There are certain times that lend themselves naturally to stress and mental anguish. Visiting a loved one in the hospital can be one such time. It’s then that we need a little space, a little release and a little inner peace. Like a walk on a labyrinth.
A labyrinth is not a maze, but rather a path — usually circular — set into a floor or the ground that weaves and turns toward its center, and then meanders back to the entry point. By walking slowly and concentrating on the trail, the walker loses track of the outside world and enters a meditative state. The mind goes quiet, and calmness sets in.
While some may see a labyrinth as so much mystical nonsense, studies have shown that walking one stimulates the right brain, helping in creative problem-solving and sense of well-being.
Labyrinths have been built and used for thousands of years; the one at Sharp Coronado Hospital was created in 2009. Surrounded by lawn and garden on the backside of the facility, on a quiet street, it is a lovely refuge for those looking to wash away worry. Susan Stone, CEO of Sharp Coronado, was part of its planning and implementation team.
“The team recognized how both facilitated and self-directed labyrinth walks would be of great benefit for the mind, body and spirit of those here in the Coronado community, and especially patients, family and staff of the hospital,” says Stone. “We decided on a brick replica of the 11-circuit Chartres Cathedral labyrinth, and located it outside between two large trees, to provide an environment that facilitates relaxation and healing.”
The labyrinth is open to the public, and very simple to use. As described by The Labyrinth Society, an international body that registers and encourages use of the paths, the process is to “follow the three Rs”:
- Release: As you walk toward the labyrinth’s center, let go of your troubles, clear your mind and open your heart. Relax.
- Receive: Stay in the center of the circle as long as you like. This is the place of meditation. People often find insight here. Receive what your mind is telling you.
- Return: As you follow the path out, recognize that you have power, and that you can heal. Go back to your ordinary life renewed and restored. Bring the feelings and insight you experienced in the center with you as you return to the world.
Susan Stone invites everyone to use the labyrinth at any time. “Our labyrinth is registered on the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator and we have had visitors from all over the world come to experience this unique form of relaxation.”
For the news media: To visit the labyrinth at Sharp Coronado Hospital for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.