31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Day 12 ~ Labyrinth Journey

A sense of place(2)Welcome to Day 12 of 31 Days of A Sense of Place.

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“A labyrinth is not a maze. You don’t walk through a labyrinth just to get from one place to the other successfully. You walk the labyrinth to meditate, to encounter yourself and your gods, to meet challenges and overcome them, to become something or someone you weren’t when you wandered in.” — Sterling, “Dreaming My Way Through the Labyrinth”

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reflexologylabyrinthCMBG18Aug2013

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“A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

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When we walk a labyrinth — this map that blurs the difference between map and world — we walk in, then walk out. The design is meant to foster a slow walk, a meditative walk, the felt experience of walking in … and then out. We’re walking in the world, and we’re guided by the map we’re walking on.

local labyrinth, 11 July 2013

There are turns from right to left, back forth, meant to move our awareness almost hypnotically from left to right brain, and the movement through concentric circles to the center is intended to release stored energy. Unlike walking a maze, there are no choices to make when walking a labyrinth; all focus is on the journey itself, the movement left and right, in and out.

Contemplation: Path of Life, Windsor, VT, Sept 2015

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But if we’re aware, and if we don’t have to make many decisions, then other walks — indeed, other trips that don’t even involve walking — can be similar experiences: hiking up a mountain, then back down; hiking into a woods or a meadow, then back out; walking around the garden in a circuit, day in and day out; swimming to a dock and back to shore; even commuting to work, then back home, or driving to a funeral, and back home.

 

In fact, as Jim Nollman says in Why We Garden: Cultivating a Sense of Place (1994), “Although both my garden and my daily walk through it contain no nucleus, no endpoint, no unifying path, [still] the center can reside wherever I am located at any particular moment.”

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Brookgreen Gardens labyrinth, 22 June 2014

“Moving between silence and a sense of place, I saw the pattern of my life winding through the sand.” — Bernard Burt

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reflexologylabyrinthcmbg30May2012

If you haven’t walked a labyrinth in a while, try it, perhaps considering the very ground under your feet, the place you are. And if there’s no labyrinth nearby, then any walk in, walk out, walk around will do, feet connected to the place where you are.

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(my garden in Bath, ME)
(my former garden in Bath, ME)

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Thanks for checking in. Be sure to see what the other 31 Dayers are writing about.

*a sense of place(1)This project is a bit like Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird, in that I’m writing about a sense of place from vantage points that may not obviously connect with each other. I’m not going to attempt to tie them together. In the end, these 31 days of looking at a sense of place may overlap, contradict, form a whole, or collapse like a flan in a cupboard, as Eddie Izzard would say. That remains to be seen. Thanks for stopping by.

One Comment on “31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Day 12 ~ Labyrinth Journey

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Introduction | A Moveable Garden

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