| Argentina Legacy Labyrinth
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Global Healing Response
Little Miracles on the Path
Call for new Council Members
We did it! The labyrinth in La Falda Argentina is complete after an intensely wonderful experience
for all involved. (See Lauren’s blog for our Founder’s daily journal)
Thank you to John Ridder for the beautiful photo!
For March I am delighted to share with you my interview with Sarah Elliott, Veriditas Board Chair, Certified Facilitator and donor.
Rita: When did you first encounter the labyrinth?
Rita: When did you first get actively involved in Veriditas and when did you first meet Lauren?
Rita: Please share any inspirations or experiences you’ve had as a Board Member or with any of your involvement with Veriditas?
One of the perks of being a Board member is that you get to hang out with really cool people who love the labyrinth. And doing the work of the Board really inspires me and is a way that I can help support the labyrinth out in the world. I do facilitate walks at my church and get asked to facilitate walks at other area churches but I don’t have the reach that Veriditas does. I love to be able to support the organization in a way that allows the organization to reach lots of people. Veriditas does some very wonderful things. Among other activities we offer qualifying workshops, pilgrimages to Grace Cathedral and Chartres and we train facilitators. Supporting facilitators is the piece that I feel called to the most. As a Board member I get to see a wide variety of practices and styles which feeds my own facilitator practice. This enables me to offer to Veriditas my specific gifts.When I took facilitator training, we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves and say what our work background was. Everyone there was involved in some “helping” profession. I was a stay-at-home mom who used to practice law. I felt like a fish out of water. I wasn’t sure I could be a good facilitator because I didn’t have the kind of background that everyone else there did. Being on the Board allows me to use the gifts that I have in a way that is helpful to the whole labyrinth community and I’m grateful for that opportunity.
Rita: Why do you donate to Veriditas?
I think that Veriditas does something in the world that no other organization does the way that we do and it’s so needed in the world today. My own personal labyrinth practice has been so satisfying for me. It strengthens my faith, helps me find community, allows me to use my gifts in service and that’s been very important for me. I think that the world today really needs the gifts that the labyrinth offers. Quiet time, time for profound listening. Although there are lots of labyrinths now in the world it’s not enough. And we need people who are trained to introduce the labyrinth to more and more people in their communities. For that reason I give my time on the board. And I also give money because it’s crucial that Veriditas not only survive, but thrive.
How did you become aware of the labyrinth?
In 1997, my wife and I were dealing with the devastating experience of welcoming one surviving twin into our family while grieving the death of the other. I didn’t really have a body of spiritual practice that could sustain me in that time. So, I went looking for such. I was especially drawn to three new practices: mindfulness, artistic expression, and labyrinths. In the next year, I helped build a labyrinth and used several labyrinths for walking meditation and a centering tool. It was an empowering place to find healing.
How do you share the labyrinth now?
As an ordained minister, I often use labyrinths within church settings teaching contemplative prayer practice, but I am equally comfortable facilitating labyrinths as a secular endeavour in settings with counsellors, educators, and others. Its adaptability opens up multiple ways for people to experience the complementary archetypal pathways of Journeying (Pilgrimage) and Abiding that are partners within the human experience. I believe labyrinths offer opportunities for rest, clarity, and insight amidst a culture that too-often debilitates us with busy-ness, distraction, and confusion.
Please tell us about the Story Path labyrinth.
The initial vision was to design a labyrinth for use with children, so they could move and interact with the journey stories of their lives, communities and culture. John Ridder of Paxworks and I collaborated in the design of a three-circuit, three-quadrant labyrinth. It’s a smaller labyrinth with a shorter walk, wider pathways, and a larger center that can hold more children at one time. These elements facilitate the shorter attention span of most children. This labyrinth gets used for gathering and settling purposes, as a venue to experience stories and lessons in kinesthetic ways, and for play. The Story Path is also a way to help the next generations understand labyrinths as a normative and accessible part of their on-going life. We certainly encourage others to create additional methodologies to use with children on The Story Path. At this time, about a dozen Story Path labyrinths are in use, and we are eager to extend its application to other places where experiential learning is encouraged, such as Montessori schools. More about The Story Path can be found at: http://www.storypathlabyrinth.com
What inspired you to create the virtual North American Labyrinth Map?
I’ve always admired the World-wide Labyrinth Locator created and maintained by Jeff Saward (http://labyrinthlocator.com). Being a visual person, I imagined how a map might be a complementary tool to the amazing Labyrinth Locator and also help people to explore the ever-expanding number of labyrinths in North America.
That ties into your passion for more normative use of the labyrinth, doesn’t it?
One of my passions is to help empower deeper spiritual practice as a regular part of each person’s experience, whether secular or religious. I envision people using labyrinths for not just occasional special events, but in an ongoing basis to sustain, center and deepen their most-fully human potential. In www.wellfedspirit.org, I’ve created a free source for people interested in developing a variety of spiritual practices, including labyrinth work, to have a “well-fed spirit.”
How would you describe your own spiritual practice?
While not always successful, I seek to abide well wherever I happen to find myself in life along the way, living within my limitations, but doing what I do with mindfulness and fulfillment. I seek to abide with an intentional quality in my step-taking at each moment. I want life to be as meaningful and enriching as possible, enjoying the journey instead of mindlessly rushing along. My desire for stillness, my photography, my Native American style flute playing, and my efforts to facilitate the labyrinth as a transformative activity are all part of my spiritual practice, as is everything else that is a part of my life.
Is walking the labyrinth a regular part of your spiritual practice?
I find deep comfort in the silence of walking labyrinths, like a retreat with a more Zen-type outlook. So I’ve surrounded myself with images of labyrinths in my office and use labyrinths as often as possible. The Labyrinth has taught me to focus on each moment in life as a sacred occasion even when I can’t see all the turns or the whole pattern of my living at one time.
Can you explain why you are so open with your resources and creations?
It is a way to share what I have learned through my own journey and to honor my own teachers, like Lauren Artress and others. It’s also a way I can help realize a vision for the labyrinth being a more universal and normative part of the wider human experience. I am always happy for my work to be used by others to deepen and empower their own living. (see Warren’s websites below)
What is your latest artistic endeavor?
The Word Labyrinths are now available through Veriditas. This project began when I started experimenting with words and phrases to wind around and form a labyrinth. Here’s an example:
Well-Fed Spirit’s labyrinth page
Warren’s photo-sharing site (permission given for
free use for personal non-profit purposes; attribution requested for public and publication settings)
And, labyrinth photos in particular
Virtual North American Labyrinth map
Warren playing the Native American style flute
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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 Consensus. The quote is by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” - If each of us could host or personally take the time for a GHR labyrinth walk, think of the unified healing energy we could create! The first quarter is posted on the website, www.globalhealingresponse.com. We encourage you to visit the site soon and often.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please don’t forget to send your story when you have one. Little Miracles are archived on the Facilitators Portal of the Veriditas Website.