Heal Thyself by Healing Others

Kent Dahlgren
5 min readDec 15, 2022


“But Kent there was something wrong with you”

A man asked Juliet if she was scared when she almost passed. She looked at him and said “no, I had my Nina,” indicating her identical twin sister.

Yeah, we had a miscarriage, and then the twins were born, but the youngest one almost died, and then their mom got postpartum depression real real bad.

And before you know it I was pulling a ton of hours within a career with diminishing opportunities for increasingly cruel managers while working the double shift at home with five kids under 18, two of whom were babies.

I worked that schedule FOR YEARS and one day I thought I was having a stroke. The hospital told me I was basically drowning in cortisol, so I did what you’re supposed to do:

I asked for help. Bad choice on my part.

I told my mom that I was afraid I was going to die, because two of my coworkers had LITERALLY DIED (one of aneurysm and the other heart attack), and she patted me on the shoulder, told me that I’m the strongest person she knows, and literally walked out of our home. 😬

She’s right, you know: I am the strongest person she knows, but there’s such a thing as too much.

The girls’ mom told me I was “weak,” and that I was “dragging her down,” and by degrees I found myself erased from the home my hard work has purchased, dismissed as broken.

A liability, if you will.

Anyway, that was five or six years ago, and today I live in Texas, 2,500 miles from “home.”

There’s an expression: if a flower fails to bloom, you move it to better soil.

I read an article in the New Yorker a few years ago that talked about how the honey crisp apple came to be.

Ordinarily a tree is given a single chance to deliver a good apple variety, and if not, the tree is destroyed, and the agricultural experiment is assessed as a failure, replaced with a new variety in the next research iteration.

This time the researchers realized that the tree had been planted in conditions that were not advantageous for its success, so the tree was given a second chance, and it’s from this single act of grace we now have the honey crisp apple.

Crisp, sweet, crunchy. $5 an apple, if you’re lucky.

Likewise, I pursued an opportunity to replant my family’s legacy in the soil from which my maternal grandmother was born (Texas) having only just experienced a terrifying brush with being erased from my children’s lives.

I had been ejected from my own home, locked out of my finances, and my family and friends closed ranks because they’d been led to believe I was dangerous.

In fact, all I needed was a safe place to lay my head so I could heal, and all I wanted was a sliver of the grace and support the girls mom received when she sought support.

With few exceptions: women are showered with love and support; men are assessed as weak and broken. The girls’ mom was coached by her friends and family to “find a better man.”

Fortunately for me, I was received with love and abundance by fellow houseless veterans, and their acts of generosity have profoundly changed my thinking on how our world is structured.

Soon afterwards I was taken indoors by a friend (Mike), and I look forward to someday sitting across from his son and telling him why his father is one of the most important people in the world.

People say homelessness is because of mental illness and drugs. Alan Graham (of Community First) says it’s actually due to a catastrophic loss of family. Recent research on the topic agrees.

Quoting Alan Graham of Community First! Village

If you lose your family, you create a new one. That’s what my grandma Ruth counseled.

Today I’m among a small circle of “strays” who have aligned around a shared set of values, and we have committed our collective experiences to refine a model we believe will inspire people to rediscover that which helped our grandparents’ thrive during the most dire challenges of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the war.

It’s for these reasons I have the highest confidence that we will not only be “ok,” but will thrive from a place of authentic abundance.

I can *see* it, and can’t wait till others can as well, because it’s life-changing.

Our outlook on this modern world is perverted, and the result is a cultural illness that would have loved ones discarded as a liability as soon as they are assessed as broken.

We take and take and take and we chew through the loyal people, rewarding their diligence and hard work with betrayal, believing ourselves to be the victims. It’s a true sickness.

Indeed, the callousness by which a person discards another who is loyal to them incurs a small break in the crystal which defines who they are, and this small crack eventually becomes debilitating until it’s healed.

The only way to heal such a spiritual wound is through forgiveness and redemption, which can only occur within a framework of honesty, truth, and accountability, which isn’t easily manifested unless one’s soaking in a warm bath of abundance.

I mean, one could shortcut this process by renegotiating one’s relationship with faith (which isn’t always the same thing as religion), but I believe most people have lost faith in our world and therefore in themselves.

I discern a cultural wound that’s breaking who we are, and with friends like Trudy and Ruth we’re cooking up a remedy, (as healers), using our own experiences as a “starter yeast.”

Ours is not the only solution. There’s likely going to be others, which I believe will spring from the soil just as soon as people come to realize that we don’t need to be so awful to one another.

By my reckoning: one learns by teaching, and one heals by healing others.

Paraphrasing Confucius: begins a trickle, becomes a flood.

Paraphrasing myself: warm banana bread exists as a vehicle for eating more delicious butter.



Kent Dahlgren

Product management fix-it guy. World-famous people skills. Extremely small hands. (edit) marketing lady says I’m also supposed to say “CEO of software company”