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.”

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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!”