Labyrinths I Have Loved: Spirit of Grace, Beaverton, Oregon

The eve of a contentious elections seems like an appropriate time to consider the lessons I’ve learned walking labyrinths.

I’ve been walking labyrinths a long time, maybe 20 years. And that’s one of my favorite spiritual practices.

What’s a labyrinth, you say?

Well, it’s different from a maze. Just follow the path, and you’ll make it to the center, and then back out again.

I could say more, and in another blog post I probably will, but in the meantime, I really enjoyed walking the labyrinth yesterday at Spirit of Grace, a joint Lutheran-Catholic worshiping community in Beaverton Oregon.

Walking a labyrinth is a form of meditation. There’s no wrong way to do it. This day I tried to balance simply being still and walking, with some self-reflection.

I paused at the entrance, and prayed the prayer that inspired this blog:

Some thoughts that arose on the journey…

Pretty early on I worried I wouldn’t have time to walk the whole labyrinth. Which led to the reminder that just this step matters. Just this step in the journey.

And one of the things I love about the labyrinth is that it both reminds me that each step I’m on is part of a much larger path, winding in and out, and yet at the same time, my attention is best held at the step I’m taking.

This labyrinth has bricks around it in memory and honor of both the living and the dead. The saints are always with us. We do not walk alone. And sometime, literally, we do not walk alone. It can be very moving to share the labyrinth experience with others, just as it is also powerful to walk it solo.

And you can trust the path. It will lead you to the center, and back out again … not the way you expect, and not in a way that seems logical. But you can trust this path.

The path is longer than you think. And when you think you’re nearly to the center, suddenly you find yourself on the outside again.

Some pieces of the path are in the sunshine — others in the shade.

There’s a lot of beauty on the journey if you just look around.


And you don’t have to follow the rules. There really aren’t rules. One friend told me when she arrived at a corner, she’d always turn around in the opposite direction. I love that … stopping, and counter-intuitively twirling backward till I’m back on the path.

Another suggested doing the thing you think you shouldn’t do when walking the labyrinth, even if that means stopping partway and walking out across all the paths. That’s hard for my rule-oriented self to do, but also a good practice.

Just one step. Then the next. A turn. A pause. Watching my breath. Letting my mind wander and reflect. And then back to the next step and the next breath.

I’m not sure how my life fits in the labyrinth journey right now. Seeking the center? Sitting in the center? Wandering lost on the turning paths? Heading out?

Still, for now, it helps to remember to focus on just this step.

And regardless of what happens as a result of the election tomorrow, to remember just the step I’m taking right now, and follow the path.

And then to take the next step.

 

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2 thoughts on “Labyrinths I Have Loved: Spirit of Grace, Beaverton, Oregon

    1. Thank you, Kathleen! I’ve been thinking about it a lot this morning as well, and am glad for that “pre-election wisdom” that feels really helpful today now post-election.

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