Lake Labyrinth Metaphor

Flooded labyrinth

The challenge of obstacles in a labyrinth walk.


The lyrics to Enya’s song, “Pilgrim” often roamed through my mind this winter as I walked the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth in cold and warmth, snow and rain, trudged through deepening snow and slid over the icy path all in a quest to reach Center. Center – a physical, emotional, spiritual goal.

In particular the line: “The road that leads to nowhere, the road that leads to you.”

To read this article and see the video, subscribe now!

Already a member? Log in.

2017 Labyrinths

Finding Center

Nelda, Teri, and Wahneta constructing the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth.

Midwest by West by Southwest, I walked several labyrinths and with the help of several stellar friends re-created the labyrinth in our front yard. With the help of wonderful friends, the five-circuit Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth replaced the seven-circuit Classical labyrinth.  The magnolia that was dying came down and a small bur oak took its place. New circuits were measured and established. And, a lovely cross-quarter day dedication ceremony welcomed the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth. All summer, fall and early winter pilgrims walked in groups and individually helping to settle in the labyrinth in our front yard.

We traveled north into Minnesota, East to New York, West to Washington State, and Southwest to Arizona enjoying labyrinths and solitude along with communing with friends and family.

The 1080 Labyrinth blog picture gallery documents the travels, the travails, and the joys.


Packing Up Christmas

Two articles from The Gazette have sat on my desk for months waiting. Like Advent. Waiting. And, now, with the Holiday Season wrapping up, Epiphany within, Bowls in full swing, and the New Year upon us, these two articles are more poignant than ever.

“Packing Away the Legos – and a Piece of My Son’s Childhood” by hospice worker, Kerry Egan, for the Washington Post; and “Building Blocks of Launching Good Memories”, by Lori Borgman with the Tribune News Services invite readers to reflect on changes in our lives. These rites of passage of growing up or “small deaths” of changes in our relations and the ultimate loss of life itself, and memories we create can help us as we positively navigate the twists and turns of life.

2017 was a year of saying “Goodbye” which also opened space and opportunity. Our bunny, Simon, had his last stretch out in the winter sun and then died peacefully in our arms.  He is buried out back with the other bunnies. We still miss him, yet laugh when we think about how he would move back into the sun as it’s rays moved across the den floor. When we travel now, it’s only the needs of our chickens we consider.

Our daughter and son-in-law’s grand adventures of moving to Alaska for a job and an epic bicycle-fish ride along the West Coast put them geographically farther away, yet they share about intriguing places and Rich connects through his time in Alaska and his fishing stories.

Deconstructing the 1080 Laughing Labyrinth was hard yet joyful! As the prairie plants continued to encroach, maintaining and walking it were increasingly difficult and unrewarding. Finally, I just took it apart. For a long time I sat with, “Now what?” Then, from the ashes arose the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth that friends helped create, dedicate and regularly walk. Opening space and opportunity.

Sometimes we just know when it’s time to formally say, “Goodbye”. A position. A relationship. We move along in life. Sometimes it’s sad. Other times a relief. To grieve is important and yet, we can choose to remember the positive memories that were the bond even as we open space to new possibilities.

Other “Goodbyes” come from literally clearing out space. Digitalizing pictures, respectfully releasing boxes of slides and photos, then making small photo albums. Deleting old computer files. Lo and behold, the hard drive has more space! Reading journals and old letters one last time, then taking them to the fire pit and letting memories float to the ethers.  Tenderly touching favorite but no longer read books and giving them away for others to enjoy and love.  Lesson plans and manuals from former teaching gigs represent so much time and effort and possibility.  Now, they just take up space. So, it’s time to let them go. And the file drawers no longer bulge uncomfortably. Unworn clothes, unused kitchen items, old tools, multiples of anything, find new homes, the list goes on and on.

Suddenly the home is spacious, clean and lighter!

The last task of this year for me is packing away Christmas and browsing the cards people sent us.  Building memories to last into the New Year and looking forward to the new. Wondering, where have we been all our lives.

Yoga Labyrinth Walk

On a lovely late summer day, the Yoga classes from PCI and Toula Yoga, led by Lisa Hanigan and Cyndy Logue, picnicked and walked the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth. After I shared a brief introduction and overview of labyrinths, each woman began her walk. Each rang the portal bell and started her journey as I held space. Some were hesitant until they realized the path was clear.  Others boldly set out.  Energy built as they connected with themselves and the labyrinth.
Before the women walked I had opened the space and measured the energy which was low.  Toward the end and after all had left the labyrinth, I measured the energy again before closing the labyrinth.  The rods whirled over 200 times!  Interesting to me was that the dowsing rods responded differently as the women moved through and out of the labyrinth, sometimes swinging slowly and other times quickly.

The pilgrims were quiet as they rang the bell and left the labyrinth, then on the porch steps, they began to chat as they worked finger labyrinths.

Following are some observations and pictures from our day.

Wendy, who has been strong for a sister with health concerns, experienced “spontaneous tears that stopped when I left the labyrinth.” Barb felt a “tranquility I don’t’ find in my ordinary day.”  Lisa had a “deep connection with nature” and Rose Mary added to that observation remarking on the “warm peace with all.” One pilgrim simply gave a big hug as she left with tears in her eyes. Another gently stroked plants with the turkey feather as she moved along each section of the path. Each expressed gratitude for the experience.

Cyndy penned, “My experience today was very different from the first walk in Muscatine. As I reflect back on the first walk, I think I felt such intense energy that day because that is what I needed.  I had given so much of my energy away, both mentally, physically and emotionally, that I needed to recharge. I needed to trust my own intuition.  It was about taking time for me, meeting new people and hearing their story.  “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” (Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr)
“Today’s walk was about connecting with nature and being present.  Taking time to notice: the ants, bees, flowers and emerging cicadas adhered to the side of the bench. It was about feeling the breeze and warmth of the sun, and just being in that moment and enjoying it.  It was also about sharing the gift of this experience with others. “In the end, you always go back to the people that were there in the beginning.” This is so fitting for me, as my personal journey began in Lisa’s yoga class and has grown exponentially.  I learn new things about myself daily.  “The only journey is the journey within.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)
“Today the two yoga groups became one in spirit.  I’m thankful every day for the wonderful souls I’ve met on my journey of life!
“Thank you for another great adventure!”

Pilgrimage to Muscatine Labyrinth

Sometimes the experiences that yield the greatest learning are the ones that don’t follow our expectations and desires.  A group of labyrinth enthusiasts joined me on a pilgrimage to the Muscatine Labyrinth in the Arboretum on Harmony Lane. Tucked into the “elbow” of Hwy 61 on the northwest corner of Muscatine, this Arboretum with its well-crafted labyrinth is a true gem. My first experience there on July 31st was simply magical.  And, I wanted to share this with others.

So a small group of us headed out to Muscatine on Sunday, August 13th.  A mild day. I-380 to Hwy 218 to IA 22 East flows into Cedar St. to Houser St. to Harmony Lane.  What a great name!

The Labyrinth


We hear about the arboretum.

When we arrived, instead of a quiet entry, we were basically waylaid by an elderly woman who turned out to be a co-founder of the arboretum.  She enthusiastically shared all about the history of the founding, where trees were planted and puzzled over “that structure” – pointing to the labyrinth.  In effect, she told us passionately about her love of the space, how hard people worked to make it happen and how proud she was of the results. She insisted we had to see various structures and parts of the arboretum.  All the while she was quite oblivious to the fact that we were there to walk the labyirnth. Other features would come as possible.

As I chafed to accomplish our “goal”, the members of the group were kind. And, so I learned, too, that even when – especially when – our plans are impacted by other circumstances, it is how we are “in the moment” that matters.  Eventually, we were able to communicate why we came to Muscatine’s Arboretum . Ms Lynn was puzzled as she moved off slowly with her dog.  She sat and watched from afar as we began.

My role as facilitator was to hold the space for people to walk peacefully.  Suddenly, Ms. Lynn was right in our midst on the labyrinth speaking loudly, “You have your shoes off.  Why do you have your shoes off? You don’t have to take your shoes off.”  So, I walked quietly to her and managed to steer her off the labyrinth itself.  As she continued to talk and point out features around us, I inched her farther away from the labyrinth.  Staying centered and calm and compassionate to her needs was a struggle for me. Even when I stated that this is a time for quiet for the walkers, she loudly declared that there is not much time for that anymore. Definitely ironic.  Again, she moved off and watched the walkers.

I circled the labyrinth slowly to hold in the sacred energy and offer a buffer for the walkers who completed their journeys peacefully.

When I asked later how they felt about the intrusion and interactions some were neutral. Others slightly amused. Some acknowledged her presence and chose not to engage.  Others were grateful I guided her to the side. Rose pointed out that likely we were the first people she had talked to all day so her enthusiasm spilled over.  And, Lijun noted, “She is part of the story.” Thank you both for perspective.

We followed a path across a wetland to the Veterans’ Memorial – simple and elegant. Then, back to the cars.

By county roads, we drove up to Tipton for dinner at Mi Tierra. Then up IA 38 to US 30 and home. Great meal and some synchronicity for Amy Kris Ackman as you will read soon.



Feel the earth under your feet.

Rose Gabe found the labyrinth much longer than others in Cedar Rapids.  She gamely walked the circuits, paused occasionally, assessed the journey and continued on.

Robyn Miessler-Kubanek observed: “Walking the labyrinth barefoot was marvelous. I go barefoot as much as possible in every other context, so feeling the decades’ old bricks under my feet while studying their shapes and scars brought focus and depth to my walk. How many others have those bricks held upon the earth? And how many more will they support? Yet their roughness made me happy to finish and walk in the grass again.”

Lijun Chadima:  “I felt a history there connecting me from the past to the present and walking toward the future.  The energy at the center is so great.  I liked the square that I could walk four corners then sit at the bench before I walked to the beginning where I started.  I liked walking on the old bricks.  I also liked the trees touching me while I walked.

“The flan completed the good meal at the Mi Tierra.  The chiles rellenos were great.  Mi Tierra is a right size restaurant for a small town.  A roadside farmer’s stand made me connect to the earth we are living.”


Inviting entry.

Cyndy Logue: “I felt very connected and noticed an energetic feeling in my third eye chakra.  Last night I looked back through my Earthing book and found this helpful: ‘Earth Qi is absorbed, without thinking about it, when we walk barefoot, which may explain why it’s so relaxing to walk without shoes and why exercises geared toward strengthening the body and relaxing the mind (yoga, tai chi and qigong, for instance) are often practiced without footwear. A central focus in Chinese practices involves “growing a root” and has to do with opening up communication between the bottom of the feet and the Earth.’

“I think the energetic feeling was a reminder to just go with the flow and be present for the experience.  Dinner at Mi Tierra was a great way to close the afternoon! Thank you again for coordinating this fun excursion!”


Amy (Kriz) and Mark Ackman: “My experience with this labyrinth was interesting. When we were interrupted by the lady commenting on our bare feet while we were barely on our way, I just had to chuckle. I thought maybe I didn’t need to take things so seriously and could just take people as they are (or meet them where they are) instead of trying to fit them into my expectations.

“After (we ate) in Tipton. I couldn’t believe that our destination restaurant was located right next door to a store called Wild Angels Expressions. When I saw it, the name looked familiar. Then, I recalled that earlier that morning, while rummaging through boxes of paperwork from the basement, I found a beautiful little card from a friend. The card spoke to me so much that I thought I could reuse it to make a new card for another friend. I was so impressed that I flipped the card over to see the brand and saw that it said Wild Angels Expressions! I had never been to Tipton before.” {Yet here was a card from that very place! We call that Synchronicity!}

“Thanks for inviting us, leading us, and opening and closing the space for us!”

The afternoon was wonderful for us all.