March 5, 2009
My spirit came back to me again today. There is a practice I think of a morning prayer I vaguely remember something about thanking every morning for the existence or presence still of your soul. Havanti. I think I understand. There is a return and sway and return of my spirit that here I feel with the pull and sway of this place. The connection here is so organic with all that exists human and cellular, absence impacts as much as presence. I can feel exquisitely what is missing in me. I wish I could say that about my other home understood absence. Absence is not so noticed. You don’t see your neighbor for a while it doesn’t impact your stride. There aren’t seasonal vegetables most don’t even know. Object permanence is still developing in that country. I think it got waylayed by object relations. Instead of human relations. If the object goes away we don’t look for it, we just get another one. Like babies.
It seems that each month here my spirit challenges me with the daily taunt of holding on to it as it roams around and attaches itself to all the interesting and alluring moments of temptation and familiarity. It attaches to old pains it recognizes in others, it attaches to the wind and the sea, it attaches to the smells and promises of flowers leaving the shuk in the grip of another soul building a home or relationship. My spirit lives on curiously and seeking. My spirit is free to roam. My body is another story and my mind a rat maze chasing cheese. But all my spirit wants is to be free. It’s aware of all the flowers. Maybe life is about staying close enough to your spirit so you don’t get left behind, because it’s playing. Even if you are not.
The culture lives inside out here. You can see it. People walk from the shuk carrying their fruits and vegetable overflowing from see through plastic, they balance babies and packages on bicycles along with rugs and mops and giant bundles of toilet paper that seem to be the trend here. If they are in a car at all it’s small and things are tied on the top out the back over the bumpers, tied with bubble gum or hair pins or PVC piping, or whatever they can find. The sidewalks here breathe. People walk here. And they carry things. And they eat outside and sit in the parks and talk in every crevice there is. They sit on the beach late at night, in tiny parks that litter the neighborhoods and along the sea where the water catapults itself up onto the port to join us and only leaves the shadows of human trash and organic sea matter on the planks of wood as gravity brings the water back to its source through the cracks. Here people eat while they are walking and sing while they are riding and mop their dirt out onto the sidewalk in a decidedly local way of swooping the water from inside to out. They hang their sheets and underwear and air all matter for the sun to cleanse. Here there is much for the spirit to attach itself to. It’s all for the touching. And here you can even touch each other. As a matter of being, it happens all the time.
This last month I think my spirit and I have been roaming in different arenas and I think my spirit is smarter than me. I am brought back again to the essential swap of time and space. Things happen differently here and I think I made the mistake again of trying to make things happen instead of allowing them. I put my head down and worked hard steadily to find work. And only I found isolation. In this inside out culture I need to reorganize from inside and live on the out.
In music the space between the notes holds the magic. In poetry the pause. Here it’s the space between the people, and you have to put yourself in it. For a soullost Israeli but a grown up as American I am a bit squished. My deeply internal inclinations are at one here, but my learned and warped independence creates interference. Sit alone with my computer or socialize my way to a job? My patterns are changing, but the deeply ingrained adaptations are showing their inadequacies here.
This place is filled with old souls and free spirits and even the secular folks here live in close quarters with the sense that there is an energy there that makes things happen . The place is small and almost everyone in it has encountered their soul. War immigration desecration of home and limbs threat to existence death fear insecurity of home and life have been in the pocket of most here. It makes for a different way to live. In the states my natural way of living intuitively and passionately close to my soul didn’t fit with the general man made lifestyle. Here my American independence and sense of personal power are irrelevant. I am allowed for the first time to use my very basic self and I can figure out how.
I don’t want to be an American here. I want to be the person I have been struggling to hold onto for all these years in the face of constant threat. There I had to hold so fiercely onto myself so as not to lose me. Here there is full permission to be myself and the threat to existence happens as a whole. It’s all haffooch here. Here threat is more distant and the distance between people is more threatening. Why is it that what we most want we cannot sometimes handle? Threat to the whole makes the parts closer here. All the close personalities are strong here. Even the weak ones. So the incoming influence of others globs on and the challenge to hold onto yourself becomes because others are attaching to you, they ARE attaching. With their ideas and opinions and foods and invitations, and even for someone as strong headed as me, I find myself turning around to look as see if the person I am being at the moment is me.