In Circles I Walk


Inspiration strikes!!!

I saw a notification that this coming Saturday, May 7th, is World Labyrinth Day!

What a perfect opportunity to extend an invitation to you, wherever you are!

I invite you to participate in walking a labyrinth, by yourself, joined by others, in the privacy of your own home, or out in nature.


People will walk labyrinths with fingers and feet at 1:00 PM in their own time zone all across this globe. Connect to this wave of peace that rolls across the universe. Find a labyrinth near you to walk with others, sending the vibration of PEACE and healing, love, and light out into the darkness of space and time.


This is the wave of transformation and light, one that you will want to ride on with others as we illuminate all that is.

This image is from Growing Tomorrows Tree Labyrinth Centennial School Plano IL shared by Labyrinths In Stone


This is a Vimeo of the labyrinth on the campus of the University of Aurora in Aurora, IL which was a gift from the graduating class of 1967 upon their 50th reunion of graduation. This will be the place where I invite you to join me. It is located in Aurora, Illinois on the corner of Prairie St. & South Evanslawn.


Now a little about labyrinths and why they are so meaningful to me.

I was introduced to a labyrinth about 20 years ago. I was so surprised to find that there was a local labyrinth in plain sight along the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville at Jackson between Webster and Eagle streets. It is made with pavers so unless you knew what you are looking at, it just looks like patio pavers laid in a pattern. Both the Naperville Riverwalk and Aurora University labyrinths were constructed by Labyrinths In Stone.


The reality is that the labyrinth is available for individuals to walk anytime! These two labyrinths and most others have public access at any time of the day. I remember walking it those many years ago and having others walking along the Riverwalk to come alongside me, ask me what I was doing, or make a comment about me being crazy and gathering their children as far away from me as possible.


These reactions cause me to smile and are such a great lesson in human behavior. We cannot know about everything, but so easily make a perception or judgment of what others may or may not be doing. I introduced it to friends and clients as a moving type of meditation practice. Some found it extremely meaningful and profound, while others did not resonate with it as much. It’s all a personal choice, and that’s what I love about it.


When sitting still doesn’t work for you, walking a labyrinth might be the perfect alternative. Gazing downward about 2-3 feet in front of you is an ideal method of being present and removing other distractions.


History of Labyrinths


“The main type of labyrinth is a Meander, with a single, undivided path and no choices to make other than traveling onward through the winding pattern to an assured goal. The meandering pattern may tease the traveler by leading now inward, then suddenly outward, but eventually, one arrives surely at the goal. Of meandering labyrinths, the two best-known types are the seven-circuit Cretan pattern and the eleven-circuit pattern on the floor of the cathedral at Chartres (chosen by many churches today).” by John Alego from The Theosophical Society


“Labyrinth is a word of pre-Greek origin whose derivation and meaning are uncertain. In English, the term labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze. As a result of the long history of unicursal representation of the mythological Labyrinth, however, many contemporary scholars and enthusiasts observe a distinction between the two. In this specialized usage, maze refers to a complex branching multicursal puzzle with choices of path and direction, while a unicursal labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and presents no navigational challenge.” From Wikipedia


“The labyrinth’s path is narrow, but far from straight. The image of the straight and narrow implies we can make mistakes or lose our way. The path is not easy, and we do make mistakes, but none are beyond the mercy of God. Losing our way in life is not only possible; it is an inevitable experience that is, part of the spiritual path.” taken from First Christian Church’s about labyrinths in the early church.


In my introduction to a labyrinth, it was a unicursal design that contains many turns and switchbacks, but the lesson I heard clearly was that I could not get lost. There is one way to enter the center and one way to exit the labyrinth. These are common interpretations of the 3 phases of walking a labyrinth and you can probably easily see how these correlate to everyday life.

  • Purgation (Releasing) – A releasing, letting go of the detail of our lives. We relinquish the things we try to control. We empty, quiet, humble and surrender our daily concerns.

  • Illumination (Receiving); – When reaching the center, stay there. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you. Here is where people find insight into their problems. You may come to clarity in the center.

  • Union (Returning) – Our illumination often produces a grounded, empowered feeling. The walk back out often provides a way to integrate insights gained. Some feel that it stokes the creative fires within, that it energizes those insights. This third stage empowers the seeker to move back out into the world, replenished and directed.


I was recently on a personal retreat in Frankfort, IL, and walked the labyrinth they have on their grounds along with a companion. PortForPrayer


I can easily be drawn into thoughts and inspiration for poetry when walking these labyrinths and how they reflect everyday life in so many ways. Here is a poem of mine that was published in Labyrinth Pathways in 2016.


IN CIRCLES I WALK


As I walk the labyrinth of my life

I find weeds among the stones

and flowers among the weeds.


As I move forward

I let the shards of stone

not distract me from the whole.


Let me see and feel

the brokenness within and

let me embrace the peace/piece that remains.


As I allow the feelings of hurt to surface,

I pray I will know

the reality of these moments;

moments not allowed to overshadow

or diminish the good of the whole.


May the sunshine warm my heart

and may the breeze cleanse my soul

and refresh my spirit.


No longer time to linger in pain.

It is now time to accept myself and others

and know that tis all for now


For I am and will be

of all that is past,

remain present

to presence

and circle about.


© 2016 Karen M. Carlson



So with that little taste of labyrinths, I again invite you to join me. Here is a link to the FB Event I created and look forward to a warm, sunny day to enjoy a part of #WorldLabyrinthDay as each of our journeys continues.


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