Recently on a getaway with friends, we spent several hours at the Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island, which by the way, is worth a ferry ride just to experience this sacred space. I’ve always been drawn to labyrinths, and the one at the Earth Sanctuary is beautiful in its simplicity, the path formed by vibrant vegetation on either side of the stones leading to the center.
Slowly making my way to the heart of the lush green maze, I lingered as I usually do, before making my way back out. About to rejoin our little group, I realized that I was pulled to walk it again, this time taking something in to leave as had other pilgrims to this same path before me. Head down, I looked for something that struck the right chord, and found it in a small triad of leaves, all connected to a singular stem which nourished them all, life flowing from one to the other.
For a while now I’ve been trying to reconcile the three leaves of my own life — myself, my relationships, and my work. It often feels as if each is in competition for my time and energy and that tending to one means taking away from the other two. All three areas matter to me. Doing the internal work to become more whole, and caring well for myself matters. Connecting deeply with and supporting those I love matters. Touching the world within my reach with my work matters. How can I choose one over the other without feeling like I’m letting myself, other people, and my work down?
Looking at those three small leaves, a new thought began to emerge. What if they are all the same? What if tending to one informs and enlivens the other two? What if there is no difference? What if I trust that the stem that nourishes my triad of leaves will guide my choices, knowing that it is all one life?
There is something about the process of following a labyrinth path, knowing that the way in is also the way out, knowing that in truth, there is only one way, and it leads us to the center, and then invites us back out again. My three leaves, like the labyrinth, are an invitation to integration, and the realization that mine, like yours, is all one life.
(Gratitude to DA for helping me see the invitation to integration.)