Friday, February 15, 2019

Yeah

Easier to write to someone. Who's the someone? I won't tell you. Maybe I don't even know. In any case, this is for you. Because writing to someone is an incentive to write.

How am I to combine the things I write? I write here, and there, in all these notebooks, little tidbits trudged in snow-laden paths; ideas charm my mind as I awake in the morning and I try to jot them down in my bedside Morning Pages notebook - which has actually broadened its use and now holds writings from other times as well. Oftentimes I am inspired by Etti Hillesum. That is, when I read from her diaries from 1941. In a way, she wrote the way and the words I would want to write, if I was a little more sophisticated and intellectual. She was maybe just a more intelligent version of me, maybe a type four (Enneagram), too. Indeed introspective and nonjudgmental in her self-inquiry (or liberal in her lack of constraint to dogmatic rules, but loyal only to her own truths), which, like I said, is like me, just she did it in a wiser and more systematic and clear way. And actually - she didn't know her diaries would be turned into a book so maybe she didn't even try to make them sound perfect. (She didn't know she'd be sent on one of those trains too, and toss her last diary entry from the train, in which she wrote "we left the camp singing", and later be killed by the Nazis, at the age of 29.) And there is a secret and a virtue to writing in her style, whether or not you'll die, writing really what it is that is held inside, without trying to make it pretty. One of my problems with my self-expression is that I am aware of the human tendency for aesthetics, even in our words and opinions. And therefore I do not fully trust that my opinions are the truth. They surely are not.

When I was searching last week for a candle to light in memory if Ori through the boxes in the corner behind the coats, I found an oil painting I made back in Israel. It is framed in a black frame, too large on the sides, so the edges of the paper are visible. I don't remember if I framed it back in Israel or brought it frameless and found that odd frame here. In any case, I pulled it out of that box, and decided to place it diagonally on my bedside table, and now I get to look at it when I am going to bed or waking up. It is a painting of a leafy stalk I had found and  placed inside my red mug, back in the large living room on HaTibonim street. 

Later I felt kind of overwhelmed, after all the emotions, sadness, stagnancy, also movement and inspiration (sometimes physical movement, like when Tal put Arik Berman music on and I roamed and danced around the room, with my notebook open on the kitchen counter, and occasionally landed back in front of it and took the pen to my hands and wrote a few words out of the inspiration from his music, then kept on moving).

The next morning I do things "properly". I eat a properly healthy breakfast, and do things in a slow-motion kind of Zen way, which makes me feel fake, like I am in a movie, doing it for the camera. In reality, I am clumsy, and that feels more authentic, because I don't need to put any thought into it.

Arik Berman wrote that music during a roadtrip in the US. He videographed himself and wrote music, and then made music videos out of the footage, and it made me envy that simple ability to take what you do and turn it into art (sometimes he uses the simplest ideas and words, no fancy trills of ideas), and it makes me want to revisit the things I wrote and videographed on our own long roadtrip (vanliving). I feel that the little home we are living in right now is also part of our life on the road, it's like a little vessel on wheels, because we came to it on wheels and will leave it for wheels, and in it we are still rolling, still in the midst of out travels, physically, emotionally, spiritually, whatever.

Friend, I miss you.

Yeah. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Israeli Palestinian Conflict

I go back and forth. I am too tired to elaborate now, but want to write that through my vision, there is no way to solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict but by diving right into the conflict itself and into Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. I see no other way, no other way. Personal dialogue is the only way a human can actively invest in making life better for all humans. Two state solution, one state solution, jumping into the ocean and forgetting about it -- whichever way the government chooses to go, there will be only benefit from inter-sectional dialogue. I do intend on writing in depth about Ori Ansbacher, a wonderfully creative and good- and sincere-hearted young woman who was brutally attacked and murdered by a Palestinian man outside of Ein Yael in Jerusalem last week. I do want to write about a long email I labored on and sent out so some friends about my sorrow, my strong bid for peace, my ambivalence, my understanding of Palestinian suffering together with my knowledge of Palestinian violence toward Israelis, and also - above all - my knowledge that I myself do not carry the objective truth (which is actually why I sent it to only four friends as of now). And this is important to me now, too, and feels strong in me now, after we watched videos telling the stories of Palestinians in the Palestinian territories. Some Israeli people have a strong opinion that certain politicians or political parties are completely ignorant, and I hold a different opinion and feel that each and every party and person is telling a truth, from their point of view, and I am humble toward all those points of view (although I may want to find a better word because I don't believe I am actually humble), and in a sense I agree with each one, depending on which point I feel right to emphasize at the time, for each party merely emphasizes a different side of the same truth. And therefore I feel this urge in me again to engage in dialogue. Sometimes I want to separate myself from this terrible Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because it is too hard, complex, nuanced, unsolvable. But then again I go back to the place of wanting to dive into human bridging, and the virtue, strength and importance of that, or even just the subtle fact that that is really all there is for me to do.


Friday, February 01, 2019

Bus




I tell Alyssa, the mother of the girls I am nannying, that I'm reading a book called The True Secret of Writing (which my friend Jay gave me on my birthday), and that it's giving me inspiration and some structure for ideas (although it does lack some spiritual depth and style, in my opinion). I say this because under my hand is a sheet of paper and a pen, and I was writing as she walked in. I tell her that once I let something I write out into the world, I feel both ashamed and empty of meaning afterward (she understands), and that this will be a serious issue I'll have to figure out, if I am to write a whole book. I say this as we are in the kitchen, after I put Cara to bed for her nap, and Lucy is watching The Cat in the Hat on TV. Alyssa is home briefly in the middle of my time there, before going out again for errands.


When she comes home again later, it is after the girls and I have played outside and read stories, and I leave those two beloved little silly gooses who wave goodbye and give me hugs, and I walk to the bus stop.


I stand at the bus stop alongside the traffic-ridden street, visually following the road as it winds back down Lakeway Drive, and I fixate my eyes on the spot where the cars start coming into view, where the pairs of headlight eyes twinkle into sight, one after the other. It reminds me of something, but I can't recall exactly what. Something that has to do with my grandparents, or with airports; a certain anticipation, in any case. My eyes stare at it, watching the lights pop forward, one, two, three, four... a humdrum rhythm. It's so cold out. I zip my jacket all the way up, but even with my scarf and hat my neck and face are snappingly cold. The cars zipping past cast a strong wind. I notice this only when there is a pause in the vehicle flow and the wind stands still and isn't nearly as freezing.


Finally the bus comes. I had told myself a few minutes earlier, at the estimated arrival time of the bus, that I envisioned it would arrive within two to five minutes (I know it is always a little later than scheduled, especially at this hour), and that that is the amount of time I would be willing to hold on to this meditative state. Beyond that, some threshold would be reached from which on it would be harder to be at complete ease with the logic of the bus's lateness.


Oh, the warmth in the bus. I love sitting in the warm buses at night when it's frosty cold outside. Buses at night remind me of those times I tried to envision in my writing in Alyssa's kitchen, when I tried to take the book's idea and write my story of love. It reminds me of riding late night buses to go visit cherished loved ones, back in the days. That is what I wrote about. Those are part of my love story, definitely. There were a lot of bus rides, all encamped in a sense of warmth and safety... Those small things, stretches of time and place, are part of the story, part of the essence, not just a necessity or a constraint.


We trot along, and I get off right past the lake, in which the shimmering lights from across the way are reflected. As I walk toward home I have this immense gratefulness in my gut, a welcome and strong sense of abundance, and a strong desire to write.


I get so excited from imagining all the food we have! The pineapple, apples, oranges, grapefruits, the dried pasta, rice, lentils, beans, chickpeas, the onions, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, garlic, mushrooms! So many wonderful products of the earth, raw materials from which to make a delicious meal, what a richness! It fills my heart.









Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Writing


The shades are half-open and the bright sunlight is illuminating the room this day. I hold myself near me when I talk of nauseating hardships, and then release my arms when verbalizing lighter and more aerated ideas, like my writing.

"I wonder," I say, "what the evolutionary purpose of [Enneagram] Type Four is. I mean, why would a person need to have others know of their uniqueness and individuality?"

"Well, maybe it's what moves them forward... What would the world be like without art?" she offers.

I say, "I did want to talk to you about my writing today. Because I have this sense that whenever I let my words out in public, they lose their meaning. It's like when they are in me they are this bubble of fascination, but once I let them go, they are depleted of all significance."

"The actual idea you wrote about?"

"Well, that, and everything in me and outside me as well. As if everything in the world loses some of its meaning."

"Why do you think that is?"

"Well, perhaps - possibly - I expect those who will receive my words to find them interesting, and to hold them in a certain way that will keep the delicate meaningfulness of them. But somehow I come to realize that all the receivers in the world are just little humans like me, and so a certain expectation is disappointed."

I go on. "I find this hard, especially since I want to write a book. Yesterday I had this sudden frightening thought that maybe writing a book isn't what I am supposed to do. But I have this big eager part in me that wants to be told, that has to be told to the world, but I don't know what, I don't know how, even though writing has been my passion forever. I don't even know how to start writing a book. I tried to sit down yesterday and start writing. I managed to write a few sentences and that's it. What do I even really want to say?"

"Well then," she says. "There is the answer to your question: That is the reason you have a need to share what's in you. If you didn't have that need, you'd maybe just forget about it. But you shouldn't. And you won't. It will come out eventually."

(View from the bus stop near our home, of Lake Whatcom)


Monday, January 28, 2019

Comfort


I remembered a text I wrote and posted on this blog in December of 2017. I wrote (in Hebrew) that with the time difference between here and Israel, in the evening, I can roam in my imagination to all the ones I've ever loved in Israel and kiss them on the forehead, and wish them well, because only softened by sleep, can such a gesture happen.

And the other night I felt a strong desire to add:

If you have ever loved me in your life, and I you,
Please allow yourself my offer:
That when you cannot sleep, or in times of emotional turmoil, you may imagine me
Stroking you, listening to your pain with no judgment, helping you fall asleep. Rest in my spiritual arms from across the globe of space and time. I truly love you and want you to be happy, and this sentiment is strong in me. So I offer this to you, that you may confide in me and find comfort in me, if it will let your head rest, that my heart is still (always) open, and take this offer to heart, for I am truthful about it, and it is the least I can do to share of the love I feel for All.

(Stream of water on the road to Mt. Baker)


My Birthday / Community

I have this problem... Words bubble up in my head, but when I sit down to write them I get physically nauseous.

In any case, I came home at night last week after my Sacred Song Circle, and I was utterly overwhelmed. I could have just called it a night with that simple realization, and gone to sleep, but no - of course not - I must stay up and write about it, decipher it, analyze it, get to the bottom of it - what is it? - why am I so overwhelmed by it?

And then slowly, over the next hours and days (exhausted from a lack of sleep and still having to go to work every day for a few hours, etc.), I search myself for insight, and it descends on me. I listen closely to what my mind thinks the core problem is, which happens while I shower or wash dishes or sit in silence, or tap tap tap at the computer, and I understand it better by writing little segments of realizations, at different times, to different friends, and I feel that each time I am escalating on the scale of preciseness.

So, there is a psychological complex, a sort of social superiority complex, by which I know something I am doing is liked by others (or I am aware of a change I am making in the world outside of my self), and that alters my perception of what I am doing. I want to stay sincere to the personal pleasure and meaning and inspiration it gives (like singing) while I am also aware that others receive inspiration from it, and so I worry that I am by no consent of my own possibly modifying it for their pleasure, or that I am overdoing it and not being sincere anymore.

This happens to me not only when I lead a song circle (although then it is especially amplified) but also when I sing in the street, or put up a sign in public, or make a public statement, or convince someone in the world of something of my beliefs. (Usually, I want to back down when I notice that my voice is in public - even though I want it to be heard. I want to say: Wait, wait, don't trust me - because I don't trust me - go do the research yourself and then find your own conclusion. With singing it is slightly different, though, because it does not involve claiming to know something about the physical reality and structure of the world - which I really have no idea about, but just allowing an emotional channel to open, and I perhaps have firmer trust and belief in this aspect of life.)

And also, this complex, whose umbrella term I usually call social overwhelmingness, entails in it a strangeness with appreciation: appreciating thank yous toward me but also feeling wary or later overwhelmed, because I am scared to know (to be aware of) what the limits of love are (afraid, ultimately, of my capability of actually being a bad person, which is a general complex I have maybe due to violence I have endured), or when it becomes "too much" to allow myself to accept (I don't want to turn the positive feedback into something I depend on, I don't want to want it too much, to let the desire for gratification run loose...), or what I have to do to not let them regret it or to not let them down, or when acceptance of gratitude turns into self-love - and what are the acceptable limits of self-love, anyway? (Can I think I am awesome in certain things, without seeming arrogant?) Or should there be a continuation, a reciprocation? Essentially the question is: where in my mind do I store thank yous? Do I accept them, put them on a shelf in my brain and and move on?

I admit it. I want people to know that I am unique and special, and I want to be recognized as such.

I also want to sincerely and selflessly share my few gifts with the world.

How do these two desires fit together? That is maybe the essence of my contemplation.

When others thank me sincerely, I don't reject it or become cynical (as some people I know do, and then out of discomfort they either reject it or shoot back an immediate response without actually accepting it). I think it is important to accept it fully, it nourishes and enriches the heart.

I appreciate each of the people around me so much. If not for their presence, their personality, their spirit, I would not have this vessel, this community, in which to love and be loved. If not for them, there would be no spiritual escalation for me, either.

(Song Circle for my birthday - faces of friends blurred for their privacy)


Monday, January 21, 2019

One Mission Statement


I sometimes feel overwhelmed because I feel I have a unique mission to do in the world, but don't know how to realize it. Sometimes it's a matter of trying to scheme out a plan, but this causes stress, amid the great weight of the mission vs. the great smallness of me.

One of these missions (I don't like the word mission because it sounds to me like Christian Missionaries, and in fact my type of mission is fundamentally nonreligious, but I can't think of a better word) is advocating a channel for open communication between parents and kids (especially in religious homes - of any religion), relating specifically to the body and to the child's needs, while also not shaming the child for any bodily function. This is super important to me.

I take myself as an extreme case - I have experienced sexual trauma caused by an adult and sexual trauma caused by a sexual dysfunction in my childhood - and I say to myself "if a child is like that, is there an open channel through which she can talk to her parents about it?" (I did not. I want others to have one.)

I sincerely believe that I have been lucky to be able to live through my sufferings and still become a vibrant, cognizant, functioning and creative person (despite and with PTSD, etc.) but that there are surely children who would not have made it this way. Maybe due to my personality or to other influences in my life, I always had hope and a rich internal creative world, which both helped me grow. But I am sure that some children's cases would end in depression or suicide. I am not saying this to gloat. I am saying this because it is SO important to me to not let children be stuck in the same kind of emotional prison that I was stuck in.

In certain families I see (from near or from afar, or not physically at all), I don't visibly see such a channel. It could be that families do have these discussions in private, but I do not know, and it makes me scared, and makes me want to make sure all parents in the world know how important it is. In certain families there is also more secrecy around private body parts, and it seems to me that a child is left to either ignore, or worse - dislike, her private body parts.

It is so important for me to raise awareness on this issue..

How should I do it?
I do not know.
It worries me, it overwhelms me.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Insight





I am excited! I have been the receiver of insight, wisdom and modular beauty that I'm constantly seeking, about myself and about the awesomeness of being. That is what makes me excited and motivated in life!

I have a lot to share, many unearthed schemes waiting to formulate into something precious, and that makes me slightly overwhelmed. It bubbles in my heart. It makes the tips of my fingers tingle with anticipation.



More about Type Four


I also took a *free* online Enneagram test to see how reliable the free ones are (because I want to recommend to my siblings to take it), and I got the same answer. Each place defines the Four a bit differently, and I identify with what it says here, too.

I am wondering what evolutionary purpose this type of personality has. Why does it exist? It seems so specific, and yet it is one of the nine types of all humans, according to the Enneagram philosophy. I am wondering also if there are certain types that more people have than other types. Let's check that out... Oh, it seems that 4 is rarer than some of the others. But still. What makes sense about this type? And how does this correspond to other personality tests, like the one with the four letter combinations?

The video of the woman I mentioned in the previous post is here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Creative Self, the Creative Energy



The creative self, the creative energy... Oh, I get nauseous sometimes when I sit down to write, even though I am being summoned to it!!! 

Type 4... Enneagram Personality Type 4. Are you familiar with what I am talking about? It is a philosophy/science about inborn personality types. There are nine types. I was recommended to do this personality test by my therapist, and I did it. I am primarily a type 4 (after which come a combination of other types, too). Type Four, according to the Enneagram Institute website, is called the Individualist. It is someone who's main concern is Being Unique. They are often creative and/or artistic, are deep examiners of their own internal state and emotions, are very emotional (but very aware of their emotions), feel unique and different, and want the world to know that.

I found a Youtube video of a woman in Europe who is herself a Type Four, and describes what that means to her, after a lot of research. Much of what she says is true for me too. These things have been known to me, but the way she articulates them is much more concise and organized than I ever did, which makes me excited, because I am always on a search for more poignant and profound connections and webs with which to mesh self-truths together.

What it interesting and new to me is the thought that these personality traits are possibly inborn. I was actually born this way: unique, wanting to prove my uniqueness, deeply emotional (having a full vibrant array of emotions, and not being afraid to look straight in their eyes) and having a creative tendency.

The Enneagram has a chart, like a circle, with all nine types on it, and essentially the placement of each type relates to those on either side of it. Type Four (the Individualist) is in between Type Three (the Achiever) and Type Five (the Investigator). So we should understand a bit about those to get a better look at Type Four, she explains.

The Achiever's main goal is achieving, getting things done, doing great things in a disciplined manner, proving their achievements to the world. The Investigator's main goal is to investigate the world and learn more about it, be innovative and insightful, and they want to be capable and useful in the world. In between these is Type 4: Like the Investigator, wants to learn and know what IS and be truthful to what IS, and like the Achiever, wants to prove themself to the world. And thus we have Type Four: learning and searching, and wanting to show the world what they find through themself and their own self-inspection, self-expression and creation.

Cindy Sherman is also a Type Four - and I figured that we have that type of thing in common, when I learned about her in art school. She made herself be the art. 

The desire to be seen as special by others, the woman in the video says, may cause you to become (or to feel) fake. I like to believe that even though I do want attention from others, I do also use my sincere abilities to do so. I do not claim to know to do something I do not. I use the skills I have, what is rightfully there, to prove or to show or to express the discoveries I make about myself and about the world. (I want people to think I am nice, but I am also truthfully nice.)

It is true, and I think I wrote a post about this somewhere else but may not have posted it, that I am always aware of how I might be perceived by others (I am always looking at myself as if I am the subject of my camera lens). And thus, I am always concerned that what I am doing is only done to be seen by others, and I often am frustrated that I cannot be free of this thought. Meaning, I do what I truly want, and I often want to rid myself of any type of concern about what others think, so that I will stop worrying whether this specific movement is done just to be judged.) Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not explaining it really well (I will write more about this another time), but I only have 15 minutes left today to write this post, because I have to go to work, which is something I don't like doing even though I like my work, because I want to stay and write freely, I want anarchal time management, so that I can be fully fully free to create at my own pace. It's what I NEED! But here we have it, 15 minutes, so I will leave this mess here, and publish it anyway, because I want to. 

I am happy I discovered the Type Four thing. It is giving me more insight about myself.

And thus: a blog post. Because, well, of course. That is what it's always been: I make a discovery, and I have to share it.

Waldorf Education


I love the Waldorf (a.k.a אנתרופוסופי) Education philosophy and practice. It is the type of education that resonates with me deeply and that I feel realizes the inherent creative, spiritual and compassionate side of each human. I've been lucky enough to have been able to visit the classrooms at the local Waldorf school, and this week I got to read a short article about how it started, with Rudolf Steiner 100 years ago right after WWI, and it has inspired me even more... "Is there a way to educate children so that they will become human beings who will not make war, who will be able to live in peace?"