Mother’s Day and the Labyrinth:
What do Mother’s Day and the Labyrinth have in common? Let’s admit it. Mother’s Day is complicated and raises complex emotions, ranging from love, happy, sad, mad, ambivalent, and the list goes on. Our mothers are the most significant imprint in our lives and our relationship with her evolve continuously as our days unfold. It does not matter how old we are or how early we lost our mother; the impact of our ongoing and changing relationship with “mother” is a forever journey. The labyrinth is not complicated but it can create complex feelings.
Compassion is the word that we need to bring balance to our relationship with our mother and with ourself. Compassion is that heart sense of wanting genuine good for the other person, including ourself. However, by the time we reach adulthood we often arrive with a set of judgements about ourselves that keep us locked in the emotional prison of not being good enough. We often judge ourselves with a stricter set of standards than we judge anyone else. We give others the benefit of a doubt but not ourselves. The best Mother’s Day gift we can give ourself is that of compassion, letting go of the inflexible rules we silently live by. As we restore compassion to ourselves we transform our negative energy into positive actions that allow us to break through hard ground, move out of dark spaces, and create ravines and rivers of mobility that we never dreamed before. We learn to move freely, breathe deeply into our daily life dancing into new decisions, energizing old projects, finishing details with ease. The truth is until we learn to be compassionate with ourselves we cannot be compassionate with our own mother or others. The labyrinth can help create space for compassion.
How can the labyrinth help? Simply put, the labyrinth is a symbol of our journey. As we walk the labyrinth our brain has time to relax, to let go, and to become present to ourself. Often as we walk the labyrinth we have the internal experience of feeling as if we are very close to the center, like we are almost at our destination. Then without any notice or warning, we find our self at the furthest point away from the center. That feeling is somewhat disorientating, as it can make us second guess ourself and feel lost. It is that way with our mother from time to time. We find ourselves relaxed, feeling closeness and connection and then something is said or not said that throws us into a sense of distance and disconnect. From there, emotions become complicated and shame can set in. The labyrinth is a perfect pattern of continuing the journey, putting one foot in front of the other. The labyrinth reminds us that we are not at the center yet and to get there we must put one foot in front of the other and continue. Continuing the journey of connection and disconnection and connection again. That is life.
For me the center of labyrinth represents the divine feminine, the mother of God, or the mother’s womb where all is cradled and safe. Arriving at the center can give a sense of peace and all is well with the world. As we walk and arrive in the center, let us leave any upset emotions with our mother there in the center for the larger mother of the universe to cradle, care and transform those feelings. As we walk out of the labyrinth, retracing the footsteps of the path, let us reflect on our own relationship to our self. Claim the fact that now we are adults and it is time to be a good-enough mother to our self.
Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to find a labyrinth nearby by going to http://www.labyrinthlocator.com and typing in your zip code. Nearby labyrinths will appear. Let’s walk a labyrinth for our mothers today.
If a labyrinth walk is not possible, write a journal letter letting her know the current thoughts and feelings flowing in your mind. When finished, read the letter out loud and take a few minutes before writing an additional letter using compassion from the inner most part of your being to yourself. Re-read both letters within twenty-four hours and notice if feelings are changing. Journaling, like the labyrinth circuits, take us close to our center. A specific sentence can throw us into a whole new dimension of different feelings that are disorientating and confusing. Don’t stop, keep writing. As we write the path unfolds and we find the way. Don’t let Hallmark confuse the direction of our authentic feelings. The path is our own and each of us must find our own way.