I was facilitating a group walk in an outdoor labyrinth on a pleasant and cold day last week. The people who ventured forth in early spring on Cape Cod to spend thirty-five minutes slowly walking in brisk air surely had only one common intention. They wanted to walk the labyrinth for whatever surprises might be in store. They brought a playful mood to the experience. All of them felt exhilarated in the fresh air. Their eagerness shone from their smiling faces.
We began the walk with a brief focusing exercise. I suggested that “thinking about God’s enduring presence in our lives is always reassuring and often leads to serene feelings during a walk in the labyrinth. Today, however, let’s think about the surprises we might experience as we walk. Let’s notice the random thoughts or feelings that might come up.” I talked about a research survey which found that one in eight people report hearing holy voices or seeing spiritual visions. “Whether entirely explainable or not, let’s be ready for surprises as we walk the labyrinth”, I said.
There was laughter and some joking as we quieted ourselves before stepping into the labyrinth. The sounds of wind and the “early” bird songs replaced our voices as we set out on our journey in search of surprises. Each person appeared to adopt a sincere individual focus as though expecting to find a treasure just ahead.
At the end of the walk, we gathered for sharing. Once again there was hilarity and fun in the words and actions of the group. The group wasn’t any less connected as a result of our personal experiences in the walk. However, the enrichment and inspiration that came from the humor of the “surprises” we shared was uplifting for all of us. God is ready to surprise us; what an idea!