July 30, 2007
Experience Walking a Labyrinth
For the past year, I've walked a labyrinth on the first Wednesday of
the month at the Evanston United Methodist Church in Denver, Colorado.
The church is near my home, and once a month the sanctuary chairs are
removed and the canvas labyrinth is laid out on the floor in the church.
On those special Wednesday's, I choose to walk the labyrinth at the end
of my work day as part of my meditative prayer time. Often I'm walking
alone, but sometimes others are present to share in the experience. I
enjoy the quiet time, walking at my own pace, breathing, letting go and
being present in the moment.
Have you ever walked a labyrinth?
The first time I walked a labyrinth was in Santa Fe, New Mexico a few
years ago. It was a labyrinth built outside in a park by members of the
community. I remember walking in the dirt with stones piled up to outline
the labyrinth. It was a very hot day and I walked with my sister, my mother
and friends. I remember how calming and centering I felt despite the hot
day. Since then, I've walked at the Evanston UMC, the First United Methodist
Church in Boulder, Colorado, and other private labyrinths in Santa Fe, NM.
What is a labyrinth?
The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many clutures around the world.
Labyrinth designs were found on pottery, tablets and tiles that date as far
back as 4000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals from nature. The
labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It
has a single path that winds in, and the person walking it uses the same path
to return to the entrance, thus becoming the exit. There is no right
way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. You may walk it fast or slow –
it's up to you. You may use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need.
Veriditas, a non-profit organization, founded by Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress,
is dedicated to introducing people to the healing and meditative power of the
labyrinth. She suggests that there are three stages to the walk: "releasing
on the way in, receiving in the center, and returning – that is, taking back
into the world that which you have received".
The labyrinth design used at the Evanston UMC and the First UMC is a replica
of the 11-circuit labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral in France. This pattern, once
central to cathedral culture, was inlaid into the stone in 1201. For the last
250 years, however, it has been ignored (covered with chairs) until Dr. Artress
let the effort to reintroduce the labyrinth into the world as a spiritual tool.
In ancient times, whole villages made pilgrimages to the Holy Land during Lent.
In the 12th century during the Crusades, travel became dangerous, so the Pope
appointed pilgrimage cathedrals. Labyrinths were constructed in the floors of
these designated cathedrals. Thus, the actual pilgrimages of ancient times became
symbolic pilgrimages around the winding paths of labyrinths. As one walks the path
to the center, it is a journey (as some say) into the depths of the Self to interact
with the Divine. The path out brings the traveler back into the world.
Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, find
balance, and encourage meditation, insight and celebration. They are open to all
people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural tool of well-being. They can be
found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks and
retreat centers, as well as in people's backyards.
Why walk a labyrinth?
Many walk to:
Interested in learning more about labyrinths and walking a labyrinth?
- Quiet the mind
- Use it as a journey into the depths of the Self to connect with God
- Use it to ask a quesiton and being open to any answer
- Many walk with no specific question in mind
- Some walk as a ritual, a memorial or to honor someone
- As a form of meditation, prayer or part of a spiritual practice
- Some say they use it to connect back to the earth
- Use it to tap into your creativity
- Walking as a releasing, receiving and returning by Dr. Artress
Check out the
Veriditas website to locate a labyrinth near you. If you live in
the Denver area, I'd like to invite you to
walk with me the first Wednesday of the month at the Evanston UMC. Or if you
live near Boulder, CO, visit the First UMC, and you can walk the labyrinth almost
any day of the week. I encourage you to experience walking a labyrinth first-hand
– you may find just what you need.
Belen Carmichael, NLC
Evanston United Methodist Church
2122 S. Lafayette Street
Denver, CO 80210
First United Methodist Church
1421 Spruce Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool and
The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform
by Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress
Veriditas and The Labyrinth Society
NEW Audio Book Release!
A Woman's Guide to Her Inner Evolution
The audio book is about a woman's yearning to find out more about herself by
exploring her inner evolution. It is about experiencing life to the fullest!
It is about seeing the world through new eyes – seeing the world as a
marvelous place with infinite possibilities.
$18 + $2 S&H. Contact me to receive a copy of the CD.
Interested in group coaching and live in the Denver, Colorado area?
Events page on the website for information about the Building Stability
Group for Women Business Owners, the Women's Soup Night, and Walk the Labyrinth.
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Wellness Within is published monthly by Belen Carmichael of INNERGY Coaching, providing life coaching, nutrition and lifestyle coaching and personal training to women business owners.
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