Beach labyrinth for World Mental Health Day

by Andrew Nicholson in Tresillian, England, United Kingdom

Beach labyrinth for World Mental Health Day
We did it
On 23rd October 2020 we successfully raised £105 with 7 supporters in 14 days

Creating a beach labyrinth for World Mental Health Day

by Andrew Nicholson in Tresillian, England, United Kingdom

THE AIM

This labyrinth for World Mental Health Day will provide an opportunity for people to pause and reflect on what they have found challenging during this year, and also what they have been grateful for. Money raised from this labyrinth will be split 50:50 to support the mental health charity MIND and Random Acts of Wonder.

BACKGROUND

Random Acts of Wonder is a project started by Andrew Nicholson in 2018, with the aim to provide opportunities to support well-being and spirituality through churches, schools and the wider community using creative arts. One of these initiatives is beach labyrinths.

Over the past 10 years, at least 7,500 have participated in walking labyrinths that Andrew has created, usually with the help of a small local team. These have taken place at over 30 locations all across Cornwall (from Bude in the far north all the way around to Portwrinkle in the south east) plus the Isles of Scilly;  and have also included two festivals in Jersey and the national 3Generate Methodist youth event in Southport last year. Another partnership in 2019 saw Andrew work with the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit for World Moment day, focusing on the environment, which was made into a short one minute promotional film https://www.facebook.com/cornwall.aonb/videos/2303825049930661/ 

HOW BEACH LABYRINTH WORKS

Labyrinths have been uses for tools of contemplation for many centuries, the most famous example being the thirteenth century labyrinth in Chartres cathedral in France. Beach Labyrinth is a new take on this ancient tradition.  I invite participants to use rubbish on the beach as a metaphor to represent issues or concerns that may have. A (safe) item is carried by each participant and they have the opportunity to reflect as they meander through the switchback path to the centre of the labyrinth. At the centre a driftwood cross or a heart is made, and participants are invited to let go of their rubbish, symbolically releasing their concerns and issues too. On the return path, participants are invited to take a stone with them to think of something solid and secure they might like to do or change in their lives. 

It's an activity that almost everyone can relate to. I frequently find that children and family groups enjoy the experience as well as individuals or older people, it’s truly an inter-generational event that can be appreciated on many different levels – it’s thought provoking, prayerful and calming, but it’s also enjoyable and fun to negotiate. There is also an important environmental aspect, in that all the rubbish used found on the beach is all bagged up and disposed of safely and appropriately at the end of each session – so that’s over 7,000 pieces of rubbish so far that are not now littering our beaches or contaminating the oceans as a result of Beach Labyrinth. 

2020: LOCKDOWN AND MENTAL HEALTH

Random Acts of Wonder has been badly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic which has made so much of the well-being based creative group work, impossible. Looking at beach labyrinth, it's not been possible this year to form the normal partnerships with local churches to create these installations. With your support, it would be wonderful to offer this resource to help support people's well-being once again.

2020 has been a challenging year for so many coping with the affects of Covid 19 and lock down restrictions. The mental health charity Mind has reported from a survey of over 16,000 people that mental health has been adversely affected in over 60% of adults and 68% of young people.

For World Mental Health Day, it feels important to provide an opportunity for people to process the many challenges of the last few months, and also to reflect on what to be thankful for in life.  Money raised from this event will be split equally between Random Acts of Wonder and Mind.

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