In The Ocean and Everything, I shared some experiences from the recent Cape May Gestalt workshop I attended.
Part of the beauty of the weekend was getting to spend quality and joyful time with my dear friend Gail Sobotkin (Happyboomernurse of Hubpages). I felt that she would be a great fit for the workshop and that my family and other friends would love her instantly. I was right!
I was 1000% comfortable asking her to play the role of my dear mom in my Hot Seat work, especially as so many qualities in Gail reminded me of Mom.
I was thrilled when Gail agreed to write her perspectives on this memorable weekend, which I believe you'll find as inspiring as I do.
Walking A Sand LABYRINTH At A Gestalt Workshop
I was already registered for a Gestalt Workshop with Maria in Cape May, NJ---one of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast, when she had an “Aha,” moment and asked if I’d be willing to draw a labyrinth in the sand that would be “open” to anyone participating in this event.
“What a great idea. Let’s go for it!” I answered, excited by the chance to share my love of labyrinths with others. I knew walking them is a great tool for quieting the mind, grounding the body, and opening one’s heart to self, and since the theme of the workshop was “Arrive Already Loved: Creating Sacred Attachment with Yourself,” it felt like a sand labyrinth would be a fun adjunct to the Gestalt work we’d be doing all weekend.
When most people think of labyrinths, they picture a maze which has dead-ends meant to confuse and trick the walker, but modern labyrinths have only one path that lead from the outer edge in a circuitous way to the center which means they are easy to navigate.
I arrived in Cape May on Friday afternoon (June 5), a few hours before the workshop started, and though the weather was cool and cloudy I went onto the beach and drew a Classic Minoan Labyrinth intending to walk it myself (for step by step instructions click here: http://www.westbynorthwest.org/summer00/labyrnth/how/index.shtml
After I finished, two women standing nearby asked if I was Maria’s friend and when I said yes, they said Maria had told them about me. Our meeting on the beach felt like a moment of synchronicity and I was thrilled that they each stepped right into the labyrinth---one skipping through in child-like exuberance and the other pensive, as I myself am whenever I walk the winding pathways.
It was a wonderful start to a weekend of new and powerful experiences for me. This was my first introduction to Gestalt and I was deeply touched by the courage that participants showed in facing their deepest blocks/fears/traumas/issues and sharing them with the whole group.
Workshop leader, Mariah Fenton Gladis, Founder and Clinical Director of the Pennsylvania Gestalt Center, created exact moments of healing for those who did what’s called “open seat” work. Through tears, laughter, anger, grief and rage those in the “hot seat” and all those in attendance, experienced a cathartic range of emotions that helped open our hearts to love of self and others.
At the end of Saturday’s session Maria made the announcement that I would be drawing a labyrinth on the beach at 7 AM the next morning and that anyone wishing to walk it could join us.
Sunday was a glorious, sunny day and Maria and I took turns drawing the labyrinth on the hard packed sand.
Maria walked it in her bare feet and I could tell she was deep in thought, but also enjoying the combination of warm sun, cool sand, and ocean breezes.
Throughout the next hour, other workshop attendees joined us and took turns walking the twisting pathway each on a private, personal journey or simply enjoying the beautiful setting we were in.
By the time we went into the workshop the tide was already starting to wash away the spiraled design, and I knew the cycle of letting go, followed by renewal would be mirrored by the ebb and flow of the ocean.
And it occurred to me that we would be doing the same thing during our final day of Gestalt work---letting go of old emotions/blocks that were holding us back, in order to break free of them and start life with a fresh slate.
Thanks, dear Gail...hoping you'll join me for next year's workshop back in Cape May - don't forget the tiny shovel for our labyrinth...! ☺
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