Invisible Threads Among Us

You might have heard of the indigenous South African philosophy of ubuntu, “I am because of who we all are.” Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, in a conversation earlier this year with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, she described the meaning of ubuntu as “a person becomes a human being through other people.” As a clinical psychologist who worked alongside Bishop Desmond Tutu on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Gobodo-Madikizela witnessed firsthand the invisible threads … Read more…

Taking a Stand

Decades ago, I took a stand for “meaningful conversations about things that matter so we can do good things for the world, together.”* This stand has been the primary thread weaving through my decades-long career and it was the inspiration for my book, Talk Matters! Saving the World One Word at a Time. As I approach the third anniversary of its publication and the end of 2019, I am revisiting this stand. Many underestimate the … Read more…

Approaching with Reverence

What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation. When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will … Read more…

The Importance of Being Seen

This is a more personal piece than usual. It came early one morning as I was thinking about my mother on her birthday. I have been fortunate throughout my life to have family and friends who see me and love me. Some are still my dear and good friends while some have passed: my mother died in March 1981; good friends Mary Curran and Jean Westcott died in 2002 and 2008 respectively. An important teacher … Read more…

Winning Or Losing?

Some believe living is all about being right/winning OR being wrong/losing. This either/or perspective is exciting and fun in sports. We can root for our team or favorite athlete with passion. However, this way of thinking is destructive in conversations and when we are trying to get stuff done with others. What does it mean to “win” in conversations? Convincing others your solution is the right one? Silencing others? Dominating the conversation? Looking good in … Read more…

Why Can’t We Converse with One Another?

It’s a tough time for conversations. The toxic national political environment is infecting interactions among friends, colleagues and neighbors. We are having a harder time listening to one another and an easier time vilifying those who think differently than we do. Social media feeds the flames. Curiosity and compassion have gone AWOL. Conversations are fraught with fears about the future, anger about the past, and disbelief at how we got here. The challenge for each … Read more…