Free Listening

I often feel that what I seek to do in this blog is to be a noticer. Of things big. Of things small. Of things that are not things. Of moments that come and go like one gentle draft of wind. Of long arcs that are so worth giving ourselves to over years and decades. I notice for myself. For others, to encourage their noticing, I hope. It’s a really rich world, isn’t it.

I notice things that are painful, like some of the conditions of runaway confrontation. Or smoke-filled skies that won’t go away as forest continue to burn. I notice things that are joyful, like the teapot sitting in my friend Sarah’s window, and the garden beyond it neighbored by centuries old Douglas Fir trees. I notice. I notice. I notice. Perhaps we all do, but just rarely find ourselves removed enough to be in the soft edges of it all.

I’ve been teaching and convening the last week. It was The Circle Way Practicum, co-hosting with Amanda Fenton, and convening with 24 of us. There’s a pile of that that I’ll share over the coming days. Insights. Impressions. Ahas. Or maybe, just the way that that encounter, six days worth, peels away enough of the tough outside to see the everyday in a more noticing way. Sorrows and joys that bring me to tears.

Well, as I scan through email that’s been coming into my inbox the past week, I see this morning Charles LaFond’s post on Free Listening. Another story of noticing. Another beautiful image. Another something to feel some delight in, or whatever within the range of human emotions that are so often packed into a briefcase or a hall closet, only to be found another day when less busy.


She stands in the park during the Grower’s Market and she holds a sign.  “Free Listening.”  When I saw her, and her sign, I was so happy I could hardly inhale.

And more… on Charles’ sight for The Daily Sip.

Just Show Up

A friend reminds me that the job for many of us is to get ourselves into the room. Show up. Be part of the story. Or create the part of the story that is undeniably compelling and attractive.

It’s true in families. It’s true meetings. It’s true in working with teams. It’s true for taking the big journey of community together.

It’s a practice.  We’re not always at our best. It’s a direction to move towards.

The above picture is the vase of flowers we are using for our center at The Art of Hosting that starts today. Beautiful, right.

I don’t know if these flowers have a choice to do anything other than show up, and be in the room.

Beauty always guides. Presence too.


A Wanderer’s Noticing — Missoula, Montana

For the next ten days (including next weeks Monday – Thursday posting), I’m wandering. Going more visual. In the context of a summer family time with my boys, my married daughter, my son in-law, my niece and her partner, my nephew and his partner, and my parents.

It’s a gift to just notice, the simple beauty in front of me.

Every time I drive through Montana, a part of me says, I want to live here. It’s beautiful. Rugged. It is a stopping spot on my way to Canada (so a little closer to those roots). I think this is from the Clark Fork, and runs through Missoula.

The “M” near University of Montana, home of the Grizzlies. Can’t quite see it in this picture, but a friend told me that the lines up the mountain side are from glacial ice-age lake shorelines.

Even weeds are beautiful if you take the time. I enjoyed these on a morning walk while my boys slept, being the early bird person that I am.