A special event has been held to mark the official opening of a landscaped labyrinth at Fieldhead, Wakefield.
A labyrinth is a pattern with a single winding path that leads from the entrance to the centre. Labyrinths differ from mazes as they have only one path to reach the centre. The labyrinth has been built within the Fieldhead site so that people can benefit from this alternative therapeutic activity and is part of a larger Caring Garden, which offers a relaxing environment as well as space for services to offer horticultural therapy.
Work on the labyrinth began in September 2012 and Trust gardeners David Sharp and Tom Fletcher have worked tirelessly to develop the space; recycling many materials from across the site. Around the labyrinth, flower beds representing the four seasons have been planted and seating areas have been made.
The Trust’s chief executive Steven Michael opened the labyrinth supported by members of the pastoral and spiritual care team, who have to lead the project. People who use services provided by the Trust and members of staff also attended and had the opportunity to experience walking the labyrinth. Once they’d walked the labyrinth participants explained their experience in a few words and added an experience card to the Caring Garden tree.
Rev Mike Gartland, head of pastoral and spiritual care, said, “The process of walking a labyrinth is based on the idea of the journey of life and although the path twists and sometimes appears to go backwards, it eventually takes us to our goal. It is used for reflection, contemplation, meditation, concentration and focus. People who enter the labyrinth can enjoy the value of quiet surroundings to reflect on their lives and take time to centre themselves and their thoughts.
“At the Trust we recognise that spiritual support can be very useful to some people who use our services and their carers at what is often a very difficult time in their lives. We support patients of all faiths (or no faith) and our spiritual and pastoral care team give people the time and space to talk through feelings, concerns or plans for the future, in confidence and safety.
“The labyrinth has created a space for staff, service users, carers and visitors to the Fieldhead site to take the opportunity to unwind, still the mind and return to a centre point of peace and stillness. The journey to the centre of the labyrinth is symbolic of remembering and reconnecting with the whole (health) of ourselves in a compassionate and accepting way.”
This is one of two labyrinths available to people at the Trust, the other is a portable labyrinth purchased with funding from the Creative Minds initiative.