Clay layers of reds and browns in the twilight glow deepen into vibrant pottery hues across the vast, numinous landscape. The spirit of the desert awakens as I make my way to the labyrinth.
The Labyrinth Journey: Walking the Path to Fulfillment? - Lighthouse Trails Inc
The beautiful Shaman woman with the flowing wavy hair, dancing eyes, and deep soul tells us in her workshop that this beautiful stone creates alignment between heaven and earth providing access to divine guidance. We learn that stones, in native traditions, are an ancient and living part of the earth and have the ability to absorb and store within themselves the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Lingering for a moment — eyes closed, face lifted toward heaven — I take a cleansing breath, close my hand gently around my little blue celestial companion and step into the outer rim of the spiraling labyrinth.
Though not, initially, why I decided to go to Red Mountain Resort —. WWII veteran and dentist by profession, Dad was an extraordinary, self-made man —devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother and friend — he touched the lives of everyone he met with his genuine interest, kindness, humor and generosity. Dad gave my four siblings and me so many gifts for which we are all deeply grateful, but his best gift, by far, was instilling in all of us a deep and abiding love for the outdoors.
He had a large, adventurous spirit and an even larger heart and took great joy in sharing his passions and zest for life with the family and friends he loved — but especially with us — his children. Growing up with Dad was FUN! Thank you Dad. Kanda always was, and still is, the most beautiful woman, inside and out, and her friendship feels like a gentle, loving offering. Kanda and I share a love of God and walk with Jesus as best we can. We bumped baby-bellies with our first-borns, had subsequent babies at roughly the same time, went separate ways, juggled careers and motherhood and have both seen hard times and good times.
We both now watch our dear remaining parents declining while navigating the maze of care options as they descend deep into old age. Life is very tender and fleeting and moments become more precious with each passing day. So, there we were, without letting any more precious time pass, planning a September retreat— just the two of us — to reconnect, recharge our batteries and forge new bonds of friendship.
And what better place than Red Mountain Resort and Spa — an adventure retreat located in the breathtaking surroundings of St. The resort is oriented toward exploration, whole body and spirit wellness, fitness and adventure for all levels in the spectacular outdoors. With spa services, workshops, classes and healthy gourmet cuisine — color us there!
We planned, booked our travel, compared packing lists, high-fived electronically and went to bed the evening before our travel — she in Colorado, me in Oklahoma — in great anticipation of our adventure together. I knew, instinctively, when my phone rang at nearly midnight that something was wrong and Kanda tearfully told me her mother of more than 90 years old had died, quite unexpectedly, that very evening sending renewed pangs of my own grief spiraling back.
Anticipation instantly gave way to deep sadness for her and her family and prayers of comfort, hope and peace — and assurances that I would, indeed, be ok traveling on my own. I could get up in the crisp pre-dawn hours and be hiking by the time the sun was just beginning to illuminate the tops of the peaks — or — I could sleep in and spend the day luxuriating in spa robe and slippers, sipping infused water and knitting or journaling my heart-songs well into the evening if I wanted to. At Red Mountain, I found inspiration in a lecture on the healing properties of stones, in a stretching class, in a centering prayer workshop, on a walking lecture learning about the fascinating geology of the region, on some impromptu rock scrambling and learning to play the Ukulele.
We so rarely have time to be still, to be with ourselves. Red Mountain Resort largely attracts women. The first thing that hit me upon arrival were the gorgeous women I saw wandering around — of all ages and races — of all shapes, sizes and levels of physical fitness.
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But all of them had one thing in common — an air of centeredness and self-assurance. And the predominate attire — power leggings and sports bras! I had to love the place right then.
My first day had me up before dawn, dressed for hiking and fueled with the most delicious breakfast of organic muesli, eggs, fruit and coffee. I found it quite easy, though, to break the ice with this approachable and engaging group of women, many of whom were solo-venturing as well. Although a discourse as such is not positive or negative, some discourses are dominant and therefore their effects have more power in our lives.
Our sense of who we are and what we are allowed to think, say and do, derives from our position in a particular discourse see Foucault As an Afrikaans woman, I was positioned in a subject position. In my doctoral study I wrote the following Els : 'When we accept or fail to resist the subject position, we are obliged to live according to the specific rules of that particular subject position in that particular discourse'. This is exactly what happened and it was only when physical pain got hold of me, and there were no answers to my many questions that I openly started to challenge the above-mentioned discourses cf.
Autoethnography is the choice of this article because it is transformative and it 'changes time, requires vulnerability, fosters empathy, embodies creativity and innovation, eliminates boundaries, honors subjectivity, and provides therapeutic benefits' Custer Religion and spirituality. There are many different definitions of religion and spirituality. I agree with the explanation of Schutte :. Religion is organised, close-minded and intolerant whereas spirituality is extremely individualised, open-minded, tolerant and universal.
It is accessible to all people, no matter what their particular beliefs. In my experience religion usually entails adhering to a certain dogma or belief system. To put it briefly, religion is a set of beliefs and rituals that aim to get a person in the right relationship with God. Aldridge definition speaks to me:. A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden - beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.
Phipps ; in Schutte defines spirituality as 'the human desire for connection with the transcendent, the desire for integration of the self into a meaningful whole, and the realisation of one's potential'. Spirituality today includes belief in a higher power that is beyond the known and observable realm. To me that power is God. It also includes personal, sacred experience s , or an encounter with the divine within.
To be spiritual means that one has the expectation that personal growth and transformation will take place. This is what I experienced in my spiritual journey with God. The labyrinth predates Christian history. There are many divergent stories regarding the origin of the labyrinth cf. It is clear that Christians have been using the labyrinth as a spiritual tool as early as in the Medieval times cf. The labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral dates back to approximately Ward In John Amos Comenius, a Czech philosopher, pedagogue and theologian from the Margraviate of Moravia, wrote the book, The labyrinth of the world and the paradise of the heart.
In this book he describes his spiritual pilgrimage and ends with the knowledge that God is with him inside him and not far away see 'Project Labyrinth of the World', www. Various labyrinth patterns can be found across the world. The classical labyrinth design consists of a single pathway that loops back and forth to form seven circuits.
The pathway is bounded by eight walls surrounding the centre see Figures 1 and 2.
Christians walk the labyrinth as a symbolic pilgrimage cf. Artress ; Bloos ; Jeanes ; Reed To me, walking the labyrinth is coming home to my soul where God resides. Artress uses the words: ' … as you walk the spiral of the labyrinth , it takes you deeper into your center'.
The centre in the Chartres Cathedral is described as the New Jerusalem - this is the place where transformation has taken place see James It is important to realise that everyone uses the labyrinth in her own way Artress There are many different ways to walk a labyrinth Geoffrion A spiritual walking is completed mostly in a prayerful meditative way or with a specific question in mind. The labyrinth path is walked with devotion and openness to be enlightened during the process of walking in and out.
Buechner's words fit well with walking the labyrinth. It is something to keep in mind when you stand at the mouth of the labyrinth:. Listen to your life.
Listen to what happens to you because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It is in a language that's not always easy to decipher, but it's there powerfully memorably, unforgettably. The definition of pain has changed over the years, as new research results appeared in medical journals. Chronic pain can briefly be described as pain lasting more than 3 months.leondumoulin.nl/language/fire/border-patrol-law-enforcement.php
My Life's Labyrinth: A Journey Through Life With Jesus
This pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating. The International Association for the Study of Pain  has established a taxonomy that describes the different kinds and diseases that cause chronic pain. This article does not have the scope to discuss this. The symptoms of chronic pain include:. Mild-to-severe pain that does not go away. Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching or electrical.
Feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness or stiffness. The emotional toll of chronic pain can also make pain worse. Anxiety, stress, fatigue and negative thought patterns interact with the chemicals in the body and can worsen the experience of pain. Every person is born within specific contexts and linguistic systems. In this socialisation process we learn to speak in accepted ways and we adopt the values and ideologies of our cultures.
As such the meanings that we attach to certain concepts, values and ideas shift from time to time as we are exposed to other cultures, thoughts and values in different contexts. Thomas in Saddington states that: 'People do not necessarily learn from experience; it depends on the meaning they attribute to their experience and on their capacity to reflect and review it'.
My journey with God and chronic pain is a very personal story. I will reflect on my experiences as I walk this labyrinth with you, the reader. I have always in my life been aware of God.
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