Blessing (Inspired By Flight)

I’ve been reading a bit of John O’Donohue lately, the Irish Poet and Writer (1956 – 2008). Reading with delight. With instinctive pause after seeing his words, knowing that I want them not just in my mind, but in my belly.

A favorite, and goto book for me is his Book of Blessings. It’s dandy. Soulful. Accessible. Loaded with great imagery. I was glad to hear recently from my older sister that she was moved by the copy of “Book of Blessings” that I gave to her. A favorite for her is this blessing “For Equilibrium“.


For Equilibrium

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”


Inspired a bit by the flight I was on yesterday, marveling again at what it feels like to be above the clouds, and then return to earth, I wrote this kind of blessing — that I wish for others and for myself, that I wish for the groups I get to be with, and for the individuals that mingle among them.

May the open sky, should we ever be able to see it,
remind us of our vastness.
May we have clouds to catch us,
or perhaps create a perception of being caught and held.
May we never forget what is below, in ourselves and in others,
nor be negligent in our willingness to get there and to explore there too.

In These Times, Friends Matter


It’s a poem I wrote a few years ago. At a time of clarifying more of the story behind the story. For humans. And in many forms of system, be it family, community, team, or organization.

It’s a story that remains very accurate to me. One that I hold sometimes with joy, seeing that others are so seeking this kind of relationship together. And sometimes with sadness, seeing that numbing, and rushing to create more numb, and isolation — these are often the default ways of being.

This week I am co-hosting a group of 40. In a shape that will likely look something like this. Where we will likely remember some of the story behind the story, of how connection always matters.


In These Times, Friends Matter

In these times,
friends matter,
the people we turn to.
To listen.
To be heard by.
To be seen by.
To see.
To love.
To be loved.

In these times
staying awake matters.
Interrupting the many seductions
of numbness.
It takes discipline, doesn’t it.

In these times
dwelling in complexity matters.
Old fixes don’t work.
Imposing them more loudly doesn’t work.
Looking for patterns does.
Welcoming surprise
and union with life itself.

In these times
presence is core competency.
It is the core competency.
We grow it together,
telling stories,
and asking questions.

What matters to you?
What is it like to be you?
What has your attention?
Sometimes even,
What makes sense for us to do now?

In these times
friends matter.
Turn, and turn, and turn again
to one another.


It begins with a simple hello. There is joy in connection. A joy that is as natural as this mountain stream cascading over stones. There are four of us on Zoom, which gives us video and voice connection. We are colleagues. We are also friends. We haven’t connected in this way for a couple of weeks. If we were wolves or dogs, this simple helloing is some tail-wagging and playful bumping into each other.

It continues with some restatement of purpose. There is joy in this too. “I think what we are up to today is a bit of reconnection (in this case, before going into a Q & A session with prospective participants to an upcoming Art of Hosting that we will all hold together).” We are cultivating our learning field among us, which has direct bearing on what participants will experience.

It continues with deliberate check-in. It’s updating a bit of where we each are on our respective paths. We each know that it won’t be everything. It’s not a report. It’s a moment of witnessing with each of us choosing right-sized bites to share that build us into an “us.” There is more than tail-wagging. We are inviting the belonging that is pack.

Aside note — I recently listened to “The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack” by Jim and Jamie Dutcher. It was road-trip listening that carried me through much of Montana and southern British Columbia last week, headed north to Fairmont, Canada. I loved the book. I loved the imagery of the wolves. I loved the insights into their social behaviors.

Back to the call — I’m close to these people on this call. There is already a chemistry. And it’s growing. Because we are committed to hello, and purpose, and deliberate check-in. We are going together. We are growing together. It feels natural to be in our sharedness and in our difference that is held by honest relationship — I’m glad for that.

And then the call continues. Others come to join — these are the participants. They are yummy. They share a bit of intro. They share a few questions. And then we think and be out loud together. Without script. But with much purpose, honesty, and expectation to learn and connect.

All of this, I would suggest, is tending to a “field.” It is a less visible connective tissue. It involves words, but is more than words. It involves images and is social cues, but is more than that too. “Field” is the ethereal that carries more of the whole of us. Into knowns and unknowns. I love this. And I’d suggest, that this is so much the work of people in varied organizations today. Reclaiming connection. And honesty. And unscriptedness. So that we can go deeply to the inner and the outer.

Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, is often quoted for this expression of field:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”

Here’s to our awake together. To our fields of awakeness. And streams. And to all the good that grows from that. Inner. And outer. In groups small and large.

Expand The Circumference of Aliveness

The last couple of weeks, I’ve continued to listen to a fair amount of Francis Weller. The overarching topic is “The Alchemy of Initiation.” The topic of the section I listened to most recently is “Facing the Predator.”

In the recording I have, usually included are some questions asked by the audience / participants. I find Weller’s stuff to be pretty deep. He’s a psychotherapist and thus is oriented to much of the inner journey. I like that. And I like the way the he connects the relevance of the inner journey to the outer world of day to day living.

One of the participants asked, “What is the outcome of facing the predator?” Weller has some one line responses that I’m appreciating. He’s done, or is doing, his work. In his context Weller is talking about the predator as confronting death, or less dramatically, the myriad of voices that tell us we are less. Weller’s response — “To expand the circumference of your aliveness.”

Circumference is the measure of the outside of a circle. It measures the rim. It measures capacity. And Weller’s point, I feel, is that it is only in the ironic encounter with what encourages small that we find large. It is only in the encounter with death that we find more animated life.

Ahh…, that’s worth resting on for a bit.

In my life, there was an obvious encounter with death, perhaps too early in life. It was my father taking his life. I was 14. It makes me sad to say that, but I’ve had a few years to make a lot of sense of what was known and what I imagine was less known about my dad. Complex lives.

In my life, more recently, there is the encounter with the end of a significant relationship. It doesn’t end the way either of us thought it would. It doesn’t end the way either of us intended. The death here, is the death of a particular dream. It is the death of an embossed identity.

Back to Weller, I hope for any of us that we are able to experience the expanded circumference of aliveness. To be clear, I don’t think it wise to rush to the end, bypassing the predator. Many of us do that. The soul’s work is often daring to dwell in the descent rather than prematurely latching on to an ascent.

I’m glad for friends that can witness the encounters that phase change us from one state to another. Or the friends who are smart enough to take off the wrist watch, throw away the current construction of time, and know that soul’s work, soul’s cooking, abides by a different concept of time. It’s less of “everything squeezed in and capped at 50 minutes.” It’s more “done when it’s done.”

Back to Weller — expanding the circumference of aliveness. I love the life force in this. I love the connection to three values that I’m often speaking in the groups with which I work. Kindness. Consciousness. Flow with life itself. Often, when I’m with groups, I’m offering such verbiage, such narrative, as a suggestion to what we might just really be up to. It’s daring to go inner, even with groups taking on herculean and complex tasks, so that there are expanded choices of aliveness connected to task.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for adding your reflections to the encounters that expand aliveness.