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Lessons From a Labyrinth

Or missing what's in plain sight...

A couple of weeks ago I spent several wonderful days at a ‘renewal centre’ while attending a writers’ conference. (More about the conference another time.) It is a lovely, although aging, facility run by some Catholic nuns. One of its boasts is a ‘labyrinth’ free for patrons’ use. I quote from the promotional brochure:

“Walking in a labyrinth is a sure way to tranquility, harmony and peace of mind… Walking a labyrinth quiets the busy mind and inspires creative thinking…” The brochure goes on to explain various reflective techniques that one can do while walking, contemplating “the blessing of the hidden nature of God…” etc.

This sounded good to me, so I ventured out on the last day there to give peace and tranquility a try.

I followed the signs and ended up in a grassy section of the grounds. I looked around but saw nothing. I walked further, back to the signs, back to the grass, around in circles, all the while looking for the elusive labyrinth. Finally, I headed back to the centre for a map.

Map in hand, I once again started on my quest. Down the driveway, past some trees, turn at ‘the sign’. Step through the trees, under an iron arch, past a tree clearly marked ‘not a pine’ –  and voila!

I looked around in confusion, down at the map, and then up again. I was back in the middle of the grassy section, right where I had been previously pacing for at least ten minutes.

Then I looked down.

The labyrinth was cut into the grass! I was standing right on top of it! Someone else had told me that there were bricks marking the path, but instead of a short brick wall, as I had envisioned, there were single bricks embedded in the grass, and many of these were grown over. In fact, the labyrinth itself was visible only because of the way the grass was cut.

Once I saw it I couldn’t believe I’d missed it! It was right there before my eyes the entire time, in plain sight. It instantly reminded me of the many times in my life where I’ve missed the obvious, from social cues, to relationship blunders, to mistakes in my writing, to… well, almost every area of life. What an object lesson!

In the end, I’d done so much walking already over the darn thing that I basically motored through rather than take the time to reflect, like one is supposed to. I figured the labyrinth had already taught me a good lesson for the day.



  1. Sharon Espeseth says:

    Thanks for sharing this good, but unexpected lesson learned while “walking the labyrinth.” I suspect I’ve done this a time or two myself.

    1. tracykrauss says:

      if you ever get a chance to see the labyrinth at providence you should go.

    2. tracykrauss says:

      You’ve probably been to the labyrinth there.

  2. Pam says:

    Haha, perfect!

  3. William Kendall says:

    I have walked through one here in a church hall in Ottawa. It focuses your mind, but also leaves you relaxed.

    1. tracykrauss says:

      I was so focused on trying to find it that it did little to relax me! LOL

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