A peaceful journey through the labyrinth

Many people have walked the Labyrinth at St. Mary’s Anglican Church to find rest or peace.

With the busyness of everyday life and the fast-paced environment that is faced day after day it is important to slow down and find time for some peace.

Some make time to enjoy a relaxing tea, exercise, or crash on the couch after a stressful week but there are residents in Ponoka who are finding a different way to revitalize themselves.

The Labyrinth, which is set up every Wednesday at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, is a way for people to connect with God, find solace, slow down or find answers.

Deb Stevens brought the Labyrinth to Ponoka initially for her own personal reasons but knew she couldn’t just keep this for herself and now shares it with the community.

Stevens says that some may think of it as a maze but that it is not. She says a maze is meant to confuse people and a labyrinth only has one way in and one way out. Stevens believes that the people who come to walk the labyrinth walk it for many different reasons.

“It’s a form of a walking meditation and designed to slow you down,” said Stevens. “People come because of life decisions, stress, or they just need some quiet and some peace. Sometimes people looking for an answer may get one, but it could be that they’ll get enough calmness to find an answer or make a decision.”

The labyrinth is a copy of the one that is in the Cathedral of Chartres in France that which was used as a pilgrimage at a time when it was unsafe to trek to the Holy Land. It quickly became thought of as a new Jerusalem.

Even though the labyrinth has been used for spiritual journeys Stevens says that anyone can take part in it and have that experience.

“Whether it’s God, creator, or peace it doesn’t matter,” she said. “You don’t have to qualify to walk it, you just come as you are.”

Before entering the labyrinth you can light a candle to represent a loved one or something that is in your thoughts, there is also a singing bowl that you can chime to mark the beginning and completion of your journey into the labyrinth.

The goal is to walk to the centre of the labyrinth and there are three parts to the walk. The first part involves releasing and getting rid of the worries in your head. Stevens says it can be difficult to calm those nagging thoughts and stresses and to focus on a specific phrase, concentrate on your breathing or look at the narrow path of the labyrinth to calm those thoughts.

The next part of the process is coming to the centre, which Stevens says is a form of receiving. It is a time to be still and listen or pray.

Leaving the circle is the last part of the walk.

“When you’re ready you leave and take what you received on the labyrinth and bring it with you into the world,” said Stevens.

The labyrinth is open every Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and everyone is invited to come and experience what the labyrinth has to offer.

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