In Walking a Labyrinth, the point isn't to get lost but to find yourself
by Shelley Hazen
Lynn Edmonds built her labyrinth in woods at her home in Jay, NY six years ago. It's based on the oldest-known design for one, done in mosaic on the floor of the Cathedral of Chartres in France, and its purpose is just as ancient.
In medieval times, labyrinths were substitutes for religious pilgrimages and were walked, in Ms. Edmonds's words, "for good fortune, protection, empowerment, spiritual insight, or to connect to the earth."
Today, people walk labyrinths for many reasons but the point is to focus the mind in a kind of meditation, she explained. People can start with intention or by asking a question, inviting lessons and answers to ongoing life issues. Or they can walk to meditate on a feeling - like gratitude - or to find inner peace. "For everyone it's different - it's a place to be present with themselves," she said.
There's only one path in a labyrinth you walk the same one out as you do in and it ends in the center, where people can stop and take a moment to meditate. Made with circles, it winds around in an ordered pattern, but isn't meant to disorient the walker. With the pathway set in stone on the forest floor, the labyrinth is open, not built up to either side like in a corn maze.
A labyrinth walk can be used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, relieve grief, anger, and even help people with disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder or hyperactivity. They've been used in hospitals for both patients and staff. "It’s the opportunity to connect your mind, body, and spirit," Ms. Edmonds said.
The labyrinth is open to the public Sunday nights from 6 to 7 p.m, .and Ms. Edmonds encourages people to call before arriving. She also conducts full moon walks, does fire ceremonies in her fire pit, and can facilitate walks through the labyrinth, which is open until the snow falls. Drawing on 40 years of experience working in human services, community mental health, assisted living, and elder care, she offers a number of services through her business, Life in Focus, including ancient healing as well as the labyrinth walks and fire ceremonies.
Visit Northern Home, Garden & Leisure, October 2014 issue, pages 55 and 56 to see the original article.
Shelley Hazen, freelance journalist and fiction writer based in the Malone, NY area, is a regular contributor to the Lake Champlain Weekly as well as Northern HGL.