Weekly Practice No. 18

Every week we profile one of the “Reflect to Create! “ practices from my book, they are chosen at random from a jar on my desk.  My invitation is for you to try it out if it speaks to you in some way.

This week we are profiling Practice 172: Inquiry: Discerning and Discernment(from page 258 of my book).

Practice 172 is one of the dance steps in The Denouement’s Working Wisely.

Working Wisely means making wise choices – and being held responsible and accountable for those choices – which are in service of you, your clients and your systems. Working Wisely means paying attention to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of making change happen which requires you to hold the system in mind as you test your ideas and options. I wanted to profile Discernment as its practice has been a major theme for me and my work over the last month.

Beyond assessment or judgment, it is the act of perceiving clearly and intuitive recognition. The Oxford English Dictionary defines discernment as follows¹: 

To perceive clearly with mind or senses, to make out by thought or by gazing, listening etc. – of having quick or true insight…’

Discernment is sorting the wheat from the chaff – what is more true or less true? Does this support or negate? Is this me and mine or not? This is captured in William Stafford’s poem ‘Deciding’²:

One mine the Indians worked had
gold so good they left it there
for God to keep.

At night sometimes you think
your way that far, that deep,
or almost.

You hold all things or not, depending
not on greed but whether they suit what
life begins to mean.

Like those workers you study what moves,
what stays. You bow, and then, like them,
you know –

What’s God, what’s world, what’s gold.

For this practice:


  • Ask yourself ‘What would it take for me to be more discerning?’ and ‘How might that show up in my life and in my work?’
  • Ask yourself what William Stafford’s poem might mean for you
  • Ask yourself ‘How can I hone my faculty for discernment?’
  • Journal your reflections



Have a go! 

Start with small steps.

Please do share your stories so we can all learn together.

Join us on our “Reflect to Create!” Facebook page. at 


[1] Oxford English Dictionary (1976) New Edition. Pp 293. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

[2] Downloaded 24th January 2017 from http://hudsonreview.com/authors/william_stafford/


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