“No one belongs here more than you”
I went to pick Finn up from school the other day and had half an hour to spare.
I knew there was a labyrinth a couple of blocks away and decided to check it out, and maybe walk it, since I had a bit of time.
It’s a beautiful labyrinth, tucked away at the back of a little cottage.
This cottage is home to a spiritual book store. The labyrinth is laid out over a small yard with grey and white river stones, and is bounded by a low hedge with a gap at the entrance to the path.
At this entrance is a small sign. Here is my artistic rendering of the sign:
the first rule of labyrinths
I walk labyrinths. I like to paint, color, and study them as well. I also run labyrinth workshops, and my main goal in a workshop is to make labyrinths available to everyone.
Because labyrinths are fun.
And surprisingly easy to work with once you’ve got the general idea. They’re also a powerful way to centre yourself, get in touch with your intuition, and feel peace.
I like to help people work with labyrinths in a way that fits them. Some people want to walk them. Others might want to sit at the kitchen table to colour one in, or keep a finger labyrinth in their desk drawer.
Labyrinths come in many forms and sizes.
And they’re helpful, so why not make them accessible to everyone? Even children. Especially children.
Children instinctively know the first rule of labyrinths: “There’s no right way to walk a labyrinth.”
To them, a labyrinth isn’t a meditative space, or a spiritual tool. It’s a thing. They jump in and play with it, and maybe fun happens.
the quality of belonging
What really bugged me about that sign was the sense of exclusion.
We’ve all been excluded. And we all know being excluded doesn’t feel good.
Also, who gets to say what a meditative space is anyway? Every space is a meditative space if we bring a meditative mind to it.
I’ve struggled with a meditation practice for many years. Sometimes it’s strong and at other times it’s a mess, but when everything’s going well I always feel at least a small glimmer of belonging.
When preparing for a walk I have a private ritual of opening the labyrinth. I go around the outside and fill it up with intentions and qualities I’d like to be there for myself, or whoever is going to walk it.
I don’t know that I’ve ever put in the quality of belonging, but it will be a standard from now on.
children + meditation + space
My current labyrinth is painted on the driveway in acrylic paint. It’s a miniature seven-circuit replica of the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France. It’s painted in a very meditative shade of purple.
Finn and Fred ride their bikes all over it.
They also walk it, run it, scream it, blow bubbles across it, play soccer in it, and have treasure hunts in it.
When things are getting out of control, sometimes I’ll open up the door and invite them to walk the labyrinth. They’re usually happy to do it, and a couple of minutes is all it takes to settle them down. At least a bit.
When things are getting out of control, sometimes I’ll open the door and invite myself to walk the labyrinth. That helps too.
Often when I walk the labyrinth one, or both, of the boys will grab a leg and not let go. Or they’ll come flying at me on a tricycle. Sometimes they’ll push past then walk, or run, in front of me (because everything is a race).
Whenever this happens my meditative space falls to pieces, and I’m left walking around in circles with two gorgeous, funny, sometimes maddening, always miraculous and lovable boys. Which is kind of where I started anyway.