It’s been almost one year exactly since I last walked the path of the labyrinth outside my therapy office window. I took about fifteen minutes this afternoon to make the trek in, knowing I wouldn’t have time before my next client to make the walk back out.
My intentions, stepping foot into the concrete-puzzled path, was to pray through an anxiety that has been pressing in on me over the last few weeks. I intended to let the sharp red leaves falling and floating across the path offer a kind of poetic aesthetic that would remind me all is well and all will be well.
As one foot made its way in front of the other, my prayers were quickly replaced by the memories of what was pressing in on me the last time I walked through these same stones. Fear and worry for friends losing jobs, relationships falling apart, futures unknown, and trying to function in the middle of the chaos in ways that were filled with grace and mercy at least in part while I was simultaneously bleeding anger and resentment.
A few loops in now, I remembered that the last time I walked this labyrinth, whatever my intentions were faded quickly and I started to become fully present in spirit learning the bodily art of putting one step in front of the other: something the homicide-loss group teaches me often.
The sharp red leaves did begin to fall and swirl around the gray and burnt red stone as I made my way through a few more loops.
After a round of quiet breathing, I began to see a kind of baggage trailing behind me. In my prayer-walking, I was being given the gift of visualizing all that I am pretending to carry fall from my hands and back and gut and stay behind in my tracks, only where I have been. In the faithful art of putting one foot in front of the other, there continued to be a clear way, and more room to let go of all that is and has been pressing in and pressing down.
Moving closer to the center, I was passing the paths where I had already shed weight, so while I saw them and was right next to them, they were no longer in my way.
I made it to the center, read the etched in Psalm 46:10, and moved back to the entrance, back into the office, and back into a conversation at the heart of a family wrestling to make relationships work.
In spirit and body, and a commitment to putting one foot in front of the other, the weight lightens.