Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A year ago it was just a dream. Now it is becoming a reality.

In the summer of 2012 I learned that the vacant lot next to my house would be up for sale. I knew that I wanted to find a way to become more deeply rooted in my neighborhood. Anyone that knows me knows that I love to be out and about in the community...which means I don't spend much time at home. Taking on this labyrinth project would mean that I could do service for the wider community while working on my own yard. Why a labyrinth? The unicursal path of a labyrinth provides one way in and one way out.  It is a way to loose yourself without getting lost.  I promise to write more about the labyrinth movement and this meditational tool in a future post. I have walked labyrinths at different times in my life in different places and I have found it to be a way to mark passages and gather insights and I wanted to share that with others. Mainly I thought it would be an excellent way to give purpose to an empty space. I met Sarah at a workshop through the Focus 2020 initiative of the Peace Learning Center in Indianapolis. She was the first one to embrace the vision that I had for the space. She helped organize a volunteer crew and get supplies to paint the fence along the side of the property. She is going into the Peace Corps in Madagascar and donated more paint for the community art aspect of the labyrinth project this weekend. Doesn't she just look lovely carrying paint cans in her going away party dress? She said that what she would want depicted on the reflection wall was the phrase, "Joy in the Journey". Originally, the name of the project was going to be Ananda Labyrinth. I have always connected with that universal joy that lets the stars shine, but upon reflection I realized that some people would be walking the labyrinth in times of loss or transition, so naming the labyrinth in such a way might limit the use of the space to only joyful times. I do love a celebration, though. Even as three men worked on shoveling dirt, I kept spirits high as I sang "I've been workin' on the labyrinth all the live long day. I've been workin' on the labyrinth just to pass the time away." And I have already planned for the annual celebration on the summer solstice on June 21, 2014 at 6 pm.  We are going to have a picnic dinner potluck.  If you join the Rivoli Park Labyrinth Community page on Facebook, you will get an invite to that celebration. I will be celebrating tomorrow at the awards ceremony for the Focus 2020 Community Action Grants. Part of the reason I received one of these grants is because of the partnerships I have formed in the community. The express yourself rain barrel that I ordered from the local social enterprise, KI Eco Center, is one example of those partnerships. I will write more about the partnerships I am forming to have community art as part of this project in a future post. But really, this project would still be an idea in my head without the help of my family. My sister, Katherine Ogawa, has put in hours on the landscape design using her background in permaculture. My mother, Susan Williams Boyles, an accomplished artist, designed the logo which is being put to use to brand the project and create items to give as thank you gifts to supporters. My brother, Geoffrey Boyles, is providing practical support and craftsmanship skills. That man wielding a tool next to a straw bale is my Dad, Gordon, just before he cut down an invasive tree in the lot. Boy, can he swing an ax! The straw will be put to use in reconditioning the soil in lot soon. If you would like to support this effort as well be sure to follow on Twitter @RPLabytinth or like Rivoli Park Labyrinth Indianapolis on Facebook, www.facebook.com/rplabyrinth. I launched a GoFundMe crowdsourcing fundraising campaign to fund the community art aspect of the project. You can support the project through the website www.gofundme.com/rplabyrinth. There is more information about the community art project there as well. Thanks for taking the time to learn more about this community asset in the making.

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