47 episodes

How Humans Work Podcast engages real conversations with people both notable and overlooked as we seek to deepen our connection to the things that make us human:

How do we work? What's going on in us and between us? What makes us tick? What have we lived through? What have we been able to overcome and what we haven't?

The destination is to be truly on the human journey as we aim to use stories, personal and collective, to get a better handle on the labyrinths inside the human heart.

Join author, renaissance acupuncturist, and curious human Jef Szi as he draws on his body of diverse knowledge to uncover the humanity in the motivations, the sense in the choices and the truth in the moments which shaped the real lives of his guests.

*****
Season One is dedicated to Finding Fathers and the personal stories around them.
Season Two explores important Passages in the lives of our guests.
Season Three (current) is a varied journey into The Nature of Stress

How Humans Work with Jef Szi Jeffrey Szilagyi

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

How Humans Work Podcast engages real conversations with people both notable and overlooked as we seek to deepen our connection to the things that make us human:

How do we work? What's going on in us and between us? What makes us tick? What have we lived through? What have we been able to overcome and what we haven't?

The destination is to be truly on the human journey as we aim to use stories, personal and collective, to get a better handle on the labyrinths inside the human heart.

Join author, renaissance acupuncturist, and curious human Jef Szi as he draws on his body of diverse knowledge to uncover the humanity in the motivations, the sense in the choices and the truth in the moments which shaped the real lives of his guests.

*****
Season One is dedicated to Finding Fathers and the personal stories around them.
Season Two explores important Passages in the lives of our guests.
Season Three (current) is a varied journey into The Nature of Stress

    #39: Dr. Scott Schmidt - Navigating the Inevitable

    #39: Dr. Scott Schmidt - Navigating the Inevitable

    Episode Summary:
    Dr. Scott Schmidt joins the podcast to share his knowledge about caring for those with serious illness and those who are in the dying process. As a medical doctor with an expansive background in Emergency Medicine, Hospice Care, and now as a leader in the Primary Palliative Care field, Scott invites us to consider how we go about the realities that surround end-of-life.
    Along the way, we get a solid sense of what kind of attitudes, questions, and conversations are needed from both sides of the medical encounter. But don’t be fooled, this episode has teachings for the healthy as much as for those with serious health challenges. In considering the inevitable fate of all bodies, Dr. Schmidt shows us how we can be more prepared and receptive to our individual impermanence at any point in our lives. Indeed, we come to see how forethought can help us be present and feel less overwhelmed in more trying times.
    Further on in the podcast, we learn how Scott’s encounters with live-saving measures and his natural inclination toward helping those facing illness and death pushed him forward to being a leader in the Primary Palliative Care approach.
    Towards the end of the show, we get a very real glimpse into the difficulty of modern medicine, with its messy and often morally distressing dilemmas.
    With depth and humility in the face of the unknowable, this conversation is a remarkable one for both the significances that occur in the latter stages of life, and also with the genuine soulfulness Dr. Schmidt brings to these moving encounters. As he says, navigating serious illness and the inevitability of death is no simple thing.
    About Dr. Scott Schmidt: Scott Schmidt is an Emergency Medicine doctor and cultural change leader who is charged with developing Primary Palliative Care competencies.
    About Primary Palliative Care: is a subspecialty of medicine, that seeks to plan and address serious illness situations with an orientation to minimize suffering while tending to the whole person. Considered an upstream evolution from Palliative Care, Primary Palliative Care seeks to support Palliative Care competencies in all providers and teams.

    • 53 min
    #38: Jeffrey Weisberg — The Work of Repairing Harm

    #38: Jeffrey Weisberg — The Work of Repairing Harm

    Episode Summary
    In The Work of Repairing Harm, the warm-hearted Jeffrey Weisberg joins the podcast for a rich and moving conversation about his experience with Peacebuilding and Restorative Justice practices. As the Executive Director and co-founder of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Jeffrey shares his perspective and insight on the incredible value these practices have for relationships of all shapes and sizes.
    With equal amounts of energy, vision, and honesty, Jeffrey walks us through the key questions and approaches of what it takes to repair harm. Whether that is the challenges of refugees in Uganda trying to work through the pressures and hardships of living in a refugee camp, the impact fights on school campuses can have, or the longstanding mistrust between black and brown youth and police departments across America, Jeffrey provides a convincing portrait of how Restorative Justice and other Peacebuilding efforts are a profound resource for dealing with conflict. Specifically, he describes how four key questions and a good dose of thoughtful preparation and finesse, can create a space for repairing harm by discovering 1) What happened? 2) What was the impact? 3) How can we repair the harm? and 4) How can we ensure it doesn’t happen again?
    Later in the show, Jeffrey emphasizes the importance of multipartiality in his work. Multipartiality advocates for ensuring all voices are elevated in the Restorative Justice process and equity work in general. It is essential for trust-building across communities with different concerns and experiences, particularly in light of racial disparities still happening. With nuance and humility, we come to learn that, yes, the work of equity requires sincere effort and care from everyone involved.
    We also get a powerful glimpse into why truth-telling and deep listening are at the core of repairing human relationships as we discuss the Police Youth Dialogue Model. Police Youth Dialogues bring together Police officers and the black and brown youth in the communities they serve to listen to each other’s experiences. Jeffrey’s tales from these events prove to be a moving and inspiring example of how differences can be bridged through communication.
    Throughout Episode #38, we get real and vital pictures of how peacebuilding and restorative justice can transform relationships, support communities, and change the way we deal with transgressions and injuries. Ultimately they offer us a pathway to reconnection. It is an honor to hear tales from one so heartfully committed to doing The Work of Repairing Harm as our guest, Jeffrey Weisberg.
    About Jeffrey Weisberg: Jeffrey is the Executive Director and co-founder of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding. He has designed, developed, and implemented a wide range of programs and services in his local community of Gainesville, Florida, throughout the United States and in countries throughout the world. His work with youth includes police/youth dialogues, student/educator dialogues, peer mediation, juvenile diversion programs, social/emotional learning, restorative justice, youth empowerment, and coming-of-age programs. For the past 25 years, Jeffrey has served as a Florida Certified State Mediator and mediates cases involving juvenile offenders, family disputes, and conflicts within small businesses and organizations. In addition, he is using Restorative Practices to support the Department of Juvenile Justice, the court system, schools, prisons, and communities to bolster alternatives to the punitive model. He is a founding member of The Peace Alliance. He believes that by training and empowering both youth and adults to learn and practice vital communication skills, we not only create greater connections with others, but we can de-escalate conflict for safer and more productive outcomes.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    #37: Fu Schroeder - Leaping Into the Yellow River

    #37: Fu Schroeder - Leaping Into the Yellow River

    Episode #37 Summary
    Senior Zen Dharma teacher, Fu Schroeder, sits down with Jef Szi for a heart-felt and mind-opening exploration of Zen Buddhism. As a System of Knowledge, Zen is one of the great wisdom lineages—handed down across centuries and into the lap of Fu in the 1970’s.
    This delightful conversation offers our community a nourishing encounter with a Zen elder—a holder of wisdom who can provide gems for facing life’s mysteries and hardships. With much kindness and a great deal of playful insight, Fu shares key elements of the Zen way and her path with it. She offers us gems for how we can face our mind, our suffering, and the vastness of being. She shows us how the path of Zen—quietude, or “just sitting,” gives us access to calm and negotiate change and the jaw-dropping truth of impermanence.
    In this show, we come to learn how Zen offers mental clarity and abiding presence for the human soul. Born out of Buddha's path and transmitted for generations, Fu walks us through the accuracy and the medicine of the Four Noble Truths. We find we are not the first to struggle with the nature of the mind or the reality of death.
    Episode #37 invites us into the teachings of the Zen path. In Fu, we find a kind, frank, and mirthful sojourner, who is not only a fantastic conversationalist but a teacher who is equally poetic and practical.
    Listen in to this one because it is not often in today’s world someone can steadfastly point us toward the vastness of reality—be it the experience of the Moon, the sound of the rain, or the courage to Leap into the Yellow River.
    About Fu: Furyu Nancy Schroeder, a resident of San Francisco Zen Center since the 1970s, became Abiding Abbess at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in March 2014 and stepped down from that role in March 2023. Fu has held most of the monastic positions at SF Zen Center and has been an active supporter of programs for children, people of color, the gay and lesbian community, and the interfaith community. In 2008 she was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame, and in 2010 she was appointed to the Board of the Marin Community Foundation. In addition, she has previously co-led SF Zen Center's Contemplative Caregiver Course. She received Dharma Transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1999.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Bonus Episode #08: Tobin Mayell—Part Two—Everything Under the Sun and Moon

    Bonus Episode #08: Tobin Mayell—Part Two—Everything Under the Sun and Moon

    In Everything Under the Sun and Moon, show host Jef Szi continues his conversation with Tobin Mayell, as Tobin remembers the life of his late mother, Christine Waddell. Christine was a healer, teacher, mother, and grandmother who passed away suddenly in the Spring of 2023.
    In this fluid conversation between enduring friends, Tobin weaves the experiences with his mom and Christine’s own life—as such, we learn a great deal about Christine’s journey and the arc of Tobin’s relationship with his mother.
    Along the way we find that Christine was not only a life-long seeker, but also a highly respected wisdom-keeper, healer, and guide to her clients.
    By hearing stories about her early hopes for enlightenment, her discovery in her 30’s that her biological father was someone else, and her joyful penchant for gardening, we get powerful glimpses into core elements of Christine’s completed life.
    And like his relationship with his father, Tobin also found his need to individuate from his mom. In this case, it meant finding ways of taking space from a highly invested mothering style, prone to “polishing” Tobin’s sense of self through astrology and emmeshed encouragements.
    And yet, as with his father, we find the transmissions in life and death still take place. Not only did Christine’s search for belonging in her life help her and profoundly benefit her clients, we come to see how it bestowed on Tobin an emotional permission that carries on inside him today. Christine’s passion for astrology lives on in Tobin as well—ironically shedding light on how Tobin can now understand her deepest pains.
    Through this show—and the one before—we get an intimate portrait of how death, the journey of memorialization, and continuing the thread of life after our relatives pass are all riddled with unexpected teachings—as if the web of life has strands reaching through death’s mysterious gateway onto the other side.
    As always, you are invited to listen-in, because in these two episodes that dive into Tobin’s very personal journey of losing both his parents within months of one another, we get a real dose of how life and death collaborate in ways that are impossible to know beforehand.

    • 48 min
    Bonus Episode #07: Tobin Mayell—Part One—Looking Into the Beyond

    Bonus Episode #07: Tobin Mayell—Part One—Looking Into the Beyond

    In Bonus Episode #07, Tobin Mayell joins the show for the first of a two-part conversation honoring the lives of his late parents—Norm Mayell and Christine Waddell.
    Here, Tobin recounts for us the core elements in his relationship with Norm—open-heartedly offering glimpses into the arc of the their father-son story.
    From early, unrequited longings to adult acceptances and eventually to the transmissions found in Norm’s passing away from cancer in August of 2022, we come see that the father-son relationship has many moments over the course of time and just how much can live inside one parent-child relationship.
    We learn that Norm was a drummer in such bands as Sopwith Camel, Blue Cheer, and Norman Greenbaum, frequently taking him on the road while Tobin lived with his mother. We also learn that Norm later became a devout golfer, finding a spiritual magic in the game. Across his life we come to see that among other things, Norm lived with a kind-of private wisdom and natural magnetism that drew people towards him.
    Through this conversation with the How Humans Work show host, Jef Szi, Tobin helps us realize how death and life work hand-in-hand to give us unexpected teachings. Much was born for Tobin in his father’s dying process.
    Tobin’s own musical calling found new energy as the journey to memorialize his father placed Tobin—literally and figuratively—behind Norm’s drumkit. As Tobin finds himself playing Norm’s drums, singing his songs, and playing with Norm’s former bandmates is a symmetry that is as satisfying as it is moving. Equally profound is hearing the unguarded connection that accompanies the moment—how childhood hungers were able to come full circle in ways that only Tobin can express.
    Looking Into the Beyond offers a profound validation the web of life. It shows us something of the essence of Norm’s life as a man, a father, and musician, but it also shows us how the act of death is generative to those that live—releasing unfinished hurts and inspiring the energy of life to continue.
    As always, you are invited to listen-in, because in these two episodes that dive into Tobin’s very personal journey of losing both his parents within months of one another, we get a real dose of how life and death collaborate in ways that are impossible to know beforehand.

    • 47 min
    #36: Dalanah Smith - The Wisdom of Astrology

    #36: Dalanah Smith - The Wisdom of Astrology

    We kick off Season Four with the fun and forthright Dalanah Smith. Dalanah is an astrologer, stoic, palmist, biologist, and host of the Moon Matters Podcast. In this episode, she shares her take on one of the most ancient systems of knowledge around - Traditional Astrology, a.k.a. Hellenistic Astrology. Also joining the podcast is episode co-host, Tobin Mayell. Tobin is a dear friend and a student of astrology.
    In this conversation, Dalanah illuminates how the astrological system can help us understand the fabric of our fate. By looking at the planetary placements at the time of our birth, we have an interesting skeleton key to who we are and how our life progresses.
    In this wide-ranging show, Dalanah shares what called her to a path rich with astrology and myth, and how the astrological worldview, along with stoicism, has offered her a kind of cosmological guidance that is helpful to her and her clients.
    Along the way, Dalanah offers up a healthy buffet of astrological basics, including the seven planets, the 12 houses, the moon in different elements, and the lunar nodes with a very cool myth about Rahu and Ketu.
    Dalanah also reads a handful of placements in Jef’s Natal Chart, demonstrating the power of astrology to see into people’s innermost natures.
    In the face of life’s twists and turns, Dalanah teaches us how the knowledge of our astrological configurations can help us recognize and navigate various tensions in our lives, making astrology an ally for development and self-cultivation.
    If you are curious about Systems of Knowledge and how they can help make sense of our human nature, then an encounter with the astrological imagination is a legitimate place to begin. For in metaphor and thought, the body of ideas in the ancient ways of astrology have something very direct and intimate to say to all of us.
    About Dalanah Smith: Dalanah wears many hats, but the ones closest to her heart are Astrologer and practicing Stoic. Her formal education is in science, as she has a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology. During her time in school, she was focused on learning hard science. After a decade of being a scientist, she now uses those skills of critical analysis to assist her in navigating a more spiritual landscape. She often credits her days in the laboratory for allowing her to view the world with a non-biased lens and for her knack for pattern recognition.
    As a 3rd House Sun and ste llium, she has the Soul of an ethereal trickster. Using her innate gift of storytelling, she weaves the tale of personal mythology by analyzing her client’s unique celestial code.

    • 1 hr 24 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

eddieZfrancis ,

Essential Conversations

The trademark of this show is the the host Jeff Szi’s skillful and deeply empathetic listening. He honors every guest with his open-hearted curiosity while also keeping each episode focused on the theme/thread for each season (e.g., fathering, stress, etc.). As a result the interviews with an impressive list of luminaries and thinkers are wide-ranging, exploratory, revelatory for the host, the guest, and the listener. Each time I listen, I feel as if I’m caught up in a conversation with a wise friend. Each episode of this show provides evidence that we can be at our best as people when we are communicating honestly in the pursuit of truth and understanding.

The Soulmate Experience ,

Essential conversations

Just finished listening to two of these interviews. Jeffrey’s style is warm, inquisitive, and inviting and his guests are helping me think about the experience of being human in these times—and perhaps more importantly, offering insights for how to navigate and attune to the changes and challenges that seem to just keep on coming.

BVidinsky ,

Essential Lessons and Stories of the Fatherhood Experience

Many thanks to Jeffrey and his guests for going deep into the experience and meaning of fatherhood! Listening to these conversations has caused me to reflect on my own skills and contributions as a father, recognizing my areas of strength and also various pitfalls and fears. I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for my Dad and I’m honored to be a father of two teenagers. The love and connection I feel as a father and a son is one of the most important and grounding elements in my life. It’s wonderful to hear stories, dialogue, great questions and heartfelt answers surrounding such a meaningful part of our human experience.

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