To The Edge

Last week I stepped into my yard to take a few pictures of flowering trees. There’s the flowering Cherry, now loaded with white blossoms and covering significant view. There’s the tulips still holding themselves steady, though the day time heat is nudging them to a completed blossoming season. There’s grass greened in the unstressedness of spring.

When I was moving myself to get better pictures, mostly looking up to the skies and mountain background, I almost stepped on this snail. I was about to, but shifted my foot last second to avoid crushing it. I’m glad.

Some of the meaning for me in this pictures is about long journey. I can’t help but think about this snail — Where is it heading? Why? Does it have a destination? Is it just out for a thing?

I don’t know what this snail has before it. I enjoyed, and found friendship, for a moment, thinking of big journey. Yup, I have some of that too.

Recently, I wrote this little bit of poem, thinking of many of us that are in learning and journey.


I Continue To Learn

I continue to learn
that it is important to seek not just patterns,
but also,
what is below them.

I continue to learn
that it is important to live not just with safety,
but also,
with willingness to go to the edge.


Just Like I’m Writing Now — Thanks Patricia Raybon

In my living room area is a 5 foot by 5 foot window looking out into a shared communal yard of the small town-home complex that I live at. Or live in. Next to this window, on the inside, is an old refurbished recliner chair. It’s faux leather with distressed mission style wood slats under the arms. It’s distressed, not intentionally for design. It’s just old with to-be expected nicks and chips and scratches and a few stains. I got it at the consignment store seven years ago.

Next to the chair and window is planted a Norfolk Pine that has five stems growing from its base and now stands four feet tall. I love this tree because it has survived. It was a Christmas purchase from The Home Depot in 2015. I’m told these trees aren’t meant to live beyond the season of purchase. I don’t like that thought — the farmed for short term consumption model. But despite my best efforts with three previous years, thinking this will be our annual tree, they all died. This one didn’t. I feel it as friend. Next to this faux leather recliner. Next to this 5×5 clear window.

It’s the time of year when I need to put a few things on the window that help the birds, mostly robins and sparrows, navigate their flight paths through the communal yard, over the fences, into the trees, onto the swing set, and in and out of several other places. It’s impressive to watch them. From my chair. I can hear their chirping and singing. Last year, there were too many that crashed into my window. Some were stunned. Some died. I buried them. It felt right to honor them. Their flight. Their song. On my window I put a few colored post-it notes. I’m a facilitator after all. Use what you’ve got. There are many ways. Always.

Yesterday a friend sent me link to a post about writing. It’s Patricia Raybon. Her post is called “Writing in Life’s Storms.” She begins:

My husband is probably sick, but I’m writing a book proposal. Not despite him being probably sick. But because he is probably sick. It doesn’t make total sense. But I keep on writing. I’m supposed to be at a writing conference in Michigan—supposed to be teaching there now.

Instead, we’re going to doctors. We’ve scheduled an MRI. It got unscheduled. We scheduled it a second time. It got unscheduled again. We scheduled it a third time–because my husband is probably sick. So while we wait for tests to tell us, either way, I sit down and write. Just like I’m writing now.

And that’s the point. Writers write not because the moment is perfect. We write because it isn’t. Learning that changes everything.

What I’m learning is that this writing, for me, and for many, is medicine. We write because we can’t not. We write to make sense of things. We write to claim joy. We wright to claim angst and sorrow. We write to journal in public. We write to learn. We write to give temporary words to experience that is beyond words. We write to contribute to a medium of awareness, whether it be for our inner worlds, or for someone else, for a one or for a many. We write for an outer aha that might make even a small difference in another’s navigation, whether through chirps, songs, fences, trees, or post-it pasted clear windows.

It’s good to be human, writing.

On Being Better Humans — With Eric Bowers


Last week I got quite a gift. My friend and colleague Eric Bowers, shown above left on the zoom screen, invited me to an interview for his podcast on The Golden Repair.

Eric is an interesting guy. He’s an artist. A musician. A farmer. A group leader. An author. He plays a mean didgeridoo and guitar. I know Eric primarily through our connection at Soultime, a regular gathering for men’s work and men in community.

Eric recorded the program. The video is a bit wifi-challenged, but is here. If you prefer the audio only, you can download it here.

It’s a gift to be invited to reflect, which is what Eric did with me. I didn’t know the questions in advance, which is really how I prefer it. He surprised me with a few. It’s exciting to me to feel the improv-ness, the in-the-moment-ness of the encounter, the unscriptedness.

This is a long one (54 minutes). With slow-speaking. It covers a lot of territory, including some threads from my growing up years in Edmonton as a sports kid, my years in faith community when I was practicing Mormon. It carries forward to the work I do with groups and some of what I would call the fundamental issues of our times — being better humans, reclaiming an ability to live in the tensions, dislocating certainties, acknowledging the fears of our times, becoming adaptive, recognizing the medicine that men need from men, and sense-making that only comes with community.

It was fun to do, to reflect on these threads of life and work over the years. It’s some of my story, listened out of me in the moment, thanks to Eric.

I hope it might open some of your own reflecting.



Turning 1000

My first blog post was October 14, 2006. I wrote about my daughter Zoe as “Old Soul, Learning Partner.” She was 11. I’d invited her to sit with me and some of the people I was working with. I love it that this first post was about her.

So, it’s been 12 years now. WordPress tells me that today’s post is my 1,000th. Fun, right. Only 9,000 more to go!

I love the practice of writing. I love the aspect of blogging that is “learning in public.” I love the sense-making that arises from writing to develop thinking. Sometimes, we don’t know what we think until we say it out loud, or write it into words.

My blogging has included a few years of very sporadic posting. A renewed desire to share, followed by three months of nothing. And then there were the times of just doing it more often — once a week.

However, it was three years ago that I changed the name and the frequency of this blog. I changed the name from “Blog” (I know, exciting, right) to “Human to Human.” I loved being able to nuance the background intention — “to inspire reflection, individually and communally, on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.” I have to have the connection to the human depth — and “the thing behind the thing.” I changed the frequency from “whenever” to daily, Monday through Thursday (taking some weeks off, just because or for other writing).

I’m glad for those who read. I’m glad for those who share insights. I’m glad for those that contribute to my evolution and how any of us lean into an evolution together. As humans. As humans in quite a range of adventure, joyous to sorrowful.

So, in turning 1000, I offer a few words written by a friend engaged in Margaret Wheatley’s Warriors for the Human Spirit program. My friend has asked me to keep the anonymity of attribution. But these words, and this friend inspire me to keep opening to the full range of humanness in times such as these.

Here’s to our growth, our realness, our practices of consciousness, of kindness, and flow with life itself — all of us.


Warriors for the Human Spirit
are awake human beings
who have chosen not to flee.
They abide.
They serve as beacons of an ancient story
that tells of the goodness and generosity
and creativity of humanity.
You can identify them by their cheerfulness.
You will know them by their compassion.
When asked how they do it
they will tell you about discipline, dedication
and the necessity of community.