"All in all is all we are."  — Kurt Cobain

Teo's Valparaiso Van Gogh in Spray Painted Discovery

Teo’s Can-vas

on the streets of Valparaiso..

Van Gogh celebrated within his own work



Teo Doro: Chilean Street Artist

Shelly Williams - Photographer - TAO Blogger - The Arts Organization

Santa Lucía Hill

"Romantic ruins climbed viewing monuments scraping a modern Chilean sky."

Shelly Williams


Adult Passage: Three Practices For Any of Us Finding Our Way - Part 3


3. Practice Differentiation -- Find Your Note (in relationship with others)

It is no secret that a key part of child development is for kids to differentiate from their parents. Particularly in the teen years. Some of this is about claiming difference. Some is stubbornness. Reactiveness. Some of it is messy. In the healthiest differentiation, underneath, I believe it is about creating enough distance to begin to birth one’s own self. A bit like finding a quiet space in which to strike a tuning fork, free of interfering noises. Physical distance. Emotional distance. Intellectual distance. It’s all part of it. The irony is that though this appears on the surface as separation, I believe it is more about finding one’s note that can then be offered to the musical score that is integrated adult life.

Some people relate to finding this note as listening for inner guidance or spiritual clarity. I relate to it as a gut feeling. It was my Mom who taught me most about this. As a younger boy, I would agonize over decisions. Whether the blue pants were better or the brown pants. Whether to ask this girl out or not. My Mom, quite patiently, would eventually ask me, “What do you feel in your gut?” I wouldn’t have known it back then, but I think my Mom was steering me towards a kind of early differentiation and an early expectation to look within, to hear my own tuning fork.


As I write this, my daughter is now nearing the end of her first semester of university classes. She started with an undeclared major, but with leanings to Journalism and English. She can decide that later. I love the ways that she is beginning to look beyond the familiar. Taking responsibility to notice what interests here. Humanities. Greek Mythology. Psychologyy. Offering herself to those she is learning with. And in her differentiation, finding things that she couldn’t have known earlier. Perhaps starting to feel the vibration of her own note. 


Clear choice always serves well.


A Last Thought


Well, I loved the trip with my daughter. Truly. I loved the conversations with her. The laughing. The exploring. The memories that have immense shelf life. I loved feeling a kind of contribution to a shift in her attention, and mine, to these practices. Adult passage is a becoming. It has far less certainty and finality than what I would have imagined when I lived in Edmonton thirty years ago. It is so much more of a stepping further, in practice, into the complex and evolving human family that needs each of us as a community of contributors. 


Adult stuff. Adult practice to help us find our way.


Tenneson Woolf  is a TAO Blogger and facilitator, workshop leader, speaker, and writer. He works globally. He designs and lead meetings in participative formats. To help people be smart together. To get people interacting with each other — learning together, building relationships, and focused on projects. To get deeper to the heart of what matters. From strategic visioning with boards to large conference design. Living systems, self-organization, and emergence inspire his work. He resides in Lindon, Utah. 

Tennenson can be found at Tenneson Woolf in both Twitter and Facebook.


Truck Heaven

 Truck heaven, memories kept vivid in visions of sentinels past, memories of learning and elders gone by.  My youth is here. Still.

Shelly Williams

Adult Passage: Three Practices For Any of Us Finding Our Way - Part 2


2. Practice Generosity


My friend Chris Corrigan is one of the best examples I know of of a person who practices this kind of generosity. Practices. Does it repeatedly. Such that it becomes a natural way of being. Yes, Chris sometimes offers resources. But here I’m talking more about offering skill, perspective, talent. Kindness. Offering things he is good at or that he loves to do. I’ve worked with Chris in many settings when we have been leading multi-day workshops together. Chris comes with teachings and with process design. We both do. And the others we work with. That is our job. But Chris has taught me something more as I’ve watched him over the years. He offers himself to the group. Generously. Quite fully.  


When night time rolls around, the introverted side of me is usually ready for quiet or private space. I need it. Chris, on the other hand, is rather extroverted. I’ve seen him sing songs with participants deep into the night. Heplays his guitar. Sometimes his Irish flute. He sings songs. Asks people what they like to sing. Shares the guitar. It is awesome to be a part of. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t just about the fun or the extroversion of it. I began to see Chris as practicing generosity. He was bringing something to the group that he loved, that he could do, and that he could invite others too. 


Adult passage is served well by adopting this practice. If it were a potluck meal, practicing generosity is the shift from just eating what others bring, to bringing some food to the party. And, perhaps, not just any food, but a special recipe. Grandma’s famous recipe for potato salad, prepared in beautiful dish. 

Back to my daughter. I watched her feel initially quiet with the people in Greece that we ate many of our meals with. There were ten of us together around my friends outdoor kitchentable on the Pelion Pennisula. I could see my daughter wondering who these people were and what they were about. Feeling shy. Feeling her uncertainty or insecurity of being in a new country, her first outside of North America, and with these people from five different European countries. I would have been shy also at that age. Still am a bit. I loved watching her open during the week. From reserved to becoming a more natural part of the group. Offering to do dishes. To help cook. To tell stories. 

It can be family. It can be a circle of friends. It can be neighborhood, municipality, nation, global community, or circle of life. Offering is an essential practice that bonds us as adults in all of them.


 Bring a dish.


Tenneson Woolf  is a TAO Blogger and facilitator, workshop leader, speaker, and writer. He works globally. He designs and lead meetings in participative formats. To help people be smart together. To get people interacting with each other — learning together, building relationships, and focused on projects. To get deeper to the heart of what matters. From strategic visioning with boards to large conference design. Living systems, self-organization, and emergence inspire his work. He resides in Lindon, Utah. 

Tennenson can be found at Tenneson Woolf in both Twitter and Facebook.


Where Josephine Slept

"Like many stories, the saga of Chateau des Milandes and Josephine Baker is joyful and sorrowful, filled with love and loss.  But, like most good stories, it is also one of survival, perseverance, and purpose."

Where Josephine Slept image copyright Jeff Clay / Clayhaus Photography | TAO Graffiti Blog Guidelines

Dordogne Dreams | These Old Stones

“How old is it? How can this be measured? Centuries? Lives? Births? Deaths? Tears? Smiles? The wear on the steps? The black in the fireplace? It feels old...it is old.”

These Old Stones image copyright Jeff Clay / Clayhaus Photography | TAO Graffiti Blog Guidelines

Adult Passage: Three Practices For Any of Us Finding Our Way


First in a three part series.

Thirty years ago, when I was growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, turning eighteen meant you were an adult. It was passage. From a kind of frivolity of teen years to real responsibility of adult life. It was not just any birthday. It was added celebration. You could now vote in political elections. Go to a bar. Live on your own. Join the military. Follow university studies. Begin careers. Travel abroad. Sign legal documents. Adult stuff.

I won’t pretend to have been particularly thoughtful about this shift in my own life. I remember people talking about added freedom and added responsibility. But, then, as it is now for many living in the western world, it was a transition made largely without conscious initiation. For most, no group of elders to send us on vision quests or to help us receive spirit totems. It was mostly sideways, wobbly self-initiation. Like buying stuff. A car or a stereo.


Over thirty years, I’ve learned much more about being an adult. First and foremost, that becoming an adult is not a singular moment. It is of course, an ongoing process to revisit often regardless of age. And lately, my revisiting, my thinking, has been from my perspective as a father. I wonder to myself, what I can share with my kids that helps them as participants in more deliberate passage? What are a few simple markers that can help them as they nibble at the front edges adult life?


This past summer, my daughter and I took a dream trip together to Greece. She had turned 18 six weeks prior. Graduated from high school three weeks before that. She was signed up to begin university studies a month after we would return. She would be living on campus, in a dorm with a friend. My daughter and I shared four days in old Athens. Eight days on the Pelion Peninsula in and around the Kastri Beach. And two days on the airplane. We were both anticipating many things on this trip. Fun. Food. Friends -- we stayed at a friends family flat in Athens and near her home on the Pelion. New language. Culture. Visiting sites. History. Olive trees. Beach. The Aegean Sea. Singing songs from Mamma Mia -- some of the filming for the movie took place at the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos, near the Pelion.


Fun, right? 


For me, fun becomes super fun, and super important, when integrated with deliberate conversation and sharing. The real stuff in our lives. Just as much as I welcomed the joy of swimming in the Aegean, I relished prolonged time with my daughter. Just as much as I wanted to explore the Acropolis, I wanted to share and explore with my daughter learnings about passage that would endure and might guide her life or ours together. Like the Acropolis, the city on the hill, learnings that could be easily seen from many vantage points in future life. 


Below are the three practices I shared with my daughter. Practices. To do items. They aren’t formula. That are start-here points. I trust that in her, in me, and in others, the next steps that come from these practices will make themselves clear. 

  1. Take Responsibility for Your Learning -- Stop Blaming

As a kid, I remember feeling that the world was run by adults. They were the smart ones. They were the ones that knew what was going on. It was for them to do. And, well, to provide for me. I was a reasonably responsible kid and young adult. I took pride in being a good helper and a tenacious worker. But still, the adults were supposed to take care of things in the end, right? Even when I screamed for my independence, underneath, I think I still wanted them to provide. To make it easy.


Adult passage involves taking more responsibility. For learning. For emotions. It’s less about passive participation. It is more about owning up to being a contributor. A contributor in relation to others. Less about blaming others for varied problems or deficiencies. More about seeing interconnectedness and one’s place within that.


I was once driving with a friend and his teenaged daughter. He was teaching her how to drive a car. I sat in the back seat. He in the passenger front seat. She driving, one of her first times behind the wheel. My friend was so calm, guiding her. In such a soothing voice, telling her in advance, what was coming, what lane she would need to be in, where to turn. His daughter drove. Hands on the wheel. Looking intently in front of her. Nervous. But, I believe quite thrilled to be driving. Feeling the power of it. At one point, the four-laned road curved. Rather than holding her lane to follow the curve, my friend’s daughter drove a straight line, crossing into another traffic lane. She didn’t think to check to see if anyone was behind her. If there would have been, she would have cut that person off, or possibly hit them. My friend jumped on this one. He told her, with tension and relief, that she had to look before she changed lanes. She had to know where she was and what was around her. It was simple. Something that his daughter will likely get very easily in the future. Something that all of us who learn to drive may have experienced. I remember her response  to her dad as a mixture of apology and defensiveness. “You should have told me. I didn’t know I was supposed to check.” It was a kind of externalizing of responsibility. A subtle way of blaming. Blaming another. Blaming her dad. She will learn. And hopefully be safe.

There is a participative process methodology that I use often when working with groups. It is called Open Space Technology. It helps participants to claim the kind of responsibility I’m talking about here. In short, it is a self-organizing process with just enough structure to help people form working groups and learning groups. It is a way to help a group of people create their own agenda. My friend and colleague Peggy Holman talks about these self-created agendas as “taking responsibility for what you love.” You get to choose what you are going to learn rather than it being assigned to you. If it interests you, you get to create it or invite it with others. It is up to the participant to take the minimal step of naming the topic and then working with whoever decides to come join that group. As I see it, whether as an open space participant, or as a student driver, a key practice in adult passage is taking responsibility for one’s learning. It is an attitude. A disposition to cultivate. An invitation to commit to doing something with one’s curiosity.


Mamma Mia!


Tenneson Woolf  is a TAO Blogger and facilitator, workshop leader, speaker, and writer. He works globally. He designs and lead meetings in participative formats. To help people be smart together. To get people interacting with each other — learning together, building relationships, and focused on projects. To get deeper to the heart of what matters. From strategic visioning with boards to large conference design. Living systems, self-organization, and emergence inspire his work. He resides in Lindon, Utah. 

Tennenson can be found at Tenneson Woolf in both Twitter and Facebook.

Artist Studio Suites - Campuses of Creativity


The business of art is to reveal the relation between [us] and [our] environment.
– D. H. Lawrence.


Growing up, we had a small house in the backyard that was originally built and used as an entrepreneurial venture, a testing ground for a household cleaning solution. It held many things beyond that: a tool shed, a catch-all for family collections of stuff, a home for older siblings and eventually a cottage for an author. Sometime in its life it transformed into and became “The Cottage in the Backyard”. When it was changed into a bedroom with a bath for the two oldest in the family, it became a great ‘hut” (that’s what we younger kids thought.) Each time we stepped through its doors we would envision a world of possibilities. It became our hideout, escape, and haven as we grew up.

After the oldest moved out and on, the cottage became a getaway of expression for a well known local author. She wrote several of her books and stories there. It became a cottage and venue for creativity. She would disappear into the cottage and only reemerge when she had a manuscript in hand. We believed that the cottage somehow spurred her through the vortex, laying down on paper, all the adventures and thoughts that ran through her.


The Arts Organization and TAO Homes is beginning to transform a small house in the backyard of downtown Salt Lake City. It is the first small structure to become a creative cottage. It was originally used as a home and later fell into many winters of disrepair. Now, the house and surrounding grounds are going through a transformation. In the next several blogs we will be opening up the doors of this renovation to those who own or dream of owning a cottage for creativity.

This cottage of creativity is the first of a number of artist studio suites, around the world, that will be built, rediscovered, transformed and loved back to health. These cottages are small suites to support the artists inviting and allowing creativity to run through them and made to matter through their medium of expression. It is time for this season of expression; small campuses of creation where artists from all professions, are encouraged to create.


These campuses of creativity are the abbeys and convents of yesteryear, the environments where The Sacred, The Divine, The Creator, The OM find us.  Through form, whether it be dance, writing, painting, cooking, or music,  the campuses of creativity are incubators of expression where ideas, dreams and  innovations have a place to be born, nurtured, developed, shared and implemented. Spaces where thoughts have a childhood: to grow and mature, to be fed, rocked and encouraged allowing them to gain strength and clarity before they emerge into the world of questions, doubts, possibilities and opportunities.

It starts here, in Salt Lake City, and will grow throughout the world to encompass a global campus interconnected by You, Us, Them, They - a home where we all belong because we’re one family of Creation and Creator. These campuses of creativity encourage you to find your calling and then your career. 


These blogs will resemble  family albums documenting the growth of a child. Join and collaborate by thinking when, how and where you would like to give birth to such a child as this. The global village began online, and by collaborating, by finding, donating or developing a creative campus in your city, the global village comes to you.

Happy New Year and cheers to the birth of new ideas, dreams and innovations. Cheers to a new humanity.

The Arts Organization

Wendy Adams was born and raised. Among her many accomplishments, are monumental moments of life shaping, decision making. “What are you going to do when you grow up?” “An Artist? Nice hobby – get a real profession” were the themes continually running through her life and helped refine what “An Artist” actually is.

She traveled a similar path as most of us. She graduated from junior high, high school, (graduating Cum Latté, vente size), and finished college with a degree in BS integrating a wide range of life skills with an emphasis on Varietology, known today as XTreme liberal arts.

As Founder and Creative Director, of The Arts Organization and a Huffington Post Blogger, Wendy’s passion is to help others recognize their own inner vision.



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I read this post and got "chivels" - my own name for how my body responds to Soul-Truth concepts. I once attended an art therapy workshop in an old Victorian mansion that was dedicated to the arts. On the same property, beyond the parking area, was a small bungalow cottage. The facilitator owned both homes, but chose to live in the cottage because it was nestled in the back of the property, away from the main road where the Victorian mansion sat. I fell in love with the property and the concept and hope to create my own just like it some day. This concept of Artist Cottages is delicious! Thank you for sharing.

The Arts of Discovery


Why do so many of the poets draw attention to the fact that they are making poetry?  … These poetic works are not, or at least not primarily, didactic tracts where one might expect to find overt mention or explicit use of rhetorical techniques and strategies.  Rather, the poems of the troubadours contain some of the most beautiful and lyrical verse of all time.  Why, then, ‘spoil it’ with the metalanguage of rhetoric?”

“Rhetoric and Hermeneutics”

Sarah Spence

Societies, like individuals, operate on certain unconscious assumptions, which at first fuel their development, and later hasten their demise.  The respective roles of the sciences and the arts, the first as a vehicle of discovery, the second as a means of entertainment, is just such an assumption in our culture.  Anyone who would demand that papers on theoretical physics or molecular biology must be entertaining would be seen, at best, as an eccentric kook, and at worst, as a dangerous heretic.

Take a minute now to absorb what the implications of this change in perspective would mean for the sciences?  for society?  for the search for and the application of knowledge? 

If the bastions of science were stormed by entertainers, and the scientific method were corrupted by the necessity of entertaining its “audience,” what would happen to science as a force for discovery and change? 

Most people, and certainly most scientists would be appalled by such a transmutation, but gradually, for centuries now, the arts have been relegated to just that role in the culture.  We allow that the arts may imagine, speculate, amuse, stimulate, or inspire, but few would give them preeminence in the power to research and to discover new and critical truths about the world.

Thirteen years ago, I discovered the structure of a linguistic form, which could hold a virtually infinite number of narratives, themes, and metaphors.  This form could even allow for innovations in the basic structure of language itself, that is, innovations and transformations of lexicon and syntax, and all without losing the structural integrity that makes a form a form.  The result of this discovery can be seen in a work that I call A Monument of Wonders, and as a whole, it is a linguistic, cognitively operational model of language, consciousness, and time.

I have called the structure of this form a “discovery” because it seems not to be merely a personal burgeoning of imagination, or even a human creation, but rather appears to embody some property of the universe, just as do atoms or DNA.  In this case, however, the discovery pertains to aspects of language, which like atoms and DNA, have their own nearly infinite varieties of permutation.  It also requires, just as does research into physics or chemistry, a foray into realms invisible to ordinary consciousness and perception.  The discovery is not to be found in the content of the narratives, themes, or metaphors, but rather in the invisible substructures of language from which these aspects of “meaning” emerge.  In brief, to fully grasp it, the reader has to engage in a sort of meta-reading, where these invisible structures and forms are operational.  In may seem strange to say, but what makes words “mean” is not the ordinary “meaning” that we ascribe to them. 

The idea of a worker in words as an explorer, whose discoveries are analogous to the explorations of scientists, is not new, but it has long since fallen out of the general consciousness of Western Civilization.  From about A.D. 1000 to the middle of the 13th century, a species of versifiers called “troubadours” flourished in southern France.  The word “troubadour” derives from an expression meaning “to find.”  Almost everything we think about romantic love, and in a sense, the entire family and social structure of modernity, not to mention almost the entire form of our interior lives vis à vis male and female relationships, is derived from their linguistic discoveries.  They were called troubadours, finders, not authors, because the word “author” was reserved for those who were authorities in some specialized field of knowledge.  The work of the authorities of the time of the troubadours — their medicine, physics, theology — is now viewed as scientific hogwash, bizarre conglomerations of superstition propped up by intricate systems of logic.  But the linguistic discoveries of the troubadours, and their subsequent influence on the way our whole culture thinks, acts, and pursues its path into the future are as vital as ever. 

In the battle for social legitimacy, authors have long since won the day.  It is the poets who are seen as more or less irrelevant kooks and eccentrics. No matter how emotionally compelling, imaginatively stimulating, personally inspiring no one in our culture would take a poet’s work in the everyday language of words as seriously as a physicist’s work in the specialized language of mathematics.  Collectively we seem to have no inkling that the discoveries of poets, in so far as they are made in the most intimate reaches of our psyches, might perhaps be even more vital to our future survival on this planet as any made by our scientific authorities.

As a culture, we are willing to give research grants of millions or even billions of dollars to physicists who might enable us to capture and utilize new forms of energy or to travel in space, or to biologists who seek cures for our chronic and tormenting diseases, but little or no support is given to our own troubadours, whose inquiries into the metaphysical substructures of language could infinitely enrich our lives, and perhaps even change the suicidal course we are pursing in our relationships with one another and with the life of the planet itself. 

Let us hope that the funders and philanthropists catch on before it is too late.  And let us take the arts out of the box of entertainment, and allow them to pursue their course freely as a vehicles for discovery.

I will end with a modest prophesy.  Perhaps a shift in these priorities could lead to an historical shift as profound as the one which moved us from superstition to science.  Perhaps if the poets began to view their work, not so much as personal self-expression, but as voyages of discovery to map an inner space of linguistic possibilities, we might collectively experience a rebirth of wonder. 

Roy Dean Doughty is the author or A Monument of Wonders, a literary work combining poetry and fiction, which explores the marriage of language, consciousness and time.  As a daily practice conducted in conjunction with his Kryia meditation, he has also written a poem every day for more than twenty years.  He is the creator of The Ten Thousand Poem Project and the author of  Fourteen Poems, Yodo International Press, 1987, Clear Mo(u)rningand Spirit Chronologies. His work has been featured on “The Oneness Program” KEST Radio, San Francisco, VoiceAmerica Radio, Phoenix, Arizona, and Unity, FM radio.  He can also be read at www.doughtyspoetry.comwww.doughtysjamesjoyce.com, and www.doughtysbrainfood.com

Image copyright Jeff Clay / Clayhaus Photography

The Autumnal Colours of Nikko


Riotous — a cacophony of colours
Red and gold, green and umber
A pastel blue beyond, enveloping.
Warmth fading to brisk
Shadows filling, floating leaves
Change is coming — change is here.


Bridge Builder

I'd rather be a builder of bridges than an erector of walls.
I'd rather think in terms of connecting than separating.
Uniting is so much more pleasing than dividing.
Walls create the Enclosed and the Other.
Bridges bring Two to the One.
I'd rather be a builder of bridges than an erector of walls.
Wouldn't you?


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