there (and on the last day had the joy of walking it while it snowed!). Without overdosing you with spiritual details, I'll share one particular and very meaningful part of my second-day walk. When I got to the center of the labyrinth I paused to look out across the path I had journeyed to that point, and was astounded by what I saw. Understand that I am a person of metaphor--I see representation in many things, and this was no different. As I looked at the circle of stones that form the path of the labyrinth, all the stones faced me. They were, to me, the people in my life, past and present. They represented love and support without exception and without reservation. They were my steadfast and unwavering cheering section, present and accounted for to hold me up and keep me strong. It was a profound moment of appreciation and acceptance, and the picture I took from the center (shown here) will be printed out and framed to remind me of its significance.

As I retraced my steps from the center back to the beginning of the labyrinth I took note of the different stones that formed the path. Some had jagged edges, others were more smooth--they all were of varying shapes and sizes. Some had lost the support of their foundation and had toppled. Some were grey, others brown, still others were white mottled with color or a combination of color. Each was unique and offered something different to the complexion of the whole. They were, as people are, in varying stages of wholeness: some in need of attention, others able to stand strong. As I made my way along the path I was reminded that as we encounter each other in life we offer what we can to each other. Sometime we need the support, at other times we offer support to others. In the end, we all stand together to form a circle of love and affirmation to the souls whose paths we cross and whose lives touch ours.

Each labyrinth walk holds its own revelation and presents its own gift. On that particular walk I began to heal and connected to a place inside me that had been shut off. In cold and snow, with hands shoved in pockets and wind blowing around me, I felt as warm as I ever could.

Bless you all for being part of my circle.


Jayne said...

How very beautiful Anne. I love that metaphor so much, and it rings so true.

Janet M said...

Anne, Your tour and journaling on this day is wonderful. Love the photos and all the report of your getaway.
Hugs, Janet


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