April 2014 

 



Facilitator Spotlight: Chris Katzenmeyer
By Chris Farrow-Noble, Council Member



This month I spoke with Chris Katzenmeyer, Board member and Project Manager for the first Legacy Labyrinth project in La Falda, Argentina. Since she returned a month ago, her feet have barely touched the ground.



How did the labyrinth first come into your life?

Fifteen years ago, my husband Larry (Katz) was diagnosed with cancer. He was going through treatments with the accompanying anxiety and fear. Someone suggested walking a labyrinth might help calm him. Larry accepted the invitation, found a labyrinth at a nearby church, and felt greater peace and reduced anxiety with the walking. After his remission began, he, and then I, took facilitator training from Veriditas in a desire to give service in some way. The labyrinth has become our ministry at the Mile High Church, Denver, Colorado for over 12 years. We now offer monthly facilitated labyrinth walks at Mile Hi for all newcomers and those who come regularly as well as labyrinth presentations around our state.

How did the idea of a legacy labyrinth come to you?
In an actual dream, I saw circles all over a map of the world and had the sense that light was needing/wanting to poke through. I don’t remember the exact date of the dream, but I do know that it seemed odd but relevant in some way. At the time, we Board members were discussing our responsibility to support Veriditas activity as well as financial stability. We are always considering new fundraising ideas to help keep the doors open at Veriditas. In September 2011, I made a proposal to the Board that we offer a project called Legacy Labyrinth, whereby the entire Veriditas community could participate, specifically, the Board of Directors and the Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress. My vision was that the Board would donate their time, money and expertise to build a special labyrinth that Lauren would then open with a unique and individual blessing. The project would focus on individuals or communities who are honoring or healing a loved one or community, such as Sandy Hook, Columbine, or hurricane-destroyed communities. I had chosen the word “legacy” because people understand and feel it as a living thing…something that lives on.

It seemed to happen so quickly. Tell us about the sequence of events.
The Board decided to offer the Legacy Labyrinth as an item in that year’s Veriditas Auction. In our eagerness, we mentioned a starting bid and no specific geographical limitation. To my surprise, Phyllis Carlisle, the auction coordinator, called with Argentina on the phone, wanting to know if they could have a Legacy Labyrinth in Argentina! Enrique and Kristin Dura own a retreat center named Alla Arriba in La Falda, Argentina and wanted to build a labyrinth in the city to help create community, peacefulness, and healing. La Falda is a town to which German Jews escaped during WWII, as well as a place that many Nazis moved to after WWII to avoid prosecution. Many believe the energy of that time still remains. After the first phone conversation with the Duras, I had a strong sense that the project was entirely within the mission of the Legacy Labyrinth. That October, John Ridder from Paxworks, my husband, and I spent ten days in La Falda. Our days were filled with speaking with the Duras, who facilitated our meeting with the Municipality (city government officials), selecting the “right” site from three sites offered to us by the Mayor of La Falda, and confirming plans for lodging, materials, and construction. A mere four months later, 14 people from Veriditas and the Veriditas community built a 40’ Chartres labyrinth in San Martin Park in La Falda out of stones donated by the Municipality. In addition, 35 people attended a Spanish Qualifying Workshop on the Labyrinth in La Falda, out of which15 participants from South America became trained Labyrinth Facilitators by Lauren. Over 100 community members attended the opening of the labyrinth on March 20, 2014, officiated by the Duras, the Mayor of La Falda, and Lauren.

What were some challenging elements of the project?
First, I experienced the frustration during our October and March visits of being unable to speak Spanish with our partners, the Municipality, and our hosts. I was totally dependent on local interpreters, who were excellent and trustworthy. Secondly, the distances were great with so much at stake in those months of preparation. The La Falda Municipality had agreed to prepare the site, level it, build a wall to surround and hold the soil for the labyrinth, and prepare the materials for the actual construction. We were in close communication with the amazing Duras, who stayed involved with the Municipality and hired public relations people to write local stories about the progress of the labyrinth. Those links helped keep everything moving along. I must say, the commitment and the excitement of the Veriditas Board and Lauren kept me working as hard as I could, too. They were extremely supportive and maintained excitement for the new labyrinth in Argentina. This was new for us as a group; it was evident from our first conference calls about the trip that we were “all in.” 

Can you describe the location you chose? 

I had thought that the Duras would want to build the labyrinth on their retreat property. Instead, they wanted it to be in the central part of La Falda so the people of the community could use it. This unselfish decision was a vivid example of their broader vision and authentic generosity. The four partners in this project – The Pearson Foundation, the Duras, the Municipality, and Veriditas -- selected a central site in San Martin Park with a beautiful Catholic Church, a hospital, and school on nearby corners. We met with the architect, city workers, and others to confirm their commitment, too.

 


Were there moments of doubt between October and March?

I had a very strong sense of “knowing’ that the project had to happen, although we didn’t know exactly how. By our saying “Yes” and not “How” to this calling, we made space to co-create. Everything went smoothly: the Board supported the vision, and five Board members, three spouses, three Veriditas advocates, the labyrinth designer John Ridder, Dawn Matheny, our Veriditas Executive Director, and Lauren Artress, the founder of Veriditas, planned to go. The preparation work in La Falda proceeded as planned. Public relations and press work was handled by Fernando Donadio and Nardo taking photos and writing press coverage. This city of 30,000 people soon learned what a labyrinth was and that a labyrinth was coming to La Falda. 


Did the Veriditas travelers work well together?

From our arrival on March 14th until departure on March 23rd, we worked together by helping build the labyrinth and interacting fully with the local people. Our souls were filled with many new South American experiences as well as our 10-hour building days “in the dirt” together. We all agreed that this experience gave us a deeper understanding of what “giving over to the service of a labyrinth” means. We shared a wildly palpable experience. What were the design and materials used in the labyrinth?With the guidance of John Ridder, we planned to place the large 40’ Chartres-design labyrinth within the newly built stone wall in San Martin Park. The Municipality donated large stones from a street in the city that had been torn up as the primary building material. The Veriditas team laid out the stones, and then cement was poured around them. We ran out of donated stones, so we were given large slabs of concrete to break up into pieces for the Center. For the very center of the Center, the Duras donated a round piece of granite from Alla Arriba to represent their commitment to the labyrinth. 


Can you recall a particularly poignant moment on the labyrinth?

Yes, absolutely. Extensive press coverage had announced the Opening Ceremony for March 20th. The very supportive and charismatic Mayor would be a key participant. Shortly before that day, I learned from the Director of Protocol in La Falda, that, in their culture, one does not cut the ribbons in an opening ceremony; one unties ribbons that are tied together in a bow. She pointed out that we needed ribbons with the American colors of red, white, and blue, as well as the blue and white ribbons of the Argentine flag. I suddenly realized that, in their hearts and minds, this occasion was bigger than just the local community; it represented the larger worldwide community. Enrique and I rushed to the La Falda ribbon store and found 1½” ribbons of the American colors, matching exactly the width of our Argentine blue and white ones. We were given two wooden uprights by the Director of Protocol to place at the entrance of the soon-to-be-opened labyrinth with the entwined ribbons of both countries. Lauren spoke eloquently about this gift of the labyrinth to the people of La Falda for peace and healing and instructed them about how to walk it. At the critical moment, the Mayor and Lauren each pulled an end of the bow, and it came untied. The Legacy Labyrinth in La Falda was opened! The Mayor was the first person to walk it, and approximately 100 local people followed his example, as well as our Veriditas team, of course.




Who will help maintain the labyrinth?

Following the building of the labyrinth and opening ceremony, Veriditas presented a qualifying workshop. Fifteen people signed up, and a total of 35 people showed up. We then offered a two-day Facilitator Training to fifteen participants of the qualifying workshop who had come from La Falda, Buenos Aires, Mexico, and Chile. Two of the newly trained facilitators run a cultural center for women and the elderly in La Falda and want to use the labyrinth with the local residents. We asked if they would be a Labyrinth Commission to oversee the care of the labyrinth, working together with the Municipality. They agreed! Their first steps will be to plant grass on the pathway between the beautiful stones and to work with the Municipality on a plaque for the labyrinth. Our Labyrinth Commission will be around a long time and will stay connected to Veriditas. We are already planning fundraising events with our new Commission in La Falda to help keep the labyrinth beautiful. We are discussing with our new partner, the cultural center, how the labyrinth is incorporated into their work there. The San Martin Park staff who are employed by the Municipality will look over the labyrinth on a regular basis. We hear that many people are walking this new labyrinth daily. 


What are your next steps for the Legacy Labyrinth vision?

The second Legacy Labyrinth will be built in Jacksonville Beach, Florida as the result of the 2014 Veriditas auction. The family who purchased the Legacy Labyrinth will build it with the dedication scheduled for October 2014. They plan to invite their community and the Veriditas community to this occasion to honor the labyrinth’s arrival in the area. Stay tuned. Never did I imagine that the connection and unfolding of this labyrinth would continue in my life, daily. But it does. I am in gratitude to the Duras for their authenticity and heart, the Municipality of La Falda for their wanting this to be an international partnership, and to the Veriditas Board, founder, and community for their solid commitment to the labyrinth as a tool for healing and peace in the world.


Namaste.




Donor Spotlight

By Rita Canning, Development Coordinator

This month I had the joy of interviewing Kitty Caldwell. Kitty is a Veriditas Certified Facilitator and donor. She has built a labyrinth in her beautiful garden at her home in Tennessee.



Rita: When did you first encounter the labyrinth?

Kitty: 
I first encountered the labyrinth at Rancho La Puerta, Mexico in 2004 when I was on a mother-daughter trip with my oldest daughter. One day I was wandering the property by myself and came upon what looked liked concentric circles in a grove of cottonwoods that was quite beautiful. I looked around and didn’t see anyone and took that first tentative step onto the path, wondering if I was doing it right. Later that day I enquired at the lodge about what the configuation was and they told me it was a labyrinth. For the remainder of my days I always found a time to return to the labyrinth and it became more natural to me. It resonated with me.

Rita: How did you get involved with Veriditas?

Kitty: 
After that trip to Mexico and having had my labyrinth experience I began to do some research on the labyrinth and, of course, Lauren’s name came up. We moved into a new home and I visualized putting in a labyrinth and, with my husband’s help we put in a modified Chartres labyrinth in 2007. Being aware of Lauren’s work and vision I decided in 2008 that it was time to make a trip to San Francisco to learn and experience more. I did the Grace pilgrimage and took the facilitator training. I then went to Chartres in 2009. Lauren is such a welcoming and embracing individual. I felt very comfortable in getting to know her and being accepted on the path. During one of the first events that I went to Lauren talked about the labyrinth as a body prayer and that connected with me.

Rita: Would you talk about your inspiration from the labyrinth and the work that you do with it?

Kitty: 
I see myself as a pilgrim on the path. I have guided some labyrinth walks for others and have written a simple sheet that explains the labyrinth 
 
for others who want to walk it. For me it’s been more of a personal journey in helping my “monkey mind”. I think of it as my “place of peace”. I love to walk or read or just breathe in
the labyrinth. I have invited friends, family and church groups to walk the labyrinth but it’s not open to the general public; it’s a very intimate and personal place and very lovely. In building the labyrinth the workmen took a large piece of stone and made it in the shape of a cross at the entrance to the labyrinth. I take a deep breathe at that cross before entering and begin to clear my mind. We were able to cut the six petals in the center. That is special to me because there are six people in my family so each petal represents a member of my family, including me, my husband and my four children. When I get to the center I stand on each petal and think about the individual people in my family and in their families. The center space is like the whole world that we all flow into. It’s nice to know that friends who are having a hard time have a place they can go to deal with the issues in their lives. One time we held a vigil with all my family for my father-in-law who was very sick (he recovered). It was moving to have 30 people on the labyrinth talking about him and sharing our feelings. It was a safe place for everyone to be. My second daughter, who just had a baby, was married on the labyrinth. She wanted to be married in the center of the labyrinth with everyone standing around her and embracing her. I think of the labyrinth as a sacred vessel that holds all this love. I also had a fun experience with a woman from Switzerland whose children had stayed with us. She and I had been corresponding for years. It turns out that we both have labyrinths on our property! There was a reason for us to correspond all these years, a spiritual kinship.

Rita: Why do you donate to Veriditas?

Kitty: 
I donate out of thanksgiving for what I’ve received from Veriditas and its network. I hope that others will feel inclined to give in the same way. Veriditas helped me grow so hopefully my giving will allow others to have the same opportunity. The Facilitator Training opened a door for me of new ways of seeing and feeling. I have loved the connections I’ve made with other participants, which lead to my spiritual awakenings and to pilgrimages to places like Iona, Scotland. That’s been a real gift.


Celebrating World Labyrinth Day: Events at Grace Cathedral & Beyond

By Lars Howlett, World Labyrinth Day Coordinator



Some prefer the quiet self-reflective experience of walking a labyrinth alone. Others enjoy the shared energy and rhythm of group walks at public events. But how would it feel to share the labyrinth experience with everyone around the globe on the same day?

You are invited to 'Walk as One at 1pm' on Saturday, May 3rd joining hundreds, perhaps thousands, to celebrate the Sixth Annual World Labyrinth Day. Public and private events are being organized to facilitate group walks, trace finger labyrinths, explore the Labyrinth Locator, create new paths, present art exhibitions, and teach workshops among other activities.
 


Here in San Francisco, the new outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral was dedicated by the Very Rev. Jane Shaw in honor of World Labyrinth Day following the 11am Sunday service on April 27th. There was a group walk with music by harpist Kendra Faye. The following Saturday, May 3rd, I will facilitate a walk at Grace Cathedral at 1pm for those in the San Francisco Bay Area, but everyone is invited to celebrate in your own community and in your own group or individual way.



For more information and to see a list of eleven ways to celebrate World Labyrinth Day visit: http://labyrinthsociety.org/world-labyrinth-day




Canvas Labyrinth for Sale


For sale by Veriditas facilitator:

36 ft., sage green (hand-painted), 11-circuit Chartres-style, 3-panel (velcro seams), 12# duck canvas labyrinth. In excellent condition. Front face of the labyrinth is pristine; the back has some small surface stains. Includes two Eagle Creek canvas duffle bags with wheels for easy storage/portability. Also a clean broom for maintenance. $2000.

Available for pick up in Berkeley, CA. Contact Margie Adam at info@margieadamphd.com.
 





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 2014 is Unity and the focus for this quarter is Affirmation/Diversity. The quote is by Ani DiFranco: “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” The second quarter is posted on the website, www.globalhealingresponse.com. We encourage you to visit the site soon and often.
 

Little Miracles on the Path


Each month, Linda Mikell, secretary to the Veriditas Council and New England Regional Representative, emails a Little Miracles on the Path story to 439 facilitators who have signed up for them. Facilitators from all over the world send her stories about interesting, touching events that happen at their labyrinth walks. If you would like to receive these stories, please contact Linda (edlinmik@optonline.net). Please don’t forget to send your story when you have one. Little Miracles are archived on the Facilitators Portal of the Veriditas Website.
 


TLS Annual Auction


It's Auction time for TLS! We encourage you to visit their auction site and support their annual fundraiser. The proceeds from the auction provide for a scholarship fund that allows TLS to offer reduced registration prices to members who wish to attend gatherings but may not have the necessary funds to do so. There are many beautiful labyrinth items!

The auction will close on May 10th. Click here to participate!





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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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