solviture ambulando: the solving is in the walking

05 Jun

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It’s my latest ancient treasure.

My new allons-y.Unknown

Augustine of Hippo, thank you.

Barbara Brown Taylor, thank you for spurring me with a fresh challenge to embrace the spiritual practice of walking in that wondrous read of yours called
An Altar in the World.

Thank you for the reminder that the greatest miracle is not walking on water but walking on the earth. Especially when we take the tanks off our feet we call shoes and walk on our bare feet.

The spiritual practice of walking barefoot. My oldest daughter Brenna was so on to something.

Some books are so good you can’t put them down, even if it means getting sunburned.

Others are so good you have to.

Altar in the WorldI had to keep putting down An Altar in the World to get up and go do it.

I had to wake up.
I had to get lost.
To wear skin.
To feel pain.
To say no.

And now I know what our church needs on our sprawling 22 acres.

We need a labyrinth. (And, no, the office complex doesn’t count)

Not everyone is able to walk, but most people can, which makes walking one of the most easily available spiritual practices of all. All it takes is the decision to walk with some awareness, both of who you are and what you are doing. Where you are going is not as important, however counterintuitive that may seem. To detach the walking from the destination is in fact one of the best ways to recognize the altars you are passing right by all the time. Most of us spend so much time thinking about where we have been or where we are supposed to be going that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are. When someone asks us where we want to be in our lives, the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say, “Here, I guess, since this is where I am.”

This truth is borne out by the labyrinth – an ancient spiritual practice that is enjoying a renaissance in the present century. For those who have never seen one, a labyrinth is a kind of maze. Laid out in a perfect circle with a curling path inside, it rarely comes with walls. Instead, it trusts those who enter it to stay on the path voluntarily. This path may be outlined with hand-placed stones out-of-doors or painted right on the floor indoors. Either way, it includes switchbacks and detours, just like life. It has one entrance, and it leads to one center.

The important thing to note is that the path goes nowhere. You can spend an hour on it and end up twelve feet from where you began.

The journey is the point.

The walking is the point.

Salviture ambulando.

Take and read.

And walk.



Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Books


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2 responses to “solviture ambulando: the solving is in the walking

  1. revelatorart

    June 5, 2014 at 4:59 am

    I FULLY AGREE! I’ve walked labyrinths in several places all around the world. Walking a labyrinth is the journey of life. One way in. One way out. No dead ends, No tricks (like a maze)…the only tricks or dead ends are in your mind. One continuous path…in, out, in, out. quick, slow, quick, slow. it’s a dance. it’s breathing. it’s learning to listen as you walk. letting the journey be the point. In Boise…St. Luke’s hospital has a labyrinth installed across from it’s entrance. St. Michael’s Cathedral holds monthly labyrinth walks and is working on building one on 8th street on the grass across from them. It’s easy to make one. I’ve even walked one that someone created with masking tape on a gym floor. Labyrinths can go with you wherever you are. As you said…just look down at your feet. 🙂

  2. wordhaver

    June 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Right on! Lisa Marten, this has VineArts written all over it for our campus…and my quarterly class would walk it. Oh yes we would.


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