Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pilgrimage Notes and Yellow Mosaic Arrow Project (Part 2)

As I continued to prepare for my pilgrimage, I was very mindful of these these stages: preparation; anticipation; participation and recollection.

In the last couple of weeks leading up to my departure date - I continued to "prepare" by going on training walks and carrying my backpack with about 10 lbs of weight in it. And I put together a packing check list and started to pull what I thought I would need on the walk together.
I prepare by going on training walks and carrying some weight
I also put my "creativity" project mosaic supplies together. I very soon realized that the materials were heavy - and that I should not carry the materials for 12 arrows with me (one arrow for each day of the walk).  So I packed up enough to create 5 arrows - and arranged for a friend to meet me along the way with the rest.
I pack my "creativity" project mosaic supplies to bring with me.
I spent the final day before starting my walk, carefully packing and re-packing. Considering each item that I was taking and focusing on packing light.

Finally - it was the starting day of my walk. It was a thrill to be dropped off at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa - and to meet my fellow walkers. It was also special to be accompanied at the start of the walk by my friend Jo-Anne, the founder of the Chemin des Outaouais (Rodolphe Latreille) and other walkers.
I meet my fellow pilgrims in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa.
I quickly realized that I needed to "let go" of some of the things that I had with me. And planned to do so when Jo-Anne left me along the way.  I was also challenged  - when we had a sudden rain storm hit.  There was just enough time to put on my raingear and cover my backpack - in a lovely setting. I was sure experiencing a lot in very short order on day one!
Our first challenge - we had a sudden rain storm hit - on the first day of the walk.
I suggested to the group that I was walking with - that they go on ahead - and that I would meet them at our accommodation in Orleans.  It was finally time to say goodbye to my friend Jo-Anne. I gave her a pile of things to take home with her - including my walking stick. And then sat quietly on a large stone eating my lunch and considering the path that lay ahead.
I sat quietly on a large stone, eating my lunch and considering the path that lay ahead.
After the rain storm it was very hot - and I started walking - putting one foot in front of the other. I used my mantra - be strong, I can do this - as I walked along. I soon realized that I did not have enough water with me - and approached a woman sitting out on her porch - to see if she could fill my water bottle. Her husband came to the door with two chilled bottles of water! I was very thankful for this special gift. 
Taking a rest stop on the path.
I continue on step by step and eventually reach my destination - Presbyt√®re de la Paroisse Saint-Joseph d'Orleans. My walking colleagues have settled in - and are out. I leave them a note and head directly to the YWCA to make full use of the facilities. I have a wonderful spa experience and make use of the hot tub; cold pool and sauna and shower. 

And I take time to reflect on a day of being a pedestrian moving slowly in our 
fast-paced car-based society.  

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Magical Night at the Labyrinth

Our Light up the Labyrinth event held on Friday September 7th, 2018 was beautiful and a very lively celebration and community gathering! The Carleton Place Community Labyrinth literally glowed and was imbued with lots of positive energy - to help make it an even more special space. We could not have done it without your help!

The photos and comments below help to capture some of the spirit of the evening.
The calm before... and our labyrinth cat :)
Heather sets up the lanterns to be carried while walking the labyrinth.
It takes many hands to light up the labyrinth.
Setting up the 600 luminaries step by step.
Christine Hume describes how to walk a labyrinth.
Musicians Rob McMurray and Brendan Gawn play electric guitar and bass during the walk. (Photo: R. McDonald)
At dusk the labyrinth is all aglow (Photo: J. Rayner)
Lights within lights (Photo: R. McDonald)
Losing ourselves in the labyrinth - we find ourselves! (Photo: J. Rayner)
And finally - thank you to mayoral candidate Doug Black for covering the musicians honorariums. Doug has been a strong supporter of the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth since it’s inception in 2008. And thank you to everyone that made a donation - this money help us to continue to offer special events at the labyrinth.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Your Help Needed to Light up the Labyrinth

Let's "Light up the Labyrinth" together - from 6:30 – 9:00 PM on Friday, September 7th, 2018. During this event, the warm glow of more than 600 candlelit luminaries will flicker along the path of Carleton Place's Community Labyrinth. This year, during the walk, local musician Rob McMurray will be playing electric guitar with electronic effects (delays, reverb, and more).

To make this event more collaborative - organizers are asking participants to gather at 6:30 PM at the labyrinth to prepare and place luminaries for a 7:30 PM candlelit walk.
Your help is needed to help light up the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth! (Photo: C. Pragnell)
Christine Hume, Chairperson for the Labyrinth Committee, explains: “As a very small committee we need many hands to help us light up this spectacular display on the labyrinth.  Join us at 6:30 PM and be part of the assembling and placing of the luminaries, bring along your bbq lighter to help us light the candles before the walk.  The dismantling at the end of the walk is a huge job and extra help is very welcome then, as well!

Our candlelit labyrinth walks have become a popular fall event, as individuals and families come to enjoy an evening labyrinth walk.  "Children and those young at heart can be part of this festive labyrinth walk by carrying a lantern, wearing their glow-in-the dark-apparel, glow necklaces, glow sticks, and more. Be creative!" say Connie Prichett, a volunteer labyrinth keeper. Parents of young children should be cautioned that the luminaries are real flame and to please consider clothing and lantern choices carefully.

For those who wish to relax and watch the candlelight, garden benches and a wheelchair-accessible contemplation ring encircle the labyrinth. If you would like to sit for a while and take in the candlelight glow, bring along a lawn chair too.

Thanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Town of Carleton Place and individuals and businesses within our community, this permanent labyrinth exists for people to use at any time. The labyrinth is located at the corner of George and Baines Streets beside the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum, 267 Edmund Street in Carleton Place, Ontario.

For more information or if you would like to help prepare the luminaries,
please contact Christine Hume, cel 613 859 2136

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pilgrimage Notes and the Yellow Mosaic Arrow Project (Part 1)

My pilgrimage journey from Ottawa to Montreal with Chemin des Outaouais ended up being very different from what I expected. And I am reminded now that I was to go on my long walk with "no expectations" and to be open to whatever happened along "the way".

Leading up to the walk, in the midst of relaxation during a yoga class - an idea occurred to me. I could make some yellow mosaic arrows (inspired by the Camino arrows).  How interesting!
An example of the yellow arrows found along the Camino in Spain (Photo credit: Debby Lee Jagerman)*
Over the next week this idea started to take shape. I would create portable yellow arrows and leave them along  "the way" as I walked.
After my early morning quiet time - the idea starts to take shape.
I ordered some yellow tiles from Glass Mosaic Canada. And I asked friends to donate yellow bits and baubles for use on the arrows.
Yellow arrow bits and pieces given to me OR found.
I decided to make the arrows so they could be hung up along "the way".  And to use plywood as the base for the arrows. I was on a training walk one day - and there was the piece of plywood that I needed on the side of the road!

I spent the afternoon designing the arrows and drawing them on the plywood. I borrowed a jigsaw and had just started to awkwardly cut them out - when a neighbour dropped by and offered to cut them for me. Within an hour or two - he was back with all 12 arrows done!
The base for my yellow arrows - ready for creativity :)
I spray-painted the arrows black. And was ready to create the first prototype. I planned to create the rest of the arrows while I was walking.
My first yellow mosaic arrow - a work in progress.
 To be continued....

*NOTE: Here is a wonderful article about the Camino yellow arrows, written by Debby Lee Jagerman.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Perfect Evening

We were blessed once again with a lovely summer evening - for our Summer Solstice Peace Walk at the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth, held Thursday June 21, 2108.   Everyone that attended had a good time celebrating the first day of summer. The new community dream catcher was completed and is now hanging in its new home by the labyrinth.

The special feeling of the event is best expressed through some of the photos taken.
Debby talks about the meaning of the dreamcatcher.
The community gathers to celebrate the beginning of summer at the labyrinth.
The Rhythm & Song Community choir sings to accompany the walk.
The dreamcatcher is placed at the centre of the labyrinth and participants add items to it.
Labyrinth walkers of all ages participate.
The new community dreamcatcher is now hanging in its new home by the labyrinth.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer Solstice Peace Walk

From 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. on Thursday June 21st, 2018, the Labyrinth Committee will present a "Summer Solstice Peace Walk” at the Community Labyrinth in Carleton Place.

With this summer 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 even been used for bringing peace and reconciliation between individuals in conflict.

"I believe that walking the path of the labyrinth can bring peace to those who seek it," says Stephanie Bray, a volunteer for The Labyrinth Committee of Carleton Place.

Join us for an evening labyrinth walk and help to collaboratively create a community dreamcatcher.   During the walk – the Rhythm and Song Community Choir directed by Jennifer Noxon – will sing songs with the theme of “Peace”.

All are welcome! You are invited to picnic in the garden beforehand.

Donations in support of the Labyrinth Commitee’s programming are gratefully accepted.

Carleton Place Community Labyrinth is located beside the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum, at 267 Edmund St.

For more information contact Christine at 613-859-2136

Friday, May 25, 2018

Preparing for a Pilgrimage Walk

As I prepare for "My Camino" - a 240 km walk from Ottawa to Montreal on the Chemin des Outaouais, I realize part of my preparation is capturing some reflections from a wonderful pilgrimage that I went on - in 2013.  This article is published here with permission from our trip leaders and fellow pilgrims.
We gather at a sacred site in Paris before starting our pilgrimage.
Women Walking: Purposeful Pilgrimage
By: MJ McGregor and Lisa Gidlow Moriarity 

Every year, we walk. A newly formed small band of women comes together in France with a single purpose: to traverse cities, villages, open fields, thick forests and waterways, following ancient routes from Paris to Chartres.
Our backpacks adorned with scallop shells, an ancient symbol of pilgrimage.
We all have different reasons for going. Some walk for exercise, some to experience life uncluttered. Some walk in memory, some in celebration and some for the challenge. Each walks to step outside the daily norm, to meet other women willing to adventure, to explore deeply and to learn about oneself.
We walk and talk for several days, immersed in the landscape.
Pilgrimage takes many forms. This annual journey follows familiar paths, from planning to arrival at the final destination. Yet no two pilgrimages are the same. Not unlike traversing the paths of a familiar labyrinth, it is a new experience each time we step onto the path. So we continue the walk, enjoying the challenge and delighting in how wise women of various ages join to share stories, laugh, know silence and support one another. We create the structure for wonder and opening to the beauty that surrounds us.
One day we have a spontaneous potluck picnic on the shores of the Eure River.
Women are nurturing, caring and hospitable creatures. Strap on a backpack, tie on some walking shoes and step out along ancient routes, and there is shared joy and excitement. Each year the route is revised. There is always discovery. As co-leaders, we learn how to improve and what to avoid. Each year is a new mix of personalities and abilities. All learn what is necessary to pack and how to lighten the load. Everyone also packs her own life experience - stories and spiritual gifts that are essential, yet add no weight.
Eventually we are on the final leg of our journey and can see Chartes Cathedral way off in the distance.
In shared pilgrimage we see the world through new eyes, listen with open hearts and move with compassion. We walk both individually and in community. We explore new landscapes, both exterior and interior, inviting them to become part of our lives. We become more conscious of what we carry and what we leave behind. When we set the intention of a spiritual pilgrimage, even the physical training becomes a sacred act, as does reading and emotional preparation. When the entire group gathers together for the first time in Paris, joyful anticipation overcomes trepidation. By the time we say our farewells a week later, friendships and shared experiences have bonded us. It is this marvel and delight that inspires us to keep walking every year, walking in wonder and holding space for awe.
Our final destination - the Chartres labyrinth - fills my heart.

MJ McGregor lives in Minneapolis and Lisa Gidlow Moriarty lives in Stillwater. They lead labyrinth events and walking pilgrimages.

There are no more openings in the Sixth Annual 2018 Women's Walking Pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres, France, a small circle of women on a spiritual pilgrimage of soul and sole. We will meet in Paris where we explore ancient pilgrimage sites, then walk for three days along ancient pilgrimage routes through the beautiful French countryside, staying in 4 star hotels along the route, arriving in Chartres midweek. We have three days/nights to explore the medieval town of Chartres, including private time in the crypt and a private candlelight labyrinth walk. Open to only six women plus two leaders each year. Assistance provided for equipment, packing, training, spiritual preparation.
The 2018 cost $1799 includes 7 nights lodging with breakfasts, arrival reception, farewell dinner, cathedral tours and experiences. Airfare not included. 

Contact Lisa Gidlow Moriarty by private FB Message or email to LabyrinthLady (at) for information about the next pilgrimage in 2019.