Friday, June 24, 2016

My Involuntary 3 Month Vow of Silence

So on Monday I had surgery on my throat. Following a wicked cold when I got back from Thailand (pics here for the stalkers), my throat got inflamed and never really got better. It turned into a granuloma, which sounds worse than it is. Hopefully, right? Biopsy results coming in todayish.

To prevent people with granulomas from getting another granuloma, they Botox your vocal chords so you can't talk. For. Three. Months. Technically, I'm not even supposed to laugh. So naturally I thought I'd go Harpo Marx on this, but my doctor said whistling transforms your vocal chords, so I can't do that either.

So now I have to figure out how to communicate without speaking. "You're doing it right now, idiot!" you all say. True, but oral communication happens at a much faster clip. Got a witty comeback? Oh no you don't. Because by the time you finish writing it out and having someone read it, 9 other things have happened to respond to.

So I may just end up taking a vow of silence for a little while. Reflect on things. I've been wanted to do that for a while, as I sometimes feel like I've drifted too far from my true direction in a bunch of different ways. Mostly, psychologically and emotionally. The best person I am is the person who's vulnerable, emotionally available, nonjudgmental, raw, and principled. It's not that I'm none of those things, but certainly not to the degree I want to develop.

These last 10 years I've been somewhat of a tracker tracking his own footsteps. We take some many steps without realizing where we've traveled. But we end up getting to places that inspire us and give us a feeling of purpose. The next task is to trace our footsteps and see how we got there.

Meditation seems to do it, but only when I'm not trying too hard to meditate. Listening, in general seems to do it too. Drumming can kind of do it too. It almost seems, though, that the more effort one makes to be peaceful, the less peaceful they are. And yet if we don't try at all, we just end up drifting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Listening

Listening isn't just an act, is a mindset. We're used to listening to music or to other people, but you can listen to anything. You can listen to yourself, to the world, and even to silence. Listening to silence is called meditation.

The essence of listening is simply not talking. Not just talking out loud, but even talking to yourself. When you listen to a person and talk at the same time, whether judging or figuring out what's wrong with what they're saying, you can really only hear yourself. The best you can hope for is to get a version of the truth that's mixed up with your preconceptions and ideas. That's not very good.

When you listen you get a new perspective. In the same way that you can view a sculpture from different vantage points, you can look at a situation, or more generally, reality, from different perspectives and see new things. In the case of listening, the new perspective doesn't come from getting something new, but subtracting. Subtracting your preconceptions and usual dialogue about a problem or situation. Listening makes room for me insights into a situation, another person, and often, yourself.

You don't just listen with your ears; you listen with your whole body. You listen with questions rather than answers. With silence rather than speech. With gentleness rather than cynicism. When you listen you find room to accept and even appreciate and the capacity to experience love and forgiveness without any pretensions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How to Deal with Narcissists

Kind of a drastic way in his case, but it worked I guess
Dear Edahn,

I am feeling very hurt by my ex boyfriend. I am 22 years old. He is 33 years old. We were friends before we started dating, in October of last year. Everything was great because we were already so comfortable with each other. In January, he broke up with me for the first time..after our first real fight over something stupid. A week later, feeling desperate and lonely, i texted him saying i forgave him and let's be friends. He wanted to see me later that night...and the cycle began! We slept together and started dating again. Ever since then, it has been an emotional rollercoaster!! He breaks up with me because he does not know what he wants and after a fight, and the break ups get longer each time. It is almost as if I AM BEING PUNISHED EACH TIME. But I am an idiot, because I take him back.

I am feeling crazy and insecure at this point. I hate the person i have become. Please help me with what to do. I feel like because of him, I am forever damaged. I am petrified to get into another relationship because of him. He makes me feel like I am not beautiful anymore because we're through. I think he does this on purpose.

LET'S START WITH making sense of what's happening with him and with your relationship. I think he's a very emotional guy. When he's not with you, his emotions erupt and he thinks about you as his perfect match. But after you reunite, everything flips and he thinks about all the things that make you incompatible. You're both his angel and his demon. Why he flips? I don't think it's a simple answer, but I think he probably lacks self-esteem and self-connection and prematurely idealizes others so that he can feel something other than emptiness and self-hatred. But that's followed by devaluation because the idealization is ultimately an illusion built on imagined intimacy. It's like flying really high with faulty wings; you're eventually going to crash really hard.

He takes you on the emotional ride that he goes on--highs and lows--and in the end, leaves you feeling rejected and unworthy of love, which makes you somewhat vulnerable to the same type of behavior he exhibits because they're both rooted in a deep self-rejection.

Now we get to you. Part of dating, and life, truth be told, involves knowing when you walk away from something bad and knowing what you deserve. You should have walked away after he first broke up with you. If someone doesn't want to be with you, fuck them (figuratively). Don't fall into the trap of reuniting and fucking them (literally) because it sends a message, both to him and to you, that it's fine to treat you that way because you're not the kind of person who needs to be treated well. You gave him permission. So in a way you're both responsible for eroding your self-esteem. He pushed it, but you let it slide.

The question is how to move forward. Well, for one thing, you need to identify where your boundaries are. When you don't feel like you're being treated with integrity, hold the line: speak up, set a boundary, and if that person can't honor it, walk the fuck away. If they over-complicate things and make elaborate arguments, just leave and say you're not going to wait for them to figure out how to treat you, and that someone else out there already knows how. Second, and more importantly, you need to dial into what makes you respect and even love yourself. What are those qualities? What makes you a good person? Not in a religious or philosophical way, just a good person. Someone who cares, listens, helps, reflects, contributes joy and wisdom to the world rather than friction and conflict. Concentrate on those qualities and keep them close to you so you can start to rebuild your own self-respect. The boundaries are just a way to protect that once you realize how precious it is in the big picture.

Good related post here.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

How to Find a Wife or Husband

Hi Edahn,

I am a 30 year old woman single mommy of one son. I am almost done with my BA at university and plan to go to the Law School shortly after for corporate law, but I am so utterly driven by finding a husband or at least a boyfriend it's awful.

I am very intelligent and I don't drink. I think these are some reasons men don't approach me. I'm fairly attractive as well (verified with a PG-rated pic sent in–Edahn) so my friends say I might be intimidating. I think it's my kiddo sometimes because most men don't want that... So what the heck am I do wrong? I've tried online dating and met a BUNCH of weirdos and I go out with my friends and look pretty n wait but nothing. My mom says I should dye my hair brown because I look like a bimbo and then when people talk to me they realize I am intelligent and it's not working? Where should I go to meet a decent man? I really want more children.

MY REACTION TO the “weirdos” from the online dating world: 

In the course of dating, people tend to acquire a lot of baggage. Some of the baggage is obvious and external, meaning, dating changes the way you perceive the dating world. Most people become jaded and resentful and form pretty depressing views of others. The other type of baggage is internal, and it’s a lot more subtle. That type of baggage is the way dating changes your view of yourself. In some cases, you might start to think you’re undateable because you’re not good enough for others. (Some of these ideas might have already been swimming around since childhood and now have an opportunity to resurface.) Other times you might start to think you’re undateable because you’re too good. It gets even trickier: sometimes dating changes the way you think about yourself because it makes the parts of your personality that others consider important more salient, so you start caring more about them.

Okay, so what the hell am I talking about? You’ve got you. Who are you? What makes you you? We could argue for hours and cite philosophers and therapists, but really, what makes you you is a fundamental kindness, a goodness, something fragile that’s also incredibly strong and humble. Someone who wants to connect with others, cared and be cared for, and live with joy and subtle smiles. There’s humor, intelligence, and a gentle capacity for reflection, not just in you, but in all of us. That person is the person who’s always there and has been there since childhood. That’s the person who is guaranteed to lead a satisfying life composed of a series of beautiful moments, regardless of whether they get married or not. That’s the real you.

We forget that all the time, sometimes for years at a time. Some people never even remember it, and that’s the worst tragedy. We start to think of ourselves as different people as we identify with the roles we play. At work, we identify with our work roles, then we go home and identify with our family roles or our social roles. When people ask us casually to tell them about who we are, we launch into a set of facts and stories that conjure up an image of who we are, but it’s only an image, like a hologram. Our education, jobs, income, looks, health, all holograms. The struggles we face, our luck, our philosophies and world of preferences, all holograms. It’s not that they’re not real—it’s that they’re not the real you.

As long as you think of yourself as a person with challenges, as a person who’s pretty (too pretty, even) or too educated, or even as a person with a child, you’re always going to be out of touch with the real you (your spirit for lack of better term). Being in touch with the real you isn’t just the best way to make a connection with another being, it’s the only way to make a connection with a person. Everything else is just intellectual heady bullshit—holograms meeting holograms.

I want you to think about these ideas. Just be open to them, even if they don’t seem to solve your problem right away and even if some things don’t seem to fit into your worldview just yet. Let it marinate for a bit. Visualize the real you and how she might look if she was at a park with her son, talking to a nice stranger, or at the beach, taking a stroll and talking to a neighbor with a warm smile and patient eyes, no makeup, talking about how beautiful the colors of the sunset look. Feel how it feels to be her. See how she has no baggage in that moment? She’s just who she is, without the burdens and pressures of…well…everything. Remember what it’s like to be her, and I think you’ll find what it is you’re looking for. Maybe you’re not really looking for a guy after all, but something even greater.

Peace & Kindness,

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

BREAKING: AskEdahn gets a makeover; owner still same old ugly thug

Hi everyone! (anyone?)

AskEdahn got a much-needed makeover this morning. I've rolled out some of the new branding I've been working on, and a new master brand logo, my ugly mug and beard. The idea for the logo came from a very talented designer from my past. Big thanks to her.

I also made some functional tweaks, adding the submission form on the top, and a row of links. Two new links--design and about me--were also added this morning.

Hope you guys like the new design! I certainly do.