What we were never told about why we suffer and how to live with tenderness

By Kent Hoffman



There’s a lot under the surface of life, everyone knows that. A lot of malice and dread and guilt, and so much loneliness, where you wouldn’t expect to find it, either.
— Marilynne Robinson

Many of us know precisely what it is to be haunted by dread and loneliness, to inhabit lives of periodic or continual desperation. Some days can be better than others. Hope happens. But each day can carry with it the hidden burden of negative certainty. We live in the presence of absence: something is almost always missing or about to go missing; wrong or about to go wrong.

Our negative certainty takes many forms:

  • Unyielding fear of failure or never being enough
  • Vigilance about others being too much
  • Worry about being left alone
  • The guarantee of never belonging
  • Guilt about the past
  • Dread of the future
  • The agony of a painful present

We exist on some primitive edge of life, terrified of falling forever.




My education gave me everything I needed
except how to make it through an ordinary day.
— Søren Kierkegaard
www.eightysevenminutes.com - All quotes are anonymous, written statements from seminar and classroom participants from the past thirty years.

www.eightysevenminutes.com - All quotes are anonymous, written statements from seminar and classroom participants from the past thirty years.


What you're looking at here is a note-in-a-bottle; the human condition squeezed inside a brief summary of personal struggle and hidden possibility. 

The experience requires eighty-seven minutes of your time. [Suggestion:  You may choose an immersive binge-read of the full site, but it's likely your reading will best be approached chapter by chapter, or in brief increments, over several days or weeks. Word on the street is that the content is "just a tad bit heavy" and many feel a need to often take breaks. For some it seems too dark and their choice is to quit reading. This makes  sense. Initially, the focus is both intense and painful. But the focus doesn't end there. For any who continue reading, please know that the closing chapters invite both trust and a sense of peace. Really.] 



This site was obviously created for those who struggle internally. The shift can be from: "I think I'm alone in this pain," to "Others feel this way," to "My suffering makes sense and I have new options I didn't quite recognize before." 

You'll be asked to consider conclusions about why we suffer that are based on my forty years of clinical experience as a psychotherapist, three decades of research regarding child development, and my own personal struggle. Also included in my understanding are insights gleaned during four decades of meditation practice. My commitment is to be as direct and honest as I can be about why I believe so many of us suffer.

As stated above, you may want to turn back now. You will be prompted to recall and explore pain, and the well-traveled patterns commonly used to stay away from that pain. 

So. Psychotherapy, infant and early childhood research, being messed up, and (non-dogmatic) spiritual practice. . . If something in this odd mix appeals to you, then the hard work of the next eighty-seven minutes may well be worth the risk.


You do not know what wars are going on down there, where the spirit meets the bone.
— Lucinda Williams

Some have said they want to pay for this experience. This is not necessary. If, however, payment seems important, please put aside $10 and give it to an unsuspecting street-dependent teen or adult in the coming month. Transaction complete.

To continue the web (interactive) version of eightysevenminutes please click continue. There is also a downloadable (non-interactive) version available below. 

PDF version of eightysevenminutes:


Recent TEDx talk by Kent Hoffman: Every Person has Infinite Worth

All writing, unless otherwise attributed,
© Kent Hoffman- 2015