Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Light up the Labyrinth - a Collaborative Event!

We asked for your help - and you listened!  We are a small committee and asked for help this year to Light up the Labyrinth starting at 6 PM.  Another challenge presented itself - when the temperature dropped and we had to make sure to dress warmly.  Despite everything it turned out to be a wonderful evening. We couldn't have done it without your support.  The photos and comments below help to tell the story!  A special thanks to our photographers: Robert McDonald and Veena Balsawer.

View of the labyrinth luminaries being set up - through the trees.

Many hands make setting up the 600 luminaries effortless.
"What a lovely evening!  It was the first time my friend Judy had been to a labyrinth at all and she liked it a lot.  It was fun with all the kids...a great family and community time."
The enthusiasm of the children helping was contagious!

"The event was wonderful... I loved how the community all pitched in to help. Very special."

Our strolling minstrel musician, Kerron Lamb, added to the spirit of the evening.

"I especially enjoyed the singer/guitarist and the digery doo player as added ambiance."
At dusk the glowing luminaries lit the path.
"The luminarias were gorgeous and the kids had a lot of fun."
Kids often start joyfully running upon entering the labyrinth.
Some jugglers joined in the happy celebration of light!
So thankful to all who attended our Light Up the Labyrinth event to celebrate light, harvest, gratitude, peace and joy.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

10 Ways to Light up the Labyrinth!

In preparation for our upcoming "Light up the Labyrinth" event - I put this post onto several labyrinth-related Facebook group pages:  Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth; The Labyrinth Society on Facebook; and Friends of Toronto Public Labyrinth.  We were pleased to receive lots of fun suggestions!

"If anyone has suggestions for simple ways to light up the labyrinth let us know...‪#‎lightupthelabyrinth"‬

#1 I've used battery operated tealights and strings of Christmas lights...both work beautifully. If you use Christmas lights, clear packing tape is helpful to hold it down so that walkers don't trip or break the little lights. Rope lights are most durable. (Myra Ryneheart Corcoran)
Walkers enjoying a portable illuminated rope labyrinth.
 #2 Have also found cheap plastic battery operated lanterns at the Dollar Store - some with flowers and butterflies, and in different colors. (Myra Ryneheart Corcoran)
Butterflies help to Light up the Labyrinth!
#3 Glow in the dark paint (found at any big hardware/paint store like Lowes or Home Depot) is also an option. You could paint rocks, wood blocks, anything that fit your labyrinth and aesthetics. (Myra Ryneheart Corcoran)  Step-by-step instructions - how to make these jars!
Glow in the dark jars being set along the labyrinth path.
#4 Tea-lights in jam jars? All attending could bring one. (Jim Newman)

#5 Another idea for lighting up the night: if you break open a glow stick into a jar of bubbles, the kids (young and old) can blow glow-in-the-dark bubbles. (Hallie Sawyers)
Have some fun making glow-in-the-dark bubbles with glow sticks!
#6 BYOC? Bring your own candle. (Nicole Bourassa-Burke)

#7 Michaels has glow in the dark cording (Lori Haskings-Barber)

#8 Glow in the dark tape is another great option. You can just tape your wrists or create cool designs on your clothing or sneakers. (Chris Hume)

#9 Be part of the light and wear your glow in the dark clothing!! (Debby Lytle)

#10 Luminarias. Tealights on sand inside a brown bag. (Rafael Vallejo)
Luminarias will light up the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth on Friday, September 12th.

If you have any other suggestions - let us know!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Help us "Light up the Labyrinth"

On Friday September 12th, the warm glow of more than 600 candlelit luminaries will flicker along the path of Carleton Place's Community Labyrinth for this year's "Light up the Labyrinth".
In a departure from other evening labyrinth walks, organizers are asking participants to gather at 6:00 pm. at the labyrinth to prepare and place luminaries for a 7:00 candlelit walk.

Debby Lytle, Chairperson for the Labyrinth Committee, explains: "This year, we thought we'd change it up a bit. We are a very small committee and really need some extra hands to make this event happen.  Join us at the labyrinth at 6 pm to help assemble and place the luminaries then everyone will have a chance to be part of lighting up the labyrinth at 7 pm before the walk begins.  If you have a BBQ lighter bring it along and if people are able to assist with the dismantling of the luminaries at the end of the night, that would be a great help as well!"

The Labyrinth Committee of Carleton Place invites you to bring out your lanterns, glow-sticks or flashlights and join our evening walk. This year, we are fortunate to have live music with local musician Kerron Lamb.

Our candlelit labyrinth walks have become a popular fall event, as individuals and families from across the region bring along their festive lanterns, and enjoy a walk in the crisp autumn air. "Children love this particular night-time event. It's a chance to bring along one of their own lantern creations." says Julia Heathcote, a volunteer labyrinth keeper.  To add to the after-dark fun for children, glow in the dark face painting will also be available.
Kids love carrying their own lantern to light the labyrinth path!
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.

For more information, or if you would like to help prepare the luminaries, please contact Debby at 613-257-1014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Creativity on the Labyrinth

A thought occurred to me this summer - that I could start a 30 labyrinth walk journey!  And after each walk I would create a different mandala - using a process that I learned taking a wonderful workshop taught by Kathryn Kasaboski at the Margeurite Centre in Pembroke a couple of years ago.
Mandala supplies - card stock, colour pencils and a pencil sharpener
During the workshop we learned how this ancient symbol can be used for deeper personal reflection, meditation, healing and insight.  Our teacher had been studying and using mandalas for many years - and saw them as a great way to connect with our subconscious and bring questions and problems into the physical plane so we can find new ways to solve life issues.  

We used black card stock and a white pencil crayon to quickly sketch the mandala imagery that came to mind. Then spent some time adding more details with coloured pencils.  Finally we made note of the theme or message that came through to us.

Before walking the labyrinth I have no idea of the theme or central image for the mandala I will be creating that day.  I simply give myself the gift of time to be at the labyrinth and set an intention as a start.  Then I walk to the centre of labyrinth (releasing any cares and worries of the day), spend time at the centre - giving myself time to receive the idea of the visual for the mandala, then return and finish off the walk by creating a mandala. A few examples follow:
A feather found during my walk - inspires this mandela "Free to Be"
Spending quiet reflective time near water reminds me to "Flow Like a River"
A walk at the Stewart Park temporary labyrinth encourages me to "Challenge Myself"
Today I learn to "Listen to my Heart" instead my "Head"
I am reminded that I am on an "Inward Journey"
I am enjoying the creative process of my 30 labyrinth walk journey - and am not really certain where it is taking me - but I will know when I get there!

Have you created any artwork inspired by labyrinth walking?  If so - we would love to hear about your experiences. 

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!