Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Walking the Labyrinth
Last month, my 8 year old daughter accompanied me to the Nashua YMCA to hear me speak about my experiences working with children and labyrinths. As we walked into the building, I pointed out to Haelie that I had attended preschool there, years before of course. We could smell the chlorine from the pool where I had learned how to swim, and where Haelie first swam with her father when she was 6 months old. We turned the corner and began walking towards they gym where I had spent many winters playing indoor soccer, and where my daughter and I participated in our first Mommy and Me gym class when she was just 1 year old. I hadn't realized the connection I had to this place.
We were a bit early to arrive, so we stopped by the room next door where a large canvas labyrinth had been set up for visitors to walk. It was surrounded by candlelight, and we could hear soothing music. Haelie and I slipped off our shoes by the door and approached the entrance of this beautiful labyrinth. Slowly, we began our journey on the path. Haelie followed me in complete silence as we encountered the twists and turns of the labyrinth. Slowly, step by step, we breathed quietly, and proceeded silently to the center, mother leading daughter.
As we walked I thought about how walking this labyrinth, in this particular moment, was so metaphorical. Haelie wasn't ready to trust that she could navigate the twists and turns of the labyrinth on her own. She needed to see, she needed to follow, and she needed me to show her and silently reassure her that she could do it, and that I would be there every step of the way. I had learned some of those same lessons as a child, teen, and parent, in the classrooms, swimming pool, and gymnasiums of that building.
In the center, we took pause before journeying back out. Haelie whispered to me that she wanted to lead this time. She wanted me to follow her back out. She was ready. I had showed her enough to allow her the confidence to do it on her own. Now I followed Haelie in complete silence, as we encountered the twists and turns of the labyrinth. Slowly, step by step, we breathed quietly, and proceeded silently to where we had began, daughter leading mother.