Pause, Because


Each year in winter, I love this day when the snow hangs on the remnant crab apple tree near my window. Something in it stills me, when the winter weather invokes a slower pace, and perhaps another kind of noticing beauty.

I’m grateful to those of you who read and reflect on what I share. Human to Human names a tone that I’m most drawn to in my facilitation, and, well, in this life that I get to live. I enjoy offering some wonder from the wander to help individuals and groups be  imaginative, smart, kind, and curious together — in the name of what they most care about.

Wishing all a meaningful holiday season, in whatever ways you celebrate. Wishing a bit of pause in that, for all of us. And continued reflection, wonder, and companionship that invokes in ourselves, with others, and among us all — kindness, consciousness, and a flow with what feels like life itself.

Human to Human, The Blog will return December 30, 2019.


Time to Go In

Hi Friends.

I love the beauty of this lily, that stands gorgeously on my kitchen table, two feet tall. I love it for its outer — stamen, stigma, and oh, those white petals. This lily has nine buds, of which six are now open. I love it for its inner, which so often animates in me a sense of added mystery. I remain a person oriented with extra attention to the unseen as much as the seen. This lily is tremendously beautiful to me. Now. And in the memory I have of young boy life, Easter, and family of the 1970s.

I woke yesterday with hunger for flipchart, pens, post-it notes, counter space, and wall space. I woke yesterday needing to go further in and dwell in my own psyche. To map things. To connect insights. To scribble questions. To let them cook in the deeply internal world. To welcome them to flower in right timing, light, or protected dark. 

Maybe it’s the lily. Maybe it’s spring. Maybe it’s corona. Maybe it’s my son’s wedding next week. Maybe it’s just time to follow the opening and to move post-its around in what my friend Bill Muhr calls, “a synchronicity bloom.”

Gonna suspend posts for a couple of weeks. To honor the inner. And follow it. Sending good vibes to each of you in your respective journeys outer and inner, joyed and / or sorrowed.

I’m so glad to that we notice together and find our moments to witness.



One of the people that has taught me the most about the value of pause is Ann Linnea. Ann and I have known and appreciated each other for the last twenty years. She is cofounder of PeerSpirit and The Circle Way. She is author of books about nature, rites of passage, wilderness quests, and of course, circle. She is a good soul whose very pace of being can’t help but still the soul.

In the tradition that is The Circle Way, the pause is an essential agreement. “We agree from time to time to pause to regather our thoughts and our focus.” Often this is done with the ringing of a bell, bowl, or tingsha. I can hear Ann’s voice as clearly in my mind as I can anyones, her speaking after the pause — “I asked for the bell to give us a deliberate pause in our good thinking that is now becoming quite speedy. I want to feel deeply what is being spoken.”

Another person I’ve learned a lot about pause from is Roq Gareau. Roq is as smart and thoughtful as they come. He has “elder” written all over him. He is in his early 40s. And he is the kind of elder that I uniquely enjoy — he can turn to playful in a heartbeat. Roq is one of the most kind people I know that can come from deep eldering.

Roq has taught me about a form of pause, interruption. It’s related to pause, but different. It’s not the interruption of speaking over top of someone. It’s not the rude kind (though I get that this is sometimes needed). It’s the wise kind. I’ve often heard Roq revere interruption, in a way that continues to reverberate with me, “Our work is to interrupt the pattern of isolation that we find ourselves defaulted to in contemporary society.” This wisdom in Roq’s words is not about what follows the interruption. It’s not that level of specificity — not yet. His words are about the simple act of interrupting. Stopping. Daring to let go of the default. Taking a walk. Letting it go for a while. Interrupting physical, emotional, neural entrainment. Getting out of the deep carve.

Both pause and interruption are deep principles to me. They are practices, perhaps more understood by elders and people with eldering instinct. Pause isn’t paralysis. It isn’t freeze with fear. Pause and interruption are goto steps for me when I don’t know what to do, or when a group doesn’t know what to do. The are invitations to reground, and to trust in something less visible and less obvious. Pause and interruption challenge me, and I believe all of us, to go beyond the highly revered “doing” that contemporary culture so often demands (because there are deadlines to meet, right). Pause and interruption have a deep trust behind them, which is a rather good pattern to reinvoke in ourselves, with each other, and in the groups that we live and love our lives in, no?