Along the Labyrinth

Today was a special day for my family. So, we put everything aside – work, cleaning, everything – and hopped into the car and headed Up Country.
There is a place in Maui called The Labyrinth of the Sacred Garden, and though I have no idea what the actual address is, I know that you can find it somewhere along the right-hand side on the Road to Hana.
You pull into a tiny parking lot, shut the car down, and step out to find yourself in another world. The first thing you notice is the temperature. It’s much cooler here than it is along the coast. The second thing you notice is the breeze. There is an energy to it that does not exist anywhere else on Earth. It’s like the fingers of some long forgotten god, lovingly caressing you down to the soul, and it feels absolutely unbelievable.
The third thing you notice is the labyrinths. They are everywhere. Walk into the official “gift shop,” and you can run your finger along a worn labyrinth carved into a single large piece of smooth stone. Move a little further into the property, beyond the wares for sale, and you come to a Buddhist meditation area, several koi pots and ponds, Zen gardens in all sizes of containers, and finally a man-made labyrinth formed of small white stones. You can stop here and walk this one if you’d like.
Or you can go outside again.
Out the back door you’re drawn; something about the base of the mountain summons, the green of the forest, that unbelievable breeze.
At last, you come to the first of the two real gems of the Sacred Garden. This is the real labyrinth, carefully constructed, intricately perfect. You begin to walk its length, always looking down, always aware of your steps – one foot after another. Others may be traveling it with you, but they are separate from you, locked into their own channels of this confoundingly comforting design. Time drifts. Sound moves away. You realize so many things, little by little, one after another.
You realize that the labyrinth is a reproduction of life. Sometimes, you seem to be going the wrong way. You pass people who are going in the opposite direction. They walk right by you. It feels odd, disorienting. But you continue; one foot in front of the other, and all the while, unbeknownst to you, you’re drawing ever closer to your goal.
Once in a while, because of the labyrinth’s tight twists and turns, you find yourself moving alongside someone, in step, parallel. But in reality, you’re in different lines of the maze, and in different stages of life. Soon, one of you turns away.
Perhaps most confusing of all is what I realized myself as I drew to the center of the labyrinth and gazed down at the final remaining three feet of puzzle. I had but to take a few steps and I would be at my goal.
But I didn’t want to be there yet. I found myself whispering aloud, “It really is the journey.” And just like that, the center no longer mattered. I looked up – at the world that waited beyond the labyrinth – and noticed the second of the two real gems of the Sacred Garden. A wooden swing rested empty beside a picturesque ravine. The breeze, that wonderful, beautiful breeze, touched the swing there.
Without looking back at the center of the maze, I stepped past the invisible walls represented by the painted stones. I walked across the labyrinth. I walked through it. And I stepped out into the world to make my way to that swing, sit down, and gaze out across a river bed that I hadn’t been able to see clearly until now.
Now I could see that this dry creek bed had been touched by countless people. Towers of pebbles and smooth stone had been erected everywhere, large, small, some almost impossibly balanced, and some clearly created by children. People, at peace, had left their artistic, peaceful mark upon the world.
The breeze kissed me. I smiled – and breathed.

I really like the Sacred Garden. I will definitely be going back there.

Oh! The final lesson the labyrinth taught me was one my eight-year-old daughter helped me to learn as she raced through the channels of the maze to shoot into its center in record time: If you’ve got the zest for life that a child has, you reach enlightenment a hell of a lot faster than everyone else. ☺

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8 Responses to Along the Labyrinth

  1. Staci aka Patches says:

    Very moving, I could feel the breeze on my face.
    I love when just a few words and I am transported to that location.

    Thank You.

  2. Aisling McCann says:

    Lovely and profound.

  3. Ronda Sharpe says:

    You’re quite an amazing story teller, and thats why I love to read your books. It sounds like quite the journey. Happy hunting.
    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  4. sue arnold says:

    I close my eyes any imagine tranquility and silence ..then…listen..and i hear the sounds that nature has hidden from me…wow..thank you Heather

  5. Rosalie says:

    As a child, you are unencumbered by things that would hold you back from getting to your goal faster. I hope when my husband and I got of Maui in Sept we will be able to find this and place a stone there ourselves.

  6. Christine Klug says:

    I am very moved by what you posted and I look forward to your future writings including Beyond Neverland. I have been anxiously waiting for it as I am sure many of us have been waiting for other stories from you as well. I hope that you stay in good health and you enjoy life with all of the road blocks and challenges that it give you.

  7. HRKW says:

    Thank you so much, Christine. 🙂 Ditto on the good health. Warm wishes! xoxo – h

  8. Sabrina says:

    Heather, I have to tell you I pulled your Avenger’s Angel book down from my book case and thought for a moment, “there was something about the way the author wrote, I might want to read this book again”. So I looked in the back cover to your bio and saw the website which hence led me to your blog page and your message to your readers. I have to say I have only gotten thru your blogs from July to present, but I can truly say they have been greatly informative and most assuradly human in nature. I appreciate that. Having recently spent two years battling thyroid cancer and spent the summer dealing with the effects of the treatment to my organs. I made the decision I would put my passion for reading into writing and have the start of series in the works. Your tale of your experince on Maui reminded me of the same moment I had not too long ago, what I call my epiphany moment. My recent experience allowed me to pause my life long enough to be a part of everything bigger, my existence. It was then I realized I had forgotten I was too important to the big plan, whatever that is, I was just a part of it and I simply needed to acknowledge the moment. So with a deep sigh, I guess I just wanted to say I understand the things you have spoken about and have been there too on more than one topic. May you have the courage to continue moving forward just for today and I will keep you in my thoughts.