Rockaway Walks As One on World Labyrinth Day

 Rockaway Walks As One on World Labyrinth Day

Story and Photos
By Dan Guarino

Under cloudy skies some 30-35 people, led by Dr. Nancy Gahles, gathered at Beach 94th Street and Shore Front Parkway to be part of World Labyrinth Day at Rockaway’s own labyrinth on Saturday, May 4.

The Labyrinth by the Sea is a large inlaid meditative walking circle with a permanently embedded maze. Decades in the making and opened on May 6, 2023, it was initiated by Gahles, resident, holistic health practitioner and founder of Health & Harmony Wellness Education.

“The labyrinth walk is an ancient symbolic tool for healing and wholeness,” she previously explained. It is “a sacred technology that, like the magic circle of many cultures, the spiraling labyrinth is embedded in human consciousness. (They) are a meandering path leading to a center (and)…are a nearly universal phenomenon.” They “provide an opportunity for personal reflection, spiritual practice and the reduction of stress, and associated mental/emotional and physical ailments.”

At noon, Gahles invited the gradually growing group to stand along its edges. Then, weaving together philosophy, poetry, scientific and even quantum physics research, she noted the many positive effects, both personal and in the world, of walking its maze. Qigong instructor Alexandra Taggart of Ocean Bliss Yoga then led a series of body posture movements, meditation and breathing.

Katrin Haiba colorfully set the tone for the walk with rhythmic drumming. Dorothy Wagner of Aerial Acoustics provided soft guitar music for the afternoon, leading to some impromptu harmonizing afterwards.

At 1 p.m. all entered the labyrinth’s path, walking its pattern in their way, at their own pace, to eventually meet at its center. In doing so, they joined hundreds of thousands across the Earth in World Labyrinth Day’s “Walk as One at 1,” an international event held the first Saturday of each May. By walking a labyrinth at 1 p.m. local time, they seek to create “a rolling wave of peaceful energy passing from one time zone to the next around the globe.”

Saturday’s event drew participants of all ages from all over Rockaway and beyond, with two women coming from Westchester to be part of it. Haiba noted acquaintances were participating in New Zealand and Australia at same the exact moment.

Beyond creating a personally calming, centering sense of motion, Gahles noted the walk’s wider world goals. “It is not enough for us to wish for world peace, for instance. We need to be part of it.”

“What a gift for the soul,” posted Karen Sieminski about the event, and connection to others “moving together as one…across the globe.”

One woman reflecting on the walk and event said, “I like that it slowed me down and let me connect with myself.” As old friends/neighbors greeted and met with new friends, she said “I like the connections that I made with people today!”

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