You never know when one of life’s greatest teachings will come to you, then again labyrinths are made for these kinds of reflections.
This is a shot taken of one of the labyrinths at Sibley Volcanic Preserve in California at springtime (reminds me a little of a placenta from this angle).
When I walked these winding paths last week, I saw my whole life in my footsteps. As the labyrinth’s path wrapped around toward the center, I noticed my enthusiasm peak as it seemed we were getting closer to the end. But then, as it so happens in a labyrinth, my path began winding back out toward the periphery.
But we were so close!
In that moment tears. I was reminded of all the times on our fertility journey that it seemed like we were coming so much closer to having our baby. The hope that rose with each IUI, each egg retrieval and embryo transfer, only to find ourselves in grief, moving seemingly increasingly farther away again, or so it seems??
As I continued walking, indeed we did arrive at the center, which of course in the circle/spiral that is a labyrinth, is only a starting point for the journey back out.
My doula friend who walked with me told me that the labyrinth metaphor is actually often used in birth...
Pregnancy and labor is that walk into the center, with all its ebbs and flows of progress often offset by moments when we feel we’re getting nowhere, if not further from the end. Ask any mother who’s experienced prodromal labor, had labor stall, or gone past her due date.
Then the moment of birth arrives and joy and fulfillment abound. Yet shortly after parent and baby are lead through the winding path of postpartum, the journey back out into the world, which can feel equally labyrinth-like. Days of seeming progress marked by discouraging periods of regression, both real and perceived.
What if fertility, birthing, life, (even death and grief) is just one big labyrinth? When it appears that we are close or making progress, we may actually have more road ahead to travel. And when we actually are so close we may be fooled by the illusion that our destination is anything but just around the next bend. (I’ll take “transition” for $1000 Alex.)
For me, the labyrinth re-connected me with my hope, humility, and gratitude. If it does something of the same for you, then I’m happy my words have reached you.
If any part of your life’s progress seems non-linear, maybe you’re walking a labyrinth too?
Where are you in the labyrinth of your life now? Does the end seem like it’s moving farther away? Getting closer? Are you just arriving to your center?
Who knew the kind of perspective a simple walk on a Wednesday morning in October would bring!