Category Archives: Achieving peace and understanding

How to respectfully talk about deep disagreements

The way local and world events are going at the moment, there is a growing desire to engage. To talk to one another! And this is good. In these turbulent times, we need to be talking to each other. But … Continue reading

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Let’s talk about how we experience challenges to our privilege. We don’t do this enough.

Have you ever been accused of being “privileged?” Of having “unearned privilege?” Have you ever had that feeling that out of virtually nowhere, people are labeling you, boxing you into a corner, suddenly putting the screws on you to somehow … Continue reading

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Find “your people”

It’s been a year and a half since I last wrote for this blog. Why? Partially because I had other priorities, but also because, truthfully, I haven’t felt like I’ve had a lot of additional positive stuff to share. I … Continue reading

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6 examples of what creepy behavior is, and how to avoid it

When a person (or group of people) makes us uncomfortable in some way that is not openly harmful or violent, they are being “creepy.” This subject is not very well fleshed out, however; lines are drawn between violence and nonviolence, … Continue reading

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Some things I’ve learned about recognizing, coping with, and fighting oppression and bigotry

It should all be so simple: don’t be a jerk! So why do oppression and bigotry still happen all the time? And why does so much of it so often fly under the radar, often with little to no challenge, … Continue reading

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Is competition bad?

Competition. The art of being the best. It’s the foundation of so much of our sports and innovation culture, how could it be bad? Well … we live in a world that completely misses the boat in terms of human … Continue reading

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What your awareness says about your trustworthiness – and how “safe” a person you are

I’ve known many people, including myself, that have a lot of trouble just being themselves. You can get into a lot of unfortunate trouble if you don’t develop a fine-tuned filter. We all know there are certain things you can’t … Continue reading

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Why you should learn how to speak nonjudgmentally

“I talked to this loser today, who has no life and seems to think no one else should either. Instead of engaging with me, he stared ahead like a sulky child and refused to fully acknowledge me. The guy’s a … Continue reading

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Positive thinking should be valued higher than other kinds of thinking

Free speech and free thought are definitely valuable things. But some kinds of speech and thoughts are more valuable than other kinds. I refuse to take a standoffish, “unbiased” approach to these things when we have so much injustice and … Continue reading

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Meet my role model for situations of high tension: the hostage negotiator

“What would Jesus do?” say some. “What would Grandma do?” say others. These figures, who often are not with us, serve as inspiration to be somebody better, to “take the high road” at challenging moments. For me, when such moments … Continue reading

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What will it take to stop the violence?

Why do violent acts happen? There are a thousand answers to this question. But not all of these answers are easily known. Especially when you are talking not about one single act of violence, but rather the continued stream of … Continue reading

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How “leaving people a way out” calms tensions

We all get to that point with someone sometimes when there’s this big loaded question in the air – one that involves a lot of emotion, and thus potential disappointment. Think “will you marry me?” for example. Sometimes it’s not … Continue reading

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What is “listening?”

This is so damn important! If I ruled the world, “listening” would be as much a part of the school curriculum as mathematics or language or history. It would continue to be a required course in higher education also! It’s … Continue reading

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Get off the script!

“Hi, how are you?” “Fine, thank you.” “Good! How’s work?” “It’s good, it’s good.” This gets boring and meaningless after a while, doesn’t it? It’s the dreaded script! AAAAAHHH!!! You know, those times when the conversation becomes so deafeningly predictable, when people … Continue reading

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Some thoughts about individuals who go on deadly shooting sprees

After getting over the fact that the most innocent of lives were lost yesterday in Connecticut just because somebody was angry or wanted revenge on someone else, we’re going to start asking why once again. There is no one answer. … Continue reading

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Soundbites don’t make a discussion

The further along we get in media and Tweeting and texting, the more it seems people want to pack as much information into as little time as possible. This is often an admirable goal; when you can state a point … Continue reading

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There is no talking to someone who won’t listen. Talk to those that will listen instead

I am often witness to situations in which a conversation is going on between two people. Or, at least, that is what supposed to be happening. In reality, somebody is not listening. But often, even though somebody is not listening, … Continue reading

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What does it mean when you want someone to be jealous of you?

As I write this post, the most popular post on my blog these days, by far, is the one about why human beings get jealous. I noticed that a good number of the search terms hitting that post say things … Continue reading

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Feminism is NOT enough by itself to liberate men from the problems they confront; a treatise on male empowerment

One of the biggest sticking points between feminists and those who oppose them is this creeping thinking that “women are the oppressed gender, and men are not.” That it is only women who need the safe spaces, the redress of injustice, … Continue reading

Posted in Achieving peace and understanding, Beliefs and worldview, Debate!, Healthy vulnerability and weakness, Long posts, Sex and sexuality, Staying strong | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

One atheist’s understanding of the message of Jesus Christ

I’m one of the most religion-friendly atheists you’ll ever know. Because I don’t believe in disparaging people’s beliefs for being different than my own. On the contrary, those around us who believe different things than we do, they hold these … Continue reading

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The primordial soup of new feelings

When a person’s life situation suddenly changes radically, things can often become unstable. Moving to a new town, breaking up with a long-term partner, forming a new deep romantic relationship, moving out of a family member’s house, death of a loved … Continue reading

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The “awesomeness” of lack of pretense

When I was young, some people used to tell me about how awesome I was for some reason. Much of the time, they would laugh and chuckle at the same time as they told me I was awesome. I had … Continue reading

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The wonderful, liberating power … of dispassionateness

Oh yeah, let’s get excited! We’re going to get … dispassionate. Cool. Calm. Composed. Collected. And it’s going to be AWESOME. 🙂 I’m not joking. I’m telling you – sometimes there’s nothing that feels more awesome and life-giving than when … Continue reading

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Intimacy takes time

In today’s modern hurly-burly, one thing that I am always seeing people forget [or never learn] is that as much as one may want to get deep real quick, the truth is, that … it takes time. We’ve all had … Continue reading

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You’re not feeling everything that you really feel

Have you ever noticed, when you look back on a past event, that you feel much differently now looking back on it than you did when you were going through it? When all is said and done, what counts most … Continue reading

Posted in Achieving peace and understanding, Conflict and dealing with negativity, Healing, Healthy vulnerability and weakness, Long posts, Love and compassion, Personal reflections, Staying strong | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why I hate “will you marry me?” and other such loaded on-the-spot proposals

Loaded questions are okay to ask as long as they don’t demand an answer right away. When it comes to big decisions in your life, like getting married, such questions should not be approached with an “answer me now” attitude. … Continue reading

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You can’t hurry love – and there ain’t no substitute

And you can’t hurry anything else that you really want. You can try, but sometimes, it just has to take its time coming. Have you ever felt, at some time in your life, like you want to fast-forward through a … Continue reading

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It’s ok to not be ready

This is one of those things that you can’t force. When you aren’t ready, you just aren’t ready. And nothing that you do or say is going to change that. It’s one of those things for which there is nothing … Continue reading

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The real prize we’re all in search of

Why make money, form friendships, fall in love, suffer people and things you don’t like, and all that jazz? What are we really looking for? The answer to that question is not easy, and it does vary from person to … Continue reading

Posted in Achieving peace and understanding, Healing, Healthy vulnerability and weakness, Long posts, Love and compassion, Making connection | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Do I worry too much?”

The fact that one asks themself this question already reveals part of the answer, doesn’t it? Honestly, this is one of my little problems. I think about things  a lot. I reflect, contemplate, hypothesize, extrapolate, rewind, and fast-forward all kinds … Continue reading

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Those supernatural, divine moments in life are not exceptions – they’re CALLINGS

In the hurly-burly of the everyday, it can be hard to find meaning for many people. Especially if your life has a routine, or if your life is optimized so that you may give your best energy to those around … Continue reading

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How to keep your head on straight when you suddenly fall in love

Oh, it’s a powerful feeling. It affects all the senses, one’s preferences, one’s decision-making, one’s desires … EVERYTHING. And then, it’s gone. You’re not in love anymore! After a while, things return to normal, and you look back and see … Continue reading

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When there’s nothing more to say…

Sometimes, there’s nothing more to say. Sometimes, things just are as they are. And they will be talked about, and they will be described – but the more talking and describing occurs, the clearer it becomes that such talking and describing … Continue reading

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Why are so many people such jerks?

There are self-serving jerks out there, and then there are the rest of us, right? The jerks are the exceptions to the rule. For whatever reason, they feel ok to just go around thinking about nobody but themselves – but … Continue reading

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Where you’re going is more important than where you are

  Ever notice how some people who are in the worst of situations somehow continue to be positive, joyful people? Or how some people who appear to have everything they could ever need and want still seem so dissatisfied? My … Continue reading

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How to get good at empathizing

Those who see the infinite value of human connection and focus more and more on it start noticing something: empathy is everywhere. Or, at the very least, it is needed everywhere. So often, the first basic underpinning to doing anything meaningful involving another … Continue reading

Posted in Achieving peace and understanding, Conflict and dealing with negativity, Developing trust, Healing, Healthy vulnerability and weakness, Long posts, Love and compassion, Making connection, Pass on the positivity!, Staying strong | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Avoiding the life-wrecking scarcity model of thinking

Underlying many of our greatest fears in life is the feeling that we will be abandoned, left out. That there won’t be enough of something left for us, and our needs will be forgotten. We’ll get trampled or left behind, … Continue reading

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Have high hope, but low expectations

This is a more concrete way of saying, “be open-minded,” a perspective you can take with you every time you are afraid of being disappointed. Some people use the word “hope” as a verb, in a narrow focus toward one … Continue reading

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ASK for clarification

When you look back on situations of conflict, so many awful things seem to happen solely because of some kind of misunderstanding. Especially between friends and loved ones – people close to you – the stakes are higher because of … Continue reading

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Don’t do something just because you “should”

Sometimes you have to do things you don’t really want to do – but sometimes you have to want to do things, too. Doing something despite not wanting to is part of life; very often, it’s too big a part of … Continue reading

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Despite what it may seem, “forever” is usually not a very good thing – even in love

Oh, I very much understand the appeal! Why wouldn’t anybody want to be loved forever, cherished forever, protected forever… guaranteed that certain good things will be forever?? Problem is, there’s quite literally no way to fully guarantee it. Ever notice how … Continue reading

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The top 5 things people who are close to dying regret when they look back at their life

REGRETS OF THE DYING by Bronnie Ware (originally published here) For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the … Continue reading

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How to apologize sincerely without feeling weak and humiliated

Feeling sorry about something does not mean you should necessarily feel weak. The fact that you did something wrong does not make you a less worthy person. Apologizing is a gesture of humility – thus there is a certain amount … Continue reading

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Just being there makes all the difference

Recently, I spent some time with somebody dear to me. Unfortunately, she wasn’t completely available to hang out – she had to do a few Internet-related chores, and asked me if it was ok that our hang-out time be interrupted … Continue reading

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You should really get good at this game

It’s called “the Game of Life.” And if you already feel like you’re good at it, well… that’s great! Keep getting better. You can never get too good at Life. I write this because it has come to my attention … Continue reading

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Don’t always protect people from your truth. It won’t make things right

We are often encouraged to put the negativity behind us and stay positive! You know, when something bothers you or otherwise messes with you? As aggravating as it may be, you swallow it and don’t make a big deal out … Continue reading

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Sometimes I just want to come home

Home is more than just a place. It’s a very powerful concept. It’s what makes us comfortable, what we’re familiar with, what makes us feel like everything is all right. Home is our place in the world. It’s where the … Continue reading

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How important is sex, really?

Recently I was talking to a friend who, in the context of finding a monogamous relationship, was comparing two people she was attracted to. She told me “I am way more sexually drawn to Jamie [names changed] than I am to … Continue reading

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We can do way better than either-or thinking

I see it all the time. Modern western society must push back Islam. Islam must push back modern liberalism. Feminism is antithetical to men. Men’s rights are antithetical to feminism. And so on. In a lot of modern movements and … Continue reading

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Recommended resource: The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book a friend recommended to me when I was going through a lot of personal change in my life. It is a simple, down-to-earth book that elaborates on four basic guidelines … Continue reading

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