Friday, March 31, 2023

A Cramped Labyrinth

A week ago, my sister came to my seminary apartment to pick me up to go to Williamsburg.  My mom was part of a planning team for the St. Stephens Lutheran Church women's retreat, and she invited us to attend.  She also invited me to offer a workshop on labyrinths.

St. Stephens doesn't have a labyrinth, so before the week-end, we brainstormed.  My mom reached out to nearby Episcopalians who have a canvas labyrinth.  It's 30 feet--30 feet--in diameter, so when we were together in February, we went around the church building measuring.  We determined that there was no indoor space for that canvas labyrinth.

Happily, I know how to lay out a labyrinth outline.  One could do this with rope or yarn, or even masking tape on a floor.  I got the labyrinth outline that we use for the Create in Me retreat:

My mom got some ropey nylon in two shades of pink at an after-Valentine's Day sale at the Dollar Store.  This labyrinth would be very hard for me to lay out without two shades of border, so I was glad to have it.

We spent about an hour on Friday laying out the labyrinth in a space off the narthex in the church.  We really could have used several more feet on the sides, but the space is bordered by a wall on one side and a window on another, so we had to work with what we had.  We scootched lines over and shifted, and soon enough, we were done:

The ropey nylon wanted to spring free of the tape, so we taped it more than we might have.  I didn't want to arrive on Saturday morning to have to lay it out again.

It wasn't a perfect labyrinth, but the people who came to my workshop were gracious about it.  They were grateful to have a way to try out this prayer practice (only 1/4 of the participants had ever walked one).

I did worry a bit that this experience, which was a bit too cramped and crowded to be truly meditative.  It wasn't the perfect first labyrinth walk, for those who had never tried it.  Happily, most people said that they saw the potential, and at the end of the workshop, they were strategizing about where to find a bigger labyrinth.

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