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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

Mindfulness

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

Lived Through This

Moments when ‘everything’s going to be ok’ isn’t true

Everything is going to be okay.

We whisper it to our children when they skin their knees or have a fight with a friend. We proclaim it to those who have lost their job, their partner, their health. We post it on Instagram, showcasing our optimism. We repeat it like a mantra to ease our own anxiety.

Everything is going to be okay.

We assert it to bolster our conviction that the pain is temporary or even inflated. …


This Is Us

On having faith, and giving permission to let go

Illustration of a large bird spreading its wings. Light blue, yellow, and brown lines (with the dark blue background showing through) form ornate patterns on its feathers. Behind it float blue circles of various sizes that look like doilies.
Illustration of a large bird spreading its wings. Light blue, yellow, and brown lines (with the dark blue background showing through) form ornate patterns on its feathers. Behind it float blue circles of various sizes that look like doilies.

“How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again.”
— Henry Scott Holland

Dear Mom,

The light is different here. If you saw how this place shines, I think you’d stop worrying about me. The light connects the landscape to every part of itself. It moves. It sparkles.

It links the souls together like pearls knotted in an endless strand. You know how pearls hold iridescence inside all those layers of shell? Well, if you look into the center of a pearl, you’ll get a taste of the light that surrounds me. Go do that now…


This Is Us

The old me is gone, and I’m learning to let the light back in

Photo of a sunset taken from behind glass with rain drops on it. There are three trees in the foreground, silhouetted by the sun.
Photo of a sunset taken from behind glass with rain drops on it. There are three trees in the foreground, silhouetted by the sun.

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
— Wendell Berry ​

A long time ago, I didn’t have the patience to sit and watch birds. I was a busy self-employed mother of two little girls. I had painfully specific goals that I wanted to achieve.

I recall (hazily and from a distance) the constant sense of urgency and frustration, the touch of desperation, the need for respite, and the willingness to give every ounce of free time to that former version of myself. Maybe I was trying to create the perfect…


Humans 101

My article on verbal aikido couldn’t save me from an avoidable argument

Silhouette of man writing on book behind textured glass.
Silhouette of man writing on book behind textured glass.

A few months ago, I wrote a well-received article about using verbal aikido to avoid stupid arguments. Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that uses the principles of nonresistance to neutralize an opponent. The philosophy can be applied to resolving differences of opinion without being aggressive or defensive.

Too bad I wasn’t able to apply it when I got into a meltdown with my wife recently.

But I was reminded that, as relationships mature and move through the romantic phase into real life, debris from the past will come up at unexpected times. …


Humans 101

The answers are in the darkness

I watched 10 minutes of American network news on January 2nd. The gloom and doom were in full swing: infections, political vetoes and overrides, deaths, and snowstorms. I didn’t stick around for the short feel-good story at the end that’s supposed to make me all warm and fuzzy after being shoved into a vat of burning tar.

2021 is off to a dark start.

Or maybe not?

It depends on what you know about black holes.

A black hole is a place in space where a tremendous amount of matter is packed into a very tiny area. Think of a…


Humans 101

It may feel like the world is crumbling, but that just means it’s time to look inward

Now more than ever, we need to find our strength, courage, and fulfillment from within. Real contentment is not — and never has been — a result of other people, places, and things. It’s within us, and there are practical ways to experience it. It all starts by being curious — wanting to know your inner world, what makes you tick, what makes you conscious.

Being conscious means to be awake, to be aware of one’s inner and outer worlds. …


Humans 101

We’re all in a state of flux right now, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless

A mysterious lone figure standing in a field on a beautiful early misty morning.
A mysterious lone figure standing in a field on a beautiful early misty morning.

The world is full of uncertainty right now, and many people are experiencing the ups and downs of adapting to new ways of living. I’ve had a few emotional dips recently, which took me by surprise—I’m generally an upbeat person.

But William Bridges, author of Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, has some compelling explanations for these ebbs and flows. He explains that change is external—moving from one city to another, for example—but transition or adaptation to change is an internal, psychological process.

Bridges describes three nonlinear phases of transition: endings, neutral zone, and new beginnings. Endings occur with significant…


More to That

Your world is small, but it won’t be for much longer

Hey there, little one.

Sleeping cartoon baby on a yellow-to-dark-blue gradient.
Sleeping cartoon baby on a yellow-to-dark-blue gradient.

Welcome to the world.


Humans 101

It’s not about wallowing or self-care — it’s about paying attention

A person looking at a cloudy sky, sitting in a circular window that’s almost 10 times taller than them.
A person looking at a cloudy sky, sitting in a circular window that’s almost 10 times taller than them.

“Sit with your feelings” is the lukewarm, nebulous buzz phrase we’ve all been hearing a lot lately. We hear it from our therapists, we hear it from mental health columnists, we hear it from yoga influencers showing off their smoothie bowls. Last week, I’m pretty sure I heard the Amazon delivery guy say it. The expression is decidedly mainstream, yet it remains a pretty vague instruction. Given the deluge of feelings we’re all currently drowning in, it seemed like the right time to offer some clarification on what this seemingly simple bit of advice actually means.

Let’s start with what…


Humans 101

Don’t wrestle with pigs and don’t die on every hill

Illustration of a hand held out in a fist and an open hand extended toward it.
Illustration of a hand held out in a fist and an open hand extended toward it.

Given the political, social, and economic climate right now, tension and conflict are apt to surface more than ever.

People under stress are more likely to display a “bad day” version of themselves. Emotions close to the surface are easily triggered. When someone is stressed, angry, or irritated, they are less rational and empathetic — making the ability to resolve differences even more important.

What really matters in a difficult situation is how conscious and skilled you are. My former colleague and author of the bestselling book Conscious Business, Fred Kofman, says: “There are no difficult conflicts. …

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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