The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.
- Pema Chodron

One rainy morning in 1993, I was trying to decide whether to continue to fight my debilitating depression or end my life, when I happened to see an orange book with gold lettering in my bookshelf, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Soygal Rinpoche.

I picked up the book and began reading.

I discovered there was a big difference between my ordinary mind, the one considering suicide, and my Buddha nature, the sky-like nature of our mind, which is open and limitless and the birthright of every human being.

When I saw those words, that my birthright was Buddha nature, something shifted in me and I found the courage to stay and fight. Now I needed to learn to meditate.

Thus began the adventure I would write about in Choosing To Be, in which I learned to sit with and observe my debilitating thoughts, to make peace with my self-hatred and gently turn it toward self-compassion.