Letter to a Toxic Friend

I would be lying if I said I had not rewritten this letter repeatedly. Mulling over and over what I would like to say, balancing it against what you will read. I should have called you out each time I recognized your toxic behavior, rather than waiting to pile it on you now with little more than a “good luck!” I thought I would have an easier time talking to…

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Getting What I Need

A little over a month ago I was sitting in my friend Tyler’s living room complaining about some problems that were playing out between me and my partner, Miguel. “But Tyler,” I pouted, after he gave me some solid advice, “I don’t want to do that!” He looked at me with compassion, shrugged his shoulders and said, “sometimes what you need and what you want,” he brought his thumb…

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Ambiguous Identities

About three years ago, I went through a divorce that was more like a violent shootout than a pragmatic goodbye. The relationship my wife and I had nurtured over eight years collapsed in a matter of weeks. We went from best friends to worst enemies in the same amount of time we had spent vacationing together in Seattle one summer, drinking wine in bed, watching boats cross the Puget…

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A Rich Backstory

For individuals who live in the margins, on the fringe, or outside of the box, sharing personal details about their lives can lead directly to their destruction. People who assert that everyone has a voice in this “post–civil rights era” are only partially correct. But the volume is still turned down – if not muted – for many people of the world, despite all the avenues available for sharing…

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We Live in Separate Bodies

It’s February, and I have allergies. The elm trees are pollinating early, and clearly, my body doesn’t like it. Allergies smallergies; April Dansie is sooo sensitive. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if someone else could crawl into my skin so I might share the world as I feel it; so they might sneeze as much as I sneeze. Do my feelings of isolation and being misunderstood…

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When a Prophet Dies

I find it useful to emphasize what’s said over who’s saying it. We live in a society so committed to an individualist ethic that we forget how much our environment influences our behavior. We want people to be responsible for their actions. We don’t want their actions to be the product of their environments. This not only makes it easier to assign blame—and to regulate conduct—it also makes complex…

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Ooh, that smarts.

Pain. It’s not great. It’s broad, complex, and personal. It impacts everyone around us. No one really knows what it is, or how to fix it, or even if we should be fixing it at all. Physical pain often presents itself. There is blood or a scar. But it can also be invisible to all but the bearer. Emotional pain can have a physical expression as well – sobbing…

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The Goodwill Journal

Recently while shopping at the Goodwill Outlet, my friend found a copy of someone’s journal and handed it to me with a smirk. Ten minutes later, standing at the counter, he was surprised to see me purchase it. I haven’t had an opportunity to read the entire thing, but I am catching small glimpses of the thirty-year-old man who began it in 1995. He started journaling because he felt…

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Wisdom, Work, and Warfare

Plato founded his first academy as a sanctuary in honor of Athena the goddess of wisdom. At the time, “sanctuary” implied sacred space where both mentors and apprentices could establish the spiritual grounding necessary for the mundane practice of their disciplines. Today we might describe “sanctuary” as a “small safe space in a troubling world, an oasis in a vast desert, or an island in a stormy sea.” But…

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Perfectly Out of Place

I “don’t belong” to this place, and it doesn’t recognize my existence. Or rather… it doesn’t pay heed to my life and my experience. There are people in this place that look like they are being acknowledged and respected. It was designed for them somehow. They are among their peers and they engage in all the distractions of this place without any fear of getting lost, caught, or facing…

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