by Christine Sine
We are about to leave behind our focus on What Does Your Soul Long to Do and move into a season of Gratitude. Last week I invited all of you to join me in a weekly gratitude scavenger hunt but I also wanted to provide a tool to help us both contemplate and prepare. As I have mentioned before finger labyrinths are great tools for problem solving, meditation and de-stressing. It is particularly fun when we make our own and then use them for meditation. I am increasingly using this exercise in workshops and events that I facilitate and thought that you might like to use it too.
If you don’t know what a finger labyrinth is read this post which gives a brief explanation and a simple meditation to practice with.
Finger Labyrinth Supplies
This supply list is for a group as I think this is a great group activity so get a few friends together and give it a go.
Backing board or clipboard sheets 8×11- 1 sheet for each person (card stock will work too but is not as sturdy)
If you want to make a really nice finger labyrinth then wooden board is a great alternative
Colored sand – preferably a choice of several colours. This one is nice because it is easy to sprinkle on the board. This is a lot of sand but it is great to use for other projects too. Yes I am brainstorming!!!
Lead pencils to draw the pattern with.
Rulers (I link to wooden ones to avoid the use of plastic as much as possible) and erasers to help trace or when you make mistakes with the pattern – one for each person is good.
Colored pencils or gel pens (I like the retractable ones because otherwise I loose the tops) to decorate with after the pattern is completed.
Creating your labyrinth
These instructions are adapted from https://www.wikihow.com/Draw-a-Labyrinth
Draw a 2” cross about an inch below the center of an 8×11” piece of card stock or backing board with a pencil. Add dots on all four corners of an imaginary 2” square. Press lightly so that it is easy to erase mistakes.
Connect the upper tip of the vertical line with the upper right dot using a curved line.
Using another curved line, connect the right tip of the horizontal line with the upper left dot.
Connect the left tip of the horizontal line to the lower right dot using a bigger curved line.
Extend the vertical line on the bottom a further 1” and connect its tip on the lower left dot.
Carefully spread glue along the labyrinth path. You might like to do two lines if your “walking space” is wide.
Sprinkle colored sand over your labyrinth.
Allow to dry. Decorate around the labyrinth with colored pens or pencils if desired.
Walking a Finger Labyrinth – A Meditative Exercise
Walking a finger labyrinth not only de-stresses and relaxes you but when you walk it with your non-dominant hand it can also can help you solve problems. Is there a question you are struggling with? Is there a doubt about life or faith your brain refuses to ignore? Let’s experiment and see if the finger labyrinth can help you dig into the hidden wholeness in your soul and bring resolution:
Sit quietly with your finger labyrinth in your lap. Take a few breaths in and out until you feel at peace in your soul. Remind yourself of the story of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 14:22-33. Imagine it raging around you and your desire to step outside the boat of convention and ask uncomfortable questions. Visualize Jesus coming towards you holding out his hands and saying “Don’t be afraid of your doubts and your questions. I am with you always.” Imagine you are Peter stepping out of the boat into unknown waters.
Recite this prayer or a similar prayer of welcome and receptivity: Walk with me Lord through all the twists and turns of life, walk with me when clouds obscure the way, when what seemed close is now so far away. Walk with me Lord until I trust in you, lead me to the center of your love.
Frame your question. Place a finger from your non-dominant hand at the entrance to the labyrinth. Prayerfully ask a question you are struggling with about life, faith or vocation. Invite the Holy Spirit of God to guide and instruct you on your journey.
Trace the circuit with your finger. Stay open to whatever presents itself: feelings, sensations, memories, ideas. Pause at any time to breathe, be with a thought or memory or just to relax into the labyrinth and the question stirring in your mind. At the center of the labyrinth, sense your connection to your own center and to God’s centering presence. Acknowledge the Holy Spirit, the heavenly counselor directing your thoughts and exploration. Relax, prayer, sing. Repeat your question.
Trace your way out, staying open to whatever comes to you. When your walk is done, place both hands on the labyrinth and sit quietly in the presence of God once more. Thank God for your questioning heart and for the enrichment it brings to your faith.
Trust your gut and the journey it takes you on. Believe in your creative impulses. Is there a solution to your question that surfaces? Write it down. How is God nudging you to respond? Write it down. You might like to write both your question and response around the labyrinth. Are there people you need to talk to? Get out your phone and make an appointment.
Finish with prayer. Offer a prayer of gratitude to God for the responses that have come to you and the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and change you.
This exercise is adapted from The Gift of Wonder. Intervarsity Press Downers Grove, Il 2019,) (90-91) Used with permission
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