Grow the Way We Grow


It starts, this time, with me picking up my friend at the airport. It’s Thursday night. We are going to spend three days together in a kind of friendship, in a process that is mostly about wandering, and in enough of a container that will help cultivate meaning. It’s something I’m really looking forward to. My friend is very clever, smart, and funny. Being with good people is such good. Being with good people in just enough container to hold unplanned wander is exquisitely healthy.

On the surface, these days look like a lot of nothing. Just hanging out, escaped from the traditional rhythms and responsibilities of a day. That’s a perceptual habit though, that is simply wrong. One layer down, there is a “way of being” that includes some deliberate checkin to the day. Coffee. Any dreams? “If that were my dream…,” and then proceeding to follow the cues and symbols that invite free-form sense-making. This goes for about 45 minutes. This layer continues with making some food together. It’s communal. Fun. This layer continues with going for a walk, Friday morning, to know and feel some of the land on which we habitat — my neighborhood. The walk calls out feelings. Silence. Words. Wonders. It’s great. And I’m proud of this little town in which I live.

The field, if you will, contributed to by my friend and me, is getting more rich. It’s a feeling. It’s an energy. It’s rich learning in which the ability to associate and connect ideas is growing more instant. It’s alive. It feels good to be in such animated learning space. Animated sense-making of how the inner world can be listened out into the outer world. With clever, smart, and funny.

The day includes another anchoring adventure. Friday it was kayaking on the lake. Easy paddle with plenty of pause. Seeing fish jump here and there. Seeing snow-capped mountains that will summer-melt into this same lake. This is so different that staying in my albeit comfortable house. It’s so different than structured meeting agenda at the office. This learning is the learning that changes learning. The field, again, is getting more rich. Filled with stories. With questions. With “it might matter and it might not matter.” Filled with a few funny phrases that are now easy to insert without context and that anchor this space of natural friendship — “clusterfuckery” was one of ours.

Saturday’s anchoring adventure was a hike to Stewart Falls, near Sundance. Snow still covers much of the path. The vastness of the experience invites a vastness from within. Oh, to see inner vastness — yah, that’s good stuff. To cultivate in a temporary field with another — one or many — wow! That’s the work I do. With groups. More often, without kayaking and waterfalls, but that’s the feeling and the “product.” The learning that is learning that changes the learning.

Yah, I’m grateful. There’s pattern in this. There’s something tremendously needed in the wander. For me, the framing that continues to clarify in me (as a human in general, and as a facilitator of groups) is that these moments that connect inner world to outer world and now with the longer arc of things — this opens something important in so many of us. It upgrades us, even if just for the moment. With more of a kind of kindness, and a kind of consciousness, and a kind of vitality that I speak as flow with life itself.

It ends, this time, taking my friend back to the airport on Sunday. We’re both grateful. Not needing too many words. Our wander has created really appreciative wonder. We’ve already named a few key threads from the weekend that stand out, the learning that grows the way that we grow. And it’s fun.

Fields of learning matter. Ways of being — simple, that create just enough deliberateness of container — matter. Sometimes found in a simple little weekend with a friend, or a team, or a group of strangers. To grow the way we grow.

Clear Leadership


I had a dream a couple of days ago. In it, I was working with a small group of other people. We were trying to name the event that we were creating. In the dream it was a few days later that it was coming to us. It had to arrive for us, rather than being forced on the spot. “Clear Leadership” is what I shared with the group in my dream. “Yes, Clear Leadership.”

From night time dreams to the waking dream that is day to day life, I find myself thinking a lot about leadership. In myself. In others. In people that I work with that come from many walks of life — ministers, educators, health and wellness professionals, corporate managers, and a whole host of people that are just trying to improve the kind of humans they are. As individuals. As groups, teams, and communities.

In my dream, “clear” had a connotation of depth and simplicity. It wasn’t more management and control of people and circumstance, though that can be important. It was clear story. It was clear commitment to human beings evolving a sense of who we are together and why we do what we do together. It’s one thing to produce widgets. Great. Thank you. It’s another thing (and to be fair, even part of producing widgets) to open ourselves to a broader purpose of being human together and in continuous wonder.

You know, I was in a workshop this weekend, in which one of the fundamental premises was that there is nothing to fix in self or other. Improve, yes. Evolve, yes. Grow, yes. Let go of, yes. Lament, yes. Human learning has full range, doesn’t it. But fundamentally, these are all perfectly normal things. In a Buddhist way, as Pema Chodron shares, “This very moment is the perfect teacher.”

Clear leadership, to me, when it comes to evolving souls, is very much about waking up (and perhaps removing distractions, habits that numb us, or even comforts) to a different story. The story isn’t “more, more, more.” It has a quality of “less is more.” It’s not blame (or concession) for all that is “out there.” It has attention to the intimately nuanced layers of what is “in here” and how the “in here” is in fact shaping so much of the “out there.”

“Clear leadership.” Hmmm… Clarity of soul. Clarity of purpose. Clarity of essence, that perhaps can only be found together and in the company of others that amplify energy, spirit, and memory of what we already know, deeply, and simply.

Here’s to more dreams, and clarity, in all of us.