Posts Tagged ‘“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking


8.14.18 … “who lived in pilgrimage from right now to the wondrous not yet”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ – Charlotte NC:

My labyrinth walking companion and I ventured across town to this lovely labyrinth. It was a second walk for me and a first for Toni.

As we walked in under the chime tower, the intentionality of every aspect of the garden jumped at me: the memorial bricks in the walkways, the 3 distinct circular areas, the memorial benches, the multitude of random cairns (intentional and random, an oxymoron?), the vine arbors, the hiking trails, the vintage baptismal font and, of course, the labyrinth.

Since our last walk together had focused on whether quiet and stillness were necessary for an optimal labyrinth, we reassessed the issue here. Although this church has extensive wooded areas, the noise from Harris Blvd., a virtual highway, was constant, and we as experienced walkers could shut it out. Could a newcomer to labyrinths?

I again noticed all the details here, the stuff. Today the writings on the benches and the cairns, many, many cairns jumped at me. The antique baptismal font is a nice touch. Today it was a mosquito breeder.

I was amazed at the number of engraved bricks. These were important to Toni as she is planning a legacy labyrinth at her church.

The labyrinth was difficult to see because there was not enough contrast between path and walls. Today the shade/not shade played with me. And it was very difficult to see the path in this light.

I did hear the cicadas and air traffic noises and the constant din of Harris Blvd.

This labyrinth is about 40 minutes from my home, and despite being only 7 circuits, it was well worth a visit because of the clear intentionality by this congregation to make a sacred space.

And I still like this memorial bench:

In loving memory of … who lived in pilgrimage from right now to the wondrous not yet.”


And a few quotes that caught my attention:

I ran across the great intro to labyrinths: Walking into Stillness: Encountering the Labyrinth on Vimeo …

“It may feel like stillness created through movement.”

I ran across the great intro to labyrinths: Walking into Stillness: Encountering the Labyrinth on Vimeo,


And a recent conversation reminded me of Chicago’s oversized softballs …

I get it, Chicago. We are a prideful people who love the things that make us us: The lakefront. Deep-dish pizza. Da Bears. Marshall Field‘s (RIP). And 16-inch softball.

While I will steer away from the argument of which version of softball is best — 12-inch, 14-inch or 16-inch (I’ve played in all three leagues) — what is clear is that 16-inch softball just isn’t worth Nate’s sort of fallout.

Sixteen-inch softball crosses the threshold of what can be considered “reasonable risk.” — Josh Noel

Source: Quit 16-inch softball; your fingers will thank you – Chicago Tribune,


8.12.18 …” What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” -JA

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

I’m really feeling the heat. And the heat, with singing bugs and the light breeze in the heat, seems to intensify my headache. I’m feeling very inelegant. So Jane Austen has inspired me here …

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.

– Jane Austen

And I notice for the first time a Friendship Garden? How could I have missed it before?

So I had to ask, what am I hearing? From this, probably cicadas.

By their songs

If locality and season are taken into account, the call of a singing insect can be used to identify its species. However, it is sometimes difficult to judge which major category of singing insect is producing an unknown call. In difficult cases, you may need to locate the songster. Here are some guidelines that may help:

Cricket songs are musical to the human ear because their carrier frequencies are relatively pure and low.

Katydid and cicada songs sound buzzy, raspy, or whiney, because their carrier frequencies are less pure and are higher than those of crickets. Cicadas call almost exclusively during daylight hours and at dusk, usually from trees and shrubs, whereas most katydids call only at night and many are not resticted to woody vegetation.”

Source: Recognizing crickets, katydids, and cicadas,


Thin places:

At the beach, I’m confronted with God’s creation on a grander scale. I look out across the ocean and realize that there’s another continent on the other side of this body of water, that underneath the waves are billions of life forms that we’ve only begun to understand and document, and that all of this is part of God’s creation. At the beach, I don’t feel overwhelmed by responsibilities; I feel overwhelmed by the beauty of creation. I feel free to read, stare at the waves and even nap! (I almost never nap, but the beach reminds me how wonderful that can be!) The beach is a thin place for me because it changes my attitude so that I am more open, at peace and better able to experience God.

Source:Finding God at the beach – The Presbyterian Outlook,

NYPL, before we had the internet, librarians, libraries:

Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everythingfrom queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles.

A few years ago, staffers in the New York Public Library’s reader services division drafted a blog post about how to track down a book when its title eludes you. This post spurred a follow-up, in which reader services librarian Gwen Glazer recommended library resources and a number of other strategies (among them are Goodreads groups, a sprawling Reddit thread called whatsthatbook, an indie bookseller in Ohio who is happy to poke around for a $4 fee). Thanks to Google—“how to find a book”—many stumped people seem to land on that post, and they have often written about their enduring puzzles in the comments section. The messages now number in the thousands. Glazer says she often arrives at work to see another 10 title requests.

Source, The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books – Atlas Obscura ,

Thin places, NYPL, before we had the internet, librarians, libraries


8.6.18 … And I’m still missing the old oak tree …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC, Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Jane Austen, perennial philosophy, Aldous Huxley, Lascaux Caves in France, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene“ :

Well, it’s unbearably hot today. And I feel like frogs are over there croaking. Someone has placed some pine cones fortuitously for me to view, and I find an ant bed and some wild mushrooms.

Before I walk I read a chapter of Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene“ which I will be using in my Tuesday Morning Bible Study this fall. I am not Catholic, so I have not paid much attention to Mary Magdalene or any of the other Marys for that matter. I will say that I grew up thinking that she was a prostitute… Maybe it’s because in the 60s she was portrayed that way in Jesus Christ Superstar. Very interesting.

I have noted before that one of my favorite features of Facebook is that it tells you everything you have posted on a given day through the years. In 2014, I was at the Lascaux Caves in France. Today, I found this quote on Richard Rohr’s site:

Some of the earliest evidences of human expression—dating over 40,000 years ago—can be found in the caves of Indonesia, France, and Spain. While the original meanings of these paintings are unknown to us, many anthropologists suggest “shamanism” or what we might call mystical consciousness and connection to the spirit-filled world.

There are no doubt significant differences in belief and practice between ancient traditions (as there are today between Christian denominations, other religions, and Native spiritualities). However, religious historian Karen Armstrong gives us a glimpse into what this spirituality may have looked like:

We know that shamanism developed in Africa and Europe during the Palaeolithic period and that it spread to Siberia and thence to America and Australia, where the shaman is still the chief religious practitioner among the indigenous hunting peoples. . . . [We learn from today’s shamans that] shamans have bird and animal guardians and can converse with the beasts that are revered as messengers of higher powers. The shaman’s vision gives meaning to the hunting and killing of animals on which these societies depend.

The hunters feel profoundly uneasy about slaughtering the beasts, who are their friends and patrons, and to assuage this anxiety, they surround the hunt with taboos and prohibitions. They say that long ago the animals made a covenant with humankind and now a god known as the Animal Master regularly sends flocks from the lower world to be killed on the hunting plains, because the hunters promised to perform the rites that will give them posthumous life. Hunters often . . . feel a deep empathy with their prey.

The images [on the cave walls] may depict the eternal, archetypal animals that take temporary physical form in [our] upper world. All ancient religion was based on what has been called the perennial philosophy, because it was present in some form in so many premodern cultures. It sees every single person, object, or experience as a replica of reality in a sacred world that is more effective and enduring than our own. [1]

Even in such an early, primal religion we can see the idea of this world as “image and likeness” of Ultimate Reality, and how the perennial idea of our connectedness with everything calls us to be respectful and compassionate toward all.

Source: Primal and Indigenous Spirituality, Shamanism, Monday, August 6, 2018, Hiroshima Day,

Because for the last several years I have studied Richard Rohr and several of his cohorts and their writings on non-dual spirituality, I have become very aware of the term “perennial philosophy.” Anyone else run across that term? It appears Aldous Huxley may have popularized it.

Many thinkers have identified common strands in systems of thought and religions through the ages. In 1945 Aldous Huxley wrote of a perennial philosophy “that recognises a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent ground of all being”. He said that it could be found in both “traditional lore” and the “higher religions”, in every era.

Was Huxley right? Is there an eternal truth, that we keep on discovering – whether it’s a “divine reality” or something better formulated in another way? And if so, what is its nature – is it outside us? Is it simply an aspect of the way our brains are wired?

Source: Is there a perennial philosophy? | The question | Opinion | The Guardian,

And another quote to ponder …

For [Jane Austen and the readers of Pride and Prejudice], as for Mr. Darcy, [Elizabeth Bennett’s] solitary walks express the independence that literally takes the heroine out of the social sphere of the houses and their inhabitants, into a larger, lonelier world where she is free to think: walking articulates both physical and mental freedom.

― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

And I’m still missing the old oak tree.



8.2.18 … Amen to holiness, stillness, reverence, nature, simplicity, and grace on the path …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

And now it is August. And it is hot; the cicadas are chirping and the cars are rumbling down Roswell, the residential side street near the labyrinth.

I am thinking of my son Jack and his great life of adventure in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. This week two father daughter teams from Charlotte are in the Park. For one, it is a first time for backcountry adventure, and, for the other, I think it is just one in a series of such adventures. I love it that they are interested in Jack’s world and that I was able to share and encourage these friends to go visit. This is an interesting peak at what he does:

I continue to find myself open to and moved by quotations shared by friends and influencers in social media. This is one written by a friend I met through Red Boot Way.

Take me now

To feel this holiness

This satiated stillness

Absolve me now

To see this reverence

This nature’s way

Release me now

To sanctify this simplicity

This eternal Grace

Slay me now

To forgive the path that strives

To be anything but this


Love, Sybil

And I take note of the juxtaposition of a backcountry adventure trip and a walk on a labyrinth. But I’m beginning to ponder the similarities.

Amen to holiness, stillness, reverence, nature, simplicity, grace on the path.



7.31.18 … And yes, stillness is vital to the world of my soul …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Cathedral of St. Philip – Atlanta GA:

So, I was a little off today. It was a muggy Tuesday morning in Atlanta and weather forecast was for rain for the next few days . I drove in last night and spent the evening with my mom. I was feeling guilty because I had not been here since the first week of July. Although in the past, she made me feel guilty, I think she is now processing that she really doesn’t remember when I was here last and how long ago it was. Her expression of joy at seeing me unnerves me a little bit.

I purchased my Starbucks treats and pulled into St. Phillip’s. As I walked into the sacred space, I noticed in a large planter filled with cigarette butts and a doggy poop bag. So my walk did not start off well given that there is a trashcan within 100 feet of this deposit. I thought to myself, REALLY!

I realized that in order to make this walk beneficial, I might focus on my saved quotations from the last few days. So here they are:


Stillness is vital to the world of the soul. If as you age you become more still, you will discover that stillness can be a great companion. The fragments of your life will have time to unify, and the places where your soul-shelter is wounded or broken will have time to knit and heal. You will be able to return to yourself. In this stillness, you will engage your soul. Many people miss out on themselves completely as they journey through life. They know others, they know places, they know skills, they know their work, but tragically, they do not know themselves at all. Aging can be a lovely time of ripening when you actually meet yourself, indeed maybe for the first time. There are beautiful lines from T. S. Eliot that say:

‘And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.’

John O’Donohue

Excerpt from ANAM CARA

On my way out, I cleaned out the planter.

And yes, stillness is vital to the world of my soul.



7.19.18 … In This Stillness …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte NC:

I loved walking up to the labyrinth today because for the first time ever, it was being used; a youth group from SC in town for a mission trip filled the sacred garden, and they were walking the labyrinth as a group. And the leaders were teaching about the labyrinth. It is an underutilized resource. So grateful to see someone understanding and using it. And teaching a new generation about it.

After the group finished, I walked, and it was a noisy walk. The birds were going wild and there was a baby crying in the distance.

This is another venting walk. I’ll just leave it at that …

Here are a few quotes for you:

Charity means ‘Love, in the Christian sense’. But love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people….

Our love for ourselves does not mean that we like ourselves. It means that we wish our own good.

In the same way Christian Love (or Charity) for our neighbours is quite a different thing from liking or affection. We ‘like’ or are ‘fond of’ some people, and not of others. It is important to understand that this natural liking’ is neither a sin nor a virtue, any more than your likes and dislikes in food are a sin or a virtue. It is just a fact. But, of course, what we do about it is either sinful or virtuous.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins 2001) 129-130.

What have you

To offer to me?

What is it

You feel I ask?


O my people,

What you see

To be your task.

Not that you

Forever harp on

Things so clear

To me above –

Simple are my


All I ask

Is that you love.

Love is clear

And Love is simple,

Quick to help

And slow to cease,

Love is Gratitude

And Patience,

Love is Kindness,

Love is Peace.

Source: excerpt of the poem “In This Stillness” from Philip Britts, Water at the Root



7.14.18 … “Religion, at the mature level, used meditation, contemplation, and silence, recognizing we have to clear away the normal dualistic mind (either/or, black/white) which is not adequate to the mystery.” Source: Richard Rohr: Becoming Stillness – Stillness Speaks, 

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Wedgewood Church – Charlotte NC:

I needed to vent…so instead I walked.

RELEASE…Crows cawing, crunch, crunch, crunch… traffic

RECEIVE … more crows, add cicadas, more traffic

RETURN … and integrate … still agitated.

Well, I tried.

So here is my quote for today:

“Religion, at the mature level, used meditation, contemplation, and silence, recognizing we have to clear away the normal dualistic mind (either/or, black/white) which is not adequate to the mystery.”

Source: Richard Rohr: Becoming Stillness – Stillness Speaks,

Tony Snow, #itsagreatdaytobeawildcat: Tony Snow was a Davidson grad. At our 25th reunion in 2007, Tony spoke at the all alum event. He was able to come because he was on leave (and at this point, he thought he had beat the cancer and was returning to the White House shortly.) We stayed at the Guest House with our kids, and he did also. He was so engaging and seemed genuinely interested in every one he met.

Dana Perino posted this in connection with the 10th anniversary of Tony”s death. It’s worth your time. Source: Dana Perino: Ten years after Tony Snow died much too young, I remember the important things he taught me | Fox News,

And another book recommendation, but I am not sure who recommended it: Susan Rivers’ “The Second Mrs. Hockaday.”

And anyone seen a great movie? I’m still loving my MoviePass, but am wary of surge pricing. MoviePass isn’t paying more.


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