Tweets of the Weeks

  • These are important and helpful webinars, offered by BALLE. More on living locally practices. 
  • Good teleseminar on Cynefin Framework by Chris Corrigan. For TransitionUS group. 55 minutes. 
  • Friend, Steve Ryman on intentional nomading: “the journey is about finding opportunities to practice generosity and gratitude.”
  • Life seeks natural order – you can depend upon it. We have the power to grow someone by how we engage with them. Harvests from Toke in Zim.
  • The art of participatory leadership moves us from best practice to next practice. Friend Toke working in Zimbabwe.
  • BALLE is a great organization. Catalyzing the localist movement. Annual conference, June in Buffalo, NY. 
  • Holly Masturzo: Citizens who demonize entire cultures might as well be geologists who cannot discern between volcanoes and mountains.
  • Clear narrative that I love. Contemporary life, sacred economics. Charles Eisenstein 12 min video: 
  • Beautiful post from Dave Pollard. Enough. A claim to now and the future. 
  • I like this article by Bhav Patel. Pay attention in leadership to “what is right” rather than “who is right.” 
  • David Stevenson, AoH Community: Elders seem to be those who by their spirit and nature are our guides to what is great within us.

First Fire

Over the weekend I gathered with 35 others to help support the legacy work of Christina Baldwin, Ann Linnea, and others working from a Peer Spirit tradition. We gathered on Whidbey Island at The Marsh House, one of my favorite magical places in the world. Stewarded and tended to by one of my good friends Joy Moulton.

First Fire was the name of the gathering. A passing on of fire, or more accurately, a sharing of fire, for more people to carry the work of The Circle Way in the world. At its core is an intent to help transform the planet and human consciousness by changing (or  remembering) the way that we are together. Christina and Ann have been my primary teachers of circle. Beautiful to honor them and this work in this way.

One of the gems for me from this gathering came from a harvest of an open space session called by Lisa Connors and Kristie McLean. Their focus in their group was about using circle internationally. What really sparked for me in their sharing was three core ways in which I find circle transforms an ordinary experience into ritual and what I would call, higher vibration. It gave me ideas. It affirmed some practices too.

To Witness Journey

My friend Steve Ryman is a nomad. He has become one. He worked 35 years within an Oregon public and mental health system. He was part of a peer-based, distributed leadership team. In his last several years, Steve was stirred to move into the next parts of his life. To leave the comfort of his work and friendships. To leave home. To simplify his belongings down to what he could carry in a back pack and leave behind in a small storage location. Steve was stirred to move toward the global community of friends working for social good and justice. To offer himself in service from a different place.

One of Steve’s impulses took him to Zimbabwe to be with the community that is Kufunda Learning Village. Another was to Spain to walk the El Camino Trail. When he returned from each of these trips we were deliberate about setting time to witness and hear of his journey. Not just, “how was your trip” brief summaries. That wouldn’t do here. Rather, deeper witnessing. Deeper listening. For Steve, an opportunity to share from the energy that he had experienced these trips. Touching the vibration if you will. Circle was our way of doing this. Of honoring and witnessing such significant journey.

To Mark Passage

I have a daughter who is soon to graduate from high school. She will start attending college shortly after that. It is a time of passage. Another one. From one significant stage of life to another. Of maturing. It could be simply passed in time. An unmarked falling into the next place of life. That somehow seems disappointing. My friend Roq Gareau reminds me that we have lost many of our rituals and initiations in contemporary life that often were used to mark passages. I notice that I’m searching for some ways to mark this passage with my daughter. I tell myself that it must be quite simple. Lisa and Kristie reminded me that a circle could do this. Perhaps a modified version of the Quaker Clearance Committee format in which a small group of us only ask questions and share an affirmation of seeing. Deliberateness to mark this part of the transition that is young adult to adult.

To Entrain to Memory

In early 2000 I took a trip to Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was the beginning of work for a global leadership initiative, From the Four Directions, through a partnership of The Berkana Institute and Peer Spirit. It was the first time I’d been to Africa. We spent a week, a group of 30 of us, celebrating our friend Marianne Knuth’s 30th birthday. Time near Harare. Time near Marianne’s Grandmother’s village. Time near Victoria Falls. This was a trip on which many important things happened. It may sound funny, but one that I remember most was the first circle we had together. I remember circling outside in the autumn sun near Harare. I remember the comfort I felt to feel the form of circle as part of our being together. I remember where people sat in the circle. It is as if the form of circle, and what was shared, amplified the part of me that remembers long term by feeling and energy, well beyond words. It is memory that still sits in me. That I appreciate. Seemingly insignificant, yet deeply entrained to memory.

Thanks to Lisa and Kristie and the activated spirit of this First Fire group for these bits of clarity on some key uses of circle.

The Art of Community

I loved working with the Church and Community Workers of the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Most recently this occurred March 2-5, 2013 at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. There were about 40 our us gathered. It was a continuing education event for them. Our intent was to learn and practice more participative leadership together so that they could apply and use it in their varied settings. Inspired leadership in people like Kathleen Masters, Cathy Whitlach and Judy Chung to put support behind such a gathering and a third in a series of training events over the last year. Inspiring participants.

There are many levels of harvest. The Art of Community is the name of the article that Marielynn Dunlap Grace, one of our participants, wrote. I love how she captured the core narrative and story.

A few additional harvests are below:

Drew Parsons — Hambone for CCW (0:53)

Circle Dance (1:29)

Becky Parsons — CCW AoH at Work (1:27 — battery died :()

Linda Stransky — CCW AoH at Work (3:20)

Judy Chung — CCW AoH at Work (1:27)

Photos on Flickr

Transitions of Grace

You could call it an end. That would be accurate. Yet, there are many attached thoughts to ending. I find it takes discipline to hold an ending as a transition. To hold it with grace. Without apology.

Last week was one of those times. I so appreciated the group that gathered for our Participative Leadership Practitioners Circle. This is a group that has met monthly in different constellations of 6 – 16 people for the past 3.5 years. We’ve met at times to share projects. At times to listen, to learn, to witness. At times to catalyze work, inspirations, and surprise together.

Below is the description I’ve most often used for this group. It has felt clear. Centering.

BulletWe are a group of learning friends, colleagues, and practitioners. We support a culture and practice of participative leadership in the Salt Lake Valley.
BulletWe meet the third Thursday of each month, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meeting space is offered by the Holladay United Church of Christ, 2631 East Murray Holladay Road.
BulletWe meet to strengthen our learning field, our relational field, and apply what we learn to projects that help in this valley.
BulletWe meet in varied constellations. You do not have to have participated in all or in previous circles. There is no fee.

We met last week to discern whether there was energy for a new cycle together, and, if others wanted to offer their leadership to continue it. It was clear for me — I was happy to be a participant but my attention has moved into other local projects and initiatives. Thus, we met to also explore the possibility of putting it down. Releasing it.

Releasing it was our discernment.

There was some important learning for me as we closed this group. Was it to be held in shame? As a “falling apart?” What really happened? These were some of the expressions during our evening together.

However, these questions are what I experience as thought traps. They come from a well-intended place of commitment or longevity. Yet, I wasn’t holding it as falling apart. Rather, as graceful letting go. “It was good. Now it is complete.” This was more accurate for me. For me it was important to notice how I felt the energy of this group, mine in relation to it, moving to new forms. Not a loss, but rather a redirection of energy.

What solidified from this group? These are the words that came to me that evening. A rhythm for potential to be realized because of our attention together. And then, to be released when it is time. Many of us found each other because of this circle. Or, found enough to follow a few sparks and offerings for this community. My friend Caitlin Frost is an important teacher of this for me. “It is until it isn’t.”

I appreciated the questions we asked of each other. What is this group to you now? What energy do you have for it now? And after discerning that letting it go was the natural energy, what do you celebrate in this decision?

I loved the reflections shared. Warm. Memories. Gratitudes. Appreciations. For calling it. For friendship. For learning. For movement of energy. For service. For the grace of letting go.

“Something has been added to me. I’m more because I came here.”

Thank you friends. All. The Salt Lake Center for Engaging Community for inspiring me to start it. Erin Gilmore and Glen Brown at the United Church of Christ for offering space to meet, friendship, and co-hosting. The Berkana Institute, a key point of lineage for me that has taught me some essentials of social architecture. For all of you that have participated along the way.

I look forward to the pause, to welcoming others in new ideas, to joining in with others.