This blog describes the events and background of this community space for reflection that was dedicated October 10, 2013. The Rivoli Park Labyrinth is a place of peace and subtle beauty nestled in an urban neighborhood. You can find it in the 900 block of N Kealing Ave on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 46201.
Walking is a time-honored way to meditate, ruminate, and otherwise seek clarity. Walking a labyrinth gives each footstep even more meaning. And walking in community brings added sweetness to the experience.
On World Labyrinth Day, May 7, people all over the world gathered to “walk as one at 1” in the afternoon. The idea behind this annual event, according to the Labyrinth Society, is to “create a wave of peaceful energy washing across the time zones.”
The Rivoli Park Labyrinth hosted a potluck and group walk, representing the local community on a day when some 200 public events took place across the globe. An intermittent drizzle didn’t keep us from sharing soup and salad while we made new connections and renewed old acquaintanceships. At 1 it was time to drift into the circle of the labyrinth as we each felt ready.
Walking the labyrinth as one
I had never participated in a communal labyrinth walk before, and I found it quite lovely to share the labyrinth with others. Each in our own space and yet connected, some chatting, some silent. Sometimes meeting on the path and clasping a hand as we passed each other with a smile. At one point I found myself walking next to an acquaintance who gave off motherly vibes, and I impulsively decided to take her hand until our paths diverged.
When I enter the sacred space of a labyrinth, I like to set an intention or ask a question. My intention for this particular labyrinth walk: To take nourishment from all quarters. I was feeling depleted after a busy week and several short nights. The meal we shared was one source of sustenance, and I wanted to see if I could also be nourished by the air, the rain, the soil, the plants, and the beings around me, both human and nonhuman—and the movement of walking itself.
The boulder in the center is a perfect resting spot.
Afterwards, I did feel restored.
What makes this labyrinth unique is the fact that it is a pocket park situated on a vacant lot in the heart of the city, a public space developed and managed by volunteers. Lisa Boyles, Rivoli Park’s founder, strives to bring people together through art, so the park has numerous community-made art pieces displayed. (Note the paintings on the fence in the photo above.)
Walkers can record their thoughts in a log book at the start/end point of the labyrinth. Lisa sees the logbook as a way to encourage reflection and sharing, and to build community among solitary walkers as well.
In fact, creative expression is built into the design of the labyrinth itself.
The “pole of possibility”
According to Lisa, the pole at the entrance to the labyrinth marks one of three “focus points” in the labyrinth. Volunteers from 2015’s Indy Do Day (citywide service day) decorated the bricks. “The poles at the three focus points,” she says, “were handmade expressly for the purpose they are serving now as delineators of the focus points. This tall one at the entrance of the labyrinth I like to call the ‘pole of possibility.’”
In keeping with the art theme, Lisa invited the “Seeds of Common Sound” music bus to take part. On board the bus, we could add to communal art pieces, play instruments, and get inspired.
Communal art on board the music bus
Care for creatures is another role of this labyrinth, as it was just designated a certified wildlife habitat. Here is our little group with the plaque.
I plan to visit Rivoli Park often over the growing season to watch the plant, animal, and insect life flourish there. And to seek nourishment for my soul in this place of quiet reflection.