Derik told me last night that sometimes, after finishing reading a great passage in a book, he puts the bookmark back a few pages to “trick himself,” as he says.  So that the next time he opens the book, he’ll read the great passage at least one more time.

Lately I have to remind myself to slow down.  These are not just pages in a book, they are pages in a book that I am choosing to read.  There are no assignments left.  Few expectations beyond those I set for myself.  I’m flying solo.

Before dinner, Erin and Cyd and I were discussing repeating patterns with regard to relationships, and each of them defined their own pattern with precision and concision.  They each seemed to understand quite clearly what they were up against in their own psyches.  They both knew what to expect from themselves and the men and women with whom they would somehow end up involved.

“What’s my pattern?” I asked, sure that they would uncover some great mystery.  Erin looked at me sweetly and said, “We talked about that already.” They couldn’t see one, she said.  If it existed, it was certainly unclear.

I see patterns everywhere.  I manage to buy almost exclusively teal clothing.  When walking to the coffee shop, I walk on the east side of the street, and then the north.  I shower every other day, and always dry my hair last.  I’m pretty into NutThin crackers right now, but for a while I couldn’t go without dried mangoes, and before that it was black licorice.  I had a lengthy obsession with ginger chews, and before that it was gummy bears.

The patterns I see with regard to my relationships are hazy, at best, and I’m not sure that I want to see them so clearly.  If a pattern is established, then I acknowledge this part of me as something somehow impervious to change.  And how can I move for further life changes if there are parts of me that won’t budge?  My sense of optimism resists any sort of great understanding of how I function.

That can’t be right.

Lee insists that with every new relationship, friendship, connection, we experience a paradigm shift, no matter how minute.  Meeting a new person is like coming to a door, and choosing to open it.  An entire world exists.

I remember walking the streets of Manhattan one night, looking up at all of the passing buildings on the Upper West Side.  Stacks and rows of apartments, thirty, forty stories high.  Thousands and thousands of people inside each building.  How many different theories and movements, how many different opportunities for paradigm shifts, how many different doorways?

I am reminded to take my time.  There’s no reason to get to the next chapter, this is the book you chose.  Read and reread each passage.  Superpower for tomorrow: pause life, experience and re-experience.  Understand before moving on.  Absorb, go slow.