Nov 20 / Simcha

How to Have Deeper Conversations (D. Brooks)

NYTImes opinion columnist David Brooks writes about the art of connecting, even in time of dislocation.  His list of “non-obvious lessons for how to have better conversation, which I’ve learned from people wiser than myself,” are applicable to non-Covid times as well.  

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Aug 13 / Simcha

Old Age is a Slow Surprise (R. Banks)

The novel The Darling by Russell Banks (HarperCollins, 2004) is told in the voice of Hannah Musgrave, the ultimate privileged child of the 1960s, a former Weatherman sought by the FBI, widow of a minister in the Liberian government, and caretaker of threatened chimps.  The book begins with Hannah’s decision to return to Liberia in her late 50s. “We return to a place,” she writes, “in order to learn why we left.”

The following is Hannah’s magnificent description of aging and of death, as her story unfolds in the book’s opening pages.  

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May 19 / Simcha

We Need to Talk (C. Headlee)

Celeste Headlee, who has worked as an NPR and Public Radio host for decades, knows the ingredients of a great conversation: honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. Author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (2017), Headlee notes that most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, but rather to reply — a dynamic that is clearly evident in many dysfunctional relationships. 

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Nov 13 / Simcha

Being Wrong (K. Schulz)

So many of the struggles of the couples I work with revolve around one or the other’s need to always be right, to hold on tight to ideas, beliefs or perceptions as if their lives depend upon it.  

While possibly protecting us from our own self-doubt and uncertainty, this need to always be right “calcifies” our ability to listen well, to be flexible and open-minded, and makes us a lot less fun to be around to boot….  And by regularly dismissing our partner’s ideas and feelings, we are also inadvertently poisoning our relationship.  

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Oct 30 / Simcha

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (T. Selasi)

When someone asks you where you are from … do you sometimes not know how to answer? Writer Taiye Selasi speaks on behalf of “multi-local” people, who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two. “How can I come from a country?” she asks. “How can a human being come from a concept?”

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Jun 04 / Simcha

Reshape your Story, Reshape your Relationship (M. Kauppi)

Many of us have had the experience of saying something we thought was innocuous, only to have a friend or partner interpret it as a veiled accusation or an attempted guilt-trip. Or the reverse — an innocent comment by the other is perceived as a slight or criticism. Each party experiences and interprets the same situation in very different ways.

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