I’m not quite sure where the thought came from this morning, but I’ve been trying to remember when and where my very first encounter with the concept of a labyrinth occurred. A radio interviewer once asked me that very question and it stumped me at the time. I’m not talking about when I first walked one, but rather when this intriguingly, engaging symbol emerged in my consciousness. For some reason it’s really important to me that I nail the question because that first encounter has certainly impacted my life in quite significant and profound ways. Who would have thought!
Come to think about it, our lives are a complex cluster of threads that have starting points in different places and at different times. Right now many of you may be grappling with learning new technical skills, or thinking about delivering learning in new ways for your students, or ways of managing your life ‘patterns’ differently, or engaging in a one-off experience. Some of those threads already have scheduled end points while others continue onwards. And of those that continue, the end can be known or unknown, expected or unexpected. But one thing is certain: everything starts somewhere.
So back to the question! Fragments from my memory bank have made themselves known to me! The wakening to labyrinths started several years before I actually walked one. I was involved in creating online resources for teachers and schools on a national scale, and I remember that I was looking for student resources to bring more affective elements to values education. It seemed to me that there was an over-emphasis on cognitive elements. And in a Google search one day, there it was. Something that could be experienced! And what’s more, something that could value-add to values education. So my journey with labyrinths has been fourteen or fifteen years long. I wish I could remember or find the very first reference, but that has escaped! Time moves on; the thread continues and has split into many strands.
Since then I have:
· become a devoted labyrinth walker and seeker-outer of labyrinths in my travels, both interstate and overseas
· been actively involved in the building of a large outdoor Chartres-design labyrinth in the Barossa Valley and I am still involved with the management of it
· built several smaller ones in my own (former) garden
· painted wall labyrinths for my (now) garden and home
· made several portable labyrinths of various designs for indoor workshops
· trained as a Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator
· led a variety of community events incorporating labyrinth walks
· introduced many groups to labyrinth walking
· facilitated teacher workshops and class activities in schools
· incorporated labyrinth walking into school resource learning sequences
· developed reflective walks for teacher professional growth through my FB page,
· begun work on an illustrated Children’s Book
Just over two months ago I introduced a new arm to enodatio’s online range of resources for teacher personal and professional development and growth, and by extension for students. It is Learning with Labyrinths which is proving to be a very supportive and effective tool on many fronts, viz.
self growth, professional growth, reflective thinking, mindfulness, meditation
emotional health and wellbeing, spirituality
curriculum connections (and these are huge!)
celebrations, rituals and events (creativity knows no bounds!)
Walking a labyrinth engages one or more dimensions of our being human: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual (depending on the walk’s purpose). And so its benefits can be multi-dimensional. Think mind/body/spirit.
In addition to the ongoing design and development of enodatio’s labyrinth resources, I Chair the Australian Labyrinth Network (ALN) Schools Working Group. And I am finding that my long experience in design and development of resources for teacher professional learning is marrying beautifully with all of this new labyrinth work that at times seems to be writing itself (eg on sunset beach walks).
Don’t know anything about labyrinths? Fear not! Everything you need to know to get started, and go beyond, is here
Already using labyrinths in your life and work? Be further inspired with our new resources