When she was new to the practice,
Annamarie Fernyak struggled with sitting meditations. So she started walking. “When you’re in a walking meditation, the process is essentially the same, but there’s a lot more to keep your mind occupied,” the mindfulness teacher from Lucas, Ohio, says.
Annamarie is not a somber scholar. She laughs often, talks spiritedly, and dreams big. She’s logged many miles in meditative walks on her and husband Carl’s farm, at nearby parks, along Spain’s famous Camino de Santiago, and through several formally designed labyrinths.
One day, she had the idea to create a labyrinth on her own property. She initially thought of simply embedding stones in a grassy area in a spiral shape. But once she got talking with her garden designer, Dwight Oswalt, the concept grew to 88 feet in diameter. She went on to hire Peabody Landscape Group, based in Columbus, to build a stacked-stone perimeter wall and a crushed gravel path patterned after the famous labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. Oswalt bordered in the winding path with layers of grasses, herbs, annuals, and perennials, including many natives and pollinator favorites.
“It’s meant to be very tactile with plants to touch, feel, and eat,” Annamarie says.
Scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma) TOP The scent of mint adds to the sensory experience of the summer solstice labyrinth walk for participant Rebecca Owens. ABOVE Annamarie found her experience of meditative walking important enough that she offers it to others. “If we can pause for a moment and invite ourselves to see the world freshly without filters, then we have the opportunity to make new and different choices,” she says.