Self Knowledge

The Tapestry We Mistakenly Believe is Reality

One of the most profound lessons I have extracted from nearly 20 years answering calls (11,000 or more) on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is that each of us constructs an image—a tapestry—we truly believe represents reality, but turns out to be ambiguous, misleading, and very often wrong. Despite its extraordinary abilities, our brains are easily …

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An Unlikely Source of Wisdom

“It’s So Counterintuitive!” she said. “Yes, it is.” I affirmed. The young woman calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline suffered from sporadic, chronic, gastrointestinal pain. She thought she might have eaten something the prior weekend that aggravated the condition. As a result, she was in great pain. I asked if she would be willing to …

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Vanquishing Wisdom; Impairing the Future

“We never knew what we were going to see—what kicks (sneakers) were going to be on sale; what beef (conflict) was going to be cooking; what guads (boys) and shorties (girls) were going to be rocking (wearing)…We did not care if older or richer or Whiter Americans despised our nonstandard dress like our nonstandard Ebonics…Fresh …

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Listening with New Ears

“This is usually where the desire to dismiss claims of racial oppression come from—it just doesn’t make sense to you so it cannot be right.”                                                 Ijeoma Oluo in So you want to talk about race I can be justly accused of remaining silent for far too long when words condemning racism should have been …

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How Old Are You?

What if the answer was deeper, less objective and more nuanced than a simple recounting of the number of times the earth orbited the sun since the day you arrived? If I asked, instead, how creative you are, I would be confused and disheartened if you answered “5,” “23,” or “99.” Those are meaningless in …

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If That’s True…It Changes Everything!

The increasingly pervasive, oft vicious exchanges that permeate our lives, whether they be in person, in the media, or on social media, can easily overwhelm. Those, on top of trying to survive a global pandemic, make daily life ever more challenging. The human brain is a marvelous, complex and adaptive organ that enables us to …

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A Moment of Grace

When grace enters my life unexpectedly, the moment often becomes a font of knowledge and wisdom. Operation Snowball is an organization for high school students who want to live healthy lives by keeping an informed and respectable distance between themselves and drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Twice each year a three-day retreat is convened for a …

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