Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seven Sacred Pauses

In Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr the seventh is night time and she calls it the great silence. She's given some questions you can ask yourself at this time about your day. I thought these were beautiful and am passing them on. I modified a couple.

Have I been a good memory in anyone's life today?
Have the ears of my heart opened to the voice of the Universe?
Have the ears of my hear opened to my sisters and brothers?
Have the eyes of my heart beheld the Divine face in all created things?
What do I know, but live as though I do not know?
How have I affected the quality of this day?
Have I been blind or deaf to the blessings of the day?
Is there anyone, including myself, whom I need to forgive?
When did I experience my heart opening wide today?
Have I worked with joy or drudgery?
Have I waited with grace or with impatience?
What is the one thing in my life that is standing on tiptoe crying, "May I have your attention please?" What needs my attention?

Cassandra at

The Element

I'm reading The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything - by Ken Robinson, PhD. I've done a couple of graphics to capture the key ideas I've read so far. I'm thinking this could be a graphic version of Cliff Notes. Enjoy.

Cassandra at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Training in Phoenix on June 22, 2009

Interested in facilitating using Whole System Methods like The World Café and Open Space Technology? We are offering a training in Phoenix.

When? June 22, 2009 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Where? in Phoenix, Arizona

This training is designed for consultants, facilitators, and anyone interested in learning about facilitating whole system methods.

Topics Covered
• The common principles of Whole System Methods
• How Whole System Methods align with recent research on how the brain works and strengths based approaches to change
• The benefits of using Whole System Methods such as The World Café and Open Space Technology
• How you can use Whole System Methods for both strategic and action planning
• How to craft invitational and appreciative questions

Participants will have opportunities for hands-on practice in: facilitating, writing strengths based questions, developing agendas, selecting methods, and more.

Faculty: Sarah Griffiths and Cassandra O’Neill, Wholonomy Consulting llc

Sarah and Cassandra have facilitated using these methods and conducted trainings with a wide variety of organizations including staff and volunteers from the United Way of Southern Arizona, Arizona Early Education Funded Regional Partnerships, First Focus on Kids, Girls Inc. of Southern Arizona, Pinal Gila Community Child Services, Inc, and grantees and staff from several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded programs.

What participants have told us about their experiences learning about these methods:
• “I’ve learned that you get what you ask for, if you want positive you need to ask for positive.”
• “I see that you can structure meetings to produce one of two outcomes, either drain the energy from the group or create increased energy.”
• “Learning to ask powerful and transformative questions can dramatically alter what happens in meetings.”

Registration Form
Name ____________________________________________


Address ___________ _City/State/Zip ______________

Phone __________Email____________________

WHEN: Monday June 22, 2009 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm – Registration at 8:00 am

WHERE: The training will be held in Phoenix, AZ at the office located at 4747 North 22nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016

TUITION: $99 – Early Bird Registration by June 5, 2009 – The price is $129 if registration is after June 5. The cost of registration does not include lunch.

Please make check payable to and send with registration form to:
Wholonomy Consulting LLC
PO Box 42035
Tucson, AZ 85733
Registrations may be faxed to: (520) 844-3251

More about Whole System Methods:

Open Space Technology - This method is an alternative to traditional meeting and conference formats which encourages creativity, generates enthusiasm, and produces extraordinary results. People self-organize to discuss what is most important to them and generate action towards the results they want. For more information go to:

World Café - This method is based upon the discovery that by combining a welcoming space and physical environment that resembles a café with questions that matter -- you promote authentic conversations among people which propel organizations forward. Questions are posed to groups for discussion with participants moving from table to table while a host stays behind to cross pollinate discussions. For more information about the World Café go to:
There are a limited number of partial scholarships available.

Questions please contact:
Cassandra O’Neill (520) 403-0687

Monday, May 18, 2009

When You Know What You Want Your House To Look Like - Start Building!

We love using Whole System Methods. We are in a learning community of consultants that focuses on how to use these methods well. Part of this includes talking to other people and potential clients who don't know what Whole Systems Methods are. What are they? We have a definition, we have descriptions of methods, etc. Sometimes when we hear how other people are using them, or talk to people who have had less than positive experiences with them, we wonder about using different descriptors. We love Appreciative Inquiry, to me it is like eating ice cream. It is always great. Other people don't always feel that way. We sometimes use the metaphor of designing a home, when talking to people about this method.

The first phase is Discovery. In this phase we look at our existing home and think about what features we really like—features that we’d like to include in the plans for our new home. In the second phase Dream — we start to dream about our ideal home. What would it look like? How many bedrooms would it have? We begin to visualize our dream. In the third phase Design - we have a vision of what we want our home to look like, but we need help to start building it. We bring in an architect to help us design and create a plan. In the fourth phase Destiny, we have our overall plan, and we bring in teams to develop plans for their specific area of work—we have roofers and plumbers and electricians—teams that have individual plans but whose work is a part of the grand, architectural design of our dream home.

One of the things we love about using Appreciative Inquiry and other Whole System Methods, is that you can get things done very quickly that normally take a long time. Harrison Owen has described this as high performance.

In our learning community, we were talking about how sometimes consultants or participants like to stay in the early phases for unnecessarily long periods of time. Maybe because it's enjoyable. I just heard about a group that spent two years in Discovery. We all had a good laugh about that. They certainly discovered a lot! However, because they didn't move on - the inquiry didn't result in any changes or action. When this happens, it can lead to people to think that they don't like the method or that it doesn't work. When really, it is just the way it was used. We know from using it in strategic planning that you can get to action planning quickly, and that this excites the participants! Once you know what you want your house to look like - start building!

Cassandra at

There is Always Something to Celebrate

I recently went to a celebration of the University of Arizona's Learning Center. They handed out this quote on Celebration and I'm passing it along.

"Celebrating the wrong thing, or not celebrating at all, presents a serious loss, for celebration is, and should be, an occasion to participate in one’s own history and contemplate one’s future. It is a time for telling the story, honoring the heroes, renewing the spirit. For old-timers the time can be sweet, a remembrance of prior accomplishment and an opportunity to share dreams for the future. For the newcomers, such a celebration offers the chance to participate in the history—not just knowing the facts, but actually feeling the impact, if only vicariously. It may also be the time in which their dreams may be woven into the unrolling fabric of the organizational life."

Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World, pp.193-194
Harrison Owen

Cassandra at

SMART Goals Made Fun

No kidding! We had a group break into 5 teams and each one drew an image to represent one of the concepts, i.e. Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Driven. Here are the photos, can you guess which picture goes with which concept?

Cassandra O'Neill at