Week Four

WEEK 4 | Personal Practice and Healing

Welcome to the final week of Course View. Use this time to continue any practices that have been fruitful for you from previous weeks, and bring your work to closure. As your journey of unlearning continues beyond the contents of this journal, we hope the exercises below support you in grounding the insights you’ve made and integrating the healing you’ve experienced. We thank you for taking this journey with us!

Here is the content for Week 4

Being Human, by Naima Penniman of Climbing PoeTree

Purposeful Memoir as Path to Alignment, by Jennifer Browdy

Presence at the Edge of Our Practice, by Helen Titchen Beeth

Roots and Shoots of Mindfulness, by Joel and Michelle Levey

Healing into Consciousness, by Mada Dalian

Vessels, by Colors in Motion


LISTEN/READ: Being Human, by Naima Penniman of Climbing PoeTree

Enjoy the rhythm of this poem and note the many double-meanings in the words. The poet uses personification, a figure of speech to describe a nonhuman form as if it were a person.

Each thing the poet ‘wonders’ can also be interpreted as an aspect of the human condition.

For example:

I wonder if rain is scared
of falling
if it has trouble
letting go

if snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
each one
trying to be one-of-a-kind

Read the poem again and note any words or phrases that are particularly resonant for you.

How does the natural world reflect your inner state of mind?

What aspects of your joy or sorrow can be expressed through nature? (example: lonely as a cloud, happy as a lark)


READ: Purposeful Memoir as Path to Alignment, by Jennifer Browdy

The author states:

We look backward over our lives in order to see clearly the values and dominant narratives that have structured our relationships and guided our assumptions about what was possible. We soberly assess how we contributed to a present moment that is undeniably in crisis on the political and planetary levels. And then, in a glorious leap, we envision how we can make our own lives a strong link in the chain between past and future generations.

How is ‘looking backward’ part of the unlearning process?

Review your notes and writing assignments since the start of the course. Identify the seeds of your ‘purposeful memoir.’ Could you develop this work into a longer memoir?

Browdy describes the Earth, Water, and Fire years of her life. Which element is missing and which are yet to come?

How would you align the four elements to your own life: Air, Fire, Earth, Water. Why?

Age                                       Element


teenage to young adult



Share your observations in the Comments section of the essay or in the Facebook thread titled: The Four Elements in My Life.

Rest and Reflect.


READ: Presence at the Edge of Our Practice, by Helen Titchen Beeth

READ: Roots and Shoots of Mindfulness, by Joel and Michelle Levey

READ: Healing into Consciousness, by Mada Dalian

Each of these authors discusses particular practices we can incorporate into our lives. Reflect on your personal practices. Do they align with any in these articles?

Helen Titchen Beeth observes that “the drive to conquer and control others before they conquer and control us has become embedded in instinctive patterns of response (a.k.a., habits).” Using her Four-Fold Practice as an example—begin to take notice of these instinctive response patterns within yourself.

In Week 1, you wrote down some of your habits and the cultural wound that may be the source of that habit. Review your list and consider how they relate to what the author of this article calls patterns and triggers. Refine and rewrite your original list.

In what ways are your cultural wounds ‘triggers?’ How can you become more aware of the triggers that lead to habitual emotional reactions?


Set aside ten minutes in the morning to reflect on the habits or patterns you are seeking to transform. Set your intentions for the day. If you know you will be in situations or with people that typically trigger you, imagine in advance how you will meet those moments with kindness toward yourself and the other person.

Around midday, pause for five or ten minutes and perform a brief inventory. How have you embodied your intentions so far? Do not judge, just observe. Will you need to correct your course of action in any way for the rest of the day?

At bedtime, spend several minutes in quiet reflection. Review your day and what you learned. If your actions fell short of your intentions, acknowledge this, and vow to begin anew tomorrow. If you feel you made progress, reflect on how that feels and how you will build on that.

Over the course of a month, observe how these steps free you to make different choices in response to emotional triggers and how this begins to transform your relationship with yourself and with others.

Rest and Reflect.


EXPERIENCE: Vessels, by Colors in Motion

Set aside a full 90 minutes to experience Vessels. During this meditation, maintain focus on the shapes, colors, and sounds the artists have created. Notice how your mind ‘reacts’:

Does it try to make sense or assign meaning to the shapes, or try to ‘hold on’ to a particular idea? 

Does your mind wander into discursive thinking?

Each time your mind moves away from the focus of the meditation, note what is occurring and gently bring your mind back into focus? Accept what arises: boredom, awe, fidgeting, peace—there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ response. Simply note what is happening.

Final Essay

Write a final essay 800-1200 words on any insight gained through this short course, Unlearning Together. Kosmos will consider final essays for publication in Kosmos Journal. Send your completed work with a photo and brief bio to rfabian@kosmosjournal.org.