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Labyrinth on video

I’ve now set up a new YouTube playlist for Labyrinth Around America, where you’ll find a few little videos that I’ve already made, and where I’ll be adding more when the labyrinth gets back on the road later this year. Please do visit and, if you have a YouTube login, subscribe (there’s no bombarding of videos if you do!). You can find my playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhQ3JY0kOuQ9Scsrn8EatfkbQIAtfgUT-, where you can also check out my introduction video!

LAAIntr7

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END OF PART THREE

All too soon, I’ve reached the end of the third leg of the LaA journey. The labyrinth is now on its Spring/Summer break, looked after in Lancaster, PA in the capable hands of Carmel. Here, it will doubtless have a few outings, beginning with a “Soul Collage” workshop that Carmel hosted this past weekend.

My plan is to return in September, to continue with the labyrinth on its journey from where we left off , in New Orleans.

This past couple of weeks have exposed me to the most outstanding hospitality, while at the same time, offered several reminders of some of the painful suffering that some individuals and communities are encountering. I have been spiritually uplifted and humbled, while the labyrinth’s work along its path has been steadily more revealed to me.

I have much to reflect upon as I head home for a short while, ever more conscious of the vital work of healing that encounters with the labyrinth (as well as in many other ways) need to play.

Thank you to all who have supported and played their part along this leg, either physically in person, or remotely with your prayers and well wishing. I, and the labyrinth, depend on this.

A FITTING MEMORIAL

These beautiful statues stand (or sit) around the grounds of the Louisiana Memorial Plaza in Baton Rouge. This was a location for several stops for the finger labyrinth yesterday, with my thoughts turning to those who serve in the Navy (USS Kidd is moored here), live, work, or depend on the river, and of course for the state capital itself.

Along one path, pairs of statues in varying degrees of standoff, coming together in mirroring each other as a focal circular pool/fountain is reached. It struck me that the reflections whole walking this path, while it may be straight, and the coming to a center of sorts, drew me not unlike walking a small labyrinth.

I had nearly not stopped by, having offered up my only quart to a malfunctioning parking metre, but am very pleased that I did.

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CROSSING THE THRESHOLD

The labyrinth has now moved to its “summer home” in Pennsylvania (I will be venturing back to the UK next week). Its first mission was taking part in a very special workshop in Lancaster, PA, co-hosted by labyrinth ambassador Carmel Stabley, and SoulCollage (R) facilitator Teresa Knipper.

As I have been for the past few weeks, Carmel is now guardian for the labyrinth for the next few months, and will be offering it at various planned, and possibly a few unplanned, events.

Today’s (Saturday’s) workshop was my first exposure to Soul Collage, other than for skim reading on the principle, and proved to be one that spoke powerfully to me. Combining exercises with work in the labyrinth (including a group walk in which I was happy to be a participant), seemed to enhance the rich experience.

Carmel had prepared the space beautifully, honouring the sacred space that the labyrinth provides. The cards that were created by each person attending were carried into the labyrinth, and later laid out at its centre. We each offered a blessing for every card, and gave thanks for the messages and guidance that each offered for its creator.

The theme of the workshop, gateways and thresholds, is well represented by the labyrinth, with its invitation to step over its own threshold and into liminal space. Soul Collage inspires important leadings that seem to emerge from the unknown. How appropriate then that the two should work perfectly together.

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BACK TO THE BEGINNING (PERHAPS)

It struck me as I was driving toward New Orleans that this was the city were I think I had the first flashes of undertaking a journey such as LaA. I’d visited the city just before the TLS Gathering in Houston in late 2016, and had been wondering in an inner city area.

The overgrown grass, bombed out old factories, and mix of barbed wire and glass, juxtaposed with the odd lone surviving store fascinated me. I love to see all aspects of the urban landscape, and wondered whether there might be a cause for me to go routing through other cities.

The full inspiration for LaA came several days later when I was in Houston, and was confirmed for me when I walked the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral shortly after.

I returned close to that initial sight of inspiration yesterday (though not the exact spot). The factory was still there, but the grass looked a little less wild than when I had first visited. Maybe someone had already set about “greening the path”?

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WHAT IS THAT THING?

This was the question I was asked by a bar maid at the bistro I stopped by yesterday, in Audubon Park, New Orleans. I had the finger labyrinth with me, which I’d been using to mark spots and pray for different neighbourhoods around the city, and had rested it on the corner of the bar.

I naturally explained what I was bearing with me, and used it as an illustration to enquire where the labyrinth in the park that I’d been told about was. Four members of staff were called to help fathom an answer to my question, and I was pointed in the direction of the zoo, which is close to where the labyrinth is, within the sound of the elephants’ calls.

“Maybe you might like to walk it sometime?” I suggested to the now enlightened bar lady as I paid my check. “Yeah,” she said , as I bid her farewell, “I’ll add that to my bucket list.”

I never found the labyrinth by the zoo, but it was the trees lining the lawn along the zoo’s periphery that were calling me to lay down my own labyrinth. I think the elephants may have been sleeping, as the only animals that I could hear were birds.

Other stopping points for the smaller labyrinth in the NOLA area were: Fairway Drive, Pine / Sigmore Street, Perrier Street, Audubon Park (various), Orange Street / Tchoupitoulas Street.

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GREEN ON GREEN, GOING FOR A LABYRINTH GOAL

I love it when a plan comes together, but it’s also good when one doesn’t, but rather something else happens in its place. This has happened a number of times on this leg, and was the case recently when I’d hoped to pay a visit to a church in Jackson, MS, but which visit didn’t seem destined to work out.

My wonderful host Carolyn and I had been connected just a few days before, and the opening that appeared was for us to lay the labyrinth in the bowl (a beautiful green lawn) at the splendid campus of Millsaps College, right in the heart of the city. Students stopped by, some played a ball game near by (which reminded me of the passing of a ball by priedts at Chartres, that used to happen around the labyrinth there), each of the fine chaplaincy team at the College who had welcomed us also made time in their busy schedules to pass by.

It transpired that Carolyn and I shared several common interests (not just the labyrinth), and when walkers weren’t needing guiding or holding, we sat in the sun, chatting away for hours. I felt like an old friend, and was struck by Carolyn ‘s hard work to make my visit possible. Sadly though, of course, it was all too soon time to pack away the big green canvas, share a hug, and go our separate ways.

A visit to a very welcoming church in Jackson did happen the next day, when (again at short notice), pastor Kyle invited me to join the morning prayer group at St Philip’s Episcopal Church, and then to make the labyrinth available for folks to walk, as a fair few did.

This was a place of warm welcome and keen enthusiasm to bring a labyrinth to the grounds of the church, where anyone can come to walk at any time. Let us pray and hope that that soon comes to fruition.

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, table, shoes, grass, outdoor and nature
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Image may contain: house, tree, sky, outdoor and nature

GREEN ON GREEN, GOING FOR A LABYRINTH GOAL

I love it when a plan comes together, but it’s also good when one doesn’t, but rather something else happens in its place. This has happened a number of times on this leg, and was the case recently when I’d hoped to pay a visit to a church in Jackson, MS, but which visit didn’t seem destined to work out.

My wonderful host Carolyn and I had been connected just a few days before, and the opening that appeared was for us to lay the labyrinth in the bowl (a beautiful green lawn) at the splendid campus of Millsaps College, right in the heart of the city. Students stopped by, some played a ball game near by (which reminded me of the passing of a ball by priedts at Chartres, that used to happen around the labyrinth there), each of the fine chaplaincy team at the College who had welcomed us also made time in their busy schedules to pass by.

It transpired that Carolyn and I shared several common interests (not just the labyrinth), and when walkers weren’t needing guiding or holding, we sat in the sun, chatting away for hours. I felt like an old friend, and was struck by Carolyn ‘s hard work to make my visit possible. Sadly though, of course, it was all too soon time to pack away the big green canvas, share a hug, and go our separate ways.

A visit to a very welcoming church in Jackson did happen the next day, when (again at short notice), pastor Kyle invited me to join the morning prayer group at St Philip’s Episcopal Church, and then to make the labyrinth available for folks to walk, as a fair few did.

This was a place of warm welcome and keen enthusiasm to bring a labyrinth to the grounds of the church, where anyone can come to walk at any time. Let us pray and hope that that soon comes to fruition.

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, table, shoes, grass, outdoor and nature
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ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?

Yesterday, the labyrinth arrived close to the final downstream course of the mighty Mississippi, a thousand miles or so south from where we began our journey in St. Paul, MN, ten months ago. Since then, we’ve made landfall in 25 states (plus the capital). This must be about half way, right?

Well, no. In fact, far from it! The distances across individual states from this point forward get much longer, the gaps between cities more frequent. There is still a very long way to go.

But seeing the Mississippi again, and having returned to Central Time some days ago (along our route, CT began in the far west of the panhandle of Florida), I felt that we’d reached a not insignificant milestone.

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