Celebrating The Path

    A labyrinth is a winding path that leads, always and inevitably, to a destination.
   Labyrinths are used in many ways. They have been built into churches; incorporated into hospitals and office buildings; positioned in gardens and made small enough to sit on a table.
    There are multiple approaches to engaging with a labyrinth, and just as there is no right way, it is really not possible to find a wrong way, although when a ritual is being conducted, it would be possible to be disruptive. I have never heard of anyone perpetrating that kind of deliberate discourtesy.
    When I attended my training, before I became a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator, one of the things I was told was that while adults are calmed by labyrinth energy, children are often energized by it. I noted this with only passing interest, as children did not feature in my immediate plans.
    It was only weeks before I hosted an event where the truth of this idea was proven.
   I was granted the sight of children, aged six and eight and ten or thereabouts, running around the path as though pursued. They hopped and sprang and leapt around, filled with inexplicable exuberance. 
    A woman brought her tiny newborn, just 20some days old.  Before she walked the labyrinth, she made sure the little one was fed and clean and comfortable. She held the little bundle snuggled against her body, with every expectation that nothing would interrupt the baby's sleep. The mum had only just stepped onto the path when the infant's eyes snapped open, and blearily peered around the area. For the entire walk, the baby stayed awake and alert, not in any way distressed, simply present. Sleep did not visit until the walk was over, and mother and child were away from the path. 
Three Rs
    It is sometimes useful to apply structure to the walk, and many practitioners suggest the Three Rs: Release; Receive; Return.
    The idea is that upon entering the labyrinth, the walker can release whatever concerns or preoccupations are cluttering their thinking. It can even be useful to imagine putting these issues into a box, and setting them down on the ground  where they can safely await retrieval. Each time another problem draws attention, pause  and release it.
    Upon arrival in centre of the labyrinth, allow yourself to receive the calm, perspective and other gifts are being granted. Some labyrinths have a place to sit or kneel, others do not. Choose whatever feels right and serves you.
    When you feel complete, and are inclined to leave the centre, you begin to return to your daily life. If you encounter your stored worries on the way out, you may pick  them up again -- if you wish to do so. How you relate with them might be very much changed by the gifts you have received.

Walking Moods
    There is no need to navigate on a labyrinth. There are no junctions or decisions. You only have to enter and follow the path. As you shift away from analytical thinking, your quietness might reveal a variety of emotions. The walk may be joyous or somber; thoughtful or prayerful.
    As you begin you may choose an attitude, or allow your awareness to encompass a variety of attitudes. Plan for it to be serious, prayerful, or playful. Play music or sing. Pray out loud. Walk alone or with a crowd. Notice the sky. Listen to the sounds.
    Mark your exit from the path in some way. Turn and bow, or say 'Amen' or raise your arms in thanks – there is no wrong way, only your way. Making this gesture creates a closing for the walk, and allows you to reflect on a complete and finite time.
    Pay attention to your experience. This might be the most important part of a labyrinth walk.
    Who you are, how you move, and what you do on the path is a reflection of you you are in life. If you find yourself impatient with other walkers, this might be time to examine your patience, and why you believe that your schedule should supersede all others.
    If you feel joy or sadness or anger while you walk, you are receiving the gift of awareness, and it may be that joy, or sadness or anger, is seeking expression in your day.
    No two walks or walkers are the same. Every opportunity to travel a labyrinth is a chance to connect with the wisdom of the path.
    The seven-circuit Cretan path in Masham (chipped rock on forest floor, pictured above) is available throughout the autumn. Schedule a visit, you won't regret it.

    I have  been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
    For a consultation in person or by Skype click here
    To arrange a labyrinth walk click here