Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Messages of Peace

Thank you to all who attended to our successful Peace Walk in June.  The weather was beautiful, the evening enjoyable and our mantra of "keeping it simple to pull together" worked!  Our speakers gave participants some "food for thought" and Marion was a wonderful accompaniment for our labyrinth walk.  The labyrinth itself was looking very beautiful, grass neatly trimmed, gardens weeded...just lovely.
Marion Miller playing the harp to accompany us on our Peace Walk
 Here are some of the peace walk images and messages created that evening.
“May we transform into the Peaceful World intended just as the caterpillar transforms, delighting in flight as a butterfly”
These were the messages written on the Labyrinth board ”Messages of Peace”

Teachable teachers teach peace

Peace begins with a smile, Mother Theresa

Paz y asperanza y love!!

Peace, Sunshine, Community

Be the peace amongst the chaos!

Waking before the dawn, a cup of tea with the first bird song

Monday, May 26, 2014

'Walk in Peace' at the Carleton Place Labyrinth

Bring Along Your Own Message of Peace for June 19th 'Walk in Peace' at the Carleton Place Labyrinth

The mind can go in a thousand directions, 
but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. 
 ~Thich Nhat Hanh 

At 5:30 pm. on Thursday June 19th, the Labyrinth Committee will present our second “Walk in Peace” event at the Community Labyrinth in Carleton Place. With this early evening event, the Committee hopes to focus attention on the need for peace in the world and within ourselves.

Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools and have been used for bringing peace and reconciliation between individuals in conflict. “If we can learn to find peace within ourselves, we can bring this peaceful energy into our community and the world.” says Phyl Drennan, a volunteer for The Labyrinth Committee of Carleton Place.

Special guests have been invited to address the theme:
Jeff Mills, Community Development Coordinator for Mills Community Support in Almonte, will speak about healthy/peaceful communities.

Faye Lavergne, owner of Brush Strokes Gallery in Carleton Place, will address finding peace as you "Lighten your Step". Lavergne is also a counselor whose focus is on personal & community development integrating social consciousness.

Bring along a picnic supper, a chair or a blanket. Be prepared to enjoy music provided by harpist Marion Miller, take a walk on the labyrinth,  enjoy the beautiful gardens and find inspiration from our guest speakers.

All are welcome.

Carleton Place Community Labyrinth is located beside the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum, at 267 Edmund St. For more information, contact Debby 613-257-1014.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Journalling at the Labyrinth

We are so thankful to our committee member Julia (for finding this old mailbox) and to local artist MJ Lancaster (for transforming it)!  Now anytime you visit the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth  - our brochures and guest book can be easily found - right at the entrance to the labyrinth.
You've got labyrinth mail! You will find our guest book and brochures here.
Take a few moments to reflect upon your walk and write a journal entry in our guest book...

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”  
Christina Baldwin

 “This pouring thoughts out on paper has relieved me. I feel better and full of confidence and resolution.”
Diet Eman, Things We Couldn't Say

"Verba Volant, Scripta Manet"
(Words fly away, the written remain)
Inspiration from Veronica Chenier, vendor at the Carp Farmer's Market

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Peace Flows on World Labyrinth Day

On Saturday May 3rd  we held our our first public event of 2014.  We were pleased to be able to "Walk as One at 1" in celebration of World Labyrinth Day.  World Labyrinth Day, declared in 1998 by The Labyrinth Society, brings people together globally to recognize the labyrinth as a symbol, a tool, a passion, and a practice.
Carleton Place Community Labyrinth - proud participants in a global labyrinth event!
This year (the 6th annual World Labyrinth Day) we took part in a survey organized by the Labyrinth Society and are happy to report that over 2,500 people in more than 18 countries were walking labyrinths at 1 PM in their local time zones!
Pick a message that resonates with you - to carry on your walk.
By walking a labyrinth, we are rediscovering an ancient tradition, which is still relevant today. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is designed as a single path. There are no dead-ends or tricks. The path on which you enter is the same path on which you exit. A walker is free to focus on a thought or a prayer, or to simply enjoy the energy of the walk itself. Many walkers find that the circular pattern holds them in a type of walking meditation long enough to let their problems and worries fall away.
Walking a labyrinth can allow you to feel more centred and peaceful.
In a busy world, walking a labyrinth can provide an opportunity to quieten the mind and allow you to feel more centred, peaceful and at one with yourself. When we feel at peace within ourselves, peace flows from each us - out into the world!
Laminated posters along the walk give more information about the labyrinth in terms of its history, benefits, and ways to incorporate the labyrinth into everyday living
Ways to Walk the Path in 2014

• Weekly walks every Tuesday morning from 9-10 am. June - September. Labyrinth keeper on site.

• Thursday June 19th “Walk in Peace” 5:30 pm., evening peace walk, bring along a picnic supper, enjoy the gardens, music and guest speaker.

• Sunday August 10th, full moon walk 8:00 pm.

• Light Up the Labyrinth, Friday September 12th, Light Up the Labyrinth

• Wednesday October 8th, full moon walk 8:00 pm.

For more information contact Debby: 613-257-1014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sunrise Earth Day Labyrinth Walk

Our first event of the year was a sunrise Earth Day Labyrinth Walk, held at the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth on Tuesday April 22nd at 6:04 AM.  Our gathering was small, the weather was cool and rainy, but the opening readings set the tone for a peaceful and introspective walk.
Walking in a protected bubble under our umbrellas - surrounded by lovely birdsong!
One of our committee members selected two beautiful Earth Day poems to share with us before the walk, here they are:

We join with the Earth and with each other
To bring new life to the land,
To restore the water,
To refresh the air.

We join with the Earth and with each other
To renew the forests,
To care for the plants,
To protect the creatures.

We join with the Earth and with each other
To celebrate the seas,
To rejoice in the sunlight,
To sing the song of the stars.

We join with the Earth and with each other
To recreate the human community,
To promote justice and peace,
To remember our children.

We join with the Earth and with each other,
We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery
For the healing of the Earth
And the renewal of all life.
(From: Side by Side  Fulfilling a Dream, edited by Ray Drennan,  Canadian Unitarian Council, Montreal, Quebec, 2001, 2002)
Daffodils enjoying the Spring rain...

O Mother Earth, we pray today to link our spirits with all
our brothers and sisters who share this web of life with us
and to honor those who once walked upon this land.

Rest quiet, Ancient Ones, we only seek to honor you and
to respect  the land. We will not take from it lightly, nor
do harm. We will respect those creatures with whom we
share this sacred space.

Eagle, Snake, Coyote and Lizard, we honor you! Bless us,
please you Flying People, Crawling People, the Swimmers,
Plants and Tree People, and all our four –legged brothers and

Father Sun, we beseech you to shine down your love
and light upon us!

Sister Rain and Brother Wind, walk softly here, for we are small
beneath your mighty power!

Sister Moon, shine gently as you guide us into dreamtime, and
when you journey across the world, send your stars to light
our way home!

O Mother Earth, accept our prayers, bless us with your energy
and healing. Help us to remember that we are connected to all
who share your sacred web of life… past, present, and future,
that in divinity and grace, we may exist as one!  

By: Sharon Auberle                                                                       
(From: Woman Prayers - Prayers by Women from Throughout History and Around the World, Mary Ford-Grabowsky,  Harper SanFrancisco, 2003.)

We are so thankful for this beautiful walk on Earth Day - for we share the love of the Labyrinth - and the peace it brings to our lives.

We hope you can join us for our next event on World Labyrinth Day, Saturday May 3rd at 1:00 pm. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Labyrinth Walking at any Age

Recently a local architect approached our small group and asked for some more information about labyrinths "for seniors".  He has been following the progress of the creation of our labyrinth with interest - and felt drawn to proposing that a labyrinth be incorporated in a new project that he is currently working on with a landscape architect and client.

I first reached out to a master labyrinth builder and fellow labyrinth facilitator Lisa Gidlow Moriarty for some information.   She provided photos of a couple of labyrinths installed in senior settings: a senior centre located near Chicago, Illinois and a nursing home near Minneapolis, Minnesota:
Wheelchair-friendly labyrinth at Senior Centre near Chicago - crushed granite applied to pre-tinted concrete
Accessible labyrinth at Nursing Home near Minneapolis - design applied with a soy-based concrete stain
There are important considerations needed in choosing a proper design for this setting/audience, including: size, path width, wheelchair/walker accessibility in materials and design to name a few.
Crushed granite product (blue) applied to form the labyrinth pattern

Of note - when we were designing the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth accessibility was a very important consideration.  If someone is not able to walk on the turf path - they can circle the labyrinth on the outer contemplation ring or walk the labyrinth using the finger labyrinth on the granite bench.
Sit quietly and trace the path of the labyrinth with your finger - you will be touched by the experience!
I also reached out through the Veriditas labyrinth facilitator network regarding this subject and was heartened to receive the following responses.  If anyone else has other experiences or information to share - we would love to hear from you!

Hi all:
If this is an architect asking, I would gather he would be interested in accommodating some of the challenges that come with seniors.  If space allows, slightly wider paths to accommodate walkers, and even wheel chairs would be helpful.  Just yesterday, we had an older woman come to our monthly walk at Trinity Cathedral.  She required a quad cane but was anxious to walk for the first time.  The first few walkers to enter all knelt at the gateway and she was concerned she had to do so.  I reassured her that whatever she wished to do and was able to do was appropriate and that she could use her cane.  She went ahead and walked.  I don't know whether she had answers to any issues, but she was much more relaxed when she completed her walk.


Whilst I appreciate that many seniors are physically very able, it's possible that some of the issues in designing a labyrinth for a hospice setting may be relevant. I'm thinking here about mobility, carers, bereavement, other particular issues that older age can bring. Lizzie Hopthrow has written about labyrinths for hospices in the recent (2013) book edited by Ruth Sewell, Di Williams and myself: Working with the Labyrinth. (Published in the UK, but there's a pdf and downloadable version too)

Warmest wishes

Dear Christine and all,
Some other installation issues to consider are that pavers can be a problematic for wheelchairs, walkers, and people with balance issues. Also remember that when you widen the paths, especially in a nine, eleven, or even in a seven-circuit labyrinth, that it can make the walk a lot longer to complete.

It is so wonderful to hear how the facilitators here are sharing their stories of how they are holding the space for their senior walkers. These are beautiful stories!

Thank you everyone!

Hi All
I am attaching a photo of a ‘family’ labyrinth walk. 4 generations of family gathered on Cape Cod.

Family labyrinth walk on Cape Cod
As you can see the older person (matriarch) in wheelchair was included. Everyone was glad to have her on the walk, wheelchair and all. The pavers presented no problem and the older person was happy to be included. If installed correctly the pavers are easy to navigate, but support from others is always helpful!

Dear Donald and all,
You are right. If the pavers are installed properly it does make the labyrinth more accessible to wheelchairs and walkers. But as you point out here, the paver installation must be made with this in mind. I think what I was also thinking of was the hospital paver labyrinths that I've seen that have not been installed properly and the problem with people trying to walk and bring along their IV cart, as well as wheelchairs and walkers. So thank you for making this distinction.

This is a beautiful picture. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Thanks, Lea, for this.
In senior facilities it is so very important to understand the clients/users. There are many kinds of pavers and other hard surfaces. While wheelchairs with large wheels find pavers less problematic, using a walker, a 4-legged cane or IV cart is another issue.  Some elders tend to shuffle when walking, so an uneven surface may pose a challenge for them.

Being aware of surface texture is important. Concrete can be stamped to resemble stone, but when stamped too deeply, the surface is uneven and dangerous for people with walkers or balance difficulties. It might also hold small puddles of rainwater, adding yet another challenge.

Similarly, granite is beautiful and can have a nice, slightly textured surface, but add rain or water from a nearby sprinkler and it can become a slipping hazard.

Of course here in northern climates we have deep freeze/thaw cycles that cause the earth to move, pushing pavers out.  Accordingly, proper installation requires attention to base material and depth to minimize seasonal movement.

Proper design is also a consideration. When hips or knee issues are present, designs with fewer turns or more sweeping turns are worth consideration. Additionally, patterns with an alternate entrance/exit such as the Baltic Wheel provide options for fatigue, decreased stamina, and varying degrees of ability.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

A New Vision!

I find it hard to believe that I have now been volunteering with the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth since late 2009.  And that I wrote our first blog post in February 2010. At that time we were a small group dedicated to establishing a permanent community labyrinth in Carleton Place, Ontario. And what a wonderful journey it has been!

Over the past four years, some committee members have moved on to other ventures, but a small core group of labyrinth keepers remains.  It is truly amazing what has been accomplished and I am grateful to continue to be involved with this special group.
Committee members (left to right): Karen Kiddey; Ruth Phyllis; Julia Heathcote; Christine Hume and Debby Lytle
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

Recently we realized that it was time to reflect, review and evolve our vision statement. To more accurately capture our committee's role and our hopes and dreams for the Community Labyrinth as we move forward...

So out with the OLD:

Walk the Path with a Group of Labyrinth Enthusiasts Dedicated to Building a Permanent Labyrinth

And in with the NEW:

Celebrating the Labyrinth by Fostering Awareness Through Public Walks and Community Events

We look forward to meeting you on the Path throughout the coming year.  And if you happen to be interested in labyrinths and in volunteering to join our Committee - we would love to hear from you!