Becoming an ally to POC

Photo & Painting by Elizabeth Campbell

I awoke in the night to the sound of gentle rain. The wind began to blow and the chimes rang out every so often. I lay there drifting in and out of sleep for several hours. My mind was filled with thoughts of the letters that both Ta-Nehisi Coates and Don Lemon wrote to a beloved son and a beloved nephew, respectively. Coates’ words in Between the World and Me are one long, eloquent letter on racism and its brutal and pernicious effects. I’m in the midst of those words now and they cut to the bone.

I have not…

Grieving loved ones during the holiday season

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Absently scrolling on Facebook, I saw an ad for an alfalfa sprout growing kit and flashed on the one my mom gave us years ago. Tears sprang to my eyes and my throat tightened. I thought, “…what the heck?” Then my eyes dropped down to the date on my monitor, December 4th. I breathed a quick “no” as I stifled tears. December 5th is the anniversary of my mom’s passing.

How is it that my body remembers before my mind does? She’s been gone six years now and yet this happens every year. I feel a sudden sadness and dread…

Carefully, nimbly, and lightly

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I was moved by the beauty of a statement made in a recent podcast and began to think about how it applies to our relationships with loved ones as well as to large groups of people.

The podcast was on the life cycle of cities. In one segment of the episode, architect Raul Mehrotra was describing the miracle of the temporary city that is built approximately every 12 years. …

5 books, 4 podcasts, and several conversations

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It’s been four months since I wrote an article in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and countless other Black Americans. In that article, I wrote about my struggle with how to respond to those events as a middle-aged white woman with a small sphere of influence. I felt helpless and a little hopeless in my ability to change anything. But I also felt the imperative to do something.

I began to tease out what that might look like in that article. …

A lifetime with Margie

Photo by Kristin Anderson (

My hands were splayed on the cold granite of the kitchen counter. I noticed my slim gold wedding band and unadorned fingernails. I felt the cold. It steadied me somehow to focus on that bodily sensation and the sight of my hands, as I waited for my husband to come in from his bike ride.

I thought it’s not real to him yet. Until I tell him, it’s not real. It wasn’t real to me until my sister uttered the words over the phone. Even before she said those words, I tried to stave off that reality by saying, “No…

Four keys to gaining and keeping lasting love

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Intimacy. The word conjures all the feels for me; warmth, love, understanding, acceptance, safety, pleasure, excitement, peace. We all want intimate relationships; ones in which we are deeply known and deeply loved. But what does it take to have intimacy? How do we get there in our romantic relationships and how do we stay there? As a psychologist and professional coach, I’ve found that those two questions are the basis of much discussion with friends and clients alike.

When you start dating someone, you begin to get to know them. You ask basic questions about their interests, hobbies, and careers…

What to do with it

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Jealousy. When I think of jealousy, I hear Nick Jonas singing “I still get jealous” in my head. That song is catchy and appeals to so many because almost all of us have experienced jealousy in a relationship at one time or another. I hadn’t thought about jealousy in a long time, until the other day when a young friend asked me if I’d ever experienced jealousy in my relationship with my husband when we were dating or since we’ve been married.

My first thought was, “Nah, I’m not a jealous person.” But then I…

Confronting racism and white privilege in my own life

Photo by James Gerde @soaringhawkabove

I didn’t know him, but I mourn George Floyd’s passing. I also mourn the passing of Breonna Taylor. Both were killed by police this past week. I mourn the senseless shooting of Ahmaud Arbery who was out for a run in late February. All three were African American.

I am horrified by the behavior of Amy Cooper, a white woman, who called 911 and said that an African American man was threatening her life. With that, she asked that the operator send the police. …

Let’s try physical distancing instead of social distancing

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In this strange time of the Coronavirus pandemic, the streets are relatively empty and the world seems eerily quiet. We are practicing “home isolation” and “social distancing.” Those phrases sound dire and lonely and, frankly, wrong. I wish the powers that be had used the term physical distancing rather than social distancing. Perhaps we could say home-based rather than home isolated.

We need our social connections now more than ever. We need them for our mental health and our physical health. There is a wealth of research documenting that our social connections promote health and longevity in a multitude of…

Breaking through plateaus

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You’ve most likely heard of Intermittent Fasting (IF) or Time-Restricted Eating (TRE) by now. I’ll refer to it as IF here. It has become the latest go-to diet and lifestyle for weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight and for good reason. It’s fairly easy to embrace, with its emphasis on maintaining a fasting to eating schedule of your choice and making reasonably healthy food choices. There is a great deal of science that documents its effectiveness and the physical mechanisms by which it works. (See this article by Dr. Paul Spector, here on Medium, for more background.)


Patricia Marshall, Ph.D.

Patricia is a writer, psychologist, and life coach. You can find more of her writing at

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