Snowmass Chapel offers self-guided, meditation walk on village grounds | AspenTimes.com
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Snowmass Chapel offers self-guided, meditation walk on village grounds

Two chairs sit next to one of the 12 touchpoints along the Snowmass Chapel's new meditation walk, Sept. 1, 2020. (Maddie Vincent/The Aspen Times)
Maddie Vincent/The Aspen Times

Deep breathing and reflection by the creek. A seat among the flowers. A labyrinth with a centering prayer.

These are just a few of the “touchpoints” locals and visitors can experience along the Snowmass Chapel’s new self-guided, outdoor meditation walk.

From reading the weekly scripture selection in the garden to guided contemplation on the chapel river deck, the walk aims to offer locals and visitors a way to find spiritual connection and meaning in a safe, socially-distanced way, according to Lisa Aanonsen, the chapel’s ministry coordinator.

“We’ve really tried to design it around our whole mission as a chapel, which is love God, love each other and love yourself,” Aanonsen said of the meditation walk. “So with that as the core guiding principle, the touchpoint walk is designed to really connect to people wherever they are in their walk of faith … so I think anyone who is walking down the path and wanders through the Snowmass Chapel grounds can find an offering there for them to help them connect into love and purpose.”

The idea for the meditation walk, called “Daly Breath: Touchpoints In The Spirit,” came to Aanonsen on a recent Sunday morning when a woman running in the area came by to see what the chapel was all about.

“She didn’t want to come in for the worship but just had some questions, and right now we’re trying to have as few physical contacts, so we don’t have bulletins or brochures or anything,” Aanonsen said. The Snowmass Chapel has been allowing a small group of people to view their Sunday worship livestreams inside the church since June 14, and has hosted limited outdoor courtyard worship since June 21, she said.

“So in trying to answer her questions it kind of dawned on me, ‘wow, we need a way to connect our message with people who are drawn to our area and just to the natural beauty of our grounds.’”

Aanonsen went on to say that after worship that day, she wanted to take some more time with the closing prayer and went to find a quiet spot by the creek next to the chapel.

That’s when Aanonsen realized the Christian chapel could share its message and values with locals and visitors in a socially distanced way that wouldn’t require physical contact at all.

“I thought gosh, why don’t we take this worship service that we put so much effort into preparing each week as a resource for our community and put it out on our grounds in a way where people can come by on their own time and in their own space to experience it,” Aanonsen said.

Now, with guideposts, a map and reflection journal to help lead the way, locals and visitors can take part in the walk on their own time — which has a special version of kids and QR codes people can scan along the walk to hear snippets of music and sermons from the latest Sunday worship — and can even check out the 12 touchpoints virtually via the Snowmass Chapel website if they’re unable to do the walk in-person. So far, Aanonsen said the chapel goes through about 15 reflection journals, or meditation walk guidebooks, each week.

And while Aanonsen said the walk was born out of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, she said it will stay a piece of what the chapel does beyond the pandemic as a way to bolster community and spiritual connection.

“I think there are a lot of really important lessons that have been offered during COVID and they are very personal for each person. … So everything that we learned through the sacrifices of this pandemic are really important to keep with us as we go forward,” Aanonsen said.

“One of those (lessons) is sort of the necessity of quieting the busy-ness of the world in order to give time and space for reflection and connection with spirituality … and so to take time to slow down the world and to just connect is something that’s not going to go away when COVID resolves.”

To take part in the Snowmass Chapel’s meditation walk, start at the chapel’s front doors, 5307 Owl Creek Road, and pick up a map/reflection journal. For more information about the walk, visit snowmasschapel.org.


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