Maundy Thursday. Women’s Walking Workshop.Virtual Labyrinth Walk. May Day. World Labyrinth Day. Looking up labyrinths along an oval path from Cedar Rapids to McAllen, Texas, and back via Arkansas. Frelinghuysen Arboretum Labyrinth. The report that several people, interviewed about the new facilities for Indian Creek Nature Center, mentioned the value of a labyrinth. Clearing out and welcoming in the Laughing Labyrinth. Veriditas.
One after the other, formal and informal labyrinth walk opportunities have presented themselves. They have formed a colorful potpourri of experiences, memories and anticipations.
The response to the Maundy Thursday invitation to walk Christ Church’s canvas labyrinth was of warmth and gratefulness. The sharing quiet and simple. On pilgrim was reminded of a river in Washington State. Another of walking a balance beam and of her dad who was a gymnastics’ instructor. Of fear and accomplishment. While I often feel unsure inside, an experienced colleague assured me that outwardly, calm is what people feel when I facilitate. That’s very good to know because I do work to be a presence that facilitates the pilgrims’ experiences.
What a spectacular day greeted us when participants at the Women’s Walking Workshop joined me at the recently burned Prairie Labyrinth. Across the bridge and through the lowland trees, they chatted. Just before we stepped into the prairie, I gathered and centered the 23 walkers asking them to begin settling into a contemplative mode. So, silently we walked through the winter stalks to the fresh start of the burn area: stark, open, brilliantly chartreuse, peaceful. We gave thanks to the four cardinal points and the energies they bring to us. We symbolically opened the labyrinth and then, I held space as each woman entered. With a silent nod from me each rang the little bell and began. One stepped aside for another, momentarily “lost her way”, paused and looked at me. I just shifted my head in the direction that I knew she wanted to go. She stepped over and continued. Pretty amazing. A herd of deer, startled by the “cheetah” group of walkers, dashed along Bena Brook in the distance. Hawks soared overhead. Some “cheetahs” joined us. How interesting that they individually shifted from the “busy” mode to the contemplative mode when they approached and walked. Nothing was said. Again, pretty amazing. After the last person left, I closed the labyrinth and walked quietly back to the barn, joining all for a delicious lunch that staff and volunteers had prepared. Several participants expressed their appreciation of that simple, quiet facilitation. Reassuring.
Kathy Davis with Illuminations and I cooked up two walks: May Day the second cross-quarter day of the year, and World Labyrinth Walk Day on May 3rd. Circumstances prevented Kathy from physically joining us, so I walked and held space for her. May Day was cold but five of us braved the ever present persistent winter-like weather and caravaned to Solon, IA. Dick Schwab has created a truly spiritual place which he generously shares. People explored, asked questions and Mark knows Dick Schwab from previous work. Teri, an architect herself was fascinated with the barn and the arch. All of us appreciated the recycling efforts of using old materials. Amy shared that each time she has walked a labyrinth she has felt light and joyful for several days after. (This revelation she expressed for the first time since the September 2012 Labyrinth Workshop with Sandi Ohlen. Wow. And, Amy
joined us at the Women’s Walking Workshop because I was facilitating. That was a humbling reinforcement for me that, yes, this is important and valuable work I am doing.) Sue pointed out that the walks and labyrinth are like a quilt pattern. We need each piece to complete the whole.
Saturday’s World Labyrinth Day walk was the polar opposite in weather from Thursday’s walk. Teri and I waited while a group of young women walked barefoot. One tracing patterns and words in the sand. When we walked we saw hearts, a bunny and Faith, Joy, Journey, I Can Heal The World, Love that had been scratched in the sand. A deer quietly walked past – a totem for Teri who connects deer and her Dad.
In both the Solon and Prairiewoods walked I facilitated but also walked. The group was small and composed of people I know.
The Laughing Labyrinth is cleared out from last year’s stalks and feathers – both respectfully burned. New plants emerge. The birds are nesting. The magnolia tree has blessed the ground with pink and white blossoms and now leaves are emerging.
My role is becoming more clear to me. So, as spring waltzes down the path, Veriditas is indeed happening in many venues.