Human to Human is a daily blog. It’s journalling and learning in public, Monday through Thursday, in which I post current learnings (taking sporadic weeks off to write longer pieces or to rest). Posts are 300-500 words, often with photos, intended to be read in five minutes and inspire reflection, individually and communally, on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.


I suppose it is contentment that catches my attention in this photo. Curled up in sleep. Cozy on soft blanket. That’s Marmalade, a rather delightful house companion.

I suppose it is true that most of us seek layers of content. Baselines, or spiked seasons, that help us know who we are in our doing, our being, and our becoming.

I suppose it is true that most of us seek some basic humanities. Belonging. Sometimes safety. Sometimes risk. We seek fulfilling learning, presence, unfolding.

I suppose it is true that some days are more challenged than others. In ourselves. Or in our loved ones. Contentment feels foreign.

It is the work, and the life, for me, for many, in our families, with our neighbors, with ones we love in work and in community, and with ones we try to love in work and in community — to bring a certain contentment to the ever-learning path, no?

Taking Care of the Tissue of Life

Was glad to participate in this online gathering today, convened by Brooke Lavelle, Maha El-Sheikh, and others from Courage of Care.

This line stayed with me through the day, offered by Maytik Avirama and her co-host — “Wounds affect the tissue of life. Taking care of relationships takes care of the tissue of life.”

What a great invitation to practice.

The Simple Story

Corner of a picture of my grandparents taken 40 years ago. A candle in a glass jar, one third of its 72 hours burned. Stones collected from a 2018 road trip with a best buddy. A potted houseplant vine. Post-it notes of names of people from a recent gathering. It’s all a kind of altar in my office. The simple of it is that I’m a person that values physical and symbolic artifacts.

I’ve been asking people lately, near and dear, and often — What is the simple story here, now? It’s a form of the question, “What is happening?” It’s a form of the question, “What matters now?”

I love the responses. There’s a little extra permission to get to the values. To get centered. To get simple. In the simple story, there is room created for the more nuanced stories that are still working themselves out.

It’s in all of that spirit that I wrote these guiding words this morning. Thinking of grandparents, stones, and people I admire.

Live a good day.
Live a good hour.
Live a good moment.

in heart.

Going well
and with others.

For inspiration.

Participatory Decision-Making

I’m hosting today. With my good friends, Chris and Caitlin. Our work and friendship together now goes back twenty years. It’s an online webinar for university leaders. It’s on participatory decision-making. It’s a wrap-up event for a cohort of 25, sponsored by the university Provost and President. The three-day in-person event took place earlier this year. Sweet to be in learning and practice in this way.

These two diagrams above anchor the learning that have been important to me. Both diagrams come from Chris and Caitlin. One, from nearly 20 years ago when we were teaching together in our early Art of Hosting days. The other on the right, is updated a bunch by Chris and Caitlin. It’s good material on the basics, and on the nuanced needs that go with each of these phases of participation and then decision making.

Still love and find helpful the basic map. Divergence. Groan Zoan. Emergence. In the spirit of “all life is meeting (Martin Buber)” and “all life is relationship”, this map and the exercises that go with it point to a relationship with many important practices and ways of being — with exploration. With aha. With perseverance. With emergence. With courage. With shared clarity.

Here we go.