SECOND QUARTER 2017 e-News

Dear Veriditas Community,

We are in a time of change and uncertainty and the labyrinth provides us with a blueprint to navigate these challenging times. It teaches us to put one foot in front of the other and to trust the path.  It grounds and centers us to respond rather than react.  It quiets the chattering mind and brings clarity to our daily actions.  We need the labyrinth now more than ever!

Our mid-year fundraising campaign has just begun and we need YOU now more than ever.  Please support Veriditas by making a donation.  Help us move into the future with strength and stability as a beacon of renewal and transformation.

In gratitude for your support,

Dawn Matheny, PhD
Executive Director
Veriditas

FACILITATOR SPOTLIGHT: Lucia Giovannini

By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member


With pleasure I introduce one of our international facilitators, Lucia Giovannini, who is currently living in Phuket, Thailand and spends part of each year in Italy and Bali, as well.  Lucia helped Lauren Artress get her first book, Walking a Sacred Path, published in Italian.

Did you find the labyrinth or did it find you?

Oh, the labyrinth definitely found me!  I was in Colorado, working on my book, A Whole New Life.”  I felt stuck, asked the universe for a sign, and went to a local bookstore.  As I walked down an aisle between high bookshelves, a book fell on my head!  I picked it up, read the title, and bought it.  I still have it in Italy and think that the title is In Good Company. It was a collection of interviews, including one with Lauren Artress.  I immediately said to myself, “I must know this woman!’  I looked her up on the Internet, bought her book, Walking a Sacred Path, and took the facilitator training at Chartres the following May. 

Was that training in Chartres your first experience with Veriditas?

Yes.  Since then, I have created a tradition of returning to Chartres whenever I can to walk the labyrinth with Veriditas.  One year I took my mother for this labyrinth walk in May, and it opened up a new level of connection between us.  She is 87 but we still talk together about Chartres and the labyrinth.  She is with me in Phuket now, but I hope to return to Chartres with her next year if her health is still good.

Can you tell us a little more about this deeper connection with your mother?

I believe that the labyrinth goes so far beyond rational thought.  We are accustomed to act from pride and ego and are continually distracted.  The labyrinth offers a chance for our natural movement and energy to go inward as a path to our soul.  My mother and I can talk about all these things.

You mentioned a family connection to the Black Madonna?

Yes, in addition to the Black Madonna in Chartres, our city, Bologna in northern Italy, also has a Black Madonna.  Prior to my arrival in the family, my mother had been pregnant, but the baby was stillborn.  My parents were very tense when my mother learned that she was pregnant again, and they prayed to the Black Madonna.  After my healthy birth, my father made the pilgrimage to the Black Madonna, climbing the 1500 steep steps to reach her.  My mother also visited her when she was able.  Since then, it is a family tradition to visit the Black Madonna in important moments of our lives.

What do you consider your primary
labyrinth work?

My primary work is public group work that combines cognitive therapy and psychology.  I also combine it with heal your life, Louise Hay method, as I am the trainer in Italy and Thailand. This easily goes hand-in-hand with the labyrinth.  We recognize how our thoughts create emotions, and we can rationally talk about it.  The labyrinth speeds up the process.  We can see the patterns that we have created in our lives.  I like to use the labyrinth as an embodied prayer to develop spiritual connection and awareness. 

After my training in Chartres, I created a labyrinth outside my studio in Italy.  At that time I was doing more one-on-one sessions with clients.  Sometimes, when we hit an impasse, I would ask the client to go out to the labyrinth for some time and come back inside when he or she was ready.  Often the client would return with new insight and understanding.  

Does a labyrinth community exist in Italy?

That’s an interesting question.  I believe that I introduced the labyrinth to Italy and Switzerland, and I also did a few labyrinth walks in Belgium after my training in Chartres.  Over the past eight years, I have offered the labyrinth as a spiritual tool.   More than 2000 people in Italy and Switzerland have walked and loved it, and many are starting to create private labyrinths.  I know another Italian woman who went to Chartres to get trained.  A community may emerge.

Yet I believe that the labyrinth is part of Italian history.  Many were found in Renaissance gardens in the form of mazes, not unicursal paths.  A student of mine, who is a well-known landscape designer, fell in love with the labyrinth and started adding labyrinths to his work. One Italian hospital for cancer patients in Forli now has its own labyrinth and also some cities, including Riccione, now have gardens with labyrinths. However, the political and economic situations in Italy and elsewhere are making everything more difficult.   Organizations and the government are not following through with funding. 

How do you use the labyrinth in your personal life?

Outside my studio in the southern part of Bologna, I created a classic 7-circuit stone labyrinth on the grass near olive trees.  For approximately four months each year, I live and work there.  When I feel stressed and need an answer, I walk the labyrinth. 

I recall a recent situation when I asked the following question before going outside to walk:  “What do I need to do to make my work even more effective and more transformative?“ I began to walk the labyrinth, and my dog joined me with his ball.  At first I was somewhat annoyed; I wanted to focus on my question and the labyrinth walk.  He wanted to play while I was trying to get an answer.  Suddenly I realized that he was offering me an answer!  I needed to be more playful in my work!  That was a major breakthrough for me. 

How were you able to help Lauren get her first book published in Italian?

Since I’ve written and published more than 12 books on personal development and spiritual exploration, I believed I could extend the impact of Lauren’s Sacred Path.  I communicated with my contacts at the publishing houses, and they were very enthusiastic about the project.  These companies have their own in-house translators, so I helped supervise the translations and wrote the introduction.  It was published a few years ago and has already sold more than 1000 copies.  This is very good for this type of book, especially since Italians are not avid readers.  We are trying to get Lauren’s second book published, but it is more difficult now. 

Please share some profound labyrinth experiences from your work.

I have done corporate work with groups from other countries.  I introduced the labyrinth to an all-male group of engineers from Germany and invited them to walk it.  One asked, “Why do I need to walk it?”  Yet after they walked, their attitude shifted 100%.  I don’t know what happened.  I have no word for it, although I know that after walking, I felt more connection to myself.  In another corporate setting, I created four labyrinths of small votive candles so the participants could choose which labyrinth they wanted to walk. 


Do you have a dream or vision for the labyrinth and you?

Yes, I want to bring the labyrinth more to Southeast Asia – Bali, Singapore, Thailand, and India.  I am actively in other work in these countries, but I don’t yet know how to introduce the labyrinth.  Logistically, it is difficult to bring a heavy labyrinth into these countries, and I don’t have contacts within the labyrinth communities there.  I don’t even know if such communities exist.  I feel the Veriditas International Association of labyrinth facilitators (VIA) will be extremely helpful in this effort.

I am also so very interested to bring the labyrinth to Arab countries, such as Israel. Saudi Arabia, even Syria.  I would be ready to go tomorrow if I had the means and possibilities of offering the labyrinth as a way to reunite people.  This may sound far-fetched at this moment in time, and I am not naïve.  I realize these are war zones, yet I believe we are all human beings, and the labyrinth is a tool that might be helpful in reunifying people. 

A recent experience echoes this belief.  I knew a father and daughter who had been fighting and estranged for years.  They even came to a labyrinth workshop in separate cars.  Yet after the labyrinth walk, they hugged each other.  This is not unlike two countries at war with each other.  The labyrinth offers the potential for a unifying experience.

I have learned to trust the process.  I know the labyrinth does the work.


World Labyrinth Day

Take steps for peace and be part of a global walk on World #‎LabyrinthDay -- Saturday, May 6th, 2017.  The Labyrinth Society invites you to ‘Walk as One at 1" in the afternoon, joining others around the world to create a wave of peaceful energy washing across the time zones. To locate a labyrinth near you, click here. For more information, click here.

NEW ONLINE CLASS:

Transitions, The Labyrinth as a Tool for Navigating the Twists and Turns of Life

with Veriditas Faculty, Helen Malcolm.

This six session self-paced on-line class, aims to assist you in reflecting on and, where necessary, reinterpreting previous transitions in your life so that you may learn from them, thus helping to ready yourself for those transitions that lie ahead.

Course Outline:

Session 1 – Introduction to Transitions and the Labyrinth/Life Transitions
Session 2 – Stages of Transition
Session 3 – Uncompleted Transitions
Session 4 – Unacknowledged/Unnoticed Transitions and Use of Ritual
Session 5 – Resistance to Transition/Crossing the Threshold
Session 6 – Preparation for Transition


The first 25 to sign up for the class and use the code FIRST-25 get a $10 discount.

SUSTAINERS CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT: Tisha Strauch
by Rita Canning, Development Coordinator


For this quarter’s column, I had the joy of interviewing Tisha Strauch. Tisha is a longtime Sustaining Giver and Veriditas-trained facilitator. She works on the Labyrinth Team at Mile High Church in Denver with Chris and Larry Katzenmeyer and is the Membership Coordinator for the Labyrinth Society.


When did you first encounter a labyrinth?

In 1989 on one of my first trips to England I was touring around, particularly in the Somerset area close to Stonehenge. I stumbled upon a labyrinth and I didn’t know what it was. But that image stayed embedded in my brain.

How did you get involved with Veriditas and Lauren Artress?

Fast forward 21 years. I had recently moved to Colorado and I was beginning a new chapter in my life.  One morning in January of 2010 I opened the newspaper and saw that Spiritual Direction Colorado was hosting a local labyrinth workshop with Lauren Artress entitled “Your Sacred Path”. The image of the labyrinth popped out of the newspaper and connected me deeply with the title of the workshop. That’s when I knew that sacred image was tattooed on my soul. When I called to register for the workshop I was disappointed that it was full. On Sunday I went to the Mile High Church and Lauren was being introduced. When the service was finished I went to find her. I don’t know how I did it, but I made my way through the large group of people Lauren was talking with and found myself face to face with her. I honestly don’t remember what I said but I do remember what she did. She reached into her purse and handed me her card. She said “Contact me”. So I immediately went out, bought her books and read them from cover to cover. I then began walking the labyrinth at the Church. My dream was to make a pilgrimage to Chartres with Lauren. In September of 2012 my dream came true and I made my first trip to Chartres. Unbeknownst to me, Chris and Larry Katzenmeyer, whom I knew from Mile High Church, were there as small group leaders. I had no idea they would be there and it was a wonderful surprise. Once there I decided to take Facilitator training with Lauren. It was a dream come true. Walking the magical, private candlelit labyrinth walk at Chartres was especially amazing! Nothing can compare to that.

Can you share what other involvement you have had with Veriditas?

My becoming involved with the Labyrinth Society was because of Veriditas.  In the summer of 2013 I went to a labyrinth building workshop, which went on to become Summer School. I knew at that workshop that I wanted to build a labyrinth. But I didn’t know how to go about doing that. But it was a dream and an intention that I had. I really wanted my own labyrinth! In 2014 I saw a 24 foot personal labyrinth building experience with John Ridder on the Veriditas auction site and bid on it. There were only 2 hours and 25 minutes left. I put in a bid which kept bouncing. Finally I put in a bid that was accepted. I couldn’t stay up until 1:30, so I let the universe provide for me whatever it wanted. So I went to sleep. When I got up the next morning I had won the labyrinth building experience! 

The following summer I traveled to Indianapolis and spent a week in John Ridder’s studio creating and building my own labyrinth on canvas. It was such a mystical and magical experience; I knew that my dream was starting to unfold. So through John I became involved with the Labyrinth Society and went to my first gathering and met some incredibly wonderful people who were involved with both Veriditas and the Labyrinth Society. Shortly after that I became the Membership Coordinator. Then my involvement with labyrinths on a Global Level just unfolded. It was really beautiful.

Do you have another personal experience of the labyrinth that you’d like to share?

I was getting a lot of messages in my meditations and dreams from my ancestors which was something I couldn’t ignore. My family has a genetic, premature aging disorder that kicks in during adolescence. I had lost several close family members because of this, which was weighing on me very heavily. So I decided to see a psychotherapist for ways to heal these childhood traumas of loss. She was helping me to brainstorm how to heal not only myself, but my ancestors. For this process I found a labyrinth that I’m very close to in Evergreen Colorado. It’s like the Deer Heart labyrinth in Petaluma. It’s in a beautiful natural setting with lovely views and an earthen path. So I went up there on Halloween in 2014 and took some crystals and stones with some labyrinth intention cards and walked the labyrinth with the intent to heal myself and to help heal my ancestors. As I was walking I drew on support from my higher self and all of the guides and Masters of Higher Consciousness who have gone before me.  I asked for their guidance with my truth, my work with the labyrinth and what my mission is. I sat in the middle and meditated and prayed, sending healing energy to myself and all my ancestors. I sat in the center for 45 minutes and felt really good. When I walked out I had such a joyful attitude. I remembered that I had my camera with me and after taking a few blurry pictures I put the camera off to the side to refocus it. When I started to focus again with the camera the labyrinth was full of orbs. I couldn’t even see the labyrinth. So I took three or four pictures. Through the camera I could see the orbs moving. After a bit, the orbs turned into a mist and disappeared. After this experience, my dreams for the next few nights were very magical, filled with love, joy and healing, often with people walking together holding hands. Very wonderful. From that experience I found that the work I had set out to do, the intention I had put out for that walk manifested and I felt there was a healing shift for my ancestors and within myself.

Why are you a Sustaining Giver to Veriditas?

For a myriad of reasons. I remember the Friday night dinner after the Chartres experience in 2012 and I looked at what I would say if someone asked me why I’m involved with the labyrinth. My rendition of it would be it be “My name is Tisha and I love the labyrinth and it’s been 2 hours, 3 minutes and 40 seconds since I walked my last labyrinth”. I realized very early on that I was going to let the labyrinth be my path. How I was going to use it would be revealed to me and I’m still learning daily why it’s important in my life. Sitting at that dinner with someone giving a presentation on why it’s important to be a Sustaining Giver to Veriditas I immediately knew that this is what I wanted to do. Being a part of the Sustainers Circle gives me an opportunity every month to pay it forward. I believe in Veriditas’ mission because it has been so powerful for me personally. It’s a way for me to give back to an organization that has helped me so much on my path. I see so much need for training facilitators to perpetuate and preserve the labyrinth movement for growth and renewal. So that is why I continue to support Veriditas.

VERIDITAS ONLINE AUCTION RETURNS: October 2 to October 22, 2017

We are now accepting item donations for our annual online auction!

How do I donate?

Donating an item is easy! This year we are making it very simple - with a digital photo and a description of your item you can create and post your own listing directly on our auction website: www.biddingforgood.com/veriditas. If you prefer, we are pleased to offer assistance with the creation of your listing. Connect with Jenny Slama (jenny@veriditas.org) to get started!

What could I donate?

We welcome all donations to our auction - big or small! Are you an artist who could donate their creations? Do you have a special skillset or expertise that could provide a service for someone?

Donation items include (but are certainly not limited to): labyrinth items, music, artwork, getaway vacations, services, books, unique products, jewelry, home & garden items, goods exclusive to your region of the nation - or the world! It's wonderful to have a wide variety in both items and price range.

For more information about our annual auction, click here.

GLOBAL HEALING RESPONSE

The Global Healing Response, founded in 2005 by Council member Ellen Bintz Meuch, offers an annual theme and quarterly ideas and information to enrich labyrinth walks.

The GHR theme for 2017 is LOVE 

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is Love.” —1 Corinthians 13:13

Focus: Light

Quote: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Picture/Symbol: The rising sun (Picture courtesy of The Rev. Warren Lynn)

Color: Blue

www.globalhealingresponse.com

LITTLE MIRACLES ON THE PATH

"Little Miracles" is produced by Linda Mikell. Each month she shares an inspirational story from a labyrinth experience that is sent to her by a facilitator. She welcomes YOUR story. I'm sure you're got one, and we all benefit from this sharing. Thank you, Linda! 

Please send your story to Linda Mikell at edlinmik@optonline.net

Booklets are available online for

$10 each plus shipping.

Proceeds benefit the Veriditas scholarship fund.

CELEBRATING 1000 FACEBOOK FRIENDS! (Thank you!)

Love Veriditas and our programs? Tell your friends and "friend" or "follow" us on Social Media by clicking the icons to the right - an easy way to share the love (be sure to like and share posts with your friends) - Thank you!


101 San Antonio Road, Petaluma, CA 94952   |   707-283-0373   |   contact@veriditas.org

Veriditas is dedicated to inspiring personal and planetary change and renewal through the labyrinth experience.

We accomplish our mission by training and supporting labyrinth facilitators around the world, and offering meaningful events that promote further understanding of the labyrinth as a tool for personal and community transformation. Our Vision is that the labyrinth experience guides us in developing the higher level of human awareness we need to thrive in the 21st century.

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