PeerSpirit Archived Blogs – Christina & Ann’s Posts from 2011 to early 2023

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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The Elder

This elder is generations old, twisted and gnarled by its journey of adaptation. Steadfast in its determination to live and hold place on this precious earth, it reminds me of my own father. I am just back from my trip to Minnesota to be of support as he fights to recover from a stroke. The hearts of both the old bristlecone and my 86-year-old Dad pulse on. Other bristlecones in the high mountain grove ...
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A little love goes a long way

My friend Harriet is 86 the end of this month. She’s a member of a group of women friends who support one another’s spiritual journeys, stay in various levels of connection during busy schedules, and meet once a year for a week of council, informal conversation, great eating, hiking, and late night videos. We are women at camp in a large shared house, reflecting on where we’ve been and setting intention for the coming months ...
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Small Creatures

On the last day of 2012 I headed out with my backpack to spend a quiet night with the earth to give gratitude for the year past and to set intention for the year coming. Temperatures were slightly above freezing. There was a light drizzle. Darkness fell at 5 p.m. and daylight rose about 7 a.m. The last creature I heard before total darkness and the first one at daybreak was the tiny golden-crowned kinglet ...
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Wintergreen: New Year’s Day on Whidbey Island

I have a friend who tells me, “What you do on your birthday sets the tone for the year.” It’s not my personal birthday, but it is the first day of a New Year… so happy birthday 2013… and here’s the tone of what I did today. I woke and wrote in my journal—thinking deeply about the many events and adventures planned for the next 6 months, sort of a Solstice-to-Solstice awareness. I prayed for ...
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