I’m an introvert, so I really need my quiet time to recharge the mental and spiritual batteries. I recently discovered a new place to do this. Every time I drive to one of our main shopping areas, I pass a United Church with a sign that says “Labyrinth”. If you’ve walked a labyrinth, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never walked a labyrinth before, it’s an interesting experience.
Following centuries’ old designs, labyrinths are a single path marked within a large circle, winding into the center, and never crossing itself. It’s similar to a maze in that there is a path in and out; but different in that there are no choices to make (turn, or go straight?), no dead-ends (drat! wrong choice!), and besides, you can see the whole layout from anyplace you’re at.
If you commit to following the path all the way in and out, you’ve committed to spending a set period of time on this exercise. The time spent is dictated by the speed at which you walk. You could race through, but the labyrinth is really a tool for reflection and meditation, best suited to a steady, mindful pace. The first time I went to this labyrinth, my brain was full of to-do lists, appointments, projects, personal problems, etc… and I thought: “Yep, here I am. I’m going to walk this path; I’m going to meditate; I’m going to solve my problems. Let’s get going.” And off I set at a fair clip; all the stuff in my life fighting to get to the front of my thoughts: “Pick me! Pick me to think about!” About a third of the way in, I realized I was going to be there for a while, and my pace naturally slowed to a ‘shamble’- a little looser than an amble. As I concentrated on following the narrow path delineated by small rocks, my thoughts became quieter. I didn’t think about any of my problems; instead I just enjoyed being there, in a natural setting at the edge of a forest, dappled sun through the leaves, far enough away from the road to not hear much noise. As I exited the labyrinth and stopped to pick up my cell phone and car keys, I felt my whole body tingling. I felt relaxed, calm, and happy. The walk certainly soothed my body as well as my mind and spirit. It’s an activity recommended for people of all ages and spiritual beliefs.
* I liked the sunburst border made with rocks and stones.
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