Monday, September 30, 2013


Every Wednesday on the highest point in Charlottesville there is a labyrinth.  (That just happens to be where Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church - Unitarian Universalist is located.)  This weekly walk is led by one of our other ministers (Leia Durland-Jones, our Director of Religious Education). But to call this "a labyrinth walk" is perhaps a bit misleading.  "Worship Experience" is probably more accurate.

Each week we arrive (11:45 am on Wednesdays) to discover a new way to engage with the labyrinth and our own lives.  This past week, for example, the theme was balance.  Before entering the labyrinth we were each encouraged to physically explore balance as we walked.  We were also given a piece of paper on one side of which we were invited to write down places in our lives in which we feel we have this whole "balance thing" down pretty well.  On the other, we were invited to make note of places where we want or need more balance.  When we arrived in the center, we were encouraged to light a candle and to select a card (some of which had a word or phrase on it, some of which had only a photo).  That's the card I selected on the left.

To be honest, the two sides of my paper were a little . . . unbalanced.  The first side, the one where I was to have listed the places in my life that felt in proper balance, didn't have too much on it.  I'm not saying that there are no such places in my life, but for sure I am much more conscious of the places where balance is lacking.  (First thing I put on the second side, "I wish I had a more balanced awareness of where I am, and am not, in balance.")

That out-of-balance side, though . . . let me count the ways.  But I noted a pattern developing:

work/family life

Anybody else see what I saw?  And can anybody else relate?  A few years ago I read an article about a group of Catholic monks whose order has always worked outside of the monastery.  In order to keep up with these outside jobs the monks had taken to carrying pagers and cell phones.  And their rate of job-related stress had been skyrocketing.

There is a traditional monastic model of spending one-third of one's day in work, one-third in prayer and study, and one-third in rest and recreation.  (Note that recreation is also re-creation.)  I'm nowhere near such a balance.  How about you?

I don't know what needs balancing in your life, but I wish you well.  And I invite you, if you're in the C'ville area, to come by TJMC on a Wednesday (11:45-12:15).  You might well find your way to something you needed to see.

Pax tecum


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1 comment:

Dave Dawson said...

Thanks for sharing Erik. I too am working on issues of balance. I don't believe this work ever ends. So glad to hear of Leia's continued leadership. Will always be grateful for the Labyrinth that she introduced to TJMCUU. Your post is "right on time" as I am re-reading Jeremy Taylor's book "The Living Labyrinth."