The Labyrinth, a contemplation maze, at Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia USA
I spend at least 4-6 days out of every month walking labyrinths. Those of you who follow my Instagram regularly will recognize this photo as my adopted labyrinth near the campus of JMU at the arboretum, about a 60-minute drive from my house. It's a shared adoption with the community and this one is special to me. Because it is so far, I save it for special needed contemplations. I am lucky to have many more closer to home. Circling the labyrinth isn't just a moving meditation for me. I trust that the way to center will ground me and teach me. The single path will push away questions such as "Am I doing this right?" or "Why am I so distracted?" After a few minutes of plotting one foot in front of the other, I find myself slowing into a rhythmic trance. At times I have great worries, other times my worries are far away. Lately though, what is different is that this year has been about specific worries. Worries from a year filled with many world woes. They are not mine alone; they are shared. You have them, too. The incredible worldwide pandemic with thousands of deaths and closeted homes under lockdown, followed by unfathomable murders and their ruthless unraveling – often vicious – reverberations, juxtapose with badgering health concerns have multiplied with panic, rage and indignation at injustices tolerated too long and rarely ameliorated. This has been followed by the halt of family stimulus supplements, the election conventions which are highly emotional, and finally, insane weather patterns. As a labyrinth facilitator and influencer, I spread photos and information on social media about opportunities for people to learn about and walk labyrinths. However, I don't walk with them. I hope they give gratitude at the entrance and hold space as the walker enters, circles, then exits. I am present when I document for them and hope they are present if and when they visit.
Wherever they are on their journeys, whatever emotions they may experience during the walk, they know I have been there-held it sacred and reverent – walked that calm, caring environment. It's a unique opportunity for me to share how I quiet my own chaos of thoughts and also share a gift that has been a gift to me. The more I try to be intentionally present to people in my daily life the more my life opens without endings. With gained wisdom through acceptance and refrain from spotlight behaviors, I listen more through held space in self-compassion and compassion for others. I embrace what I am and what I cannot control. In this knowing, I am given renewed energy to find meaningful ways to connect with others. Sustainable living, sustainable intention of living, brings me back to the messages of, in, and from the labyrinth. It is the tool that my higher Self wields to bring me back to my true north.