|The stone labyrinth at the Kearns Spirituality Center in Allison Park, PA.|
As I walked, I found myself settling. Instead of anything building up, instead of feeling ready to burst, I felt amazingly calm. A phrase began jumbling about in my head: "It may just not be so." This odd sentence made incredible sense to me. I was a person who worried what everyone thought. I was a person who feared impossible outcomes. I was a person who fretted over what-ifs. I harnessed this phrase, the gift the labyrinth had given me, and applied it to the end of every fear and doubt. "My mother thinks I'm hopeless doesn't she?" = It may just not be so. "I am never going to find a job and end up on the street!" = It may just not be so. "I'm such a failure, I'm never going to accomplish anything!" = It may just not be so.
Just before I exited the labyrinth, my sister and I happened to pass one another. We didn't make eye contact, both focused on the meditation, and yet as we walked away from each other we both instinctively reached a hand backwards and touched each other. It was spontaneous and beautiful and reminded me of the deep connection I share with my sister.
I left that day feeling empowered. I now walk a labyrinth anytime I get the opportunity.
|Grass path labyrinth at Forest Grove Community Church in Robinson Twp., PA|
Labyrinths come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be temporary, made of candles or sand. They can be made of timeless rows of hedges and flower bushes. They can be made from paver stones or burned into a wooden church floor. They are all walked the same.
Many are open to the public, but if you desire to take your family, you may try calling to get an "ok" first. A family trip to a labyrinth can be enriching for children. They may use it differently than adults, singing or skipping instead of silent walking, and so I would recommend scheduling family time with the labyrinth. Most organizations appreciate this greatly.
|Children walking a temporary sand labyrinth at a Prayer Vigil for the Earth event.|
Once everyone has had their turn through, sit in a circle and enjoy your snack. Ask the children about their experience. You may be surprised.
I went on vacation to a small island community in northern Ohio this summer. We had to travel there by ferry as the only other option was a small plane. There was only one grocery store. Most everyone drove golf carts instead of cars because it was just not feasible to drive a large vehicle on such a small island. In that isolated, micro-community there was tiny church with a large brick patio. And there, in pattern of the bricks, was a labyrinth. These are strong meditative tools that you can make or find just about anywhere. We continue to walk them whenever we can.