By Marilee Lasch
At the age of 40 I discovered something about myself that had been there all along, hidden underneath all the should and shouldn’t I had been raised with. Others would label it as a mid-life crisis. For me it was an awakening, a new path to pursue.
The awakening I refer to came as a result of an art class I had taken in Great Falls, Montana. My very first venture into the creative world, and I got happily lost in the class, and for the first time in a long time, I was happy. I soon discovered I was talented, and decided to purse that path, which would lead to a divorce and a move to Phoenix.
It was after this move, that I discovered the Labyrinth at the Franciscan Renewal center in Phoenix. A silent meditation walk, where during the process of walking to the center, you contemplate your worries, once you reach the middle, you lay your worries down and offer up a prayer for future revelations about one’s life. On the walk back to the entrance, it is walked in silent contemplation on the wonders of life.
I wanted to learn about the purpose of Labyrinths, and discovered they had been around in one form or another for over a 1,000 years. Different religions, and groups had a holy site that their followers would have wanted to visit before their death, but because of the distances to the sites, a meditation circle was built on local property, with local construction material. The purpose was to give the congregates an opportunity to walk in faith to their holy place and say their prayers, which in truth was a journey to their own soul and a deepening of faith.
Upon pursuing the artistic world, I then followed the desire to live in an artist community, which brought me to Superior. A town a little destitute, and locked into its past history, while not really seeing its potential and possibility for the future. For a starving artist like myself it was a perfect place to live and start a community of like minded people.
Being a dreamer, I could see the future for this beautiful town, and about 15 years ago I moved into a 3-story house on a hill with a gorgeous vies of the surroundings. While the house was fairly done, the yard was a mess. To landscape the four lots, the previous owner had gone to the river bed and brought truckloads of river dirt, full or rocks, and spread it all over the yard. Rocks, rocks everywhere, and not a drop of good dirt. What to do, what to do? Having been raised as a farmer’s daughter I’ve picked a lot of rock, and became determined to re-purpose the rock for a higher purpose. I decided to build my own Labyrinth. A Labyrinth in the middle of the desert, my friends asked … and I responded WHY NOT? One rock at a time, I lifted, tugged and laid those rocks in the circular pattern based on the design of the Labyrinth in the church in Chartres, France.
When completed, some of my neighbors thought I might be a witch! To ease their concerns, I invited the locals, and my friends to participate in a Fall Labyrinth party, upon which I had information on the history and the meaning of the Labyrinth written up, along with lots of food, we gathered, made new friends, learned about new things. I have continued to do so for 10 years.
People have told me that when they walk the Labyrinth they enter with some trepidation’s, but upon exiting, they feel a sense of calm and more confident in the direction of their lives.
I feel proud that I can enhance this beautiful space which I am convinced is holy ground. I love to encourage people to expand their horizons, and continue to have the Fall Festivals, the next one being October 27.
If anyone would like information on how to build a Labyrinth or obtain an invitations to attend the next Labyrinth party please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.