A Restorative Place
Creating a time of No More Homeless Pets® is close to the heart of everyone who’s a part of Best Friends, but getting there can sometimes be exhausting. But there’s a very special place in Angel Canyon where we can all go to unload stress, recharge our batteries, and reconnect with our mission to help the animals.
The Angel Canyon Labyrinth, designed by Best Friends co-founder and resident artist Cyrus Mejia (pictured below) and located just south of the Angels Overlook pet cemetery, is a place for contemplation and reflection. Walking the circular pathway, Cyrus says, is a “right brain” activity that helps clear the mind and open it up to creative ideas and problem solving.
While some people use the terms interchangeably, a labyrinth is not a maze. “A maze is a place where you get lost and have to find your way out again,” Cyrus says. “A labyrinth has one clearly marked path into the center and back out.” When you’re in a maze, your mind is concentrating on solving the problem of finding the center. Walking a labyrinth, however, is meditative, which helps bring a person back into the here and now. “You don’t have to think about where you’re going,” Cyrus says. “You can be there in the moment.”
The base of the labyrinth was built with gravel and rock with the help of Best Friends’ landscaping crew and volunteers. Labyrinths have been created all over the world, from ancient Crete to the Middle East, Europe and the southwestern U.S. Combining archetypal symbols of the circle and spiral, labyrinths have been used for thousands of years as meditative and transformational spaces. Cyrus says, “The labyrinth can be seen as a metaphor for the spiritual path, journeying into yourself, then back out into the world.”
Some volunteers find that the labyrinth is an important part of their Best Friends journey. One volunteer shared her story: Ill health had kept her hospitalized for a year. She spent a good portion of that time assessing her life and decided that a trip to Best Friends was in order as part of her healing. The following year, she visited the Sanctuary with friends and relatives whom she knew would appreciate the opportunity to spend time with the animals in the restorative atmosphere of Angel Canyon.
She fondly remembers taking a sanctuary dog on an outing to the labyrinth. “It was probably one of my favorite memories of the trip,” she says. “It was just a great bonding experience between all of us.”
If you’re ever at the Sanctuary, think about walking the labyrinth. We never know what tomorrow will bring, so a chance to live in the moment can be priceless. After all, all we really have is now.
Explore the Sanctuary using our interactive map.
Click here to begin your journey.