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So what’s up with the labyrinth?

I discovered my first labyrinth in the 1990s, living on San Francisco’s Russian Hill. One year, I attended a New Year’s event in Grace Cathedral with Bobby McFerrin called “Singing for Your Life.” It was a 24-hour non-stop singing event, where McFerrin and others conducted a choir of any of us who felt like showing up to sing harmonies for as long as we felt like it. From midnight on December 30 to midnight on December 31, it was one non-stop song. There were dozens of us, who walked up, found our part in the harmony and just followed along with whatever the conductor had us do. I sang for 6 hours that day. Exhilarating. On the floor of Grace Cathedral were dozens more people, who had come to walk the church labyrinth. I had never seen this before, and I was captivated and compelled to learn more.

Labyrinths are ancient and magical. The labyrinth on my logo is a 7-course “classical” or Cretan design which dates back to 400-200 BC from the island of Crete. Identical designs exist as part of diverse cultures around the world. 

I soon discovered that there was another labyrinth in the church yard that was open to the public, so I began walking that labyrinth as a sort of walking meditation. I learned that a labyrinth is not like a maze. A maze has false paths while a labyrinth has only one true path which, if you follow the path, will take you to the center. The center always feels like enlightenment to me. Or truth. Or peace.

As I walked these paths seeking truth and learning and peace inside myself, I felt an easy parallel with my work editing films. The path is always winding and circuitous. We can’t really see from the beginning how we are going to get to that finished film. But we know that if we just keep putting one foot in front of another; if we just keep laying down one edit and then another and another; eventually we will find that true path that leads to a powerful finished film which tells the story we have in our heart. 

And so it came to be that I chose the labyrinth as a visual symbol for Shirley Thompson Editorial, the vessel which holds my life’s work.