Friday, July 11, 2008

Creating and Caring For A Labyrinth

As I've noted on my web page, some colleagues and I recently constructed a walking labyrinth in a previously unused portion of yard behind my office property. For those who don't know, a labyrinth is a path, usually circular, that twists and turns toward a center destination and then out again. Labyrinths have been used for centuries in various cultures throughout the world, often representing spiritual journeys or other life metaphors.

We constructed the labyrinth on June 21st and 22nd, the day of the summer solstice. This timing wasn't consciously planned but emerged organically as the land was gradually cleared and the supplies delivered. We used a thousand or so river stones and several cubic yards of red mulch we purchased from a local landscaping company. For a template we used a modified (five-circuit) version of a classic Chartres-type design. We made the paths wide enough to be wheelchair accessible. The diameter is about 35 feet. We have gradually been adding other features to what is emerging as an extremely peaceful and powerful location: benches, sculptures, chimes, etc. Further landscaping over the coming months and years will continue to add to the depth and presence of this beautiful location.

I have walked the labyrinth path on at least a dozen occasions over the last couple of weeks, each time with a different experience. I've walked it slowly, quickly, in a dancing fashion, prayerfully and distractedly. I've noticed something different each time, which I hope continues to occur.

I've also noticed that the very act of constructing and especially maintaining the labyrinth is a meditative act. I enjoy picking up pine cones and other debris that falls from the trees as an act of loving service.

A sign on the pathway to the labyrinth states:

A labyrinth is a meandering but purposeful path that can represent many of the journeys of life.

Walking the labyrinth before or after a therapy session can center and balance your emotions, enhance your intuition and allow you to experience the world inside and around you in a more meaningful way.

There are no dead ends or blind alleys. The path leads to the center, a good place to meditate, seek answers, leave a problem or simply relax. When you are ready to return the same path will lead you out, perhaps with a helpful insight or perspective.

As you quietly walk the labyrinth, notice how you relate to each part of the experience as well as your thoughts and emotions. Consider your labyrinth walk in relation to your personal journey and goals in life. Remember, "the way in is the way out."

I enjoy inviting people to come witness, walk or simply sit by the "Vistadale Labyrinth", and I welcome anyone interested to contact me to do the same.

1 comment:

Tony in Brooklyn said...

I almost hesitate to mention it, but you are having an "Art" experience—as a maker and experiencer—also!

Wish I could see it. Kudos