Trusting Your Nature

Tomorrow starts this, a three-session series that I’m offering with my good friend Kinde Nebeker.

It is our third from the body of work that is “Inner and Outer of Evolutionary Leadership (IOEL).” I love having a deliberate attention to both the inner and the outer.

I also love the distinctions that we have created for each session, and woven together as a whole.

It is our nature (we humans) to engage and convene. Not just a desire. We are coded to do so.

It is our nature to listen deeply — I’m sooo looking forward to a day in Utah’s mountains. There are many layers to listen to and from.

It is our nature to evolve. Things change. Systems change.

Below are two resources that shape IOEL for those of you interested further, written by Kinde and me. May they stir in all of us.

A Commitment to Emergence: The Inner And Outer of Evolutionary Leadership

The Magical Wilderness Between People Together


Trusting Your Nature

This week I was able to spend an afternoon hiking and wandering Tiger Mountain near Issaquah, Washington, where I took this picture. The occasion was my spouse’s 53rd birthday. I love the green of Washington State. Soft moss that grows on standing and fallen trees. Ferns that make their home everywhere. Streams that trickle through the park, as well as a few waterfalls. There is a kind of obvious abundance.

We were out for three hours. Some of that moving. Some of that talking. Some of that huffing and puffing (it’s a fair incline). And some of it just sitting. When I sit in places like that, I can often hear the voice of one of my mentors. “We are nature.” Not, “It’s good to be out in nature.” It’s not external. Rather, it is internal. We too, despite being the incredibly conceptual and cognitive beings that we are, with ability to abstract, are also a living system nested within other living systems. That changes how I pay attention and how I listen for insight and welcome it to arrive.

My friend Kinde Nebeker and I have just finished creating an invitation for another three part series we are offering on The Inner and Outer of Evolutionary Leadership. This series is called Trusting Your Nature. The middle session will be a full day up in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. If you are reading this and within range to join us, please do.


Evolution. It’s encouraging, right. Accept when it is not.

I laughed when I saw this photo this morning on a friend’s Facebook page (who is actually celebrating his birthday today). So promising (evolution, that is). So much progress. But then again, oh yah, that hunched over thing.

I use the language of evolution a fair amount in my work. My friend and colleague Kinde Nebeker and I have created a series on the “Inner and Outer of Evolutionary Leadership” (Series I, Series II) I use the language of evolution to invoke an attitude and disposition. Not in the geologic sense that is over centuries and millennia, though I suppose that could be relevant too. But definitely as “evolving the nuance of who we are and how we are together” in the coming months, years, and even decades. It’s a fundamental invitation rooted in desires to collaborate. Not just collaborative as in, helping the neighbor rake the leaves. More at the layer of evolving the edges of who we are becoming as a species, as nations, as teams, as people on the edge of difficult or untenable circumstances.

Untenable. Hmmm…. There feels like a lot of untenable that is rising up in the world. It feels more accurate to say that it has always been there — it’s just reaching more visible edges of those not normally confronted with anything called untenable. Yesterday I became aware of a person based in Canada that felt she could not send two people as participants to a leadership training that I’m cohosting the next four days near Seattle, Washington. She was worried by protests she had seen at American airports over Donald Trump’s executive order limiting visa and entry status for people from predominantly Muslim countries, and the ripples from that order. She was fearful of police efforts to disperse crowds using pepper spray. She was alarmed by a growing and overarching perception that the United States is an unwelcoming and unsafe place to be.

Whether those participants from Canada come or not (I hope they do), this week’s Art of Participative Leadership training includes 40 participants. We gather for three days at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. We will learn and share stories and questions about participative leadership. We will explore models and ways of being together. We will practice — as in do leadership — through the model that is hosting. We will evolve edges through our learning, our work, and our relationships together. I think of it as essential practice to try something different together, to create deliberate encounter together, to dislocate patterns and certainty in a place that is safe enough to do so — no pepper spray in the supplies list for this gathering.

It is imperative, I believe, to evolve the edges and the nuancing of who we are together and what we can become. And, with a tone that I’m hearing a lot more these days, “now, more than ever.” But lets be clear, now more than ever isn’t returning to “hunched over.” At least I hope not.




There Are Very Few Who Find The Center

I appreciate this quote from Kabir, the 15th century Indian poet and mystic, offered by a participant from our recent series on “Engaging Shadow.” In particular, the stirring and the invocation to find a center. The stirring of the human psyche that seeks attachment and certainty so easily. The invocation, and remembering that there is a center to find, perhaps more inhabited with uncertainty.

Friend, please tell me what I can do about these

ever-changing dramas I keep spinning out?

I gave up my fashionable clothes & had a robe made,

but I noticed the cloth was well-woven.

I traded the fine cloth for worn burlap

But I still threw it elegantly over my left shoulder.

I tried to forget my sexual longings

And now I feel angry a lot.

I gave up rage and now I feel greedy all day.

I worked hard at dissolving the greed

And now I am proud of myself.

When the mind tries to break its link with one thing

It clings to another thing.

Kabir says, Listen, my friend, there are very few who find the center.