TLS Annual Gathering

2016 Gathering Reflections

REFLECTIONS on the 2016 Gathering


Dr. Nancy Bandiera
TLS Publications Chair

On the flight home when all was settled and lights were turned off, I decided to reflect on the Gathering. With eyes closed, I saw the grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral filled with all of us. We were going up and down stairs; looking this way and that way; turning right and left; moving side to side; making room for others; pausing and looking around; passing and nodding to each other; and simply walking to and fro everywhere on the grounds. In wonderment, I thought, ‘The whole Gathering was a labyrinth!’ With all the hustle and bustle, along with children’s laughter from the playground, I felt as though we were living in a village and we all knew each other!

Reflecting on the diversity of people, I marveled that our exchanges with each other, especially strangers, were so open, warm, and knowing.  I watched the community intimately greeting or leaving each other with silent nods, hugs, tears, a sense of levity, or a verbal response. I couldn’t help but see that the strange had become familiar. The theme of the Gathering became realized in the unity of community. Our shared walks brought a deep intimacy whether we knew each other or not. How profound, I thought! It was like we had a secret to learning and loving each other.  Memories were flooding my air-borne meditation and the children’s playground laughter provided a kind of background music.

In fact, during Lars’ pre-gathering workshop on how to build labyrinths, participants were sitting at tables following many directions. At one point, Lars exclaimed something to the effect of “Hey, everyone, remember this is a meditation.” We all giggled knowing we were getting too noisy. I chuckled my way to re-focusing because I felt like we were children in school. We had started squirming in our seats, playing with our markers, asking the one to our right, our left, and across the table for help, talking, laughing, and calling out for Lars who was dashing between learners around the room. I know I burst out laughing during the memory, and I didn’t care who heard me. In context of our various quests, we were indeed children simply learning!!! 

Then, I recollected somber times as we entered one of the many labyrinths. We were grown-ups with serious adult issues and burdens and worries and fears and problems and questions. I saw that whether we voiced any of our concerns or stayed silent, response was quick. Whether verbal or non-verbal, physical or non- physical, encouragement, kindness, warmth, understanding, and intimacy prevailed by the end of our workshops and walks, complete with exquisitely voiced “thank-you(s)” to the most tender and loving facilitators. Love in motion! I was filled with inspiration rooted in love to share our secret as I sat flying on an airplane in liminal time and space just like the labyrinth. 

Rooted in the air! I realized a special secret of the labyrinth some time ago. Once you embrace the labyrinth and truly allow the labyrinth to embrace you, you live on a daily basis with the labyrinth and become part of the marvelous spiral of this world and beyond.

This New Year, may we be ever mindful of our shared empowerment from renewed insights, appreciations, ideas, motivations, healings, values, and faith—that deep intimacy among diverse populations is possible in building community via the profound grace of the labyrinth! 

M.E. (Beth) Langley

TLS Nominating Committee Chair

This TLS Gathering was like every other one I've attended: Totally Unique and Awesome! Every one I've been to has had an underlying feeling of welcome and an energy of co-creation, and yet each one has had a personality all its own.  I think that the reason is threefold. Labyrinths draw kindred spirits, kindred spirits share, and sharing enriches and deepens everyone's experience.  The people, places, and ideas converge.  A Gathering is made. 

One of my favorite memories of this Gathering is walking the Labyrinth in Freedmen's Town. It was sensory filled and I breathed in and out in gratitude, enjoying the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures. I prayed for the community, thanking them for accepting us in their midst,  and sending wishes for blessings of peace and prosperity for all in the community. 


Kay Whipple
TLS President

As always, the Gathering was a kaleidoscope of relationships, renewing old ones and making new ones! I loved the atmosphere of support, engagement, and celebration everywhere. Every Gathering is different, and we have a chance to share ideas. 

Highlights include:

  1. Johanna Manasse and Tisha Strauch discussing building up the Regional Reps program with me;
  2. getting to know Lynn Jarzombek and learning more about GPS for the WWLL App;
  3. celebrating the first scholarly work on labyrinth research by a major textbook publisher;
  4. supporting the World Café and seeing how many people were interested in sharing wonderful ideas;
  5. honoring Judith Joyce;
  6. a multisensory walking of the labyrinth Reginald Adams built with his students; 
  7. making labyrinths on the beach! 

We had enthusiastic volunteers sign up for a number of positions! Memories are sweet!

Debi Kermeen 
TLS Energy Keeper Chair 

Jane and David did such a wonderful job at the Gathering! They definitely are TLS Gathering Angels! Love them so much and sending healing energy today from my altar labyrinth.
Thank you!



Dr. Kay Sandor
TLS Secretary

Kay Sandor, Marty Kermeen, and Reginald Adams organized a pilgrimage to Galveston Island after the Houston Gathering closed. Marty and Kay shared a PowerPoint of Kay’s work to inform the public and help save the labyrinth and the amazing feat of moving one of Marty’s paver labyrinths across the island. About 30 Gathering participants traveled from Houston to Galveston Island. They were joined by several local residents who were also interested in this story. When the story was finished, the group went to Moody Methodist Church to see and walk the “old/new” labyrinth.

After lunch at a local restaurant, Reginald organized a group of 11 labyrinth builders who would build sand labyrinths with small groups of participants. Reginald’s instruction to the sand labyrinth builders was to make sure that everyone who participated learned how to make a sand labyrinth and take the knowledge home with them.

Then we were off to the beach on the east end of the island where our sandy palette awaited. One of our participants who uses a wheelchair was able to access the beach with the special help of the Galveston Park Board and the special delivery of a beach wheelchair. See the Facebook Labyrinth Society Global Group cover photo for one of the many labyrinths built on the beach, the beach wheelchair, and the celebration of those walking in the sand. 

Finally, the creative energy of Amy Maklan documented a Mannequin Challenge video of the event.  Facebook comments include: Brings happy tears. Captures the peace of creating. We had such fun. One of the better days of my life. 

Thank you, Houston, for being a model of empowerment in the regions!