TLS Members e-Newsletter

Members eNewsletter
At least four times a year, TLS members are rewarded at their inboxes with a copy of the Labyrinth Society e-newsletter. It serves as a means of direct communication with the membership and provides an historical record of the Society.

The Labyrinth and Collage of Life

Aneesha Parrone is a weaver who works with seniors in assisted living. She shares this account of combining labyrinths and collage in an art class with her seniors’ group because “the success was so dramatic.  I enjoy working with labyrinths and have done several weavings with labyrinths embedded onto them.  I have found they are so helpful to others when I have shared them.” Visit Aneesha’s Perrone's website on weaving, seniors, and the labyrinth

 

From time to time we reflect on the vitality of our life. Introspective strolls along pathways during seasonal changes can uplift and calm.  Autumn is taking hold of the skies, landscape and air. Golden leaves float gently and are strewn along nature’s cobbled walk. 

What if the seasonal change is more of an internal process, tuned to the changing seasons of our life? Changes can sometimes be viewed as disruptive, disorienting, or heart-warming and inspiring, depending on a multitude of variables.  One tool for aligning the inner and outer perspectives into the serenity of discovery of what is good is the labyrinth.  Combined with the art of collage, the labyrinth is an especially effective device for encouraging memories to float to the surface of awareness. 

A labyrinth, unlike a maze that has dead ends and various pathways from which to choose, has only one way in and one way out.  It is safe and spacious enough to accommodate whatever comes up for the pilgrim. There are three basic stages: entering, release; the center, receiving the gift; returning, unification (What can I use in my everyday living?).

As I prepared for my art students, many had entered the classroom in walkers, with canes, or in wheelchairs.  A finger labyrinth for each person was the most appropriate and could accompany the collage art.  When the class began, the onset was confusing trepidation.  Perhaps it was too esoteric? There were exclamations of “What are we doing, again?  What is this thing in front of me?  How does this relate to the magazines?  What are we supposed to be doing? I don’t understand….” This was not the hoped for euphonic augury imagined in preplanning for the assisted living art class. “There is no wrong or right way to ‘walk’ the labyrinth.” We continued.  A box with single words printed on small pieces of paper was passed around.  Some took one word, some took two, and some chose several words. Very softly in the background, floating amid the menagerie of doubts, The Butterfly Concerto for Two Violins hummed.

Of the 13 women present in the class, five have agreed to share their experience of the labyrinth.  Five women, five life stories individually lived, like walking the labyrinth with a group, experienced as a solitary testimonial, share the sublime of what it is to be human.

When everyone had completed the finger labyrinth, questions still adrift in the room, Sue Roberts began to share. “My word was "Beginnings."  I thought of all the beginnings of my life: being born, going to school, my first job, my first date, my marriage, my children being born, my children leaving, coming here.  So many beginnings….  My life has been a series of beginnings.”  A flood gate had been opened and now “Yes!” “Ah!” “Oh!” “That’s what it is!” replaced the din of confusion.

La Faun Williams smiled and through tears expressed, “What a tremendous experience! Everyone experienced something and shared.  My word was 'Healing.' I found all these pictures of dogs and haven’t thought about my dogs in years.  Dogs do have a healing effect—and remembering them.  How much love those dogs gave me! What a great accomplishment—everyone was made aware of something.  My dogs were a huge part of my life: all the companionship, love, warmth, comfort and fun.  All the love received and given…I can use that forever and ever in my daily life.”

LaFaun's Dogs

For Jo Maricle, the word "Devotion" created a sense of reaching out and helping others.  Jo shared, “The word made me think of goals and strengths and that we all need to work together.  I felt at Peace.  When I got to the center of the labyrinth, I received confidence and felt secure.  The gift in the center of the labyrinth was knowing I could get back.”

For Helen Waters, the word “Giving” was filled with gratitude. Helen felt that what she brought with her onto the labyrinth was the love of a wonderful husband of 64 years. “I feel happy and blessed as I think that my desire in life is helping others. I praise and thank God for my life.  When I got to the center, I received a thank you from others knowing I care.  I felt thankful and happy that I was an R.N., for births, for being able to care for others.”  When I asked what gift she received that she would like share: "A Happy Heart. Giving and Caring for others, for friends, family and others."

For Marj Morris, the labyrinth brought up all the fond memories of her husband Ken and the wonderful life they had together.  She chatted about all her blessings of home and family and simple pleasures like sharing coffee and the chores. “We were so lucky we met in college.”   When asked about her labyrinth experience Marj was very certain that the gift she received in the center was one of accomplishing.  “I felt very good.  I thought, ‘I made it!’ From the experience I received self-confidence: You need to keep trying!”

Walking the labyrinth is especially gifting when shared with women of such grace, courage and blessings.  I am nurtured along my own path as I am very grateful for the gifts these women of wisdom continue to share with me.

 

Editor’s note: TLS eNews invites readers to submit articles of interest to the world wide labyrinth community for publication in TLS eNews. Deadlines are usually midmonth. The editor reserves the right to edit content for clarity and grammar.