Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October

End of October:
Nemo was very ill. Sometimes I hugged her and held her for hours, and other times I stared at her and cried and cried because I didn't know if she'd even return to being her regular self, and I felt so alone in the pain, in the darkness. 
And finally, after some days, Nemo's eyes became lively again and her body jumps and runs again, and I am the happiest mama ever, enjoying and appreciating every little movement, as if life is actually built up of these tiny milliseconds of joy, in which there is no concept of fulfillment but only heartfelt compassion. 

October came and went like a hush, like a migraine, like a sob, like a leaf falling from a tree effortlessly; time passes like a river, and in it I wake and I sleep and I tire and I toil emptiness, and also an abundance of warmth. I tread water through the book I haven't written, through the thoughts I haven't poetized.

I walk around and my eyes are heavy and I know I must be doing something wrong inside this scrutinous beauty of a life. I wonder what will make me feel healthy and good, vibrant, alive, inspired. What is it that I want, I ask myself as I flurry from one pose to another (although the question is somewhat blurry) - standing in the kitchen, then sitting in the chair, again on facebook, again staring at a screen, again and again, I need to get things done, what am I doing. I think of all the things I wish were different and the thoughts make me squirm because they are too hard to hold. 

I wish we hadn't accidentally make the cooked apples too sweet for the kids on Sunday;

Thoughts like this (each week it is something different that I did wrong) are like a knife into my equilibrium, making me squirm and turn in my bed. How silly of a thing! And how painful is my reaction to it. I go on facebook on my phone to distract me because the thoughts are too hard to bear, until my eyes sting, and when I put my phone down and am called back to it but don't want to be addicted to it anymore, Tal says "just focus on your breath", and this is so hard, but sometimes I manage, I close my eyes and I breathe, until I start thinking peaceful thoughts, and I fall asleep peacefully, without my phone, and I dream pleasant dreams.

I wake up in the morning and I have so much I need to do I haven't gotten done, so when I wake, after the initial moments of grace before remembering what I am, I remember again and I get a stomach ache. And then I push myself up and out of bed, and finally toward the bus stop and I run and run and run because always something makes me late, and then I sometimes miss the bus by 30 seconds, as I am at the corner crossing toward it and it slips away from the bus stop, and then I need to order a cab, or I make it to the bus, sweating, and need to strip off my layers of jackets as I fumble to find my bus pass, and I go to one of my jobs, which I am relatively good at, and then I come home. 

And one moment, one day, through my blur of an existence, I make tea in my kitchen, and I suddenly feel enwrapped in gratefulness for hot water; tea! Oh, glorious tea! How wondrous is this moment; just a pocket of time in which there is only the glory of Tea. I make it and I feel so joyous.

I sit back down with my tea. And my eyes are heavy. Every night I remember all the things I need to do and haven't yet done but which I am just not able to do. I do things slowly and I am always stressed because I'm always about to be late (and something is always about to leave me), and I sit idly and humble and tumble in my little cocoon and pet Nemo, and other than that do nothing that brings me what I need, unless what I need is the sleek passing of time and the humble recognition of the things around me (is that all there is, perhaps, despite the passion in me?), and I let my time go through me by reading posts on facebook, and I gain just a momentary satisfaction in my idleness but a general chronic spiritual and emotional pain.

And I always want to write (which is my true saving grace, purpose, calling), but am always too tired when I finally sit down to do so. Writing fills me with meaning, with joy. It requires time, though, and a full stomach and a quenched thirst - but I am always hungry and always thirsty and always tired, and my back is always arched, so my writing is always tense and is always like air in the middle of a swallow, but it's here nonetheless, because I can't live without letting my fingers prance across the keyboard and give me little bursts of truth.

For a moment I feel free, as I am walking somewhere one of these days. I slide through time in the shape of an avenue of tall orange trees swaying on my right and on my left, and between them is an open blue and chilly sky. I feel free for just a moment in time. 

Is all I want really just time and inspiration to do art and to write? And if so, what's holding me back? I should be able to do it. I don't set time for myself to write, like normal writers do. I write in between tiredness and sleep. And I write in fragments, in little passages, little sighs, innuendos. My system does not know how to do longer things. After years of this struggle, I refuse to call it Laziness. It is deeper and more sore. I am lacking a skill that is needed to assemble a dream and then to sit in it.

At night I am so grateful and warm to be sleeping next to Tal. It brings me serenity and contentment. And under the blanket of warmth, in words that reassure and calm me, I say to him, "I don't know what to do with my life. I am not willing to call this my life. If I were to die now, I'd feel that I didn't fulfill my calling."

I do worry that I will die. Of course. And now even more than usual: I am flying next month and that always draws a certain level of anxiety. Not terrible, but a little bit. I hate leaving Nemo; that is the hardest part. We both have separation anxiety; that is my conclusion. But I also decide that it is a good lesson for me to be temporarily separated from this deep earthly connection. 

Nemo is now better. She is sleeping restfully next to me; her sweet face is at ease, she feels safe. Hallelujah. Glory! My sweet little girl! All I want is for her to feel safe.

My eyes are so heavy, I have a headache. I can barely write, even though I want to. 
The top of my spine is hurting because I am crouching over the screen. I don't have a proper desk or a proper chair, or a proper mind, or a proper plan.

I am what I am.

Goodnight.





_____

Nov 4


I find new insights as Tal and I delve into another deepening conversation about the differences between us. These discussions (any discussion that allows analysis of my Human Experience) give me life.

I was so confined. I was in a corner. Literally - the corner of the kitchen, and I didn't know where to move. Right? Left? "Help me. I literally don't know what to do." When frustration and fear collide, I become stuck, sometimes in a very physical way. 

So we started a discussion. And slowly my body found its way to a chair, with a pen in hand, scribbling little tidbits as we spoke, freeing me.

Analyzing the Self frees me.

I do realize that this vast amount of time my Self needs in order to process and to think and to feel fulfilled, is a true necessity. The ghost of an expected "regular" job always tagged along behind me, telling me I was lazy for only wanting part time jobs so I could sit at home and think and write. But I realize it is deeper than that, and I refuse to insult myself by thinking I am terminally and chronically lazy. I have a lot to process, a lot to channel into insight. I am never done processing. And that processing itself produces the inspiration! The overwhelmingness, when recognized, given space and made into an art form, turns into an inspiration and a motivation, which ultimately gives my life meaning! The grasping onto the lush and rich and painful and lovely past and present, and turning it into an insight, gives me profound liveliness. 

That needs my attention and time. When I work, I am doing things that are important to me and that I am good at (and in which I make money to have food and a home and to fly to Israel, and which contribute to the community too, which are all important things) but still they interfere with the fundamental core of what I truly need - time to think and to create ideas and inspiration (which is a means and an end, perhaps) at my own pace and time, with myself and/or with other people, freely. (A balance is made, and that is important.)

This struggle of creation is a hard struggle in itself, and one of my main obstacles is not having an art partner to bounce thoughts, ideas and inspiration off of. I have inspiring communities, but these are not daily immersed interactions; I sing myself down the street, I hum niggunim and I move my arms around catching onto little sparks of inspiration from the air, but ultimately I am alone in it, and that causes a restriction, a sense of inability, a debilitating frustration and sadness, which is an unnecessary burden on top of all the other inevitable hardships of life.

(I have briefly written in the past about the desire for a shared consciousness with others, to fight the loneliness of the human experience, but I shall write more about this idea in depth another time.)

We just watched a documentary about Nietzsche, which inspired me to take this little moment in time, and remember it.


(Imaged: a sketch of myself from 2011)




___


Nov 2

Film photos and the glory of a rich past סרטי צילום מפעם, התרגשות מהזיכרון
_____
I am experiencing an overload of excitement. I forgot. In the past few weeks I've been feeling zoned out of myself, feeling that I am far from any type of physical creation in the world. I totally forgot that during my time in art school, between 2012 and 2015, I took hundreds of photos with my grandfather's 1970 Pentax 35 mm film camera and also with a medium-format (larger) camera, of people and places in my life, and the things that were Home to me (mainly around the area of Emek HaMatzleva in Jerusalem), and I developed those photos (the black&white ones in the school's darkroom, the color ones in an external lab), and scanned them, and they tell so many stories to me, and are blemished (I never retouch scanned film photos, so all the scratches stay on them), and are beautiful in my eyes, and I really want to share them somehow, maybe form them into an exhibit. I came across them because I am looking for a photo I took of a really unique old man from Jerusalem whose life story has been placed in my hands and I am (and have been for the past 4 years) working on editing the material I have to make a book about his life - and I will tell about him in another excited post which will come soon. For now, just two photos of mine, part of my own life story.


פתאום נזכרתי במאות הצילומים שצילמתי במצלמה האנלוגית, בין 2012 ו2015. צילומים מהאנשים ומהמקומות שהיו בשבילי בית, בעיקר באזור עמק המצלבה. פתאום גיליתי אותם, תוך כדי חיפוש של משהו אחר.




____

Oct 31

My fingers prance along the screen trying to type words as fast as the colors in my mind stream by and entangle in deep reels of inspiration. 

There is a barrier, though, that I am never able to pass; some kind of mind block that needs to be broken, somehow. I am a being full of amorphic stories, an artist whose art is only in her head, and I am waiting for the day when I will discover how to channel it out into the world of Real Things. I sit in my therapist's office and I look out the window at the yellow tree, and I tell her I don't know how to do anything, and another time, the bus leaves the station right as I am turning the corner toward it, and I run and run, and I seem to always be running but also sitting idly, fantasizing and basking in my lack of action, while letting a deep distaste and dissatisfaction rile up into my life. And other times I sit down to write and become nauseous and hungry and thirsty right away, and my back arches over the computer and the top of my spine hurts and my eyes become droopy under the weight of all there is for me to write. 

I have lately been accepting the notion of the possibility of bad things happening, more than ever before, and have somehow glided into a solemn place of acceptance (of a lack of possessiveness over the physical things and beings I am attached to) and also of faith (relaying certain worries on the Creation). I really do believe that I might die prematurely, in a terrorist attack or in some other way, and in a sense, in the hazy flow in which I'm living, I am okay with that and I am not worrying about it anymore, and am even imagining what people will say about me after my death. (There is something reassuring about this and sometimes it seems more appealing to die and let the good you be put on a pedestal than having to keep on living this hard life and reaching higher standards all the time - and this is a truth I noticed while I was waiting for a bus on a new road and cars were whizzing by and trees were sifting through time and my body was standing still and just thinking). 

But I do want to live, too, because I have a lot to do. And in this little flow of things, I find it hard to stop and grab on to a Plan, which will ultimately allow an easing of the gush of words trying to flow out of me; a soothing canal through which the lava will be able to stream into the ocean instead of bursting out of the volcano in uneven blurts; a leveling of dunes to form understandable paint strokes.


So my fingers do dance along the keyboard, on late nights, and type all sorts of words, which are essentially little innuendoes trying to figure out how to become in the real world what I am in me.






Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tired



I wanted to write a lot. 

For the past two weeks.

I'm tired. 

Always.

No time to write.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Self's Ethics vs. Political Ethics / Being Small in a Large and Impersonalized World







































I am thinking about human cognition, about the self, about self-doubt and self-dignity.

I saw a neighbor's door wide open this morning while they were at work, and their dog was at the door, barking away. I went over, yelled inside "is anyone home?!", and when no one answered, I closed the door, because if for some strange reason the door had opened, at least I didn't want their dog running away. Losing a dog is heartbreaking. Then I felt ashamed for having made a change in property that did not belong to me, and carried a heavy feeling with me for a while, as I left the house and walked to the bus stop and got on a bus, did my chores, and then rode on a bus home.

Information from Yuval Noah Harari, philosophy classes, and inspection of my own self, collided while riding home on the bus today, as I pondered beauty, essence, and my misfortune in not really knowing how the world runs but only knowing of my own will to do good, and sitting next to intellectually disabled human beings who were also riding the bus.

I compare my strange mind to theirs, and well, while the mentally disabled are not held responsible for their actions, the mentally "able" (which I guess I am considered) are. But knowing of my own wobbly mind, I wonder at once who is to say that the mentally "able" can have such a high level of reliability as to be held accountable for misjudgment and misbehavior (or good judgment and good behavior).

There are two separate issues here which I will discuss and which I tend to mix together here, even though they are essentially two different things, and maybe someday I will be intellectual enough to analyze each one separately: (1) Determinism, which I have discussed in other posts, the idea that I do not actually objectively choose or create my actions from a free-will point; and (2) my own system of ethics not necessarily corresponding with the political-external system of ethics, and this being a source of fear.

Sometimes I am so scared in this world, because ultimately I am alone in my own self. Others can sympathize with me, but if I do something "wrong" (or if I do something "right"), I am the sole bearer of the responsibility (and I am the sole one on the acclaimed pedestal of that good deed) and I will be sent to jail alone (or praised alone). But when I do an act in the world - be it trying to help others, or doing something without noticing I'm doing it, or losing track of when I am in time or being absent-minded, or even just when I am my own self, swimming in my own thoughts, values, ethics, and neurological patterns - I ultimately do things my way, and not in the way of a legal system. My way, meaning the way my mind understands reality, the way I feel will help the most at the moment, etc. And knowing that this little wobbly system of judgment is responsible for all it commands the body to do, and will ultimately be alone if it commits a crime in the big external world, is scary. Mainly because  I don't even know what constitutes a crime, because the system by which my mind creates action does not correspond to the external political justice system -- and this may be the main issue here. (And often I may believe that doing something is right, while it is technically illegal, like freeing animals from an abusive facility, for instance, and all I want is to do good, but I may end up in jail if I do it.)

(The psychoanalysis part of this, scars from childhood: I deeply fear scoldings, I doubt myself, and there is a big disconnect and disharmony between the experiences of Miriam as a conscious individual, and the external and sometimes patriarchal world that ultimately controlled much of my life.)

I often look to others to see what their opinions are (or to get information about the world), as if their opinions are more valid and fact-based than mine. But in essence, I assume that every human is just as feeble, lost and floating as any other (unless I am misinterpreting the world, and in fact others' minds are more straightforward and stable than mine). And in a moment, all the enlightenment, by which the Human is the height of all ethics, the conjugator of right and wrong, seems to be humbled.

A human who commits a "crime" - be it killing someone, stealing money, or even just letting their dog pee on the edge of someone's grass, like I do - can be potentially punished. If I were to be punished for the latter, I would feel so lost in this world. And is there really a difference between one crime and another?

The same forces that have me not committing significant crimes (the same thought-patterns which bring me to do or not to do an action), are perhaps the same arbitrary forces that urge someone to commit ones. The determinism that I sense is the underlying factor of my life's occurrences, is the same determinism and misfortune a human might experience when they are homeless and break into someone's home to find food. Perhaps even the same determinism that compels a person to kill. Just as I don't actually choose to do a certain act that seems "good", even though I feel like I am completely free-willingly choosing to do so (which is something I wrote about in a different post) but do it because that is just how my system rolls (in such a way that I am deterred from causing harm and try to cause safety and joy), another person might end up committing a crime. I feel that me not committing significant crimes (and me doing certain acts that seem "good") is random (or, is due to biological circuiting in the brain, upbringing, etc., but still not having to do with the consciousness of Miriam. The concsouness of Miriam does what it knows to do: Protect others from harm. But why? Is this an objective decision I made when I was born?)

(I feel like all the actions I do are not objectively chosen. The reason I do not hurt others is because I have it deeply embedded in me to be empathetic. This is due to many things, such as my genetics, my upbringing, my society, my sufferings and my joys, books I read, etc., but these ethics are (a) not something I can claim credit for, because even choosing which books to read, for example, were something that my inner self just did, without a conscious reason; (b) not having to do with any legal ethical systems that are outside of me. This thought actually leads me to the idea that perhaps a system of no laws (= anarchy) does not cause chaos and crime? But this is a deep philosophical question which should be placed aside for now, because it cannot be discussed without me thinking more deeply about it, and should not draw the ordinary responses of "of course it will cause chaos and crime" because I don't believe the answer is clear-cut.)

My conclusions for this may be three things: (1) Possibly "punishment" for crimes should be switched to Restorative Justice. And I am saying this now from the point of view of not being able to hold a human accountable for their actions (even though I do believe in Restorative Justice for other reasons too) - whether this is due to the idea of determinism, or to the idea that personal ethics do not correspond with public ethics (so here the two ideas come together). If a homeless person breaks into a home, instead of putting them in jail, maybe there is a less harsh solution so that they will refrain from doing it again in the future, and also will have all their needs met; (2) Maybe the Human Being is NOT the ultimate medium for justice and ethics, and just as I don't want to be held accountable for losing track of the date today, I don't want someone who stumbles into crime to be sitting in jail for something they didn't actively say "this is what I am going to do" about. Yes, things that can be dangerous to others should definitely be stopped and prevented. There needs to be a system to protect the public from violence, etc., but that is still different from the system of Punishment that we have today. I write this with a pinch of disagreement, because I do want certain people to be held accountable, like sex-assailants, but I shall analyze this another time; and

(3) referring to what I wrote about "going to jail alone": I wonder how the world would look if everyone took part in punishment for an individual. If I am part of a community, for instance, I take part in the joys and the sorrows of the community, and if one community member commits a crime, I can take part in bearing the pain of it, I mean physically and spiritually - a kind of unification, a kind of shared consciousness. I want to remember this idea, because I find it harmonious.

And just another thought on this: Me suggesting that the human is not the epitome of justice, can be a dangerous suggestion, because it alludes to the time when "God-given" commands were the rationale for judgment and punishment, and not much significance was given to the individuals' needs. What I would say, though, is that I am perhaps thinking of a world in which individuals' needs are the ONLY measure (similar to a "libertarian" opinion, maybe?). I really do believe in the importance of individual liberty and freedom, and accommodating the needs of a person as an entity who is searching for shelter, warmth and companionship is of fundamental (and sole) importance. (I have written about this in other posts.) This is the belief that a person can know what is good and right for themselves, and while it may be true that a person can be confused and not really know the world inside themself and around themself, and is kind of floating through existence, they still needs to be able to express what they need to survive in the best way. I am saying this because one of my biggest fears as a little floating female human is that my own needs will be trampled (as they have been in the past). It all stems from that, and that is the essence of all that I am writing:

(1) My mind and brain are messy
(2) My desire is to be safe

And, of course:
(3) I don't want anyone to yell at me; the underlying plea from the entire world.


___


And then everything changes.

I leave my house in the evening and walk over to the neighbors' house. They are home from work. I ask if anyone was home this morning, and tell them that I found their door open when they were at work, and that I closed it.

They were so grateful and so thankful. They said maybe it was the wind. And that it was so great that I closed the door so that the dog wouldn't leave.

And then I think - hey, maybe I do have good judgment in the end.
But you know - if they would have been disappointed or angry, I would have doubted myself from now until next year.

So who knows what's right in this world?