5.16.2011 It was really an amazing experience. Avondale Presbyterian’s Sacred Garden and Labyrinth is beautiful. I look forward to my future walks. Thank you, Mary, Elizabeth and Susan for journeying with me.

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Sacred Gardens & Labyrinth

Truly unique to Charlotte, our beautiful Sacred Gardens, Columbarium and Labyrinth are a welcome place for spiritual reflection.

via Worship and Music.

Taking a labyrinth walk is a modern revival of an ancient spiritual custom. The labyrinth, a winding one-way path which leads walkers into and back out of a central space, offers a kind of body meditation which parallels the inner journey of prayer and reflection.

Difficulty: Moderate

Instructions

1

Prepare to walk. Take some time to transition from your everyday life to the labyrinth experience. Remove your watch. Slow your breathing. Still your mind. Open yourself to possibilities. Think about, or write in a journal, your intentions for the experience: questions, affirmations, feelings. Leave your personal belongings in a secure place. Take off your shoes, a traditional sign of respect for a sacred space, and required for walking some painted labyrinths.

2

Begin your journey. Pause at the entrance to the labyrinth to take a cleansing breath and focus your attention. You may ask a question, say a prayer or recite an affirmation. Some people choose to bow or make another ritual gesture to signal the beginning of their walk.

3

Walk the inward path. Put one foot in front of the other, and walk at a measured pace that is comfortable for you. On the way in, focus on letting go of things you want to leave behind and releasing things that stand in the way of your spiritual journey. Pause when you need to. Don’t focus on the center as a goal; be present in each step of the inward path.

4

Spend time in the center. Take as long as you wish. You may stand, sit, kneel or lie down. This part of the journey is about being present to your inmost self and to the power of the divine. You may pray, journal or simply be open to the stillness. Respect the boundaries of others with whom you share this sacred space.

5

Take the return path. When you are ready to leave the center, begin walking back the way you came. On this part of the journey, focus on what you will bring out from the center and back into your life. As before, pause when you need to. Resist the temptation to sprint to the finish line: the return journey is as important as every other part of the labyrinth.

6

Reflect on the journey. When you leave the labyrinth, you may pause make another gesture or say a prayer. Before leaving the area, take some time to reflect on insights you’ve gained, or make notes in your journal to explore further later.

via How to Walk a Labyrinth | eHow.com.

The vision of Veriditas, The World-Wide Labyrinth Project, is to activate and facilitate the transformation of the Human Spirit. Veriditas’ work to transform the Human Spirit centers around the Labyrinth Experience as a personal practice for healing and growth, a tool for community building, an agent for global peace and a metaphor for the blossoming of the Spirit in our lives. Veriditas offers events in the United States and the annual Walking a Sacred Path program at Chartres Cathedral in France.

The Labyrinth Society is oriented toward bringing labyrinth enthusiasts together in order to share their interest, energy, and expertise. Its mission is to support those who create, maintain and use labyrinths, and to serve the global community by providing education, networking, and opportunities for experiencing transformation. The Labyrinth Society maintains an extensive website with information about labyrinths, regional and national events, and forums for connecting with other enthusiasts. The Labyrinth Society also stages an annual Conference and Gathering, sponsors a global World Labyrinth Day, and other international events.

via World-Wide Labyrinth Locator – Welcome.

FPC’s Easter service was beautiful … I loved the music and feel blessed for the music ministry at our church … “Sing and Rejoice” … “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” … “Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound” … “Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” … “In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” … “The Day of Resurrection” … “Christ is Alive” … hallelujah” …

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I think I would like to do a labyrinth tour of Charlotte. Anybody interested?

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Almetto Howey Alexander was a woman with a dAream.And as she approached artist Tom Schulz that November day in 2007, she knew he was the one who could help her make it come true.The two had never met, but both had come to the center courtyard at Charlotte’s Presbyterian Hospital for the public unveiling of Schulz’s latest labyrinth – a geometric flat surface with a circuitous path that leads to a center and often brings spiritual peace, even transformation, to those who walk it.”I want one of these,” Alexander told Schulz.”One of what?” he asked.”A labyrinth.”Before that first conversation was over, Schulz had said “yes ma’am” to this elderly black woman and to her dream to have a labyrinth – a place of prayer in motion – for her community in northwest Charlotte.Today at 1 p.m., the McCrorey Family YMCA on Beatties Ford Road will unveil the Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth. Schulz’s latest concrete creation is an inspirational outside space that measures 40 by 55 feet and combines ancient African symbols with elements from Alexander’s life and philosophy as a teacher, church member and civil rights activist.It’s believed to be the only Afro-centric labyrinth in the United States and, according to officials at the McCrorey Y, the only labyrinth at a YMCA anywhere in the world.

via Her gift to us: A path to peace – CharlotteObserver.com.

I usually go to a Sunday School class that focuses on current news … it is called the Wired Word. This week’s topic was NASCAR, which is both a local and national news topic. ;) Kirk Hall opened with the question, “How do you/we define religion?” Very interesting question. From Kirk’s weekly e-mail …

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NASCAR was born in the Bible Belt and has always welcomed pre-race invocations and religious symbols on cars. The biblical image of running a good race comes to life on the track, and many drivers become saints — especially after their deaths. Fans of the sport value tradition, as well as the risks involved. But has stock-car racing become a kind of civil religion, one that can lead Christians astray? So our next class will focus on the spirituality of NASCAR and how it both helps and hinders the practice of the Christian faith.