Circles — From Founder Voices

First, to clarify, I know that Ann and Christina would nuance the use of the word “Founder” as it pertains to them and Circle. I’ve heard them speak many times of how circle “found them” through their efforts to improve the bodies of education that they each participated in thirty years ago — environmental education, and journal writing.

Second, I love them for their deep wisdom, gained with practice, and teaching, and inviting others in, like me, to learn, practice, and evolve this beautiful form of turning to one another.

I referenced this video in previous blog, the one with Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea talking about Circle with Healing Circles Global Co-founder, Diana Lindsay. It’s 84 minutes long. It’s the one where Christina shares, “If language were the human body, story would be the spinal chord.”

I want to bring a bit more attention to this video. These “grey hairs” as they are referenced at one point in the recording, are the foundation for circle practice that I began learning 20+ years ago.

In this video, Ann and Christina, speak some of the key aspects of The Circle Way — it’s the components wheel essences of practices, principles, host, guardian, agreements, energetics, check-ins and check-outs. You don’t get to synthesize and get to such essence and clarity without some lived life. It’s really beautiful to hear their voices again.

I’m forever grateful to these two. As mentors, colleagues, and as dear, dear friends — that have shaped so much of the work I get to do with groups, teams, communities.


I’m not a person committed to one particular deck of inspiration cards, nor divining from them with absoluteness. I am a person committed to learning. To loving. To feeling. To following intuition.

The above deck is, however, a set of cards I find myself returning to often. I find them beautiful. Simple. Centering. I don’t personally know Leela Kirloskar, based in Bangalore, India, who was kind to send me a couple decks when I shared my appreciation with her. It was my friend Quanita Roberson that put me on to Leela and her cards (thx Quanita).

The card I drew today — Wholeheartedness. I smiled. I’ve drawn this card before. I receive it as both reminder, and as a gift.

Leela’s words on the card — “An infinite love of life, extending joyous consciousness and generous expression, like flowers in full bloom.” Yup, there’s some potent guidance in that.

My words in my heart — learn, love, feel. Celebrate. Intuit. Through welcome of the infinite. Through practicing joy and consciousness. Through being.

I know that it applies everywhere.

A bow.

A Few Phrases Lately That Move Me (And Excite the Bejeebers Out of Me)

On a recorded interview for Healing Circles, Christina a Baldwin and Ann Linnea are sharing reflections and stories. The interviewer (and Co-Director, Healing Circles Global) Diana Lindsay asks Christina and Ann to talk the relationship between circle, language, and story. I’ve known Christina as friend, mentor, elder, colleague for 20+ years now. She has a gift in metaphoric imagery. She says, “If language were a human body, story would be the spinal chord.”

Yah, that’s a zinger.

Because, I so relate to so much of the work that I do with teams and groups as being connecting in our stories. It’s saying hello, over and over again. It’s coming to love and contribute to relationships, over and over again. It’s paying attention to what changes, inner and outer, over and over again. The vitalness of spinal cord in groups — invitations and contexts to share and wonder together on arising meaning and purpose. Yup, yup.

Shifting — Last week I participated in a call with several authors and contributors of the Change Library (my contribution was a co-authored piece with Chris Corrigan on The Art of Hosting). One of the leaders of that group, Dave Fearon, invited us each to speak to our “callings” as writers. Fun invitation. I spoke of my need to write as a way learning and being present, particularly through poetry.

But here’s the few phrases that emerged out of it all. “For those of us called to write, when we say yes to that nudge, we write, but also, the words write us.” Oh, so sweet. I known this feeling well. And then, couldn’t help myself…, I stretched that to, “For those of us called to offer artistry, when we say yes to that nudge, “we art,” but also, “are arted.” What a thing to give to such flow.


Last phrase for today. A man was sharing a simple view of life phases. He said, the first stage(s) are about acquiring information, and knowledge, and skills. And then, with age, comes the time for distilling and sharing.” It was lovely to hear. I know it was spoken genuinely. As before, I couldn’t help but belly check another layer of that, beyond acquiring and sharing. For some, with deep love of life, be become that wisdom (think Matrix and Neo becoming the Matrix), we just live the imprint, we live the energy. We are it.

OK, phrases, a few of them. Lately. They move me. They remind me of these essential practices of being — sharing and hearing story, being moved and changed by life that wants to flow with and through us, and becoming, as is so much the programming that I wish to offer, more aware and awake, inner and outer, now, and into the longer arc.

Heart Altars (Thx Gwendolyn Ren)

I really love this recent line from Gwendolyn Ren:

And I think this altar on the east wall by the window is really just a reminder to tend the altar in my heart. To sweep it, breathe fresh air into it, hold within it meaning and mystery.

Gwendolyn is a person I met recently, she a participant at an event I co-hosted. I loved her very still and present ways of being.

Gwendolyn is talking about altars, like the one “tucked into the nook in my office.” She talks about items that come an go on her altars. She talks about listening for what needs to be there.

Oh, I have learned that such tending matters to me. The candle that I altar, and that I light from time to time, or when I know of someone dear to me that is in need. The stones or pieces of wood collected from geographies that are important to me. The photo of my grandparents. A few hand-written notes from and for people that I feel woven with.

And then, Gwendolyn’s insight hits the spot. I so love the associative superpower to be able to connect what is the outer world to a deeply inner.

And I think this altar on the east wall by the window is really just a reminder to tend the altar in my heart. To sweep it, breathe fresh air into it, hold within it meaning and mystery.

Here is to the heart tending, the altar tending, the heart altaring, the heart altering that any of us are up to, in the quiet and soloed ways, and in the shared and communal ways.