Surrendering To The Journey
Or, “What’s That Big Pile of Rocks Out There?”
World Labyrinth Day is Saturday, May 7
Nearly everyone has taken note of the recently constructed rock formation at the entrance of the Hot Springs, but few know and understand the full meaning and reason for itsbeing there. You may be asking how walking through a configuration of rocks will create a memorable, meaningful and enjoyable experience, however labyrinths have a long history of doing just that and more. Although their true origin is unknown, labyrinths are recorded in nearly all known ancient civilizations and were a central feature of many Roman Catholic churches during the Middle Ages. The most famous of these is found near Paris, France at the Chartes Cathedral. The Chartes Labyrinth was built somewhere between 1201 and 1220 AD; visitors to the Cathedral still walk the labyrinth on Fridays during the summer months. Labyrinths also grace the parks of cities throughout the world. In fact, the city of New Orleans installed its first permanent labyrinth in Audubon Park as a symbol of hope and renewal after the devastation of hurricane Katrina.
Labyrinths are often confused with mazes. Unlike mazes, labyrinths offer a path to the center, and, although it contains twists and turns, there are no blind alleys, dead ends or crossing of paths with a choice of which way to go. A maze requires the engagement of our more analytical left brain to evaluate, reason and make judgments in order to find the correct path in and out. The labyrinth will always lead you to the center. The way in is the way out. Slowly walking this clearly defined path allows the mind to soften and let go; thoughts fade, allowing a sense of clarity and calm to emerge. The right brain becomes active, allowing creativity and imagination to unfold. In weaving in and around a secure and discernible path, one loses sense of direction. The outside world, filled with cell phones, e-mail, deadlines and commitments, diminishes. In this way, the labyrinth is a metaphor for returning to one’s center.
There are many ways to walk a labyrinth, and while there is no right or wrong way, it is important to embrace the full journey. Walking the path inwardly is symbolic of letting go. The center represents space, peace, connection. The path outwards is metaphor for our relationship with ourselves and others, and how we bring our unique gifts and talents to the world. Trusting and surrendering to the path is akin to the wise teaching, “the journey is the destination.”
Many walk the labyrinth when in times of transition or when faced with a significant life question or decision. While the labyrinth is not a divination tool, the clarity of spirit and mind that is achieved while on its path can bring new insights or, at the very least, a peace of mind to cope with life’s inevitable challenges. As one contemplates the question or issue at hand, a sense of solution or completion is often felt when moving toward the center “destination” of the labyrinth; like life, the labyrinth then takes a turn and the journey-walker finds themselves on a path at the furthest point from the center. As the journey continues, a knowing emerges that grasping the prize or answer will not bring success; rather, only yielding to the ever-changing voyage will lead to the destination, at which time the walker will retrace their path only to begin a new journey at another time.
Glen Ivy’s first permanent labyrinth, located at the entrance of the Hot Springs, was brought in to existence as a way of adding another layer of experience, discovery and wellness for our guests and employees. All are invited to experience the journey of stillness and contemplation that the labyrinth offers. On May 7th, Glen Ivy, along with labyrinth sites world-wide, will be participating in World Labyrinth Day by offering Guided Labyrinth Journey-Walks throughout the day. Guided Journey-Walks are also offered every Wednesday at 11am.
For more information, please visit see the Glen Ivy Hot Springs Schedule of Events and Activities.
Warm Water Wishes,
Director of Guest Experience Programming
Glen Ivy Hot Springs