08 Jan 2017

First Ridge Poem of 2017

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I’m curious about something, but first…

I remember we were right here — God, it was 13, no!

15 — years ago…

Oh. My. God.

I remember being sleepless and wide-eyed

Deep in the ink of that summer night.

The ridgeline cast against a faint moonlight

And boy was it sticky-ass hot

In this same space, same spot

Deafening sounds of nature mixing

With the welcomed coolness of the occasional breeze

We were yet still, door and windowless.

But when I said we were “here”

I also meant “this place”

Simultaneously brimming with happiness/grace,

And yet, sometimes more

Scary and fear-filled

At. The. Core.

So, early this morning like before,

I was waiting and hoping

Secretly wondering if, maybe

This time I could get a word like “OK” Or two, “It’s OK”

Better even three “It’ll be OK” or best,

“It’ll be OK– promise…”

That memory of our being here before

– it woke me up from a deep and still quiet

To the magnificent white cover

And the prickly cold air of winter.

It forced the rise with this sun

And man it peeked ever-so-gently and sweetly from behind that ridge

Blasting its light through these doors and windows

Then there was that moment, when it got so bright and forced my eyes closed

Right then…

Was that you with the faint five-word whisper?

“Glad. To. Remind. You. Again.”

Copyright 2017 Cliff Kayser

16 Dec 2015

Sharing Sad News…

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Cindy Hosgood, passed away this morning (December 16, 2015).

For over half a decade, Cindy contributed her time and talents to mission, vision, and success of Kayser Ridge. You don’t have to look far on the property or inside Kayser Ridge to see the many “small” improvements that combined to make a big impact on people’s experiences. I always referred to Cindy affectionately as, “salt of the earth.” Cindy knew a little something about just about everything. And, no matter what the challenge was at Kayser Ridge — you could count on and depend on her to find a way to overcome it.

I, and so many others who knew and loved Cindy will miss her as we recall many fond memories of her, her stories, and the experiences of so many ways she showered her love and friendship on people.

Rest in peace, my friend — and watch from your place for that special cairn constructed in your memory at Kayser Ridge. I, and Kayser Ridge will never forget/always remember your specialness, and spirit.

Love to you and those who mourn for you.


22 Jun 2015

Wishing Cindy Well…

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It’s been a tough few weeks for Kayser Ridge staffer, Cindy Hosgood…after ending up in the hospital with a brain tumor, she’s talking again and getting some movement back. Her daughter, Heather, is a great support in the process.

Please keep your thoughts and prayers with Cindy as she continues her progress.

18 Oct 2014

Loving Fall @ KR

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HAIKU from 10/17
sitting with these cairns
In fall’s peak
sitting with these leaves

24 Jun 2014

Bear of a Weekend at Kayser Ridge

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He’s baaaack–and looking for breakfast…

24 Jun 2014

Intentional Retirement/Role Change Retreat

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The following is a post submitted by Randall T. Byrnes, PhD, http://www.byrnesassociatesllc.com

Imagine a remote lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia that requires a four-wheel drive vehicle to traverse the final quarter mile to reach your destination. Ask five men and one woman, some who never met each other to join you for the weekend. Then challenge the family practice physician, the organizational development expert, two interim CEOs, a professional outdoor guide and a polarity theory specialist to engage in deep, thoughtful dialogue for the next 48 hours around the topics of intentional retirement and role change.

You just might experience the collaborative chemistry of a lifetime.

On Friday, June 13 I invited a group of colleagues, ages 45 – 70, to join me at Kayser Ridge, WV (www.kayserridge.com) to contribute their individual wisdom around one specific objective: help me develop a 2.5 day, market-ready retreat program on intentional retirement and role change. As a former business owner, now engaged in advising and coaching leaders I had a clear definition of the problem to be addressed – business owners and CEOs who face the often daunting prospect of separating from their company are frequently unprepared for their role exit. To address the lack of forethought they frequently resort to the paraphrased Hannibal model – “Either I shall find a way or I shall make one.” The results are rarely satisfactory for them or their family.

In order to deeply mine the collective ideas of my guests in such a brief period, I needed to create an environment that encouraged rich conversation and personal engagement. Questions had to immediately pique their interest and curiosity. The science-based physician, engineering-trained executives and literal hands-on outdoor guide were not going to suffer any efforts by me, regardless of relationships, that lacked authenticity and real-time application. We bypassed the usual “Tell us about yourself” introductions. Instead, they were asked to “give” us something that they had accomplished or were doing that made them unique. The genuine, open responses immediately set the bar for all further communication. They came to work. We were ready.

Armed with my research (Transition at the Top: CEOs’ Sense of Self When Separating From Their Company) which documented the challenges of role shifts, identity changes and a general lack of preparedness by executives for successfully navigating to their next stage following a company sale or execution of a succession plan, I offered this select group the opportunity to connect theory to a practical model in a way that would address the very real, personal specter of retirement and change. They came, primed to critique my program, add their professional touches, enjoy the mountain scenery and disperse from whence they came.

But something unexpected and unforeseen occurred in those magnificent mountains. The six individuals who generously agreed to participate in the retreat with an expectation of changing other’s lives were in fact themselves changed.
From the outset of the program we created a culture of discourse and diverse thought that fueled new thinking. We debated the semantics of “retirement.” Must it be an all or nothing state? We concluded it did not. We came to consensus on the need for a set of core values and core polarities that have universal application to the phenomenon of role separation. We aligned our individual experiences with the five stages of role change that were proposed and discussed how we had managed times of uncertainty in our lives. The willingness of seasoned experts who were sometimes unknown to one another to describe without reservation their own brushes with role change in a matter-of-fact, deliberate manner was indicative of the trust in the room. It was the bedrock of our model building efforts.

Our experience was what Parker Palmer calls the connection of role and soul. We worked with a sense of humility for our ideas and a palpable respect for connecting with others contributions. It was the epitome of creative cohesion, and we knew it. We hadn’t arrived on Friday with an expectation that our individual presence would be so integral to the group’s cumulative achievements but there was no doubt every person knew that was the case.

The close of our session on Sunday brought awareness to each participant that we had experienced something unique and quite satisfying. The skeleton and skin of a market-ready program was in place. Prior to departure, every participant was asked to publicly thank one other person for their contribution. This is a tradition borrowed from Outward Bound, the experiential learning organization. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged with warmth and respect. Participants departed with a sense of completion and personal satisfaction. The magic of Kayser Ridge was intact for the next cohort.

Through this experience, I witnessed the power of gathering thoughtful leaders together to explore what is important to them around “What’s Next?” There is real value in collectively building an individual Transition Map and Personal Balance Sheet for the Future. People who make decisions for a living and have the self-awareness to bring soul and role to their lives have the opportunity to construct a plan that speaks to the best of what they can offer the world moving forward. What may also happen is that while in the mountains of West Virginia, they may come to recognize and appreciate that an open exchange of ideas with peers can leverage their individual wisdom. Those learnings from conversations on the deck, over an evening beverage, looking at the ridgeline on the horizon may be the most long-lasting experiences of all.

22 Oct 2013

Great Kayser Ridge Sketch by Patrick Dowden

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Kayser Ridger, Patrick Dowden sent this hand sketch recently as a “thank you” for the time he and his family spent at Kayser Ridge.


Thank you, Patrick. What talent, and how incredibly kind of you to share it.

20 Jun 2013

Kayser Ridge inspires, “Cairns By Cliff”

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Who knew that cairns, originally serving as guideposts to a UFO landing site at Kayser Ridge would eventually spawn the most successful cairn building company in the capital of the most powerful nation on the planet. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask, “How did I get so lucky?” Just at the right place at the right time, I guess.

Check out some of the goings on at Cairns By Cliff.

Order now, before the holiday rush!


13 May 2013

Artist, Tom Bucci’s Watercolor of Kayser Ridge

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Washington DC based Artist and Architect, Tom Bucci has exhibited widely in the Washington DC area and his work is found in collections around the world, from embassies to corporate and private collections. He and his wife Erica, who is also a talented artist, are good friends who have spent time at Kayser Ridge.

Several years ago, Tom presented me with a gift of his work, which I have proudly displayed in the WORLD HEADQUARTERS of XPERIENCE, LLC. While perusing Tom’s website recently, I came across his wonderful depiction of Kayser Ridge and am posting the link below, in case anyone is interested in purchasing it (or any of Tom’s other awesome work)


10 May 2013

R.I.P. Vegas — a Best Friend of and to, Kayser Ridge

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Kayser Ridge lost a beloved Staff member, Vegas.

Dawn had to make the difficult decision to put her friend of 17 years to sleep yesterday and shared some pictures of Vegas at Kayser Ridge, commenting, “she loved Kayser Ridge and could really and truly be a dog when there…

Vegas used to accompany Kayser Ridgers for tai chi, yoga, and was always dutiful about helping with clean-up of scraps from the most difficult to reach areas under tables and chairs. I’m smiling as I recall her chasing rabbits in stage 4 REM dream sleep, in in the perfect center of the kitchen, as meals were being prepared for guests.

I’ll miss you, as I know so many people will, Vegas.