Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Labyrinth Mondays: Necessary Journeys

It is a journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth which is about 80 miles, traveled with donkey and on foot would be at least a four day journey, perhaps a week given that Joseph was an older man and Mary was with child, not any child, but the Christ Child. That is the traditional Christmas story. In our Labyrinth Mondays, we have been talking about the power of the journey. There are many journeys in our lives that we just do not want to take but for whatever that makes sense to us at the time, the journey feels like a must. Mary and Joseph had to take the Journey as they had to pay taxes. It was necessary.

The 3-Day Breast Cancer walk of 60 miles has become a phenomenon in America. It is a journey that breast cancer patients, their friends and relatives take to punctuate the power of survival and the hope for a cure. It is necessary!

It is only three days before Christmas and anticipation of Santa is in the air, the jolly fat guy that brings us gifts of cheer, journeying all over the globe in a twenty-four hour period to make children happy with delight that they are not forgotten and are gifted just because it is Christmas. It is necessary!

Really, Dr. Dilley, the journey of Santa Claus is necessary? I know it is easy to become cynical about the craziness of the perfect Hallmark Christmas. However, we have made it crazy, not Santa Claus. We have not dealt with are neurosis, our perfectionism, our need to be better, nor our competitive nature, such as “My Christmas lights are better than yours.” As Americans, Christmas has become crazy not because of commercialism, but because our neurosis, our unhealed selves have allowed ourselves to be seduced by more and better, not because the 1% is trying to make a bigger profit. We have contributed to this fiasco of “It is Necessary!” It is not the Jolly Fat Man’s fault.

So what now? Relax, get back on track. Take back a little bit of you for Christmas. Step back to the spirit of the Journey. Make a child smile. Make an adult feel appreciated. Make a loved one know that they are important. Take a step into the center and change turn down the throttle on Christmas chaos. It is necessary!

To have help in getting your life back into perspective, becoming centered, and moving forward, then please join me on the Labyrinth workshop January 7, 2012. That is the day after Epiphany. Come and move forward away from the chaos. Go to to register for the workshop today.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Labyrinth Mondays: Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Power of Pilgrimage

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Power of  Pilgrimage

Today December 12 is the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Who is she? It is said that the story began around December 9, 1531 when a homeless person (peasant) was walking along the hills of Tepeyac near Mexico City. The peasant, Juan Diego, saw a vision of a dark young woman surrounded by light and she told him that a church had to be built on the Tepeyac Hills, right in the very spot she was standing.

When Juan Diego went to the Bishop and reported that a young woman had appeared to him and told him that a church needed to build on the Hills of Tepeyac, the Bishop sent him back to the spot and demanded proof. Juan Diego traveled back to the spot and the dark woman surrounded by light appeared to him again. Diego said, “The Bishop wants proof that you are of a messenger of God.” The woman told him to take roses from the bush on top of the Tepeyac Hills. Juan Diego did not expect that anything would be growing at that time of the year; however, there was a beautiful Castillian Rose bush at the top of the mountain. Castillian roses were not indigenous to that area, but in the middle of desolation, there was the bush. The woman helped Juan Diego, place the pedals in his peasant cloak and Juan Diego returned to the Bishop. There Juan Diego told the Bishop, “The woman in light said to bring you these flowers.” Diego opened his cloak and the petals fell to the ground and in his cloak where the roses had been were the words, Our Lady of Guadalupe. From that day through December 12, 2011, the story of our Lady of Guadalupe and the church that was built at her direction has become a Mecca for pilgrims around the world with many stories of miracles and mysterious blessings from Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is re-enacted and revisited each year by pilgrims making a pilgrimage to sacred places where Our Lady has been seen or her miracles have taken place. Each year millions of pilgrims find their way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepeyac, near Mexico City. Other pilgrims find other Holy places to make pilgrimage too.

In Los Cruces New Mexico over a 1,000 pilgrims walk early morning, by candle light four miles to the top of Tortugas Mountain and have been doing so since the early eighteen hundreds. In addition, there are hundreds of other stories on the internet about Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is not the patron saint of The Americas. I can fill you full of rich history by sharing the importance of Our Lady, but my focus on Labyrinth Mondays, is about pilgrimage, the journey to the center of the labyrinth and back out again. What is the hunger for pilgrimage, what is the call within that inspires over 6.1 million people to descend on the Basilica in Mexico City or carry on a heritage of tradition of over 1000 in Los Cruces, New Mexico. It seems irrational to spend money, time, energy to go on a real pilgrimage to a place, but rationality is not what spirituality is made of. Rationality would deny that Our Dark Lady spoke to anyone and that perhaps he was hallucinating out of hunger. See, the brain tries hard to make sense out of non-sense. However, for a pilgrimage of 6.1 is hard to deny, to say, “No, this is not happening.” It would ludicrous to deny that the spiritual does not exist, it exist within. You can have the same aliveness as the 6.1 million have that flew, drove, found his/her way to the Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Basilica in Mexico City. You just have to be willing to take one- step outside of your very narrow and dark box. You can start safe by finding a Labyrinth (11 or 7 circuit) near you, drive there start at the beginning. Put one foot in front of the other and say, “Our Lady of Guadalupe, I am here. I come seeking a sense of fulfillment and peace that I hear you can offer me. I want to start my spiritual journey now and let it unfold. Help me, My Lady of Guadalupe. I need you.”

Almost had you considering a spiritual journey until you had to admit that you have a need and regardless of how hard you try, you cannot meet that need without some form of assistance. To begin this journey, you don’t even have to admit that you are hurting or lacking of anything, you can just start by putting on foot in front of the other on path of the Labyrinth and keep your mouth shut. Just do it and see what happens. It is a challenge. I am challenging you to move one-step closer to your spiritual self.

If you do not want to do this alone then join me on Saturday January 7, 2012 at Trinity Cathedral downtown Phoenix. You can sign up today at Please, if you have no interest pass on this information to people whose lives are richer because they take a risk to step outside the box.

Monday, December 5, 2011

St Nicholas Day and the Labyrinth

Tomorrow, December 6, is St. Nick’s day. Legend has it that St. Nick was an orphan boy himself and that he always took special interest in giving to orphans and children. He would go throughout his village and toss sacks of coins through windows and if the windows were shut, then he would toss them on the roof, where they would come down the chimney. Thus, St. Nick’s legend developed from very humble beginnings and to the commercialism of Santa Claus that we have today.

Walking the Labyrinth while reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas, one that actually began out of benevolence and giving of the real St. Nick and not a baby in the manger, then Christmas can take on a whole different meaning for you, what can we give, vs. what can we get?

As you work on developing your own personal relationship with the Labyrinth, I would like to suggest that you take a Labyrinth walk in the spirit of giving. Start with presenting yourself at the opening of the Labyrinth and as you walk from circuit to circuit imagine holding your heart in the palms of your hands. Ask for the mystery of the Labyrinth to heal your heart and open it to be a heart of love and generosity. Each time you find yourself coming across a fearful thought, breath in deeply and let your breath go slowly, releasing the fear to the heart of the Labyrinth and taking the next step forward.

When you arrive at the center of the Labyrinth, imagine yourself placing your heart in the hands of a loving and generous Spirit of Kindness and allow the feeling of unconditional love to wash over you, releasing your hurt and fear and gifting you with an inner peace and unconditional acceptance.

Walk out of the Labyrinth with the gratitude of St. Nick, generous in spirit, full of hope, peace and unconditional love. From that space of gratitude, find ways to give generously this Holiday Season in meaningful ways.