Walking a labyrinth (not a maze!) encourages mindfulness by helping you focus your attention and relax at the same time. No obstacles exist on the path to the center, so you can fully focus on the walk. The Sullivan University Wellness Center does a quarterly layout of the classical labyrinth in a soothing environment indoors to help students relax around exam or holiday times when stress can mount up.
A labyrinth is one circular path: to the center and back again. You enter it, walk it to its center and then return, only with greater awareness. Labyrinths date back about 4,500 years with evidence across many cultures through the centuries in all parts of the globe. Thus the labyrinth is not only unicursal (one circular path) but also universal (among all sorts of ethnic and religious cultures). Labyrinths are now being revived around the world.
The LabyrinthLocator.com website lists as many as are registered and it is a large list. Two modern organizations that collaborate to promote labyrinths are The Labyrinth Society and Veriditas. The latter also trains and certifies labyrinth facilitators, who are then deemed as qualified to educate, guide and help process labyrinth experiences.
Spencerian College Nursing students participated in a labyrinth research project at Sullivan’s Louisville campus in July to experience and learn about labyrinths. Furthermore, Sullivan’s Ft. Knox campus hosted a layout for the entire base in October. Elsewhere in the community, a local church asked for a labyrinth layout in December as a spiritual resource, and Norton Hospital recently built a labyrinth at the Oncology Center for healing and grief issues.
If you’re interested in seeing how walking a labyrinth can help you, Sullivan’s Liberty Labyrinth at Farmington is open outdoors during daylight hours at the former hemp plantation. “Walk the path to quiet the mind,” invites us to experience less stress through more mindfulness. If you want to have a trained facilitator present to learn more, ask Dr. Renee, the wellness director, to be there or meet with her before or after your walk.
About the Author:
Renee Rust-Yarmuth is Sullivan University’s certified wellness director/ advisor and labyrinth facilitator, as well as a licensed marriage and family therapist in Indiana. She also serves as a non-denominational chaplain at Sullivan’s Louisville campus.
When not working, she loves to read on either her Kindle or hardbound books, visit family (favorites are grandchildren!), play Scrabble, work out at Curves, and do leadership and service activities in the Rotary Club of East Louisville Sunrise. From her wellness advising over the past 10 years at Sullivan, she has developed a part-time practice as a relationship wellness advisor, emphasizing the “contours of relationship” – as if she were a poet, which she is (published)!