A Day of Wisdom with Peter Block & Ward Mailliard

Peter Block with new friends Jillian Hacker, Kim Popa, Max Raphael (Pones inc.)



My reflections on this incredible day.


Just like the ebb and flow of a stream of consciousness, my thoughts & reflections will continue to seep in. Don’t be alarmed to see this post continually updated. In fact, that is part of the mystery of recollection.

Why do some thoughts bubble up, revealing their essence?

Why do some profound ideas get suspended in a whirlpool…not going anywhere yet still full of energy?

Why do some insights hit us with the impact of a flashflood?


 Kim Popa, Executive Director of Pones inc. started us in the morning with an exercise called the Energy Circle:

Energy Circle Quote





   Awareness of our energy.

   Awareness of our body.




Ward Mailliard




 “Intimacy, Trust, Collaboration…”

 These are the guideposts that Ward always aims at in his teaching/learning experiences.





“What is it about you….that I don’t get?”

–a Peter Block question aimed at getting youth engaged

Other Nuggets of Wisdom from Peter:

  • Social Architecture matters
  • Good design matters
  • Form in which we gather and have a meaningful conversation will improve the Function of problem solving.
  • Connection first before Content.
  • Depth over Speed.
  • Ask 3 times: Why does that matter to you? Why is that important to you? Why?


“If you could craft a compelling request that would get you to participate in art, what would it be?  Why would it touch your heart?” 

Here are some some of the rich discussions that came forth:

  • Playdates
  • Irresistable Invitation
  • Take a break from the bunker that is your mind
  • Fringe Festivals – take the marginal and make it the Main Act
  • In the middle of the Circle – Shared Purpose
  • Invitation to co-create something different




On Celebrations

 Whenever we gather, we must make space to celebrate our work together.

As Peter reminded us, it can be mindfully designed into the program. When some groups do this on a recurring basis, it becomes a ritual. A Ritual is great since it gives people an expectation of an experience to be shared. You know what you’re gonna get.

It can also be emergent. Sometimes just having the space held open and inviting others in will move the collective spirit. We did this at the and of the day, and we were treated to Amy Lloyd singing a beautiful song full of vulnerability and trust.  The performance added to my experience since I had just spent an intimate conversation with her and Ward. I could see the thread of our conversation extended in the form of music. Amazing!