People Who Ponder

I’m grateful for this photo taken by Betsy Sobiech at QT Cincinnati. I didn’t know she was taking it. It was last weekend, which feels like eons ago now. That’s what missing fantastic quality does. That’s me on the left. That’s Chris Smyth on the right. What’s funny is that as we walked, slowly, Chris commented about the contemplative posture. We laughed in that moment.

I think it really matters these days to have times of ponder. And people to ponder with. I’m glad for this with good humans. I’m uniquely glad for this with men. It is, simply, one of the things we lost when we lost initiatory practices. I’m grateful to be in a body of work that holds contemplativeness as central. That’s sense making. That’s witnessing. That’s sharing story. That’s leaning into rather than away from mystery. That’s leaning into rather than way from grief. All of that is code for something I think we humans are naturally oriented to do — to seek and contribute to an energetic of connection and learning. So that we can do a pile of good in our varied vocations and walks of life.

Quanita Roberson and I will host / do more of this in the near future in a 16 month learning cohort model. Fire and Water: A Leadership Journey and Rite of Passage begins virtually in August and face-to-face in October (registration remains open). It’s where we will, I hope, further instill in each other the deep ponder in community that leads to creating courage to face the troubles of our times. In the inner, and outer. In the now, and the long arc. In the individual, and the communal.

Yes, please join us. For the ponder. For the eons.



Fire & Water at Hope Springs Institute

Yesterday I visited Hope Springs Institute, the physical home venue, and hearth, for what will be Fire & Water, A Leadership Journey and Rite of Passage. I often think of place as participant. Yesterday in seeing the Studio, Spirit House, Farm House, and ample grounds on which to wander — I got very excited. This is a place to hold community in well fed, well nourished, well spaced, and well convened ways. See below for a few more pictures of Hope Springs, near Peebles, Ohio.

Fire & Water starts this October. Applications begin here.

Fire & Water,

convened by Quanita Roberson and Tenneson Woolf, is a 16-month leadership cohort program that includes three 4-day residential retreats (October 2019; April 2020; November 2020 — Hope Springs Institute, Peebles, Ohio), a designated virtual learning platform, and structured ongoing coaching. It is a cohort program to cultivate wise leaders and community — not just busy leaders and commotion — through a proven participative leadership platform that relies on gaining tools and experience found in shared learning, building community, rites of passage, and applied practice.

Fire & Water,

is groundbreaking and innovative work that grows from our 25 years of experience. For Quanita and me, it comes from a growing awareness and concern that few people experience the conditions for the wisened leadership that is needed for our times. Many are so often responding to crisis. Fire & Water is an effort to grow and create more of what we know is working, but has been sorely missing in leadership development. Yes, we anticipate participants to come out better equipped with tools, and community. But further, we intend a transformative environment in which all will gain more ability to go further with skill-set and heart-set for times such as these. 


Not Mine, But Ours

For those relaxing a bit more into the thing behind the thing behind the thing, when it comes to circle.

This work is not hard
but it is focussed.

Living as circle is a way of being.
It brings us into a requisite vibration
such that we can now be in relationship
to the heartbeat not mine, but ours

to thinking and feeling not mine, but ours
to grander scale not mine, but ours
to inspired and tangible action not mine, but ours.

Circle is the ultimate amplifier.
We move circle and it moves us.