Below are select articles, blog posts, and poems I have written. I’ve also included a few dialogue harvest poems on this site, accessible through the search function.
Courage To Be Communal (2018 — Originally posted May 2017 in Human to Human). I continue to learn and be reminded that even though community is an instinct, in contemporary times, it takes courage to commit to it.
12 Principles for Healthy Community Change (2018, with Kathleen Masters, adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal). These are principles that I often use to help strengthen capacity in teams. I love them for the clarity of purpose that they help to create.
Breadcrumbs to Stone Altars (2018, Afterword in the book, Soulful Fellowship, by Roq Gareau and Dave Waugh). I loved being a part of this book, and supporting this aspect of thoughtful men in meaning and purpose. Get the book. Read it all.
Five Tips I Remember When Hosting and Participating in Online Circles (2017, The Circle Way). People ask me all of the time about how to experience depth in online circles. Here’s a few things that I remember.
Poem – Goodbye Son (2017) — A poem I wrote earlier this year, from a tender moment of saying goodbye.
Be An Expert — At Inviting Expertise (2017). I’d been thinking a bunch about the difference between offering stuff (filling others) and the expertise of convening (inviting expertise from the group). Plus it’s got a bit of one of my favorite teachings from The Art of Hosting in it.
The Pastor is the Church’s Principal Convener (2017, by Rev. Cameron Barr). I like Cameron’s description of the work we did together over three in-person gatherings. I was invited to a strategic planning process, which we evolved deliberately to participate format that I’m glad to hear continues.
Poem – Interruption (2017). I value the courage to pause. It takes a particular kind of integrity. I was learning some of this in very personal ways.
Poem – Time and Time Again (2017). I have an ongoing relationship with time. I love the buzz of being able to be quick. I also am deeply troubled by it when speed and efficiency is all that there is, or all that we expect together. I wrote this poem one morning trying to shake things up.
What Are The Most Important Planning Questions For My Team? — Chaordic Stepping Stones (2017, With Kathleen Masters and Adapted from Chris Corrigan). This is an updated of this planning tool that invites “enough order to be coherent, yet enough chaos to deserve the name of life.” It is a tool that I use all of the time.
Men in Circle (2017). The article features some of my experience at Soultime, a semi annual men’s retreat that I value immensely. It also feature’s a few wise words from my 11 year-old son. It’s another kind of call for men to be wise together.
From Weird to Wyrd: Shifting Meeting and Societal Culture Through The Circle Way (2016). I wrote this for the blog that Amanda Fenton and I write in support of our trainings of The Circle Way. It is a commentary on having the courage to remember good formats for listening and meeting together.
The Magical Wilderness Between People Together (2016, written by Kinde Nebeker) This is a nice weaving from Kinde of her rites of passage work, her graphic design work, and the evolutionary leadership work that she and I are continuing to build and invite others to.
A Commitment to Emergence: The Inner and Outer of Evolutionary Leadership (2016, with Kinde Nebeker) Emergence is at the heart of a paradigm level perceptual shift to be able to see human systems. It takes commitment to un-see the parts and re-see the whole.
Emergence and The Circle Way (2016) I enjoyed writing this to clarify some of what is underneath the choice to use The Circle Way as a means of listening together. Emergence is a bit part of that — discovering what can only be discovered together.
Is The Circle Way for Men — A Call For An Emerging Masculine (2016) I just want to welcome more men to the practice of Circle. I wrote this to deliberately encourage men to participate with some bridges that connect feminine to masculine. “The Circle Way is a methodology and way of being that is bedrock to the kind of leadership so often needed in these times and in today’s organizations.”
Listening Matters: Circle Helps on Four Levels (2016) Circle is what I turn to most often. If not directly as formal methodology, as needed awareness embedded in all forms of engagement. “I will continue to assert that there is always more unseen than is seen. There is more unheard than is heard. In offices. In organizations. In communities. In families. It’s not a criticism of those forms. It just a reality that sets the imperative for us to be perpetually curious.”
Participatory Leadership Journal — Church and Community Ministries, United Methodist Church: (2015, with Kathleen Masters). This was a significant effort with Kathleen and many others that are salt of the earth people from four groups: Church and Community Ministries, Global Ministries, Projects, and Conference Partners. It is one part methods and models of participative leadership, particularly applied through a faith community lens. It is another part story, three years worth of stewarding and culture making. It is another part tips and guidelines to improve practice.
Leadership at 50: Three Questions for Recovering Tenacious Leaders: (2015, with Glen Lauder). Glen is a good friend and colleague in New Zealand. Our ongoing dialogue continues to inspire me in many ways.
People Everywhere, In These Times: (2015, The Berkana Institute). I enjoyed writing this to accompany Berkana’s new initiative, “Gathering Friends.”
The Power of a Good Question: Organizations Are Shaped by the Questions They Ask: (2015, with Kathleen Masters, Adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal)
Presence as Core Competency: Participative Leadership as Spiritual Practice (2015, Open Door, p. 14-15) One thing that I loved about writing this with Rev. Charles LaFond, Canon at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO, is the ongoing exploration we are having about participative leadership as spiritual practice.
Cynefin: A Framework for Understanding Complexity and its Neighbors (2015, with Kathleen Masters, Adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal)
The World Cafe: Meetings That Are More Like Kitchen Conversations (2015, with Kathleen Masters, Adapted from UMC Participatory Leadership Journal)
The Art of Hosting — Four Layers of Purpose (2015). I’m the kind of person that needs clarity of purpose to hold complexity of offering. This is one version of this for The Art of Hosting.
I Want to Hear Our Voices (2014) — I wrote this one morning as I woke from a dream. It is
a yearning that I hear in many men and in men’s work
that comes from a place beneath the calcified surface.
On Trauma and Collective Healing (2014, www.tennesonwoolf.com). This topic continues to intrigue and puzzle me. I’m grateful to friends Judy Wallace, Ria Baeck, Beth Tener, and Katie Boone for convening dialogues about it.
Dreaming Together at St John’s Cathedral, Denver, CO (2014 — See October 12th — 9 min podcast with Caitlin Frost and Chris Corrigan) It was an honor to be invited to offer the homily for services at St. John’s Cathedral to connect the Art of Hosting with spiritual practice and reflection in a Dreaming Together community gathering.
Commentary — Transition Movements and The Art of Hosting (2014, Reflections, The Society for Organizational Learning Journal, Volume 14, Number 1) I loved writing this with Jeff Aitken, sharing our experience with Art of Hosting trainings for Transition leaders.
…sharing our experience with
Art of Hosting trainings for Transition leaders.
Adult Passage — Three Practices for Any of Us Finding Our Way (2013, www.tennesonwoolf.com)
I wrote this on return from a Dad-Daughter trip, thinking much about my daughter growing into an adult, thinking about passages.
Collaborative Leadership (2012, Rural Connections)
An article posted by the Rural Ontario Institute in preparation for the 2012 Leadership Summit that I helped to design and host.
Some learnings from starting and convening
a local community of practitioners in Utah,
18 months into what would become a 3 year focus.
Some history on how we got started that others have asked me about.
Art of Hosting Story — Following the Life Energy (2010, With Cathy Remus, Chris Corrigan; For Peggy Holman’s Book, Engaging Emergence)
Some of the story of working with CUPE and how that work emerged from our focus together.
Poem – It is in Reunion (2010) — I’m happy to have met people who take me to the edge. I’ve known some with whom this is utter delight. Others with whom, this is painful. It happens in the together.
Poem – We Are Here Now (2010) — Awakening has been a common theme of what interests me.
Poem – Energetically Repatterned (2010) — I’ve used this poem at The Art of Humans Being events that I’ve helped to create. It is a naming of
fundamental shift that many human beings are seeking.
Poem – Partnership (2010) — Some of the hunger I know in myself and in others, not to live merely in obligation and assignment, but rather in invitation.
Poem – Remember from the Inside (2010) — I wrote this at a time when I was really hungry for knowing beyond words, and beyond traditions of this time.
Poem – Fly (2010) — It’s a love poem. Some of what I was feeling as possibility in relationship with my sweetheart.
Poem – Old Friend (2010) — It is another kind of love poem, the way that many of us experience our companions in life.
Poem – The Bonneville Shoreline (2010) — This poem came from a hike I took near where I live. It was late evening. The sun was setting. I was looking over the valley that once would have been the Bonneville Sea, yet now is the urban area in which I live. I was reflecting on how things change.
Hosting What? Consciousness, Wellness, Wholeness, Resonance (2009, Blog Post)
After working with colleagues in NY, seeing it go well, I was able to name something that underlays good hosting. It has been an important reference point ever since.
Ten Principles for Practicing Conversational Leadership (2009, Blog Post)
This was from my first trip to New Zealand and an Art of Hosting event for just over 100 people. It turned into this list.
The Art of Hosting — A Glimpse of the Whole (2009, Blog Post)
Four phases of design that I’ve used in
many Art of Hosting trainings.
Knowns of Working in the Art of Hosting Pattern (2009, Blog Post)
As Art of Hosting trainings were beginning to be offered by more people, this was an important naming of what was happening across events.
The Art of Hosting — PeerSpirit Circle Tale(2009, With Teresa Posakony; PeerSpirit Circle Tale)
Teresa and I wrote this after an event in Illinois with people committed to making better lives for children.
Tag, We’re It: Observations and Outcomes of Working as Community (2009, with Teresa Posakony; www.tennesonwoolf.com) — Teresa and I wrote this after working with the International Disciples Women’s Ministries Bi-annual Cabinet Meeting. It includes a list of five principles for working with communities.