Walking a labyrinth is meditation, a prayer, a way to destress, or a pilgrimage of the soul. Thich Nhat Hanh says we should walk as if our feet are kissing the earth. I invited high school students to do that last week when walking the labyrinth.
I had the honor of holding space for several classes at Badin High School, a Catholic high school in Hamilton, Ohio. As a graduate of Badin, my facilitating a labyrinth experience was way of giving back to a community which has helped me to find my way. I’m passionate about the labyrinth. I know the life-giving and life-affirming value of it. I know it as a tool for prayer, for managing stress, for encountering the Holy. Holding an experience for Badin was a dream realized. I am grateful to Mr. C for his openness to collaborating with me in providing this experience for his students. We are a Ramily – a family of Ram graduates, supporters and followers. We are One.
I began each class by letting them know I was there because of my mom for two reasons. The first was her love for Badin Baseball and my continued interest in supporting the players. Because I attend the games fairly regularly, I met and got to know the psychology and French teacher, Mr. C. We quickly discovered we had a shared interest in the value of the labyrinth as a way to calm and manage stress, meditate and a way to pray. When he learned that I had a Chartres style canvas labyrinth, he was all in!
The second reason, I told the students, was also because of my mom. I shared my first experience with walking a labyrinth about two months after my mother had died. By paying attention to my breathing and slowing down, I began to move from shock into traveling the road of grief. Grief is a part of our journey. I soon learned the value of the labyrinth as way to lean into difficult emotions, a way to get clarity and inspiration and a way to celebrate joy.
Prior to leaving the classroom and walking to the activities center, I shared how students might approach the experience of walking. Release, Receive, Return and Remember. Release and let go of worries and plans and walk toward the center. Once there, receive Grace, Light, Love or whatever is needed. Return by the same path and bring with you what you received. And then Remember. I encouraged them to journal about it or talk about it. I suggested that in the coming days they can always remember what they felt and noticed.
Mr. C and I made sure we had lap labyrinths available for those students with mobility issues. A few students opted to not engage at all in the process. Most entered with curiosity, respect, and even reverence. Most sensed the sacredness of the space.
We placed battery powered votive candles in the lunations, a candle in the center, and played soothing music to create a calm and peaceful environment.
I almost do not have the words to explain how receptive and gracious these young men and women were to this new experience. I was awed by young athletes holding hands in prayer in the center. I felt joy observing some students walk with a spirit of play and a spring in their steps. Each group held a different energy. Some bowed at the beginning of their walk. Some made the sign of the cross. All seemed to find the experience meaningful and helpful.
I am grateful to Mr. C and rest of the faculty, staff and administration for their openness to this experience. I have heard positive feedback from everyone. Folks, the honor was all mine.
Ram Dass, the American spiritual teacher, guru of modern yoga, psychologist, and author, said “we are all just walking each other home”. Thank you, Mr. C and Badin students, for walking with me.
Blessings ~ Christy
(Photos courtesy of Stephen T. Badin High School. I do not own the copyright to these photos.)
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction however, if you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, grief work, SoulCollage©, labyrinth, Reiki, or mindfulness meditation please contact me. If you, your faith community, book club, or other gathering of spirits would like to know more about spiritual companioning, hold a workshop, learn about SoulCollage® or labyrinth, please contact me to schedule a workshop. May these musings, photos, social media postings serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)