A labyrinth is a single path that twists and turns back upon itself in an elaborate circular pattern. Unlike a maze, which is meant to be a challenge and a puzzle to be solved, the path of a labyrinth is designed to guide the walker from entrance to center. It can be used in many different ways, but primarily the labyrinth is intended to induce contemplation and thought as visitors slowly make their way along its winding path.
In the lovely piece that appears below, the author uses the labyrinth as a metaphor for walking the journey of grief. It is reprinted here with her permission.
It is a labyrinth.
Those who grieve, walk its path
as it winds back and forth,
in and out, day after day,
winding back upon itself and out around its edge
then back to where the path began.
How long does it take to get to the heart of it?
How many times do we turn and feel as
if we are back where we began
or that we walked through these feelings once before?
And what is it that is in the center?
Just where am I on this long circuitous path?
So difficult to know.
This labyrinth so often feels like a maze
with dead ends that trap me,
seemingly leaving only one recourse-
to go back, to retrace my steps.
But there is no turning back.
I must draw on my wisdom,
that inner voice reminding me that
what seems familiar is just an illusion.
I must honor the wisdom that says...
you can keep going, that is not a wall, this is not a dead end.
How much pain can one soul handle?
What am I to learn from this teacher (grief) that invaded my life?
Where am I going? Who am I?
How broken I am! How lost. How empty. How sad.
As I walk this labyrinth of grief.
© 2012 by Mary Friedel-Hunt, MA, LCSW
Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing Newsletter. Sign up here.