After this past weekend, I am feeling a little more like myself. The past several weeks, Iíve been looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself but totally unable to determine what had changed. Stress. Tension. Those things change a personís face in some indiscernible way.

Itís been hard to complain.

I have everything I would have dared to dream to have a year ago.

A job where people actually listen to me.

Growing recognition in the Buddhist community (I wouldnít have asked for that, but hey, if theyíre giving it, Iím not going to ignore it.)

I have someone in my life who really, truly loves me. I know this because his behavior is that of a person who loves another. This is very different from someone who says, ďI love youĒ and then acts like a jackass.

Not only that, but this person who really, truly loves me also wants to build a life with me.

I still have my health.

I get to go out and do the things I love with someone I love.

I am even encouraged to do the solitary things that I enjoy.

Given that, even I deny the negative thoughts and feelings in my own head because I have nothing to complain about.

Today, when I woke up this morning, after a weekend where I fully relaxed, I found myself again. Itís a wonderful, gratifying thing.

Iíve been reading a Buddhist book that had been recommended to me by a few monks, independently. Maybe my expectations were driven too high by all the recommendations, but Iíve been disappointed in the writing. I am even having trouble filtering out the authorís message through all the disorganized, vague, undefined mess that he calls a book.

Are they serious? Is this really the best there is?

Maybe Buddhist writers are like Christian musicians. Itís ok, if youíre dealing with an extremely limited talent pool.

My first thought was that I could do better. Even today, with as little Zen training as Iíve had, I am confident that I could write a better book on the very same topic. I think people have done better. They probably werenít recognized because they werenít as old or they were a woman at the wrong time or didnít study with so-and-so.

I complained to Adam about the writing. He said to me, ďWell, not everyone can be a good writer.Ē

I said, ďOf course not! But, if youíre going to write a bookÖĒ

He added, ďÖor call yourself a writer?Ē

He said that maybe someday he and I would write a better book together. Iím not much of a collaborative worker, but itís possible. Itís a warming thought.

It worries me less than most suggested collaborations.

I know that he writes very well, so I am not worried about how Iíll subtly change every word heís written when heís not looking (as Iíve done in previous Ďcollaborativeí publications). I also know that he has confidence in my abilities, so I donít have to worry about him subtly changing every word Iíve written when Iím not looking, either.

At least thatís what I say now. Who knows what it would look like a few thousand words into it.

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Thursday, Jul. 31, 2008 at 10:39 PM