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Evolve Your Leadership with a Walk

Updated: May 4

"Solvitur Ambulando: It Is Solved By Walking

The Latin phrase literally means, "It is solved by walking."

"The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both." –Thomas Merton, Mystics & Zen Masters, 1961

I love labyrinths. For decades, I've been walking them as a practice to get grounded and connected to something larger, within and outside of myself. (see resources about labyrinths at the end of this post)

I recently visited one of my favorites located in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was in town for business and needed this place of care after a difficult and emotional day related to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) training. The training had brought up challenging conversations and deep emotions, leaving me in a state of introspection and vulnerability. This labyrinth called me in, and I accepted. 

Usually, labyrinths provide a laminated guide to help those experiencing it for the first time or need reminders. I want to write something profound in this post, but there is no need to reinvent the wheel or spend any extra energy "putting it just right" because this feels right to me. Below sums up the experience and my encouragement to all leaders needing a boost to continue to move through these challenging and dynamic times of leadership. 

To quote, "In Western Christian mystical tradition, it's traditionally called the Threefold Path:

  1.  Purgation - releasing, letting go of the details of your life. As you shed thoughts and emotions, your mind quiets and empties

  2. Illumination—When you reach the centre, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what there is for you to experience.

  3. (re)Union - joining with God, with a Higher Power or with the healing forces at work in the world."

Just Listen

That's usually my experience. I arrive with questions I'm asking or challenges I'm trying to solve. This is a journey within a journey. Today, I intended to listen, particularly to messages that may validate my path outside of the labyrinth. 

Notice and Smile at the Chaos

Sometimes, I just want peace and quiet. And at labyrinths, I expect that. Mistake #1 - expectations. Having peace and quiet in a peaceful and quiet place is easy. The universe often plays a joke on me by bringing in noise and chaos to challenge me to stick to my intention. So, this day, mowers and blowers polluted this sacred space. It was lawn care day! Ha. THIS is the practice. Notice what emotions and feelings come up, and smile at the silliness of it all. This is life. It's chaotic and usually doesn't meet our expectations, but that's okay. 

Deeply Listen (Gracious Attention)

I know, I already wrote, "Listen." We can't listen enough. And we need deep listening (or "gracious attention")—the listening that hears the birds amid the mower, the wind amid the plane above, and the guidance amid our own direction. Tomorrow morning, take a walk and listen. I mean, listen for five new things. It might be the bird, the plane, or the dog. I bet you hear something else—some guidance and support.

What are you grappling with?

What are you trying to solve?

What actions are you hesitating to take?

What guidance are you seeking?

You will likely find the answers and support with a walk or stroll outside. 


Learn More About Labyrinths:

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