Chicago

On August 13 I made the journey from the home of alligators, jambalaya, Southern mansions, the occasional confederate flag and majestic Live Oak trees to a highrise building in downtown Chicago where I enjoyed the hospitality of Tracey Kreiling and Janice Lewis.

Together Tracey and I explored Wheaton and Naperville with labyrinth offerings at small churches, the Theosophical society and a riverside park.

The following morning Janice and I struck out at the sparrow’s fart (an expression the southerners appreciated. Swapped it for: Wouldn’t take a lick at a blacksnake) for the Planetarium and a double spiral by the shores of Lake Michigan marked out with huge boulders. It felt very apt to be there at sunrise.

Janice does a lot of work through her inner city church for homeless and other disadvantaged people, especially children, who she’s introducing to mindfulness practices including labyrinth walking, mandala creation and peace circles.

One thing that delighted me as we walked around this fascinating city was an art installation; K-9s for Cops: decorated statues of German Shepherds honoring fallen police officers. Part of the funding from their auction will go to assist families of police officers, part to PAWS.

Rockford

With Janice as trusty driver she and I ventured out to Rockford to meet up with another labyrinth facilitator, Barrie Gibbie, and together we visited Womanspace: a centre dedicated to healing and wellbeing and running a myriad of interesting programs. After you traverse a shaded woodland you emerge to an area of wild prairie plants and a large rock and gravel labyrinth. Walking around the garden it struck me as a very thought filled and healing space. On the drive back home we called in to visit Neal Harris a psychotherapist, healer and labyrinth builder who has three labyrinths on his property. Neal’s website relax4life was one of the first I encountered when labyrinths came into my awareness so it was a treat to meet him and walk his land in gentle rain. It was the first opportunity I’ve had to walk the Man in the Maze labyrinth, a design which originates in the Arizona/ New Mexico area.

Neal has also designed double finger labyrinths called Intuipath which can be used in conflict situations as well as psychotherapy, giving both people the opportunity to become calmer and more present before a conversation.