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The day unfolds like tissue paper around a wedding gift, somehow perfect despite the crinkles.

I call Kim, my meditation instructor, and explain the crisis of my weekend. She laughs gently at my torment then helps me understand it all. “In other words,” she says, “congratulations, you got it,” by which she means that I was willing to open my heart enough to see my own habitual patterns (Keller presenting one of the most difficult ones) as painful as it was. Seeing how large we make our own problems and being able to laugh once we see how small they really are, is one small step towards developing humility and trying to live our lives from a position of egolessness.

Friends call and ask what I am doing-for-the-fourth and I stutter, having willfully forgotten the common understanding of independence and patriotism, hanging them like old coats in the back closet with other things such as television, cellular phones, running hot water, and the desire to own a nice mattress. I commit to nothing and instead read Joan Didion’s “Goodbye To All That,” an essay on loving and leaving New York City. I am so moved I find I have to stand in the middle of my cabin and read it out loud, tracking the commas and cadence of her sentences like a hound that’s caught a scent, then finally slamming the book down THUD, shouting “How did she do that?!” and wanting, for the first time, to meet her in the flesh.

What can I say when one day the world felt so heavy that gravity pulled a well of tears across my cheeks and the next I feel convinced that this is progress? It could snow in July and I wouldn’t be surprised; instead I’d write a poem.

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