Coaching encourages inquiry to find deeper understanding and new perspectives that free you to enjoy life more and take action toward your goal. A labyrinth is a tool that supports creative thinking, exploration and intuitive insights. This article gives an example of how a labyrinth can be used for inquiry.
Last night I walked the labyrinth twice.
The first time I walked with the idea that we are all doing the best we can, and everyone is doing what is right for them in this present moment. I thought about those closest to me- my sister, my brothers, my husband. I walked in silence, stopping often to listening for the fundamental, profound silence underneath the noise of traffic from outside and other people inside the building.
I remembered that my grandmother became deaf over the second half of her life, and then silence was her refuge. She resisted hearing aids, because “everything sounds so loud”! Common household noises like refrigerators and traffic had become unbearable next to the peace and comfort of muffled, and then later, absolute quiet.
The second time I walked the labyrinth last night, I walked with my grandmother.
I imagined her tiny body and slow steps beside me and I offered her my arm for support. As we walked, the single path twisted back on itself, taking us sometimes closer to the centre, sometimes, further from it. I remembered her child-like delight in the cleverness of dogs, the innocence of babies of any species, and her connection with birds. Her love of beautiful clothes, her sewing prowess and how she could cook! I thought about how little I knew of her early years in the old country- the poverty, the hard work just to survive, her family dynamic.
I thought how appropriate it was that we were in a church gym- the place where her cultural community would have integrated with her faith and tradition, the place where good works are really done, often by women- the church dinners, bazaars and clothing collections to send back to the old country.
In the centre of the labyrinth I met my grandmother’s spirit- a brilliant light radiating out all around. I stood in each petal of the centre rosette and for a few moments honoured what I knew of her in each realm- her connection to the earth, her love of flowers and green growing things, her kinship with animals, her human form and relationships, her honouring of Divine Spirit and finally, all that is unknowable- another person’s inner experience.
It all boiled down to love in the end. The few hurtful things my grandmother said to me in my life, our few disagreements, all came from her love for me; she was trying to guide me toward happiness. She was doing the best she could.
I saw clearly and magnificently her great love for me, and felt my own heart receive her love and respond in kind. I was hugely thankful for all she gave me in life- the nourishment of her attention, her infinite gifts of clothing and meals, made with her own hands, birthday and Christmas gifts, but most of all for her enduring presence, her essential self, which I absorbed as a child in her happy, Sunday afternoon home.
As I walked the winding path from the centre back to the world outside the labyrinth, I saw my grandmother’s spirit, which remained at the centre, radiating like a star.
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