Wise Words From a Friend

I’m returning today — transitioning really — from cohosting QT in Cincinnati this last weekend, to participating in board meeting for The Circle Way. It’s an early morning ride with Quanita to get friend Rina Patel and I to the airport. It’s a flight that ironically stops in Salt Lake City (my home airport) where I change planes to go on to Seattle. It’s boarding the plane for Seattle only to learn of a “full ground stop” in Seattle. That means bad weather and they are not allowing flights to get near Seattle before something shifts. Me and about forty other people are using the plane to rest, do some work, read, etc. It’s not bad — just me in Row 19 and I have a power outlet.

QT, a creation by Q, Quanita, and me, T, Tenneson continues to have these foci and intents:

  • to experiment with real-time, deep inquiry.
  • to devote a weekend to the practice of being deliberately curious with friends.
  • to connect more soulfully to what is important to you.
  • to come into different relationship with stress and challenge.
  • to interrupt unhelpful patterns and thoughts that restrict vibrancy and choice.
  • to an ongoing annual series of dialogues that change human lives.
  • to listen further to the whispers that come from soul.

The short of it is that I love this gathering. It’s honest. It’s simple. I learn things uniquely at QT that really come from a learning “field” — a shared energetic connection.

It was Quanita that offered these wise words this time.

“Most people think you have to be hard on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s about protecting what is delicate internally because the world is too rough. However, it’s just he opposite that is needed. Soft on the outside — to be able to encounter other and ourselves in relationship with others. And hard on the inside — meaning clear on what your purpose is and on what your contracts are.”

I’m grateful for Quanita’s wisdom, and the wisdom that comes from this group of 13 being so deliciously connected over the last two days that such gems can arise as more than cute words and slogans, and instead be felt as solid communal truths.

Wise words from a friend. It might just be that the friend is the group itself too!

On a Narrative For Practiced Curiosity

QT is one of the gatherings that I most enjoy, the most recent of which was at my home last weekend. It’s a format with some key components woven in to a Friday through Sunday container. These include:

  • A Good Hello — deep purpose and intimacy of sharing what brings each of us to the gathering.
  • Welcoming Dreams — the subconscious
  • Food and Cleaning Up Together — community
  • Following What Has Attention — we are subjective beings that can follow simple doorways
  • Roles — complexity of who we are
  • Art — multiple mediums
  • Ritual — the non-cerebral
  • A Good Goodbye — deliberateness of tucking in.

QT’s meaning isn’t set in stone. But “Quality Time” is one of the meanings that I like most.

The above components already create a narrative. In one line, it is about “a container for friends to deliberately practice curiosity together.” If you need a “so what,” one of my favorites is “so that we can better make sense of individual and communal lives and some helpful steps or practices that grow out of that.” Peeks in to the inner world often have great impact on the projected outer world.

One layer deeper than this, beyond “one line” is something that became clear at this Utah QT gathering. It’s a kind of road map that I find myself invoking. It’s not so much of the concrete steps (turn right in 100 meters, then left at the first corner). It is more naming stages of a journey (areas to give attention to).

  1. Say Hello — It’s a simple, yet often overlooked principle. Hello is more that saying your name, though it includes that. It is more than a go around to say where you work, thought could include that too. Hello is layered. Who are you? Why did you choose to come? What interests you? Remember that regardless of what is shared, it will be incomplete. But also remember that “hello” isn’t just a “todo.” It’s a start to growing awareness of the incompleteness of anything we say, and thus the need for some further hello.
  2. As A Way of Saying Hello, Share What Is It Like To Be You — Oh, where to start. “What is it like to be you?” welcomes the subjective. There is no wrong answer in what you name. It’s exciting. It’s discouraging. It’s communal. It’s lonely. It’s dreadful. It’s delightful. The only requirement here is to speak what is honest for you. And to know that whatever subjective quality is shared, it is likely to be very broadly human. It is very likely something that most humans can appreciate, though perhaps, from different circumstances.
  3. As A Way of Sharing What It Is Like To Be You, Share What Has Your Attention — Now it is drilling down a bit, right. However, again, these are subjective responses. It could be the good cup of coffee that you had this morning. It could be last nights terrorism report. It could be your pending vacation. It could be the overload of todos you carry with you on a daily basis. If it has your attention, this is permission to give it some deliberate attention — not as distraction, but rather, as key cue to follow.
  4. As A Way of Sharing What Has Your Attention, Start With What Is In Front Of You — This is largely about permission. Most of us have pretty long lists of “shoulds” or “need toos.” Most of us feel some pressure (or wisdom) to prioritize. That’s good and fine. However, this principle of permission and freedom is a variant of “start anywhere; follow it everywhere” that I first learned from Myron Rogers in early Berkana days. It’s a premise of deep systemic integrity and perhaps even spiritual maturity.
  5. Say Goodbye — Just as it is for hello, goodbye is more that saying “see yah!” It’s more than a rush out the door to get to the next. Practiced curiosity may be running in the background most of the time — I’d like to recommend it. However, there are some times of more deliberate curiosity that get tucked in. It’s some witnessing. It’s some gratitude. It’s a kind of deliberateness, layered perhaps again, that is never complete. Just some good wishes for self and others to carry what matters to the next, and to let go of what won’t, where it is.

Definitely enjoyable. Definitely centering — this container and narrative. And I love the nuancing of steps in the narrative.


Circle Up

In three days I’ll be hosting a weekend event at my home. That’s my living room pictured above. Readied and rearranged a bit to accommodate eight of us for a weekend of friends in this.

It’s deep spirited work and life for which I’m grateful.


I so loved hosting QT Chicago at Lina Cramer and Dick Durning’s home this past weekend. Their home is near this beach in North Chicago on the western shores of Lake Michigan. I loved our friends that participated in a memorable experience mixed in circle, light ritual, and occasional song.

The experience, QT, is a format that Quanita Roberson and I have created, and now hosted four times over four weekends. The best description I have for QT — Quality Time, Quiet Teaching, Quanita-Tenneson — is a light structure for friends (old and new) to be deliberately curious together. It doesn’t really need a “so that.” But it’s funny to notice how given the absence of need for “so that” there is plenty that shows up. It’s powerful. Deep connection. Deep curiosity. Surprising clarity. Joy. Communing. As expansive as this lake and beach.

Thank you Lina and Dick for calling this in, for inviting us to offer it, and for all that helps reaffirm in me, and I think the group, the fundamental importance of simply being human together, and how hungry so many of us are for this.