Walking In Your Shoes®

About What We Do


“Don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in his/her moccasins.”

In the 2 sections below I give a brief explanation of WIYS and how a Walk is generally done. Keep in mind though that there are many variations and the work is (still) very much evolving. Walk for yourself and see!

The Approach In General
WIYS is a method which allows us to go beyond our conventional ways of knowing and understanding. It is a body-based, transformational process of directly knowing oneself and others in a state of deep interconnectedness. It mirrors gifts and talents to be developed as well as defenses to be tempered. At the heart of the process is the opportunity for us to break out of our limiting self-concepts and move into our deeper natures of love, compassion and “mirror-like wisdom”. It’s about getting past our rigid concepts of reality and more importantly, about ourselves. It’s about letting go, at least temporarily, of the belief we all carry that we are somehow inherently separate. We can be each other, because we already are.

This way of working is sometimes called ‘phenomenological’, as we look at and work with what arises in the very moment, rather than engaging with stories or believes and analyzing past experiences.

WIYS can help us with:

  • Healing of personal wounds
  • A better understanding of – sometimes pressing – issues in our lives
  • Exploring areas in our lives which have been hidden, sometimes for a long time
  • Tapping into our potentials and creative re-/sources
  • Facilitate communication in family and society
  • Giving a voice to beings not having their own or a ‘voice’ we can’t understand
  • Experiencing a deeper empathy with all beings and the world around us
  • and many more 

As a result of this work, we are often able to approach life in a more fresh and open way.

The Actual Walk
The work begins with the readiness of a participant to explore aspects of him-/herself or another important person in his/her life. A volunteer from the group states the intention to be this person (or element) and starts walking in the room in a circular fashion. The facilitator guides the walker to listen to the impulses of the “body-mind” and thus the walker “becomes the person”, reporting all their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and intuition. It is of astounding accuracy what the walker ‘manifests’ in regards to life themes, emotions, physical conditions and other important qualities of the subject being walked. The walk usually concludes when a certain sense of fullness in what needs be known has been reached. People who have been “walked”, frequently report that they have never before felt so understood and accepted.

Is it always someone else walking for me?
No. Whenever suitable you’d do the walk yourself. As the facilitator I will help you to determine what serves you best.
Can I (or someone) walk my pet or some other animal?
Absolutely. WIYS is a wonderful way to better understand other beings and ‘giving them a voice’.
How long are walks?
Sometimes as short as 5 minutes. Typically not longer than about half an hour.
What can be walked?
Yourself, your spouse / boss / neighbor / …, a person of public interest, an archetype, a fictional character, parts of your body, your blind-spot / calling / inner child / longing / next step / …, projects, political systems, countries and the list continues.
Is there something not to be walked?
A walk is a felt, energetic experience in the body. If you’d like an answer to the question “How much money should I invest in this company?”, a walk will not give you a number X and satisfy your mind. There are ways though to still explore the subject with WIYS.  I’d refuse to facilitate any kind of walk with the sole intention of ‘spying’ one someone. The intention for a walk needs to come from the heart.
Any other questions? 
Just go to contact and shoot if off.

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To sign up for workshop announcements/WIYS events visit the Contact Page

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Aligning with life's depth
The life we are living is all too often only the tip of the iceberg, those 10% we actually see above the waterline. Unfortunately we barely see or recognize that there is much more than what seems to be. What is keeping us on the surface rather then experiencing life in its depths? Factors contributing to this are, to name a few: limiting believes, old patterns & self-images, sometimes trauma, following the standard notion of separateness & dualism, and many more. We are mostly unconscious of these and other dynamics operating in us and some are sanctioned or even reinforced by society, like individualism, consumerism and other '-isms'. WIYS can help us to (re-)align ourselves with this original depth despite our unconscious loyalty to what seems to be real and what we allow ourselves to receive. In some way then WIYS is moving us towards ‘more life’ one step at a time.
A different kind of knowing
Osho: “For listening, one needs a discipline of being silent, of being in the moment, of putting aside one's mind with all its garbage - making a way for whatever you are listening to. If it is true, bells will start ringing in your heart; if it is not true, nothing will happen within you. This is a different kind of knowing: through the heart, not through the mind. This is the only true way that one can understand.”
Osho, Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance, Ch.#5: Prologue
The above quote summarizes quite beautifully some key aspects of WIYS: we work phenomenological (with what arises in the moment) and during the Walk we listen more to our body than our mind (what does it feel like). That which rings true then - not necessarily recognized by our mind - will express itself thru the body of the Walker in movements, words, emotions and others. We use our mind intelligently to understand and integrate our experience (not playing out any of our prejudices, judgements etc.) once the Walk has concluded. Welcome to A Different Kind of Knowing.
Thru walking to understanding
The process of walking is usually a simple means to get us from one place in the environment to another. Here and there we walk for some sightseeing, for exercising our body or just to get some fresh air. In changing only a few parameters of 'a Walk' we are suddenly able to experience a facet or dimension of reality which by far surpasses the one we typically encounter in daily life. First we let go of any ideas to get somewhere and how our body is supposed to move. Then we give the Walk a clear intention (such as to be another person) and pay close attention on what is happening, what is arising in our body. During the entire process we perceive information, express it thru our body and arrive at different levels of knowing. For more details about the actual process, please read “How It Is Done”.
Discovering new possibilities
What determines that which we are going after in life, what we are trying to achieve or not, the risks we are willing to take or the options we see available to us? For each one of us there are true limitations indeed: not everyone can be a theoretical physicist or a world class sprinter, no matter how hard one tries. But unconsciously we are limiting ourselves much more because of old but powerful believes, self images, (trans-generational) traumas and a variety of other causes. WIYS is a powerful tool to rediscover the tremendous possibilities in our life, in our profession, in our projects or in our relationships. It can help us seeing and going beyond our habitual horizon only to discover paths where we never thought one to be.
Igniting capacities for healing
Though WIYS is a powerful tool, we don’t aim to heal a person or ‘work’ on improving the particulars of a condition. What we do is exploring deeper layers of reality, other facets of it. For example: A person would like to explore the state of depression she often finds herself in. Our aim is not to get rid of the depression and/or making the person feel happier but to explore her condition. So the Walk might show an exiled, suppressed part of hers which was not welcomed by the parents or caregivers in the early years of life. Maybe this part was too exuberant, too intense for them to deal with. By now recognizing this part in the Walk, embracing it, maybe grieving its absence for so many years, she will eventually be able to integrate and own it. In this way we facilitate a path which - more often than not - leads to healing, igniting capacities which are already there so to speak.
Realizing empathy
Empathy is at the core of this work. It is the capacity we all share - to various degrees - to recognize the emotions another person is experiencing. At times we can well imagine how something feels like for another person based on our own experience. Without such experience we are mostly left to make assumptions. But regardless how ‘common’ someones situation might look like, it is nevertheless a unique experience of this individual. WIYS is a wonderful method to practice and ‘realize’ our empathy in that we put ourselves in the shoes of someone else. Only very little imagination and no assumptions but the immediate, felt sense in one’s own body makes this work a powerful dive into the human experience and beyond.
Bridging the human divide
One main contributor to the magnitude of suffering in the world is our strong conditioning to see and experience the world as inherently separated. There is me, there is you, there is us versus them and each one of us being separate from nature & the world around us. We tend to emphasize much more that which makes us distinct from one another than realizing that which connects us, that which we all share. The reasons doing so are manyfold, from survival instincts, traumas, etc. all the way to the fundamental loss of connection to our True Nature. WIYS has been used for team building, to (re-) establish communication where it had broken down and to facilitate reconciliations. It can be a deep spiritual practice, allowing us to experience being the bridge to each other and beyond, the oneness of all there is.
Supporting creativity
Much has been written and talked about being in the flow, about creativity or the creative process. Nevertheless many of us experience at times that a project or some endeavor stalls because we have no ideas on how to continue or what the next step should be. There is the story we’re writing which needs a villain we can’t come up with, the dance choreography which doesn’t meet our vision yet, the marketing campaign or product design we are stuck with and so forth. You could explore what might be blocking your creativity, sure. But you can also go for a more 'direct' approach and walk your project, your choreography, the villain for your story etc. and let yourself be surprised in what shows up. Joseph Culp - the WIYS co-founder - has used WIYS for decades to help actors, artists, writers (to name a few) to tune into what supports their work and make it flourish. His Walking Theatre Group is using WIYS to develop characters, story lines and more.
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