PeerSpirit Blog

Medicine Walk Number One

When I really need guidance, I take a medicine walk. Far more than a walk in the woods or a ski on the snow, a medicine walk is deeply intentional time in nature. Two recent deaths in my family reminded me of the power of this ancient form. My father died on Veteran’s Day (November 11). Several days later I spent the day alone in a nearby state park. Drawing a tarot card for guidance, ...
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Orcas!

We were taking a lunch break from office details when I shouted, “Orcas swimming by!” Immediately we headed out the door and toward the beach stairs. We could see a group of orcas loblolling and circling as they actively fished for salmon about four miles off shore in a surprisingly calm Puget Sound. These extraordinary animals, sometimes called “the wolves of the sea”, were clearly working together to corral salmon. Puget Sound resident orcas ...
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Winter Soils

If you love the earth, gardening is a marvelous way to watch and participate in the changing of the seasons. Here in the north us winter gardeners are busily cutting back dying vegetation and preparing the soil for winter rains or snows. My Australian gardening friends, Linette and Marie, are all excited about new lettuce, basil, and tomato plants—the often more exciting end of the gardening spectrum. But I love putting my garden to bed ...
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Writing excuse: I’m too busy writing!

This blog is something I think about--either late at night waking to the moon and communing a while, but not moving from under the comforter (there's a reason it's called that... ahhh, downy delight!); or about 9:00 in the morning when I have an hour before Debbie comes to work and we all show up in the PeerSpirit office to check in and start a different kind of business day... And I won't let myself ...
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The Change of Seasons

I am especially thinking of my dad this fall. He was an avid gardener and once cooler weather began to arrive he taught me to be meticulous about getting plants cut back and prepared for winter. Yesterday I worked with friends in our community garden to cut back plants, move manure from a local horse farm to compost our garden waste, and generally admire the changing colors. When I called Dad in the memory care ...
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Inspiration in Many Forms

This is not a stock photo. It was taken with an iPhone by my partner, Christina, on a recent September day. Mt. Shucksan as mirrored in Picture Lake is one of the iconic photographs in Washington state. And we were lucky enough to visit when photographic conditions were perfect. Many, many things about that day were inspirational. We drove past Picture Lake up to Artist’s Point where Mt. Shucksan rises in one direction and ...
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Still on the trail… and the trail is still here.

As I turn the calendar to September, I realize that Ann and I have celebrated summer in six countries this year.  Celebrated is the right word—for we love the long light and barefoot days, the sense that at the end of the “work day” there are still hours and hours of daylight to play in. This year that has meant, walking the Medicine Wheel with twilight prayers for the questers on the mountain during our ...
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August harvester

August is not the best sleeping month at our house. My earlier blog was about loud, early morning fog horns. This blog is about a little busybody harvester whose work often wakes us with a loud BAM beginning about 5:30 a.m. We have a huge Douglas fir tree towering over our house. Each year in late August a little red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), or maybe it is an army of red squirrels, begin harvesting the ...
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Fog-ust

Early this morning I awoke to the deep-throated booming of a ship's foghorn. In the dawn light I could read the alarm "4:35 a.m." In two minutes the "bee-ohhh" penetrated the morning silence again. This time it had moved closer to our house. In another two minutes it sounded like it was going to come in through the front door. Living adjacent to the shipping lane in Puget Sound, I have come to love these ...
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A mother’s wisdom

On a recent family trip our two-year-old granddaughter managed to hike up Easter Bluff on Cortes Island, BC. It was a challenging hike up and over big boulders. "I do it myself," she stated many times. Her mom and dad were always close at hand. It is no small thing that this little one was able to climb several hundred feet over a mile long trail. But what I will always remember is the ...
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A startling question

Story circle in Slovenia Life is rushing me on when I want to yell—“Hey, slow down, I’m still in Europe in my heart!” So many dear people, doing amazing work using circle. Ann and I were so happy to sit in the training councils in Germany and Slovenia, to participate in the development of widespread circle practice in consulting, community leadership, organizational development, European Commission agencies, coaching, and business ownership…  Let me share one story ...
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Ancient Tree in an Ancient Town

On a recent European teaching trip we stopped to visit the town of Groznian on the Istria Peninsula in Croatia. Like so many things in this country, both the tree and the town have a long history. A vendor near the tree identified it as a Mediterranean hackberry or European nettle tree, (Celtis australis). It stood prominently near the edge of the walled city. We were enthralled by its warty bark and hollow center. Indeed, ...
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Weather Watching

With a 40-mile view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains I love watching the weather. All kinds of clouds gallop across the Pacific Ocean and fly over the mountain tops  to produce our maritime weather. As a citizen scientist, I am part of a team of volunteer weather watchers and measurers: www.cocorahs.org. Our information provides important supplemental backup for the National Weather Service forecasts. Anyone can participate. All it takes is a $30 ...
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Toddler Hummingbird

A young rufuous hummingbird (left) learned to drink from our feeder today and lucky me got to witness it. This morning while making tea I noticed a hummer fly in and sit right next to another hummer who was feeding. "Hmmm," I thought. "Hummingbirds generally fight each other, not sit together." Then the one who flew in began to beg for food from the other. It put its little beak up in the air ...
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The eighth whisper

About 10 years ago I wrote a lovely little book called The Seven Whispers, Spiritual Practice for Times Like These.  It’s a little gem: a hundred pages long, seven essays on the common sense spiritual wisdom that guides my life. The book hasn’t yet reached its full audience, is kind of an orphan out there since it doesn’t espouse any particular religion, but instead invites people to discover their own daily patterns for staying connected ...
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Snow in May?

At first glance, it looks like we got a light dusting of snow here on Whidbey Island in May. Unlike my disgruntled friends and family members in Minnesota who DID get snow on May 2, this white substance by the side of the road is white flowers from our beautiful madrone trees. The madrone tree, Arbutus menziesii, is found all along the west coast of North America. In spring it creates these white flowers and ...
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Farewell Orion

The most spectacular constellation in the northern winter sky is Orion, the Hunter (named after a god from Greek mythology). By mid-April this constellation is only visible in the western sky for a couple of hours after sunset. No longer the spectacular overhead cluster of stars with its belt and sword, it is making its exodus from prominence in the sky just as winter fades. In Canada and higher elevations and latitudes in the ...
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Blogging on a Friday night

It’s a glorious sunset after a cloudy day. I lower the window blinds and try to settle into my thoughts. One week in April: I paid my taxes, had a birthday, walked the dog, got my hair cut, went to the athletic club, trucked through a hundred business details and uncounted emails … and tracked two young men through the suburbs of Boston in a multi-million dollar manhunt. Middle-class life in America: one life undisturbed, ...
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Nature is Everywhere

Nature is everywhere. My 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter, Sasha Ann, watched her mother carefully remove a bee from the window of their LA apartment using a jar and a piece of paper. Lesson: Bees are good. Don't hurt them. They belong outdoors. An hour later Sasha, I, and Grandma Nina (the photographer) were playing in a park when she wandered out of the playground onto a nearby sports field. Suddenly she stooped to point out ...
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Talking with strangers

I was raised by two gregarious parents who felt entirely comfortable engaging total strangers in conversation, thereby changing them from strangers into acquaintances, and sometimes, into friends. I have no particular memory of this as a child, no moments of great embarrassment, no squirming in agony wishing they would just “come on…” I assume this social pattern was deeply engrained in my childhood into a sense of normalcy, because I am often in the company ...
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