TLS Annual Gathering

2008 Retrospective by Lisa Gidlow Moriarty

Journey to Healing and Wholeness
10th Annual International Labyrinth Society Gathering
November 7 - 9, 2008, Simpsonwood Conference Center, Norcross, Georgia

The 2008 Annual Gathering was a warm and wonderful event that brought our members together from several continents. We celebrated the 10th Annual Gathering by hearing fabulous stories from a panel of founding members on Friday evening, followed by a fun celebration of dancing and singing. Saturday was filled with inspiration beginning with member images of labyrinths from around the world and a featured presentation by Robert Ferré, who enlightened us as to the different approaches to healthcare and healing, as well as the successful and expanded uses of labyrinths in hospital environments. We shopped the vendor/artisans room, chose from 18 concurrent workshops, shared stories, walked new and familiar labyrinth patterns and deepened our relationships with each other. Saturday evening brought an active day to a contemplative closing as we were graciously nudged by Rebecca Rodriguez to awaken to the sacred. We also journeyed together and more deeply on the labyrinth to incredible healing musical expressions of Sonam Targee and his global instrumentations. 

On Sunday morning we were intrigued as Gernot Candolini led us in an exercise with the 7-circuit labyrinth, drawing connections and honoring influential persons in our lives, and we pondered as a panel of members discussed the future of labyrinths in our global community. As we prepared to close, we offered deep gratitude to Kimberly Saward who was moving into the role of Past President, and I was honored and humbled as Kimberly, joined by first TLS President Helen Curry, draped a shawl over my shoulders as a symbol of passing the leadership, with the fire of inspiration and the comforting support of a vital organization. As I assumed the role of President and the new Board of Directors was commissioned, we processed through a spiraling labyrinth singing the familiar closing song, “Dear Friends” through tears, hugs, smiles and bows. As is typical through the Annual Gatherings, new friendships were formed, ideas were explored and we finally parted with that bittersweet feeling of inspired leave-taking.

About 25 participants remained to partake in a post-gathering workshop painting personal labyrinths and/or a wonderful bus tour of local labyrinths in the Atlanta area all day on Monday, coordinated and led by Dr. John Rhodes.

We look forward to the 2009 Gathering when we will travel to Oregon to be together once again.

Lisa Gidlow Moriarty,
TLS President