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A Walk to Contemplate

I wonder what strategies our community and the broader global community are embracing, to assist in managing their well-being these days.

We all know that the time we are living in is temporary, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, we are not accustomed to Government Restrictions in Australia, even though we know they are the best strategy for us.

Much of the reading and information flowing my way is that people seem to have settled into a rhythm; after a period of shock, anger, rebellion, confusion and acceptance.

For me, I am certainly aware that today is my two month celebration of going into isolation on 22nd March. I have traveled through a range of emotions, including a fear of going out that brought back strong memories of when I had agoraphobia.

Fortunately, I have had great support from family and friends, through social media, Zoom get-togethers and Facetime calls. Loving technology today.

With restrictions lifting and being able to have some short periods of time with family we can see the glimmer of light shining through darkness.

I am contemplating on how this has been for our mental health. With external activities such as reading, watching plenty of YouTube, SBS on Demand and the fabulous programs from arts companies I have managed the surface layers of my need to interact.

I am half-way through an online study course that has encouraged learning self-awareness, as a base to Leadership Development. Within this I started revisiting past writing and study that has assisted me with reflection, introspection and contemplation.

The quiet thinking of contemplation can be stimulated by meditative, repetitive actions.

Walking a Labyrinth assists to relieve stress, helps calm the mind and settle anxiety.

The practice of slowing walking a Labyrinth into the center, then returning to the outside, concentrating on each step and following the guided pathway; allows the mind to slow down, to slowly contemplate each movement of both physical and mental activity.

A labyrinth walk is a journey in a secure, guided environment; it is a personal journey with individual experiences.

Labyrinths are one of the ancient symbols of humankind, found on rock carvings, petroglyphs and ancient inscriptions. Still relevant today, take some time to walk a Labyrinth, the slow journey of the unicursal single pathway continues to function for the act of contemplation.

The attached are images of the construction and central painting of the Labyrinth at the Warrandyte Uniting Church.

The Labyrinth was Blessed and opened to the Community to use at their pleasure in April 2015.

The Labyrinth is continually accessible, and waiting for all to take a walk

Thank you Ken Keam for photography of Denise in action.

Other Photos by Denise

An Introduction to the Warrandyte Uniting Church Labyrinth.

Labyrinths are pathways to walk. Labyrinths are not like mazes or puzzles in that they have a clear path with movement inwards and outwards from the centre. To walk the labyrinth is to engage in a meditative, healthy practice that can link you to what is valuable and sacred in community with others. For, even if you walk the labyrinth alone, you are engaging with others who have walked it before and engaged in a communal practice.

This labyrinth built by local volunteers is set in a community interactive space. The centre of the labyrinth is painted and designed by artist Denise Keele-Bedford to portray an image of peace; re-imagining the central image from the nearby mosaic peace wall and using indigenous colours.

There are many ways to walk a labyrinth. Some choose to take their concerns with them while they walk, whilst others choose to leave them behind. Some wear shoes, some walk barefoot. A suggestion as you walk this Peace labyrinth is to pause as you begin, and choose an option which could be:

  • a question on your mind and heart
  • a hope for your community, the world
  • contemplate the beauty of this place
  • a desire for peace and wellbeing

Then, slow down enter, and walk into the centre of the labyrinth and out again, open to what might come, as you perhaps find some meaning and peace.

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