There is something I like about living in a foreign country, communicating through a tongue that’s not my best spoken one, and observing a culture that I had not been raised amongst. What I like, other then realising that each and every society has it’s own box of definitions, rights and wrongs, do and don’t do, acceptable and unacceptable, common and uncommon, is that I have a broader “permission” to ask questions about it. It’s easier to me to give myself a permission to question.
Already in my childhood, I had questioned inside me these kind of things. Question about weird things I noticed in the society I grew up in (mostly allegedly-gender-differences). But the adults have mostly found my questions weird and called me “critical” as a softer way to express that I’m “too judgmental”. I found society weird, society found me weird, and thus I ended up the grown up I find myself to be.
I remember when I was young in Israel we had a repeated advertisement for Coca Cola on TV and on the radio. Literally translating from hebrew, it would mean “Coca Cola the taste of life” (קוקה קולה, טעם החיים). Being quite a sour kid that would not smile much, I remember asking my parents- “But what is good about this drink, that if someone has a sour life, the Cola would taste sour to him?”.
There was an underlying assumption in this advertisement that life is inherently sweet, and so if Cola taste like life, for sure it would taste as sweet as can be.
And so when meeting other cultures, often that’s the way I see it: too literally. One might say “too”, the other might say, that sticking to the words teaches you a lot of the self-deception and self-told and believed lies, that a man says to himself, and that a whole society says and believes in.
I am not trying to express that life is sour (or sweet), rather that it’s much more complicated then what one might assume. And that assumptions, assumptions can go a long long way deep and down into our unconscious without us ever noticing even a fraction of a clue about them. The real work is to draw attention on all of these clues and figure out slowly, patiently, how we can avoid acting upon them and how they might cause us to behave.
Going back to the self told lies (or underlying assumptions), I could not see through the spectacles of this lie (that life is always and for everybody inherently sweet). My experience was sour, so I took the sentence literally that every sipper would taste in it the flavour of his own existence. So sophisticated I thought that a simple soda pop could be…
And going back yet further more to the adults that found me weird and judgmental, the more time passes by through my body and experience, the more I understand that both are true: I have spent a big amount of my life in a judging (parent-state) position. But I had also got a very accurate view of the situation: society is weird as can be, when you think out of the box and out of the delimiting assumptions.
To be a dervish in this world, a foreigner in all societies, I see not only that there are so many kinds of boxes, I see how hard it is to get outside of the box.
Our moving caravan, coming back from a poetry reading evening in the town, on our way to Mukilteo ferry to the long narrow island of Whidbey, passes underneath a road sign that says something about “Yield”. I remember that the word is somehow connected to trees, and don’t understand how this relates to traffic rules. I ask what it means and I’m told that it means what we call in hebrew ” to give right of precedence”. Then I say I thought it means something like a tree bearing fruits, I’m answered “oh yeah, it also means a crop, a produce.
Such a weird thing for a word to mean two different unrelated things, I think to myself. But then I reconcile as a key to memorise the word- that the tree or field will give the fruits, and the human being will give way. Give the way, give away, a way to the truth. So many presumptions and assumptions we have to give away, let them away, to the sea to swallow and the fire to consume. So much presence is required to allow giving way in life, giving way to my tiny selves to express in me, and all the little selves of others to be recognised and not judged. So much work to be done to give myself a way. A way to walk in life consciously recognising when the dictator judge has picked up it’s head in me, and to call myself back, back to adult, back to zero position, back to alignment of my spine and thoughts and emotions.
Yielding fruits of an ongoing inner work, I slowly head on to the subtler and subtler levels deep inside me. Where once the problems, pains, sorrows, self pity and blame was so acute, today they manifest in more delicate of a way. And where once I thought that fixing the migraines will fix my whole life, now I realise that this was only the beginning, the stepping stone for a long long journey.
My journey is not sour or bitter anymore as an ongoing fixed fact of life. But it is sad, at times, when it’s time to mourn a great master that had deceased. That ceased to be in the way we knew her to be. And then I know the grief is appropriate and I give myself space, I give myself way, to cry and to mourn and for the sadness to flow in me, through me, as much as it needs, underneath the fig tree and it’s comforting leaves dancing in the soft winds of the Portuguese summer in the garden of Avidanja. I allow myself to indulge in it and sink into it.
It is sour at times, when a loved one does not have the time for me, and I feel rejected and hurt. And I blame him in my head for choosing of spending his time with others rather then with me, and I judge him for not communicating clearly his needs, and I’m caught in this blaming-hurt cycle feelings. In a sense, this sourness does not really feel appropriate since I know it is not really about me. I know it intellectually, but my feelings do not match, and I recognise the child-state has taken over in an unhealthy way. I am sagged folded inside me, shoulders slouched, hugging myself in a poor-me embryo kind of a way.
So I put my feet on the ground and I align my spine. I breath and I wait, and nothing happens.
Nothing happens and still I’m in blame, and still i’m in the judge-mode, now also judging this practice that it does not work. But I decide I do not move, I do not shift, I stay erect, until I can sense the shift. And I wait. I try to breath.
And a few minutes afterwards, all the emotions suddenly lift away from my contracted chest. I can breath. And I can really finally SENSE and feel, that it’s not about me. And I can really feel it out of the box of blame. For the first time since doing this work, I can sense in my body and see for myself the change of energy when coming back to adult. Coming back to myself. Coming back to the true self. Not cause the hurt rejected child is unaccepted and the adult is the only way to live, rather cause it was not an appropriate or healthy reaction at the moment from the child, and adult can help see it with a clearer light. So much in the emotions can change, with a physical postural change of the body. And to understand that I have been misaligned and slouched down for such an immense part of my life…
And remembering, like I remember to stand up straight, sit up straight, walk up straight, remembering that the child must have an expression, in other healthier states, expression in life, in joy, in giddiness and jumpy funny happy dance. Remember that it’s an ongoing flow, flow of energy as the flow of the rivers, flow from child to parent, from parent to child, to adult, and back again, and in between, between all these states in me, flow upon the way of the river of life.
So I Give way. Give away. Give myself a way in life.