GHR 2005 August: Hurricane Katrina

katrina-stormThe first Global Healing Response was implemented one day after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA. For more information about this diaster click here.

The idea for the GHR began in March of 2004 when I discussed it with the Veriditas council.  After witnessing the beautiful work of the Water Labyrinth Project in response to the Tsunami and then the events in London the time seemed right to initiate the GHR on August 8, 2005—little did I know that the plan would be implemented in three weeks as a response to Hurricane Katrina.

on August 30, the day after Hurricane Katrina, I received this email from Winnie Darphin-Bacque in  Louisiana,

 “Ellen, if I understand your program correctly, the situation here may qualify for GHR.  What do you think?  Please advise.  Winn    PS  Any ideas about how to get water to the affected areas?”

The answer, of course, was YES!  Winnie and I spoke many times as she communicated with the other New Orleans and Baton Rouge area facilitators.  I asked them to decide when THEY would like the Global Healing Response to be and they decided on the date of October 15.  They felt there were too many immediate needs of survival to be able to benefit from a response sooner than that.   I’ve asked Winnie to let us know what she hopes the benefit of the GHR will be.  She wrote,

“To connect, and re-connect, a thread of commonality and compassion for ourselves, between ourselves and other ‘Labyrinth Lovers’, as well as for those individuals who have yet to learn of the healing component of the labyrinth.  Our vision encompasses ‘everyone, everywhere’ on the great planet of ours.”

Winnie also told me she hopes that the GulfCoast will feel “not a greater sense of community” but a “sense of greater community.”  She and the other facilitators in that area are remarkable people.

Winnie and I have also wondered how far the ripple effects of the GulfCoast hurricanes will be felt.  We will all feel the sting of the storms.  The social organization within the DuPageCounty jail was just informed that it will not receive a $25,000 grant it had been promised for next year.  The funds have been reassigned to Hurricane Katrina relief.  With this small act as an example, we will all need to prepare for difficult days ahead.

October 15th is the official day for the Global Healing Response. If it is possible for you to offer or attend a labyrinth walk or a healing event that day our hope is that the unified power of healing will be felt by people all over the world.  We would like the GHR to include not only those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but also those effected by the floods in Central Europe, too.  If your community would like to participate in a healing event and the 15th is not a convenient date, you should choose a day that works for you.  It is more important to open your labyrinth and join together to offer tools for healing.

In the days coming days I will be communicating with those who volunteered to open their labyrinth about ideas for their GHR event.  There will always be guidelines and standards for the GHR that we hope will be honored by all.  With that said, it is important for each of us to honor our individual work and affiliation with the labyrinth— however that looks across the globe.

We have all been affected by the images we have seen during the aftermath of the gulf coast hurricanes.  If a picture is worth a thousand words I wonder if a song can be worth a thousand pictures.  As the GHR develops I keep thinking of one of my favorite songs by Martina McBride called “Love’s the Only House Big Enough for All the Pain in The World.”  My hope is that the GHR can be a part of this house of love for the world.  As she sings in the song, “…the pain’s gotta go somewhere…”   Those of us who are lucky enough to have experience with the labyrinth know it is ready to absorb our pain, grief and confusion and guide us to the path of love, grace, and peace.


Kinship is healing; we are physicians to each other

—Oliver Sachs




She sees her house

Cracked, torn apart

The wind of force

Twirling and frothing

Slashing the last breath

Of clean, clear air

And all around her dying.


Desolation is her name

Ache is her heart

Somewhere distant

Small flutter

Lightest wings

Seen flickering dazed

Against the hurricane.


She decides to build

With spider legs and

Gossamer will

Board by brick from the

Foundation of the

Aching heart

And let the wind dance on.


Christine E. Merritt

November 5, 2004




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