World Labyrinth Day: Connections 2021 May 1st

Dear friends,

Join us! Join us! Join us! I am the chairman of World Labyrinth Day and I hope you will plan a way to be a part of the global labyrinth community on Saturday, May 1st! This year The Labyrinth Society is collaborating with Veriditas, The Legacy Labyrinth Project and the Australian Labyrinth Network to begin the connections from the center.

WLD celebrates the wonderful people who make up the labyrinth community and introduces the labyrinth to others as a tool for self, community, and global healing.
We intend to create a wave of peace around the globe.

This year we have the added benefit of conducting the first ever global humanity research experiment, The Big Connection. Please join us to further understand the power of unified intention for ourselves and the planet.

WLD in Schools will happen on Friday, April 30th as children all over the world celebrate labyrinths experientially and virtually with three finger labyrinth walks offered across the globe via Zoom.

We have lots of support, from videos to webinars, for folks who want to become involved in WLD from videos to webinars.

Visit our beautiful new website for all the details and resources: worldlabyrinthday.org


Join us!

Guest Blog: The Purposeful Action of Labyrinths

I’m so grateful for our guest blogger, Katherine Davis. Her words are soothing to our souls at this time and remind us how comforting the labyrinth is as a tool for peace, grief integration and hope. Thank you for reaching out, Katherine!

Katherine Davis, Bethlehem, PA

March 2021

In the fall of 2020, after a class in my graduate writing program introduced community archives, my mind turned to the walking trails and outdoor labyrinths I had visited through the summer months.

Following the theory that during the months of COVID-19 mandated restrictions, outdoor walking labyrinths served as a unique and safe coping tool, I mapped sites that could provide support to this idea. For this graduate course, I visited and photographed 20 outdoor labyrinths and the artifacts around them in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and created a video community archive that reflects the themes and consciousness of the year.

It makes sense that during the pandemic of COVID-19 and all that it entailed, there was a reported surge of interest in labyrinths. In July, Laura Bliss reported on Bloomberg.com an increase in enrollment for labyrinth-making workshops and training programs and a sales increase of 300% at just one hand-held labyrinth company.

During my research for the project, I landed at Global Healing Response and was not at all surprised to find this exclusive niche devoted entirely to the labyrinth as a healing tool during disasters. Scrolling through the list of past tragedies already addressed through Global Healing Response was a reminder of all our nation and world has endured even as we remained deep inside this new, enormous pandemic.

If the virus was not enough to spin the population into fear and grief, other events sealed the state of sadness, anger, and unrest in the year. Protests and activities for Black Lives Matter, demands for acknowledgement and large-scale change, and a looming contentious presidential election were vivid factors of a year that tested our nation.

All of these, joined with the personal struggles of family, health, loss, career and financial worries, formed the collective mindset of the country during this timeframe. I carried this in my thoughts as I headed out to the labyrinths. I looked for elements that connected to our shared experience and our shared desire to prevail. My experience of completing the project mirrored 2020. I was alone. It was quiet. Through visits to 20 public places, only two of these had owners who even knew I was there. I understood my invisibility.  

Although I saw few people in my travels, it was clear the labyrinths had been in use since the arrival of COVID-19. A majority of the labyrinths were well maintained rather than ignored and overgrown with grass and weeds. Flowers and plants were blooming. The hosts I didn’t meet kept these sites active, clean, and manicured during the months of 2020.

Several sites had signs and items that did not exist prior to COVID-19 such as notices about social distancing guidelines. One labyrinth I visited several years ago once held a visitors’ book and pen at a covered hutch near the entrance. In 2020, the book was gone and a container of hand sanitizer was in its place.

At several labyrinths, I photographed discarded face masks crumbled near the labyrinths or forgotten in nearby gardens. Another sign of the year was a shredded Dunkin’ Donuts napkin. Upon the national shutdown, our country learned what the word “essential” means and coffee landed in that category. I loved that I saw these signs of life, even if I couldn’t interact with the life itself.

Lawn signs for Black Lives Matter and Hate Has No Home Here were placed at the entrance of multiple properties. Messages about unity, strength, community, and healing were written on rocks, shells, or plastic lawn signs and added to the labyrinths. One site had clearly hosted an event for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October and added pumpkins painted bright pink around the path of the labyrinth.

We know labyrinth walkers share a seeking nature and a purposeful forward motion. I formed this project with the idea that labyrinths offer solace, a coping mechanism, and positive outlet during what may be one of the most difficult and defining moments of this century. What I found in addition is the reminder that labyrinths are not a timid, passive tool. Rather, labyrinths and the community of walkers continue to demonstrate purposeful action, not quiet inaction. I believe as these labyrinths were walked, they were not final steps, but more likely the first steps – launching points to return home, to work, to demonstrations, or volunteerism with renewed energy, focus, and passion.

In person, I found an intense contrast in the unplanned road of 2020 against the carefully measured and perfectly navigated path of a labyrinth. The photo archive captures the many labyrinth elements that urge us to keep walking.  Archive video is found here.

To a world in such great need…..

Just when I think the world has stabilized, it seems another disaster occurs…Texas, Florida, Mexico, South Asia, Puerto Rico. These are only some of the weather related problems.

Rev. Warren Lynn has written a beautiful meditation to be used at this time during a walk. Please feel free to print the entire meditation and hand it out to fellow walkers when you open your labyrinth for Global Healing. I hope you have an opportunity to do that soon. Thank you, Warren, for your healing words

We want to help, relieve suffering, provide relief. And we search for ways to do that.

One of our tasks is to offer a place for others to find peace among the chaos. A labyrinth walk can do that, as we all know.

Peace & Healing,
Ellen Bintz Meuch

Click here for a PDF of this meditation

Meditation for mindful response
To a world in such great need

Chaos surrounds me
But chaos moves within, too

Turmoil and disaster undoes the world beyond my world
But turmoil and calamity keep knotting up my own experience

So, let me first begin, here; with me.
Within my own life, let me begin untying knots
To free myself up so I can begin to address the chaos elsewhere

One breath at a time
One step at a time
I begin with me
But not only for me
But so I can turn
And offer the world my best self
My complete self
A healing and whole self
For the sake of greater need
beyond what even I know.

And so I begin,
By just breathing
Naturally,
Slowly
Relaxed

Breathing in,
I feed my spirit
Breathing out,
I cleanse my soul
Breathing in,
I receive the gift of life
Breathing out,
I relinquish distraction and suffering
Breathing in,
I accept new possibility and opportunity,
Breathing out,
I release doubt and skepticism
Breathing in,
Breathing out.
When I am ready,
When the time feels right for me,
I begin to walk
One step at a time.

One foot
Then the other
Slowly moving upon the path
Walking and breathing
Receiving what I and the world needs
Letting go that which keeps the world and I from knowing recovery and wholeness once more.
Breathing in, Breathing out
One foot, then the other.

There are great undoings around us.
Around me.
But there is me.

I am not able to do all things
But I am able to do respond to some things
Amazing things
I am full of generous potential;
Capable of lavish possibility.

And I am part of connected sacred communities
Who can act together
in ways beyond my own holy goodness
but who may need my inspiration, leadership, and example.

And so, I walk on.
One step, one breath, at a time.
One after the other
Listening for my place
in a mindful response to a world in such great need.

Until I reach the center,
Where I lay down all remaining burdens
That might keep me from attending as fully as possible
To a world in such great need.

With life now unburdened
Standing in centeredness
I open my life wide
Considering the fullness yet inside me
Exactly because I have finally emptied myself.
I am now ready to give
Ready to respond
Ready to realize my place in the reaching out
To those whose lives have been undone by greater forces.

To the human and more-than-human world standing in flood waters
I proclaim myself as a place of refuge

To those torn asunder by winds I can barely imagine
I declare my life a resource for renewal and rebuilding

To lives undone by the violence of hate and bigotry
I stand ready to enfold them with arms of loving acceptance and care

I may be only one
But I am one
And I am part of
Communities of healing wholeness

And I will not turn my back
On a divine calling
To share myself
With those who do not have such

Still, I do not forget
To breathe and walk
One breath, one step
At a time.

When I am ready
I move from the center
To head down the path
Back toward the entrance
Into the wider world

I use this time
on my way back into the world
to consider practical options.

Upon leaving the labyrinth
How will I respond?
How will I behave?
How will I act?
Where will I use my time?
Where will I share my resources?
To what organizations will I send my money?
Because I am a holy human creature
Full of exactly what is needed
for this world in such great need.

I can do this.

I will do this.

And such a response
as is given to me in this time
is a gift
whose joy can only be known fully
if I say, “yes!” and move forward in action.

Amen.