“The end is the beginning,” – T.S. Eliot
Have you ever felt blindsided by life’s events? The deaths of people closest to me, all
happening in just a few years, was nearly unbearable. My adoptive parents, birthparents and husband passed away. How could I go on living? Did I even deserve to? In 2007, following the losses, I built a spiral walking path in my back yard and so it happened that the Labyrinth gave me a way.
The simple act of walking in to the center and then back out, helped clear my mind and reset my emotions. The labyrinth, though profound, is also very simple. When you come to the center of the spiral path, you reverse directions and walk back out.
In my case, the rhythm of that slow walking, combined with breathing deeply and feeling the air around me, gradually changed sadness to something like thoughtfulness. The sharp, ragged pain went away, and a feeling of acceptance took over. Through the days, weeks, months, and years, the labyrinth has been a way for me to tap the inner wisdom that is all too easy to ignore.
So powerful an influence was the labyrinth that I studied with Lauren Artress,
President and Founder of Veriditas, The Voice of the Labyrinth Movement. I read her books on the labyrinth, became a labyrinth facilitator, and hosted walks for friends in my own spiral path.
When I “went public” with my adoption story in The Goodbye Baby: Adoptee Diaries, I wrongly assumed that I’d solved the riddle of my adoption. I’d put my heart and soul into exposing my adoptee past. Through writing the book, I was finally able to forgive myself for a lifetime of oversensitivity about being an adoptee. In retrospect, I accepted the fact that reunions with both of my birthparents, while not a total failure, were not what I’d hoped they would be. I learned to accept even that. In the dealing with adoption department, I was done, finished, complete.
A friend will ask me if I’m “cured” or “over” the issues of adoption. The answer is “Maybe” or “Sometimes.” Like life itself, dealing with adoption is a work in progress. Thanks to walking the labyrinth, I am better able to recognize the negative adoption-induced feelings that come back to haunt. I have learned that those emotions are like the weather, ever-changing. Behind the clouds, sunshine awaits.
That said, I am not sure that one ever lets go of the “adoptee” status. For me, it is who I am. Of the hundreds of adoption stories I’ve read, it is as integral as the color of ones eyes. It doesn’t go away. So, while not “cured,” I am now “accepting.”
Much of my life was shadowed by an underlying victim mentality. Now, I feel that obstacles forged an inner strength I’d lacked and made me more who I am. I have come to regard being adopted as a gift, not a curse. In this journey toward wholeness and self-acceptance, nothing has been a better teacher than the labyrinth.