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From Empty to Full: A Labyrinth Experience

I love when a church contacts me to lead an activity in spiritual formation.

I love the creative challenge of it and that it helps me remember my connection with God in a new way.

I love the opportunity to meet and share sacred space with more of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mostly, I love hearing the stories of healing and wholeness that people share afterwards.

Most recently, Riverside Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL invited me to lead labyrinth walks, a mindfulness exercise, and body prayer at their annual family retreat at Camp Montgomery in Starke, FL. The retreat was intended to help those present connect with God through nature.

Below is the labyrinth walk experience I created and led for the children and adults at separate times (though children and adults could do the activity together). You are invited to copy exactly or tweak this activity to best serve your faith community. You will need one small cup for each person and a pitcher of water in the center of the labyrinth.

If people are unfamiliar with the labyrinth begin with a brief introduction to its history and how it is commonly used today. Then, explain the following activity.

Today, you will carry an empty cup with you as you walk the path into the center of the labyrinth. The empty cup is a reminder that the walk in is an opportunity to release, to liberate yourself, to free yourself of that which separates you from God. Perhaps you need to let go of a belittling thought, an abusive relationship, or an unhealthy habit. Pay special attention to your exhalations in order to cleanse your whole being.

Arriving in the center, emptied of that which does not serve you, pour water into your cup as a reminder of God’s ever-flowing spring of life-giving water. While standing in the center, drink the water, filling yourself with God’s love. (The leader may choose to stand in the center and pour the water into each person’s cup while saying a few words about being filled with God’s love. You will definitely want to do this if children are walking).

Next, refill the cup with water and begin walking the path out of the labyrinth while carrying the cup of water. As you follow the path back out, having gone through the process of being emptied and filled back up, notice a renewed sense of being grounded in God. You are ready to return to the world and share God’s love with all of creation. Pay special attention to your inhalations in order to really feel an energized return to your true self, reconnected to God and all of life.

Upon exiting the labyrinth water another being, a tree or flower, with the water in your cup, as an act of sharing God’s love. And always remember that for every exhale you must inhale.

I would love to hear how you use the labyrinth to remember your connection to God! You are encouraged to share an activity (or idea for one) in the comment section below. As always, if you have any questions/reflections on the activities found on the Ombrella blog please do not hesitate to connect with me.

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