Did Oprah get it right in The Secret? Is the Law of Attraction really the best way to understand the universe? Is it problematic?
In episode #57 of my podcast Think Hard, On Manifesting and Mirrors, Jeff Guenther LPC (creator of Therapy Den and the Portland Therapy Center) defends the Law of Attraction, which my co-host José and I lambasted in episode #37. Take a listen!
Should you have an open mind when talking to someone who has an opinion that you find morally reprehensible?
In Tolerating the Racist at Thanksgiving Dinner, episode #56 of my podcast Think Hard, my co-host José and I discuss how we should balance the desire to keep an open mind with the need to protect people from hate speech. This episode ties into episode #11: “Tolerating the Nazi Next Door.” Take a listen!
Are you the same person that you were when you were six years old?
In Carjacking Today, Freedom Tomorrow?, episode #55 of my podcast Think Hard, my co-host José and I discuss identity and how we change over time. Did Buddhism get it right with the idea of “no self,” or are we essentially the same person at every stage of life? Take a listen!
Have you ever been in a relationship that you’re not sure you should stay in? Sometimes it feels so good, and then the next day you have an argument and you think… “I gotta get out.” Sound familiar?
In Both Sides Now, episode #53 of my podcast Think Hard, my co-host José and I discuss ambivalence and how we handle cognitive dissonance that occurs when we try to see multiple sides of any issue. Take a listen!
Why do we wear casual clothing? If we dress down for comfort, what is the root cause of our discomfort?
In Flip Flip, episode #51 of my podcast Think Hard, my co-host José and I discuss casual clothing and the larger question of discomfort in our lives. Can sweatpants bring you comfort? Is it worth it, or do soft fabrics and cozy shoes mask a larger discomfort in our lives? Take a listen!
How do we make decisions about how to spend money? And, thinking more broadly, how do we use our limited resources to live “the good life”?
In episode #51: Buying Happiness of my podcast Think Hard, I ponder how to make decisions about how to spend money, which leads to the larger question of what constitutes the good life. What purchases will make us happy, and how do we know what to choose? My co-host José offers some budgeting wisdom. Take a listen!
Would you trade your therapist for a philosophical coach? More and more people are discovering the benefits of conversations with philosophers to help them figure out their lives. It’s called Philosophical Coaching or Philosophical Counseling, and there are lots of good reasons that philosophy is an excellent foundation for counseling.
I've been thinking a lot about how much courage it takes to live with purpose. We must look inside ourselves, see our weaknesses, our faults, our failures, but we must also see our strengths, our talents, our dreams. We must have the courage to face ourselves.
The state of the world these days is enough to make you want to scream curses at the sky, throw a molotov cocktail through some institutional windows, and then snuggle up to a bottle of tequila for the remainder of the evening.
What do you do when everything you believe about the world crumbles to pieces around you? How do you rebuild a sense of hope, meaning, and truth? As a philosophy professor and coach, I've thought about these questions a lot, and I’ve learned some things. I gave a TEDx talk at TEDxPCC called, "What to do when you're worldview falls apart." Take a look.
Philosophical questions about what is good, beautiful, right, and valuable are questions that all of us ask everyday. These 30 accessible, funny, thoughtful conversations cover everything from whether it is ethical to have children to why we should lament the decline of social dancing.
How do we, as a society, take broad political action on issues like climate change or global poverty when we see ourselves as fractured groups, each with its own concerns?
In episode #29: The "I" in Us of my podcast Think Hard, I suggest that identity politics—organizing and motivating political action through features of your identity such as race, gender, class, nationality, religion, etc.—is insufficient for the type of collective action needed to solve some important global problems. My co-host José believes that all political action must necessarily begin with the interests, needs, and perspectives of identity. What do you think?
A philosophical perspective can help with almost any professional work, including veterinary medicine. Last week, I spoke with a group of professional veterinarians about how philosophical skills and thinking can help make their work more efficient, productive, purposeful, and fulfilling. Here are some of the tips and perspectives I gave them.
I'm teaming up with Curious Soul Philosophy this May to lead a workshop called Buddhist Wisdom for Everyday Living. If you are local to Portland, Oregon, join me to learn and discuss the foundational philosophical ideas of Buddhism and see how they may serve us in our everyday lives.
Suffering is perhaps one of the most informative and important parts of the human experience. Sitting with this pain—whether it be our own or someone else's—takes courage, strength, and compassion. It is extraordinarily difficult, but it allows us to get to the heart of what is really happening, both in society at large and in our personal inner lives.
There are so many reasons to feel overwhelmed, and even hopeless, these days. For those who don't believe in an all-knowing, benevolent higher power that has a plan for it all, where are we to look for hope?
Guatama Buddha's great teaching was how to become free from the cravings, fears, and ego-filled pride that keeps us all miserable. He offered a clear path for how to achieve this enlightened state. But he also said that no one can save us but ourselves. "We ourselves must walk the path," is the translation often given.
So maybe you're not aiming for nirvana, but the same is true for any kind of healing and self-actualization that you strive to do.
Two years ago today, my husband helped me check myself into a psych hospital with symptoms of mania, severe insomnia, panic attacks, and racing and delusional thoughts. Our daughter was three months old.
We have great power to change and influence many things, both in ourselves and in this world, and it is good to want to improve and to work toward positive changes. But for those things that we cannot change, we still have the power to see beauty, even in the ugly and tragic.
For 20th century French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, we humans have the power to determine who we are. Every moment, we are creating ourselves through our choices, both in actions we take and in the meaning that we ascribe to those actions. And no matter our circumstances, we are always free to choose differently—to choose new ideas, beliefs, thoughts, and actions.
I had a text exchange recently with a friend who was grew up with a conservative Christian upbringing, but has since left the church and stopped believing. She was reluctant to watch a video that her uncle gifted to her, (likely in a passive-aggressive attempt to bring her back into the fold), which ostensibly made a case for everything from the Biblical great flood to the Christian resurrection, based on archeological artifacts and other kinds of data.
"I struggle with that sort of thing," she said. "Like: what if that evidence was in any way legit or convincing? I'm not sure I could be convinced to revisit my conclusions at this point."
I'm reading What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen and reflecting on her point that motherhood and mothering is now described in language more so than ever before--in books and online rather than through nonverbal communication in multigenerational families, as it was in years past--and yet there is such a lack of both words and stories that communicate the activities of mothering.
As soon as I learned what an episiotomy was, I knew I didn't want one. For the uninitiated, an episiotomy is a procedure done to help make room for a baby during delivery, by making an incision in the perineum, the tissue between the vagina and the anus. Yeah, that's why I didn't want one. In fact, when I filled out the intake form on my childbirth class, I wrote it down as one of my biggest fears. But, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger, you can’t always get what you want.