18 September 2010

My First Labyrinth Experience

As a small business owner, mom and homeschool teacher, I'm very seldom "off."  I wake up in the mornings and hit the ground running, keeping up with my two girls.  Then we start homeschooling, and once that's over, I'm still Mom but also hustling to catch up on business matters, often working right up til dinner, pausing for dinner and to put the girls to bed, then getting back to work, often until 11:00 at night.

Today, I was invited to be "off."  I've recently met a lady on Twitter named Sarah who invited me to join her to walk her church's labyrinth this morning.  How wonderful, both to meet this new friend and to enjoy 30 minutes of time "off" to me and "on" to God!  I wrote about it on my religious blog; this is the repost.


I had a fabulous spiritual experience this morning. My new friend Sarah invited me to join her at Church of the Servant Episcopal Church in Wilmington to walk the labyrinth. While I was familiar with this spiritual practice, I'd never experienced it. 

Labyrinth - Photo courtesy of Unity Christian Church
If you blow the picture up and trace it, you'll see that there are no dead ends to the labyrinth; the line leads to the center, and after savoring time in the center to pray and meditate, the labyrinth then leads sojourners back out to the outer edge of the circle. When walking towards the center, sojourners - for, yes, the labyrinth represents a journey - take the opportunity to clear their hearts and minds, enabling God to speak.

As I walked the labyrinth, there were some things I discovered, as well as some things the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

Walking the labyrinth forced me to look down at my path.  As I walked the labyrinth, I had to keep my eyes down so I could see where I was going. When I tried to look at other sojourners or enjoy the beautiful sanctuary, I risked getting off my path. The same holds true for our Christian walk. So long as we're focused on what we're doing and what we're supposed to be doing, then we will find our way staying true to our spiritual paths.

I didn't walk the labyrinth alone, any more than I walk this Christian journey alone. Yet, my walk is my own. As I walked the labyrinth, I followed, I led, occasionally I walked beside another sojourner, I may have, at times, met someone on the walk and once, I had to step aside so someone who was just starting the labyrinth could pass.

My mind could not fill with God until I emptied it of stuff.  In this case, I don't mean bad or worrisome stuff; I mean all stuff, even happy. Right before walking the labyrinth was the first time Sarah and I had met in person, and the very first thing we said to each other was the other's name as a question, and in perfect sync. Obviously, with our names differing by just one letter, it was rather amusing. Again, a happy thought, but still one that created mental "noise" and kept me from hearing God as I should.

When I arrived at the center of the labyrinth, my mind was clear, open and being deliciously filled with God. This may sound bad, but I could enjoy a prayer free of my children (my older daughter and I pray together twice a day, with her daddy joining us at bedtime prayers). This children-free time with God enabled me to pray just for what I wanted to pray. I didn't feel compelled to list all of her sick friends (most of whom are probably well on the road to recovery by now). It was, plain and simply, my Mommy time with God. No, it was my WOMAN time with God, a daughter taking quiet respite time hanging with her Father. As I walked back out of the labyrinth, I felt lighter, calmer and less stressed.

Have you ever walked the labyrinth? What was your experience of it?

Church of the Servant Episcopal Church is located on Oriole Drive in Wilmington, about 1/3 mile down on the left. The labyrinth is open the third weekend of each month on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.

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