An excerpt from Chapter One—
Every life passage we go through shapes us, each one differently, each one forever. Often we tend to think there are only a few of these – childhood, adolescence, middle years, old age. In this book you’ll find that there are many more, and I’d contend that it is only by understanding them that we can come to know fully who we are. Sometimes, though, it feels as if we’re so busy living we just don’t have the chance to put our lives in any sort of perspective.
This book can give you that chance, and supply that perspective.
For if we don’t know where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing, how can we expect to learn from our experiences? And if we don’t know where we are now, then how can we open up the future for ourselves?
In these pages you will find the tools you need to come to a deeper understanding of yourself, so you can claim your selfhood and live your life more fully. You’ll learn that you can do much of this work yourself, and that you don’t have to rely on the specialists for meaningful self-exploration to occur.
For ours is an age dominated by experts, and sometimes the reverence we have for them leaves us unsure about how to begin the work of unravelling the mystery of ourselves.
It wasn’t always like this. I’ll explain by telling you a story. In the sixties, when I was a boy, every weekend I would watch the parents in our neighborhood go through a familiar series of rituals. The men would tinker with their cars – check the oil, adjust things, and the women would do household improvements, or sew, or they’d can and preserve foods. Today I’d venture that except in rural areas, these tasks are extinct. Modern cars don’t lend themselves to the tinkering my father’s generation thought of as normal. Computerized circuits and microchips are specialized service items. Even changing the oil, once a rite of adolescent car ownership, is now unpopular. So we go to the service station instead. Similarly, very few women preserve foods anymore. Who has the time? And as for as sewing one’s own clothes …
We’ve stopped doing things for ourselves, and we’ve started paying other people to do them for us…
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