I started a new novel today, Marge Piercy’s The Third Child. It’s off to a great start – and I was surprised to find this passage about the protagonist on page 6:

“Melissa felt as if she abandoned past selves like snakeskins of shame along her bumpy route toward adulthood. Girls in her class said that senior year was the best time of their lives, but she never believed that. No, she viewed herself as a project under construction, the road all torn up, piles of dirt heaped to the right and left, dump trucks coming and going, cranes digging away. She would remake herself, she would, into somebody strong and important.”

I’ve come to know that feeling, and how exhausting the enterprise becomes. Part of the reason I started this blog was to force myself to be honest about who I am, rather than to adapt myself constantly to the expectations of others. According to Yongey  Mingyur Rinpoche, the Tibetan word for meditation is gom, which means “getting familiar with.” How apt – in the past year I truly have come to know the well-worn paths of my thoughts: “oh, so this is the I do everything wrong story, yes I’ve heard this before,” and so forth. “The only difference between meditation and ordinary social interaction,” Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche says, “is that the friend you’re gradually coming to know is yourself.”

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