Coming Around Again…

So. Here we are. Again.

The wheel has completed a full revolution, come full circle as the saying goes, and brought us around once more to a period devoted for millennia to thoughts and acts of renewal and rebirth as the Spring Equinox approaches.

Those aspects of renewal and rebirth harmonize with those I mentioned in my previous post about the labyrinth – aspects “which may signify for the pilgrim a place of mystery, of rebirth, or revelation, of self-knowledge.”

The key to any renewal or rebirth, I think, is to have and hold to what I call an Organizing Principle, a foundation which supports the whole through every certainty and doubt, every triumph and trial. In the midst of my spring cleaning I stumbled across an interview with the actress Olivia Colman I had ripped from the pages of a magazine (VOGUE, Oct. 2019), and in reading through it again I found a sentence that captures my Organizing Principle. The interviewer, Nathan Heller, stated, “Colleagues of hers all marvel at her capacity to build her career around the life she found it important to live.”

It is that last portion, “the life she found it important to live,” that was a revelation to me. Make no mistake – I had been living that for many years, just had never articulated it so succinctly.

While I may have fumbled the articulation of my Organizing Principle I have been perfectly clear about some of the truths guiding me through the labyrinth of Life. (I suspect William Faulkner would consider them some of the ‘old universal truths’ he referred to in his Nobel speech.)

The first truth is as ancient as humanity itself and is one of the most important of the Universal Truths: You reap what you sow. In the end, when all is said and done and you are called to account for your life, you reap what you have sown. (It is interesting to note that for Christians this season coincides with the Lenten season, with its focus on penitence for sins.)

The other Truth that is a guide for me is also ancient, but seems to have been respected more in Eastern philosophy. The way I have articulated it to myself and to my sons is thusly: The only person over whom any of us has control is our Selves. While I may have some influence with loved ones and friends the only person over whom I can rightly claim Control is myself.

There have been and always will be mysteries and challenges, and things will go awry at times, but in every relationship each of us has, and in every situation each of us finds ourselves, we are the constant.

This is the ultimate self-knowledge.

Each of us can choose to control our Selves with everyone and in every situation. I think that’s a simple Truth.

Barbara Butler McCoy, c. 2022