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  • The therapist explains that the issue, the problem, is not just me, not just any of us, but much bigger than that.
    "It has to do with where we are," she says. "The location is what it's all about. The way the river flows, the way the mountains shelter us but also lead downward."
    She pauses, her hands grasping in front of her. "What is the word...the geography. It's the geography, mija, that makes us what we are."
    This place even sucks the words out of you.
    "But that can be a good thing, too," I argue. "It can be a place of rest, of calm, of peace compared to other places."
    "It is good," she agrees. "But you have got to get out every once in a while, go up into the mountains, get perspective, and get yourself to a higher place so that you don't get everything sucked out of you."
    "Not everyone can do that, though. They don't have the means to go away. What about them?"
    She wants to focus on me, on the now, on what's right in front of her. I take that to mean that we can't save the world, only ourselves. She's just trying to keep my toddler-on-a-sugar-high mind on track.
    "This place is right in between everything. The old and the new. One culture and the other. The Mexican and the American. The mountains and the river. The up and the down."
    "The then and the now," I think. I don't say it, though, because I'm afraid I could be wrong. I want this to be a place of endless possibility. But what the therapist is trying to get me to appreciate is that the possibility has to come from within me, not from some outside place or other person.
    "It can be a place of balance," she continues. "But you must pay attention. You must stay aware before you get the life sucked out of you. That's just where we are.
    "Other places offer too much, get you too stimulated. That's not good, either. What happens when you eat too much? You explode. So you have to be careful either way."
    Balance, I think. Every book I read, lecture I listen to, spirituality I explore—it's always about balance. If our true nature is balance I don't know why it's so easy to go to extremes.
    "What's one thing that you know is absolutely, one hundred percent true?"
    This question stumps me. The therapist is trying to get me to separate fact from emotion and understand how to stay focused—to not go to extremes. My overactive mind is caught off guard.
    "Umm...humans are not perfect."
    "That's too general. Try again."
    "That you need food to stay alive."
    "Okay, good. Now tell me something that's absolutely not true."
    I pause for an uncomfortably long time on this one. I have the kind of mind that thinks anything could be true or untrue, depending on who's thinking it. A lot of world history would back me up on that.
    "Be simple about it," she advises. "Let the kid in you answer."
    "I have pink hair. That's absolutely not true."
    "There you go. The difference between what's true and what's false, what's real and what's not. The reality IS, the feelings come and go. It's that easy."
    It's that easy.
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