Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sacred

I was at a sacred song circle a few weeks ago.

It was a few nights after I had led one for women at my dear friend T's house. I needed to go to this other circle initially because I wanted to, eventually because I had to before I sunk into the abyss. I rode the bus and was having a panic attack. I felt dread and doom. It was the first wave of the coronavirus. I felt like there was no comfort in the world for the imminent death of everybody. I felt like a zombie. I had to go. I had to. I needed to drink from a well fast... I was desperate. I got there and had spoken to the man leading it, and felt courteous and sweet despite the dread inside. I was calm. I was so scared but I was calm. It was me and three men at the beginning, and we lit sage and candles and sang and played music in the dim room on carpets and pillows, and I drew into me strength from the great reservoir that we have available in our Jewish ancestry. Judaism is based on resilience and survival through thousands of years. And we are spiritual beings and can do that, we can draw from that great godly abundance. We can bring into ourselves the wisdom that surrounds us, even if we are not aware of what it is exactly. I drew from that. I said it as a mantra in my mind until it was tangible. Come to me, come, comfort, strength, courage, hope, I pulled it in with all my mental might. I had no faith, I felt helpless and small, but I drew hope into me as if it was my only option, I had no choice but to believe that there is hope, to believe even without believing. Hope, hope! I pulled it in. peacefulness, be within me, be within me. Until it was in me. Until I felt safer and more hopeful. Until the music resonated in those deep places of serenity and faith, trusting that it will be okay, it will be okay, it will be okay. Everything will be okay. And the harmonies danced in me, and the songs we sang over and over again escalated and resonated, echoed deeply, fully, in that dimly lit room.

I came out differently. I was alive again.


24 hours before my flight back to the US...

Fear... Creeps up in the darkness of the night, makes me feel naked of strength and resilience, vulnerable to the elements of unpredictability. I woke up this morning in the living room of my parents' home with a scary image on my mind. Of my mom in their home letting our a heart-wrenching cry, as if I had died in America. I experienced a milisecond of that image upon awakening, and then forgot about it until tonight. It came back to me, and this time lingered longer, because it was added to the already-deep anxiety and fear about leaving my family.

In a sense, I'm back in the loops I was at the beginning of my trip: Should I leave? Should I go? What is right? Am I leaving just out of spite? (I have excuses why it's better for me to be afar.) But that is so silly, to distance reconciliation just so that I will be fine leaving. I am convincing myself of something, but maybe it is not even right. Maybe if I tried living here it could be good. I imagine "what if I lived up north? And I'd come for this or that event or day and then drive back up to my home..." (because my brain tends to imagine what coulda woulda been). But I am also so excited. I feel the excitement now of returning to D. I don't write about him and I keep the excitement of our relationship to myself (and to him) but sometimes I want to shout from the rooftops how lucky I am. Instead I send him long text message monologues full of ardor and emotion, or tell him about it in person. I don't talk to my friends or family much about him. With my friends because I don't want to make them feel bad (even though they say they are truly happy for me), and with my family because they aren't that interested in hearing about my life out of Israel and because I have some guilt and feelings of abandonment every time I enter a partnership with someone.

I want to write out all my fears. Unravel them. They are deep and real. Unraveling them lightens them a bit. Makes them manageable. Makes them seem what they are: part of the story. Just another twist in the plot. Wow, I can feel as I watch my story unfold. That is so fascinating, I can say. We each have a fascinating story, and if only we could see them as such and tell them with pride, and believe that whatever we do in them and whatever happens in them is good.

If I've decided to do this thing that I'm doing, you know, of moving away from my family and living in another country, and putting a beautiful place and a partnership and a creative community above religious ideology and being physically close to family, then that's what's happening, folks, and that is what is good. There may be no purpose in seeing things any other way.

Okay, so I've unraveled a bit. It feels better. I'm expanding a bit into abundance.

Then the coronavirus issue. I'm not too concerned, but I think maybe I should be? Who knows. Like, having Nemo walk through the airports on her fours tomorrow night and collecting particles of viruses, that can't be good, right? So how much should I go out of my way to find some annoying solution, like buying a cart to put her in, or making little rubber gloves for her paws...? I have such difficulty deciding and processing even the littlest things it seems.

Look how interesting! I am writing a post now in a time of emotional distress. I've been wanting to write for a while in difficulty, and then sometimes in tremendous excitement, but only now, when I am 24 hours before my flight back to the US (god willing) the tension is finally enough to get me to sit down and write. It's liek I have no option but to write now. There is no other way to firmly unravel my unrest.

It's Purim, and it's a good way to end my visit here because the celebrations with my family feel fun, safe, cozy and nourishing. It's a blessing. Even though I am torn and my heart is partially broken, I am still blessed. I am blessed to have in my life who I have. I am blessed to have my little 9-month-old niece with her pudgy cheeks and little button nose and green eyes, who I love to pieces and miss when I'm away for even one day and don't know how I will survive without, when I'm across the world without watching her grow up.

But, again. Goodness, beauty, bountiful blessings. I should focus on the expansiveness of everything. How we are all connected. How I can be collaborative with the world while being here and there and everywhere. Being together with the wind that oversees and flows through everything, instead of feeling like a small human confined to a small space and time. Abundance of space. Abundance of giving. Abundance of receiving. Abundance of sacredness and wholeness and loving.




Sunday, March 08, 2020

Micro


I've been wanting to write for a while. I always want to and I never end up writing. Why do I not? Writing makes me nauseous. I must do it anyway. I must! But I don't... But here. Grab the keyboard while I'm at it, shoot out some wordsywords. While my phone is dead, while I feel isolated (even though I'm not in quarantine) and overwhelmed in such a way that my brain feels like it is starting to assume that there is no more, and I stare. It's what happens when I am anxious or overwhelmed. I focus on things. Like when drunk, and you see the person's lips moving very vividly and maybe in slow-motion, but you do not really process what they are saying. I stare at the mirror in the elevator. I look at myself from up close. Micro vision. That's what I see when I'm anxious. I sit in the bathroom and stare closely at the wall. The pattern on my leggings becomes some sort of full reality. The folds of the blanket take up the whole landscape. The old furniture becomes some soupy river surrounding me and swallowing me. I'm also exhausted, and maybe that's why everything is so strange. Haven't slept a full night in who knows how long...

I want to be home already.

And yet... I know that brokenness will follow me everywhere. But at least when I'm home I can hold it with some vigor and resilience.



My flight back to Seattle is this Wednesday night.

I've been working on getting boxes ready to ship over there with the stuff of mine that's been lingering around at my parents... I went down from around 18 boxes to 6. There are now 6 boxes that I must take to the post office tomorrow to send off by sea with an under-reliable postal service (because I can't afford private shipping companies and didn't do enough prior research), so hopefully my stuff will get there safely in six months or so (that's what they said they can guarantee)... There are many different frustrating components to this story: 1) I always wait until the last minute to do things; 2) I never fully research or ask enough questions about the bureaucratic matter at hand; 3) I always second-guess my decisions (and, well, I always end up needing to make quick decisions, because I don't do things far enough in advance...); 4) I have trouble deciding (and in this case, I have trouble deciding what to ship/what to bring in my suitcase/what to leave behind/what to throw out); 5) I get super frustrated about little things (like there's a certain thing I want to ship in the boxes that is too heavy, so I'll need to leave it here and take it next time I visit... It's a compilation of all my intellectual studies/classes I've taken in different post-high school programs, divided into categories, like Philosophy, Jewish History, Cultures and Languages, and so on. So I'm going to need to leave that behind... Not the end of the world, but my brain then harps on it as if that's the sole most important thing in my life and I can't live without it).

As D points out, I am experiencing the pre-flight anxiety that is typical for me, and if last time it was Nemo's vaccinations, this time it's the boxes, and it's normal. It reassures me to know that this is all internal and not objectively detrimental. We'll get through it. Hopefully we'll emerge on the other side with my boxes, though :)

And do realize that this time there are many additional levels that are pumping more anxiety through me... Coronavirus for one (and the fear that because of it I will be prevented from getting back home), and feeling disappointment at not having been fully functional these 2.5 months and not making the most of them, being upset with myself for spending so much time being depressed, and feeling a depletion of energy, an emptiness, about the tension and stress there was with this trip and the way it played out in a messy and unfulfilling way, feeling like I'm rolling through these last weeks in anxiety without being able to create mindful closure with anyone/anything.

Oh, my phone has full-on died and won't turn back on. It's been around 5 hours already, and still no phone. I'll sleep without a phone tonight. Maybe that's nice. I feel kind of lonely.