I’ve been fortunate to facilitate meditative walks in the labyrinth in breakout sessions at major conferences for professionals in healthcare and in aviation. Over the years I’ve had a learning curve to discover ways to approach professional development in these two unique contexts. I would like to share a general perspective from my experiences.
A majority of healthcare personnel have some knowledge and sometimes familiarity with labyrinths. Physicians, nurses and medical technicians encounter them in hospital settings, nursing facilities and churches. Community labyrinths sometimes figure prominently in their experience. They feel somewhat comfortable conceding to a labyrinth walk focused on change and bringing new perspectives to their professional roles.
Aviation professionals, most often pilots and mechanics, do not initially appear at ease with walking the labyrinth as a way to promote professional growth. That doesn’t mean they are uneasy; it’s only that they find themselves in a novel context for exploring professional transformation. They require some preparation to benefit from walking the labyrinth. Happily they are usually pleased by the new vocabulary and community spirit.
Professional transformation for everyone is a goal to extend work skills. It starts with intention. Although it may be difficult and needs prompting, it is contemplating letting go of the professional roles we have learned and repeated; looking at the jobs we are used to doing and thinking of ourselves otherwise; examining the status and delight in what we have achieved; questioning ourselves as the leader others admire. Transformation anticipates that we might reinvent, even re-envision ourselves. Why would we want to do that? Some outcomes include: setting new work goals for ourselves is rewarding; analyzing our connections to and the inspiration we get from our work life renews our energy to do our work; reflecting on ourselves as professionals contributes to an overall sense of self-esteem. Why, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t we take the time to walk the labyrinth as an impetus to these transformations?
Margaret Rappaport, Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator