By Su Barber, Sep 28 2017 11:44AM
The other night as I was driving to a client for a Birth Story Listening session, I became acutely aware I had begun a labyrinth-like journey.
It started out easy and gentle enough, on familiar territory, roads I know like the back of my hand and then...
I was into a place of not knowing, the rain had started and the light had dimmed into the shady-ness of dusk driving and I started to feel a little anxious as I reached for my trusty phone with the directions that google had texted to me.
I stopped at the station and stared at the phone blankly I could not access the directions. Frantic phonecall to my partner, (my guru on all things technical, who is also frantic trying to deal with children, homework, screens and cooking.) Together we manage to access some roaming web signal and I can get back to google maps… but I am lost.
It is dark now, raining, lights are dissolving into bleary streaks, wind-screen wipers are resembling my frantic-ness within, as I twist and turn and double back, and stop and breathe and text apologies for running late to the client, patiently waiting.
I know I am so close to her, the map tells me so, but I am driving back and forth unable to find the road.
I text again.. Literally “help.. Can you give me a clue please? ….” and as I write these words and return in the gloom to the lit up map on my phone, I see it, it is obvious the road I am looking for is not a road, it is a footpath. I have to go right round to get to her home, the centre of this labyrinth.The relief is intense and immediate, the cortisol drops and an oxytocin smile cracks across my face, I am going to get there, it’s not too late and I have work to do.
It was a beautiful session and it made a difference. However for me, my learning came in that moment that I asked for a clue.
The word “Clew” is the name of the thread that Ariadne gives to Theseus in the myth of the Minotaur, who is imprisoned in a Labyrinth-like underground building. The whole story is very multi-layered and complex story of desire and shame, hubris and heroism, lost and rediscovered children, love and compassion, death and grief. (Writing this up soon.)
In that moment of for-going the shame of being lost and asking for compassionate help, a part of my brain lit up and came to the rescue. Ariadne gave me the clew in my hand, so I could re-look at the map and find my way through the maze of streets and find the centre of the labyrinth I could then access the brave hero part of myself, become Theseus and take action. Only when you have the “Clew” and you weave it through the many pathways possible, can you create the labyrinth path to the destination. The labyrinth in this myth is made up of the thread, if he loses the thread he will be lost and unable to return easily. It is why sometimes looking back, things make sense because you can see how one thing flowed into another, why one decision helped to make things go in one direction or another. It is why you can find your way back to source if you need to and why you must not beat yourself up for any decision made in the past, which you did based on what you could see or feel in that moment.
We are all feeling our way in the dimness and sometimes we need to ask for help, to ask for a “Clew” to be able to move forwards again and take action.
Try it next time life feels overwhelming and you feel lost, ask for a “Clew” so you can hold onto that thread and not get lost.
*Clew : Klu n.s… a ball of thread; a guide, a direction, because men direct themselves by a clew of a thread in a labyrinth….
From Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Tongue.