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Photo by Troy Taylor

We waft and wander
in search of community —
lighthouse for lost souls.

Community. I’d like to take a stab at clarifying and redefining how I think about this word and what it means to me, as it has come up in conversations with increasing regularity. Just as bell hooks proposed we shift our understanding of love from the viewpoint of a noun to a verb, I’d like to propose we extend this perspective to the concept of community, to approach it as a verb, or set of verbs, rather than a noun.

Within the word community itself lies the…


“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” — Old Proverb

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Opening Thoughts

When I first heard the above proverb a few years ago, it washed right over me like rain water over a giant, protective umbrella.

The second time someone reflected this quote to me, it impacted me a little more than before, akin to being caught in a heavy rain with one of those thin, plastic-bag-like one-time-use rain covers, where you’re still (mostly) dry underneath but the wetness of the plastic gloms onto your skin, leaving you mildly clammy and uncomfortable.

The third time someone recited this proverb to me, it was as if I had gotten caught in a violent…


Interwoven with an exploration of denial, ignorance and naïveté — a cross-examination of Buddhist teachings and psychodynamic theory

Opening Thoughts

I’ve been pondering a lot about the differences between denial, ignorance and naiveté, and how media popularization of the term “woke” in the last couple of years has, at least for me, undermined and downplayed my understanding and desire to understand some very complex, urgent and critical issues.

Looking back to just a few months ago, before I started the Integral Counseling Program at California Institute of Integral Studies, it’s hard to distinguish whether my lack of awareness in issues surrounding social justice, inequality, oppression, and the general “impact of the concept of culture on the concept of man [1],”…


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Photo by Justin Rosenberg

There is a part of me that has laid dormant all of my life. Rare glimpses of her revealed in fragments throughout my past but there was never enough to sustain a prolongated stay. This year, she has emerged — fully — burst out of a buried cave, shy and hesitant but full of rage, curiosity, power. She is wild, but not savage, her hair unkempt, but not unclean. Her skin is taut and tawny, treated by the wonderments of a natural world — soil, streams and sun. Her body is bare, as are her feet. She examines me —…


A reflection of my feelings and experiences growing up in a predominantly white society and some of the insights and illuminations I’ve only recently come to understand and accept

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Race is one of those seemingly-impossible-to-talk-about topics where one or both parties — especially between people of different races — eventually grow defensive and give up in defeat. …


A brief(ish) overview of Freud’s theory of sexuality (including the Oedipal complex), structural theory and dreams theory.

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Perhaps no other man has had as much singular intellectual impact and influence on a field and the paradigmatic thinking of a society than Sigmund Freud. Copernicus and Darwin were great deflators of humanity’s anthropomorphic world views, and Freud included himself among them, believing his unearthing of the unconscious to be disruptive enough to deflate humanity’s narcissism — we are not, as we had previously thought, the captains of our own ships.

Born Sigmund Schlomo Freud to a middle-class Jewish family in Austria in 1856, Freud was born in an era when those around him believed in humanity’s superiority to…


A psychodynamic perspective of how our unconscious collective fears may bring about our eventual demise.

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Once upon a time, there lived a king named Erysichthon, who ruled over Thessaly. This king was as arrogant as his daughter was wise, and one day, without her consent, he rallied his subjects to desecrate the sacred grove of Demeter (Ceres) — the Goddess of Plenty, the Goddess of Harvest — where they came upon an ancient oak. The ancient oak warns him of the retribution which will surely fall upon the King upon its death, but Erysichthon does not care. …


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Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

In 2019, I devoted much of my time to writing and becoming a writer. I gave myself the year to see whether writing might be my ikigai, a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being,” in which you find yourself at the intersection of doing what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for.


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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Our cat, Eleven, used to meow at us incessantly during the hour leading up to her morning and evening feedings. As a mindfulness and meditation practitioner, this rarely bothered me. When it did, I’d try to notice it and observe it for what it was, without categorizing, just letting the sound appear and disappear. This usually worked. My partner, however, was often bothered by her interminable meowing and sought to enroll me in doing something about it. I never felt particularly motivated to. I figured, why bother when it so rarely bothers me? Instead, I suggested he try and meditate.


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Photo by Nicolas Shebitz via Unsplash

My first and only imaginary friend appeared to me when I was eleven years old. His name was Jamie, and he was about five years younger than me. When I finally found the courage to tell my best friend about it in the form of a half-joke, to see how she would react, she was, as I feared she would be, patronizing. Unrelenting, she teased me about it for days before I was finally able to convince her it was a joke. You’re too old to have an imaginary friend, she said. Babies have imaginary friends, she cooed.

So I…

Renee Chen · 小雨

exploring the liminal b/t the art of being, loving & thinking | therapist-in-training | yoga-doer | writer sometimes | curious always | www.sumofourparts.co

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