Playfully preparing for a centered walk.
Levity and Reflection marked this year’s Labyrinth Walk at Unity Church’s Prayer-a-Thon.
We re-traced the mythology of labyrinths from the spat between Crete and Greece and Theseus’ ADD tendencies forgetting Ariadne on an island and not raising the white sails so his dad would know he was successful to modern day uses. Fun, portraying Dobby in the Harry Potter books with socks on his ears, was part of the mix as we donned clean socks to protect the canvas labyrinth and prepared to walk. Joyfully we drummed clockwise, opening the labyrinth.
This year’s theme, “Paths To Prayer” lent itself well to a challenging walk. Rather than walk individually, we held hands and, staying connected, wove our way through the circuits of the Prairiewoods canvas floor labyrinth.
We each found ourselves closely connected, conscious of each others’ rhythms and needs – a slower pace around corners, importance of adjusting hands, where we “sailed” along and where we got bunched up. Initially uncomfortable, each found this new experience of walking the labyrinth rewarding and fulfilling full of metaphors for us as individuals and a community.
Reflection boosts retention and can bond a group experience.
Following are two participants’ reflections.
“At first I felt fumbly. Then, I started to connect with the person in front of me and it became almost effortless. The turns were the hardest, I guess like in life when it feels like we may be going backwards when in reality, every step we take is going forwards on a different plane. i.e. in the short term we can only see each step – the one in front of us at the time. We must trust that in the bigger picture, each step is necessary and moves us in the direction of a larger goal.
“I liked the feeling of connection with the group. It was fun knowing even when we were going in different directions we were still connected.
“I am thankful for our slow mindful pace – something I always benefit from doing. Reminding myself that ‘there is no rush’ opens up space and time for possibility to enter.” NS
“I felt a little shaky, off balance in the beginning. It was uncomfortable, almost painful holding the person’s hands, both in front and back as we made turns. I felt tense throughout my whole body. Once I made it to the center and could free my hands again there was an amazing release.” T
Other perspectives on the physical process itself: Everyone felt awkward at first. All like being connected even though it was strange at first. We are all connected for better or worse. Adjusting the pace and how we extended our hands was a constant. Some folks adjusted their hands to the circumstances, thus relieving the tension. The corners, as in life, proved challenging – “I took baby steps”.
Rev. Brenda Ehret plans to incorporate some of the reflections in her service at the end of the 40 hours of “Paths to Prayer.”
For my part as facilitator, I carefully considered this type walk. Because I have presented before I sought a challenge and the theme really spoke to this format. I gave the caveat that each of us will experience some discomfort. That is OK because it is new. Just allow. So, I walked deliberately with soft knees, kept my focus on steady feet and feeling the hand on my shoulder. By extension being aware of the line’s movement and flow. We did step easily along the outer circles – the straight aways so to speak. And, we fumbled through the first tight corners then got the hang of walking connected. Breathing was important – to breathe out anxiety and be re-assuring to all through my movements and demeanor. As we progressed, ease flowed into each. The reflections and responses were incredible.
What a lovely evening to begin the Prayer-a-Thon 2015.