This is a picture of a labyrinth painted on an abandoned basket ball court.  It was taken from a near by roof as a band was setting up to play pied piper to those wanting to walk to a beat.

While working in the South Bronx directing a mental health crisis program for children,  I was given some money to spend on community building.  Creating and living in caring communities is a way we all can get and stay emotionally healthy.  I funded five labyrinths.  I had previously walked a labyrinth at the Purchase Friends Meeting when I lived in New York.  Members of the meeting volunteered time to help build and fund some of our Mott Haven labyrinths.

David and I attended a number of Friends meeting off and on. We are ecumenical Jews. Moreover, my mother’s family came over with William Penn and before my conversion to Judiasm, I was a member of the Burlington, Vermont Monthly meeting.  I resigned that membership when I realized I was not a radical pacifist, but always  thought some wars were justified and necessary.  The Yom Kippur War convinced me I was no longer a pacifist.  I want peace and work for peace, but also don’t believe in making myself or others targets for those not so  inclined.

Soon after starting to work in Mott Haven I was introduced to labyrintista Ariane Burgess.  She wanted to build a labyrinth on a vacant lot owned by the Park’s Department.  My program, VNS of NY’s Mobile Community Support Team  had some discretionary funds and funded several labyrinths as a community building effort.  Aida Cruz, a parent advocate on my staff suggested the name Camino de Paz; we all agreed Ariane could use it for her work as a labyrintista.

The Rainbow Labyrinth pictured above was the first we funded.  It lasted for ten years. But federal funding for the program dried up, I retired, other people changed focus.  Life goes on.

Because of our Mott Haven Labyrinth’s however, the New York City Parks department became interested in labyrinths and the woman who was building the Mott Haven Labyrinths, built the  Labyrinth for Contemplation in Battery Park.

Hopefully, it will last longer than the ones we build in Mott Haven.  It is peaceful in and of itself, but over looks several war memorials.  Whenever I walked it, I always thought how sad that in this world peace is so hard to find.  More people want peace then want war, but the ones who want war win out all too often. If you live in or visit New York City visit this one.  Directions to it are on the Camino de Paz web page.

Still, if you can bring peace to your heart and then to your part of the world,  in time enough others will do the same and peace will come. To paraphrase a Jewish Prayer  “We need not pray to God for peace for He has provided us with many paths to lead us there if we will walk them.”

Thick Nhat Hanh believes in being peace.  Being peace brings peace on earth here and now.

YouTube – Walking Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh

Here is a more detailed description of how to walk in peace.



Being hyperactive I have created my own version of a walking meditation.  It is most useful when I am angry and get somewhere quiet to walk.  I start off stumping, , but also  saying out loud or in my head, “It is all all right.”  It may not be all all right for me, but I do believe in the long scheme of things what is is meant to be and is right. As I walk and stump and rant, serenity slowly returns and anger dissipates.  I can think clearly and decide what is wrong, what I can right , and what I have to let be. It works for me and might work for you.


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IMAGES BY: Camino de Paz

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