Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My OWN Labyrinth - Part 1

"Sure, I'm going to build my own labyrinth," I've been telling women for the last two years. Women who have already created theirs; one woman in every state, as those of you know who have been following my journey.

"So, what do you think is holding you back?" asked Mary in Iowa, as we visited at the edge of her prairie labyrinth last summer?

The mowed entrance to Mary Dreier's "Soul of the Prairie" labyrinth,
which circles through a field of prairie grasses.  It is marked by a bell,
peace pole, and stone.
 The question caught me off guard. My pat answer, "I'm just not at our Arkansas home long enough to get started, " was true enough, but was there more?  Mary's intuition seemed to think so, but it has taken me another year and the completion of my travels, to name it.

Was it that I hadn't located the spot on our five acres that "felt" right? Three tree-circled spaces looked promising. I even asked the trees, "What do you think? Would you be OK with a labyrinth in your neighborhood?" No response, which I interpreted as, "Thanks for asking, but keep looking," as if this were a game of Hide-and-Seek, and I was still "cold."

Was it that the whole project was too overwhelming? Did I lack the confidence and/or ability to begin? Yes, and yes.
I knew I wanted to build a Chartres-style labyrinth with its 11 circuits and 34 turns, but how?

Would the path be grass, gravel, mulch, or?

Would the lines be brick, rock, plants, or?

Who could help me with the math, my least favorite subject since….forever!?

But still, there was more. Like a pot of boiling water that simmers down to the last inch, I expected my answer to be at the bottom, easily fished out and served on a plate. As we know, though, answers tend to be a bit slipperier than that.

"You are not yet ready to build your labyrinth. You will know when you are," came the ambiguous voice, once I calmed the churning waters long enough to listen.

It was clear that "ready" did not mean the perfect spot, the ideal
materials, the tricky math. It meant me.

Building a labyrinth is an emotional and spiritual investment. It's a connection to an ancient design that people have walked for thousands of years, for reasons we will never fully understand. I walk them as a meditation, for calm, peace, reflection, guidance, for whatever I may need to notice. I am drawn to labyrinths built outdoors, in the earth, where my feet touch ground as I walk. There is a living connection between  us.

Until two weeks ago, I was not ready.
Now I am.
How do I know?
I just do.
That feeling you can't fully explain, but that won't go away.
Until you listen.
And act.

Or maybe the labyrinth itself is ready to be built. All I know is that I'm now laying bricks, with the support of  amazing helpers!
Please join me next week for Part 2 - "Beginning!"

Son-in-law, Ben,  along with grandsons,
Luke and Nate help me get started.

I'd appreciate your comments… How do you know when something is "right" in your life -
to move forward,
make a change,
take one path over another…
to begin?



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coming Full Circle on Maui

Those of you who are Facebook "Friends" may have seen pictures of my Maui labyrinth walk, #50 of 50, shortly after I completed it.

Other faithful blog friends will catch up with me now - a week later - back home, unpacked, somewhat incredulous (always wanted to use that word) that the trip actually happened.

When I began planning the trip in February, I still had twelve states to visit. Hawaii was always going to be the last one, but I had "miles to go" before that could happen.
Not to mention finding a woman,
who had built an outdoor labyrinth,
in Hawaii,
who would be available for a visit,
the first week in July!
Before plane reservations or condo searches, this woman…whoever she might be… had to be found, had to say "Yes."  Hunched over my laptop like a fortune teller over her crystal ball, I consulted  the World Wide Labyrinth Locator once again.  In 48 of the past 49 searches, it had successfully conjured my destinations.  And now, another possibility --

Eve Hogan
The Sacred Garden
460 Kaluanui Rd.
Makawao, Maui, Hawaii

A woman with two outdoor labyrinths.  Less than twenty-four hours of my email request, Eve replied with a gracious and enthusiastic "Yes!" Maui in July!!

Eve completes the 50 states!

On July 3rd, I walked Eve's 11-circuit labyrinth, encircled by the lushness of Maui's rainforest, accompanied by husband and friends.

Drew and friends,
Marian and Jim Levine join me in the center

I carried a miniature copy of the USA map that hangs on my closet door, filled with pictures of the other women whose labyrinths I walked over the past two years.

Gratitude and relief spilled over me as I took the final step.

And yet, that was not the final step.

There were two other labyrinths on Maui that would touch me in the next five days.

 "If you're in the Kapalua area, check out the Dragon's Teeth Labyrinth," Eve mentioned at the end of our conversation.  "It's built on sacred Hawaiian ancestral grounds, amazing energy and winds."
"That's where we're staying!" I answered, at this point in my journey not at all surprised in the "coincidence."

The next morning at 5:45, I followed Eve's directions down the road from our condo, across the fairway of a golf course, out onto a rocky point. A majestic 11-circuit labyrinth - grass, lava rock and coral-lined - spiraled in the wind.

I was the only one there as the sun rose, and the only one there for the next four mornings as I walked to the center and sat.
In the distance Dragon's Teeth (Hawaiian name Makaluapuna Point),
formed by thousands of years of  lava, wind and water,
protected me.

The third labyrinth was of my own making.  In the smooth sand just beyond the reach of  waves pulsing in and out, I took a stick and drew a classical labyrinth. Anne Hornstein, whose beach labyrinth in Destin, Florida was the first labyrinth I walked on this journey, taught me how to draw one… in the sand.

My journey had come full circle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Labyrinth Visit #50 on July 3rd!

Two years, one month and sixteen days after my labyrinth journey began in Florida, it will end in Hawaii!

July 3rd. 2:30 pm at Eve Hogan's labyrinth on Maui.

I have walked a labyrinth in forty-nine states -- each outdoors, each envisioned and brought to life by a woman.  I have spent one hour, two, up to four hours, with each labyrinth creator. . hearing her story.

Lives and stories now woven into my own.

With one more labyrinth to walk and story to hear, the significance of this journey is only beginning to sink in. I have kept the ending at arm's length, not yet ready to reflect. However, as Drew and I step on the plane tomorrow, that process will begin. The end of the journey will become real.

And what an ending! Drew and I will spend five days on Maui with our dear friends, Marian and Jim Levine. Marian traveled with me, actually did all the driving, through the northeastern states; then joined me again in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky. We had a vision even then -- Hawaii #50!

I will post pictures of the last labyrinth walk on Facebook and this blog. If you are close to a labyrinth, I invite you to walk along with me on the 3rd. Many of my "Labyrinth Friends," in the other forty-nine states, are planning to walk their labyrinths that day and post pictures to my Facebook page or send emails -- a Cyber Celebration!

One of them recently wrote to ask how I'm feeling about reaching the end of the path.  She offered words which have become my mantra. . .

               "An end is a beginning."  

I wonder where this "end" is leading me.

Bur first -- Hawaii.  Here we come!

Eve Hogan's labyrinth on Maui


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