What’s behind a name? Over the last few years I’ve been asked if the inspiration behind the name Finding the Thread was from William Stafford’s poem, “The Way It Is”? Or if it is from the Japanese legend of the red string of fate? While both resonate, these are not the impetus for the services I offer and hope to share with you. The idea came while I was in my last year of training at The Haden Institute in the Spiritual Direction program. The completion of the two-year program was quickly coming to an end and as I finished some of the required reading and was planning my final project, the name came as so many things often do, from a source greater than ourselves.
I had chosen to read a book on the labyrinth to learn more about its meaning and what is recommended one do when walking the labyrinth. I chose a book written by The Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Path. In this book Artress uses the story of the great-grandmother’s thread from a fairy tale The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, as a way of trying to describe what walking the labyrinth can mean.
“A young princess is sent away from her father’s kingdom, away from the world, to a castle of supposed safety. She begins to explore her new home and encounters an old woman spinning thread in the tower. The woman introduces herself as the princess’s great-grandmother. She tells the princess that she has awaited her for years. In time, the great-grandmother gives the princess a ring to which she attaches an invisible thread. This thread, the great-grandmother tells the princess, will guide her through the challenges she meets in life.” page 12. Artress, Lauren. (2006, ©1995) Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Path. Penguin Group.
When reading of the fairy tale reference in her book about this invisible thread between the great-grandmother and her granddaughter, the imagery and felt-sense that rose within me was powerful and immediate and it stayed with me for months after. As I began working on the final project for my certification, this concept of connection, of connecting to my grandmother(s), to the feminine of my ancestors long before me, to my Inner Divine/God Within, to the feminine energies, creativity, and archetypes, were all at work in me. I felt that connecting to this energy was a way of knowing and learning more about myself. I felt it so deeply that I was inspired to produce a book full of images and inspirational phrases which describes some of my own journey as part of my final project for the Spiritual Direction certification. I entitled the book, which came from these musings: “Finding the Thread: Seeing God in All Things”.
For me, the expression “finding the thread” is one full of meaning, imagery, and a bodily felt sense. It is a way of living in and with our connection to everything in life and to each other. I believe the phrase represents not only my own journey, but the journey for so many others. Many of us are seeking something. We may think we have found it in another person, a job or career, a passion, only to realize, no, that is not quite it, or not it at all!
I have often felt my searching was for connection, but connection to what? The answer to this question eluded me for years. As I learned more about myself, expanding my worldview, I would think, “Yes, this must be it”, only to find as time went on, no, that was not it entirely. I found I would return again and again to the feeling of being unfulfilled, feeling an unexplained longing. The question “isn’t there more?”, repeatedly bubbling up within me. You see when I read of this fairy tale and Artress’ understanding of its meaning, it was as though a switch was flipped within me. Artress eloquently states,
“… discover[ing] the thread is to realize that a loving presence or force behind all the world urges us to risk our comfort and reach for meaning in our lives. … [the] thread is the God within [Spirit, Inner Divine] who has long been ignored and forgotten, who awaits discovery in our own castles. We must keep alive the innate part of ourselves that holds on to the invisible thread.” Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Path, page 13.
This continued unearthing of what makes me tick, of what I believe in, why I believe “it”, has helped me to realize that this longing within me is the desire for more of a connection to myself! A connection to what I now know is referred to as my Inner Divine, my God Within, or as Carl Gustav Jung calls it, my True Self.
Upon completing the Spiritual Direction program and then entering in the Dream Worker program, also with The Haden Institute, this idea of trying to continually connect with Source, God Within, my creative self, stayed with me and the idea of sharing this amazing knowledge I’d been afforded seemed imperative. Using the phrase, Finding the Thread, as my business name represents a symbolic affirmation to the continued journey I am on. A journey I hope to offer to others to help each of us find one’s own connection to within, to that light that wants to shine brightly within each of us.
“The Way It Is” by William Stafford
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
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