By Caroline Park
Last Sunday at the Elementary School Group, we introduced a new spiritual exercise called Labyrinth. The short exercise seemed to have such a positive effect--calming and de-stressing--that I wanted to tell you guys about it.
First we shared the story, “The Road to Emmaus.” In the story, two disciples of Jesus were walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus, on the first Easter Sunday, despite having heard about the empty tomb. Along the way, Jesus appeared, walked and talked with them, eventually leading the disciples back to Jerusalem where they were to wait for the Holy Spirit.
Jesus walks and talks with us here and now, too. All spiritual exercises are in essence the practice of noticing and connecting with this reality. One such exercise is the labyrinth. A labyrinth is a single meandering path leading to a center.
This is what we did. Everyone got a copy of a labyrinth. We "walked" the labyrinth by slowly tracing the path with our non-dominant hands, remembering Jesus walking with us. I encouraged the kids to pause when they reached the center to stay with Jesus a bit, to interact with him if they’d like. The effect was noticeable. I could feel everyone’s bodies relaxing; the whole room felt calmer and more peaceful. I felt more centered and less stressed.
I recommend trying it at home. Here are some sample labyrinths if you are interested. Print one out and "walk" the path alone when you are feeling stressed or with your kids when they are experiencing anxiety over something. And let me know how it goes!