After a year of unrest, Senior Coastsiders has organized a walking labyrinth as a meditative opportunity for the community.
“We’re just really, really pleased to be able to share this with our community,” said Sandra Winter, executive director of Senior Coastsiders. “This is an opportunity for peace.”
A labyrinth is a single, winding path toward the center. Each step takes you closer to the middle and, unlike a maze, there are no dead ends or wrong turns. Walking the path is supposed to be soothing and peaceful.
“I think sometimes, with this pandemic, it feels like the world we live in feels more like a maze than a labyrinth,” said Winter. “Having one path that you know is going to lead to the center is something that I thought was really appealing and could be relevant to our community.”
The labyrinth is open to the public and is located on the courtyard to the right of the entrance at the Senior Coastsiders building, 925 Main St.
At the labyrinth there is a handout that explains what it is and how to walk it.
There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Many enter slowly and focus on clearing the mind. Some repeat a prayer or chant. There is no time limit and often walkers focus on taking slow, deliberate steps.
“Sandra (Winter) and I thought it would be nice to provide a place where seniors and other members of the community could safely walk in a sort of quiet, reflective place,” said Gail Evenari, whose daughter, Hayden Evenari, drew the labyrinth. “It’s a place where they can be contemplative and in motion at the same time. They can find some solace outside in this time of so much uncertainty and noise, virtual and real in the universe in terms of climate change and COVID-19 and politics. This is a place where you can be quiet and just look down at the lines and walk and be peaceful.”
Hayden Evenari is studying video game art at Columbia College, Chicago. They used a tutorial from Lars Howlett, who was once the Review’s photographer and now is a professional labyrinth builder. Together they measured with string and Hayden Evenari drew the labyrinth using chalk.
The labyrinth at Senior Coastsiders is a miniature version of the one at Chartres Cathedral in France. Since the labyrinth is drawn with chalk, it’ll disappear when the next rain comes. By doing this Evenari was conveying a message of impermanence.
“As we think about interventions for how we can improve the lives of everyone in our community, I think it’s important to realize that sometimes you can do things very inexpensively,” said Winters. “Something as simple as drawing with chalk on the sidewalk can still be a community participation event that can potentially help people clarify their thinking and feel more centered and engaged.”
This version corrects the spelling of Gail Evenari's name.