Leaning Into the Light: A Metaphor for Relationships in Organizations

Hot. Humid. Still. Not exactly an optimal day or time to walk a labyrinth. Necessary.

For weeks I have known that the labyrinth needed tending. The blooming grasses have shot up toward the sun and lodged over. Some completely block the path. Searching for the light, others have crowded into and narrowed the path. Deer have ripped off plant tops. The bird bath is dry. One area has too much sun. Plants are overly exuberant. Another has too much shade. Plants are withered. Creeping Charlie has overwhelmed the stepping stones. Too much and too little of everything. Everything feels out of balance.

Pausing, I begin to notice the beauty. My attitude shifts. Butterflies and other pollinators busily work the flowers. The occasional, slight breeze passes grass pollens plant to plant. The lyrical chatter of the goldfinches undulating across the yard brightens the day. In the shade a random breeze cools my skin. Suddenly the path widens – grace of my imperfect planning. Black Eyed Susans and nodding onions ready to harvest. Tiny purple blooms peek out from the robust prairie forbs. The magnolia pods are set for next spring.

As I notice the plants leaning into the light, Universe and I have a conversation. Behaviors are the manifestation of the negative energies that have persisted in the building and congregation. “What is my role?”

“A labyrinth walk for healing.”

Then, the counter thought: “Those who choose to heal will be here. Those who choose not to heal will not.” (And those who have been deeply wounded, will need to decide.) So, preaching to the choir. But it doesn’t invalidate the experience.

A Pema Chodron quote keeps coming to mind. “Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it.”

“Simply.” That is the rub. Robyn M-K and Maria K’s service Sunday spoke to “covenant.” From the French covenir and earlier – Latin – covenire – “come together.” About “relationship.” What kind of relationships do we wish to have and in what ways can we move most successfully in these directions of “right relationships”? How do we relate to those who are hurt – even by their own actions? And those on the side who receive the hurt.


On the way out I re-entered the heat and sun, spotting blooms that I missed on the way in. Joyful. I pushed aside the lodged grasses, intent on my mission. Blocks yielded easily.

Now what. Tranquility isn’t always easy to sort through.