by Diane Craig
Many of us celebrate New Year’s Eve reviewing the previous year and reflecting on the one ahead. For years, I’ve celebrated the last day of the year with my cat, making the inevitable resolutions list, watching the ball drop in Times Square and popping a cork at midnight. This year, I thought the labyrinth walk at Emmanuel Episcopal Church would be an interesting change of pace.
It was indeed.
Having never walked a labyrinth, I wasn’t sure what to expect and appreciated the warm welcome I received inside the front French doors of the Parish House. I was encouraged to be open to the experience as I proceeded to the labyrinth.
Immediately, I was struck by the incredible stillness. Votive candles between strings of white lights gave the room a magical feel, and the background music created a peaceful, nurturing environment. I was encouraged to begin when I was ready and to allow the spirit to direct my movements. There was no right or wrong way to travel the design; I would not get lost or stuck.
Labyrinths date back thousands of years and have been associated with healing, meditation and prayer. Nancy Ayer, the creator of the labyrinth that lay on the floor of the parish hall, believes their attraction lies in the power of the experience.
“There are as many ways to move through a labyrinth as there are people who walk through them,” she said. “At the very least, we end up feeling peaceful.”
I started at the beginning. I felt awkward, self-conscious and out of balance. The more I walked, the less I worried about my awkwardness. I felt calm. Grateful. When I felt it was time to leave, I was asked to pick a rolled piece of paper from a basket. Taking a few minutes to contemplate the experience, I slowly opened the message.
“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” Rumi
Smiling, I slid the paper in my sweater pocket.
The angst of the past year melted away in that room, and I ended the year with a new ritual, and a sense of serenity.