PeerSpirit Blog

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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Tasmania—southern temperate rain forest

“Where is Tasmania?” asked my Minnesota parents when I Skype called their land line. “It sounds like a fairy land.” It is a fairy land of gorgeous coasts, wild rivers, and high mountains that is an island state of Australia—the last significant land mass before Antarctica. I am spending a few days vacationing in Cradle Mountain National Park here in Tasmania between Australian work assignments. Hiking from 900 meters up through the southern ...
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A tango of methodologies

We have a handout we often use when introducing Circle to new folks: it shows a tree whose roots are marked “Circle” and whose branches illustrate the modern adaptations of this ancient social form. We are more and more making sure in our training and consulting work that we introduce people to several of these circle-based methodologies, and we speak with excitement and hope about the uprising of “a global culture of conversation.” In our ...
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Northern Winters

In the northern latitudes of North America winter has many faces—from snow and ice to early blooming plants. I have made journeys from one coast to the next and into the middle these last two months. What intrigues me is how many ordinary people are wondering about the changing face of winter in their area. Folks in the northeastern U.S. who have recently been hard hit by snowstorms and Hurricane Sandy are seriously talking about ...
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Rest Stop

Grey winter’s day, driving down the Interstate between Seattle and Portland, on our way to a consulting job. Temperature hanging in the low-40’s F, (about 6-7 Centigrade), yet a high sky, so we were catching glimpses of big mountains running along the eastern horizon. After a few hours driving and a latte, we needed a stop near Vancouver, WA at the Columbia River Rest Stop. Pulled off the road into the parking area. A young ...
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The Outing

My little corgi dog, Gracie, and I often take a late afternoon walk to the beach. Last week on a cold, rainy winter day we trotted to the top of the community stairs. I was busy unlocking the gate, as we have done hundreds of times.  All of a sudden Gracie started barking. I looked up thinking another neighbor might be coming up the stairs, but I could not see anyone. Her barking got more ...
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