2

Refrigerator Blues

Our refrigerator had a near-death experience. It died for 24 hours. It’s a rather small refrigerator, but it has faithfully stored our organic vegetables and other goods for the last six years. And I did not feel like spending money on a new one today. But alas, one cannot survive in this day and age without a refrigerator. Shucks, I did not feel like wasting money on such a mundane household object. We could buy a huge trampoline with that sum! Or a new bicycle! Not something as boring as an electrical appliance that wasn’t supposed to kick the bucket. Not yet.

Ah well, such is life. Very seldom according to our plans. I gathered our frozen vegan-burgers, breads, and other knick knacks into our fungus-infested picnic cooler, to be transported to our friendly neighbors. The ice began to thaw, drip-dripping as it did throughout the night, covering the kitchen floor. Shir came by to check out the action and I occupied him by giving him pieces of ice to place in the garden and watch them melt. It started to get fun. Suddenly, there was a breath of life. The fridge turned on for a few moments. Was it a breath of life or a dying gasp? I decided to treat it like something that still has life in it. I cleaned it meticulously, silently hoping for its resurrection, wondering if I will actually allow myself to use the money we just “saved” on something decadent, like that delicious trampoline or maybe some fun stuff for the garden I want to build.

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A moment of unforgettable bliss with Shir on a huge swing overlooking a river, in Wales

The fridge was clean, each and every plant in the garden now had its own personal ice cube, and we reinserted the electric cord.

Bzzz.

A soft soothing hum. Alive!

So what is the point of this whole story? Well, I must confess, I did not defrost the refrigerator for months. I saw the ice packing in the back and just made do with less space inside as the ice continued to claim more territory. I simply ignored this annoying chore, wishing it away, making do with less. As the humming became increasingly louder each night,  I convinced myself white noise is still a good thing to have around a sleeping toddler.

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Packing up on energy with a fruit juice at Starbucks in London. Bunny also wants some.

But it didn’t go away. It got worse. It froze over, until it became defunct and shut itself down. Until it got the attention it deserved and needed. That is what happened.

I just started reading the book Psychic Deadness by Michael Eigen. I think I am a bit like that refrigerator. If I don’t defrost once in a while I can’t just go on ad infinitum. I can go on for a while, making do with less and less space inside as parts of me get frozen and trapped, but eventually, I will shut down, make a scene, act dead, look dead, feel dead. Until I get the love and warmth and attention I absolutely need for my survival.

And when I get it, I’ll be back on my feet, humming away quietly to myself, as if nothing ever happened.

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When will these blissful moments Shir has with himself last more than 10 seconds?

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7

Sleepy Mama

What is liberation? I have been contending with this issue most of my adult life, trying to break free of one thing or another. The causes keep changing, each one seemingly more worthy than the other. Now it is bad sleep.

What I realized is that if I am constantly wanting to be liberated from something then perhaps that very desire is caging me in. Perhaps true freedom is not wanting to be “over there” but totally embracing where I am right now. I mean, duh, we all know that. But it’s like I think I’m starting to really get it. And to do that?

Okay, here’s what I got to: liberation from shame.

That’s it.

That’s my big insight.

SHAME is my self-imposed captor.

And if I am only “ready” to share this insight when I am fully liberated from this demon called shame, then I am still waiting to be “over there” – where happiness lies –

So I’ve decided to come out of hibernation and share my shameful truth with you: My 20 month old does not sleep through the night.

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Bliss. Nursed to sleep on the train home from a fun morning in the city. Transitioned to bed for more booby and sleep with Sleepy Mama.

Big deal, right? As if that’s something to really be ashamed about.  But it has been for me.

“Doesn’t sleep through the night” is an understatement…he nurses to sleep, and wakes to nurse, sometimes every hour and a half, sometimes more. Sometimes he doesn’t leave my boob for hours and we both sleep like that. Yes, he sleeps in our bed. Yes, my husband and I have no time together.

So what is the shame all about? I’m trying to figure it out – that’s why I’m writing here.

Maybe it’s because I too haven’t slept through the night for over a decade – due to my own sleep issues. So I feel like I’m dragging him down the rabbit hole with me. In other words, it’s all my fault.

Maybe it’s because I actually sometimes enjoy his warm little cuteness next to me at night. And sometimes when I can’t fall back asleep I know that his nursing will release the oxytocin that will help me fade back into dreamland. Not that that’s always a nourishing place for me either.

Maybe it’s because night time is the time of secrets and this is my big secret – I actually have no idea what I’m doing as a mother. I can cover it up during the day but at night all the demons are set free.

So I’ve decided to talk about my shame around this issue , and I invite anyone else who feels this way to share. It’s so lonely to feel there is something deeply wrong with me.

So what liberated me enough to write this blog?

Just saying it like it is: I am stuck. I am playing out my own needs through my son. Perhaps, maybe. And then realizing: so what, we all do that one way or another. So now that that’s out of the hat, let’s see what we want to do about it.

And so Ron and I have been talking about sleep. Shir’s sleep, my sleep. It was so stuck I couldn’t even talk about it. Finally, I can talk again.

Nothing has changed yet, but we have a new plan. A sleep plan. That will come in my next blog.

I’ve decided to use this blog as a way of supporting myself, and hopefully others, through this growth challenge.

Please share your own experiences, feelings, thoughts – I would love to hear them.

More coming soon.

Love,

Aya

1

The Forgotten Longing

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Learning to love – surrendering into the moment with Shir

3:30 am. I just completed reading The Neverending Story. Alone on the sofa, curled up with Chica and a blanket. Just as Bastian made it back to the world of humans from Fantastica, driven by a forgotten longing in his heart to love, Shir awoke and back I went into the bedroom to nurse him and myself back into a dream.

Bastian’s ticket home was on the wings of his forgotten longing for his father who was “shut up in a transparent but impenetrable block of ice”- his grief at losing his wife, Bastian’s mother. He recognized the dream he was seeking in the darkness of Yor’s mines. Yor had told him that in his quest for the Water of Life, he will have to be able to ask the question: whom do you want to be able to love? And to truly love, you must lose the one thing you have left: yourself.

That night, I dreamt of a forest with a beautiful path going upwards, where Ron, Shir and I traveled. We reached a gazebo, where there were bhajans playing. We chanced upon this venue, yet it seemed others had planned their visit from far and wide. The music was beautiful. There was an Indian teacher there. A trusted friend sat nearby, signaling it was safe to let go into the beauty.

I didn’t want to leave or wake up.

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Fantastica on planet Earth: Are those huge things over there for REAL? Shir at the zoo for the first time.

And then I understood. This was and is the Water of my Life with Ron and Shir: music and spirituality. And I wonder: can I let go of myself long enough to drink from these waters, to learn true love?

Perhaps this is my forgotten longing. I hope so.

1

One Worthy Moment

It was a rainy morning. Again. I was exhausted from a marathon nursing night. I knew Ron was going away for the weekend to teach. The teacher who invited him will probably not give him any dana (aka: money), but we said: this is a good experience.

Suddenly I wasn’t feeling very altruistic. I got my period. Shir seems to be the never-ending teether. There’s nowhere to go and it’s cold.

Before Ron left for the weekend I dropped him off at the library for some daddy-son time. Off I went to buy a second hand children’s wooden kitchen, semi-excited, cash in my pocket. I arrived at a gorgeous home with wooden beams on the ceiling, an enormous garden where even the chickens were good looking, and an unsmiling host. She dragged out the kitchen, with cobwebs and splints I couldn’t see in the photo on-line. I asked if she made it herself. She said: oh no, my brother made it for us years ago. Suddenly, this was too much for me. No way was I leaving her nearly 300 NIS for something she got for free years ago! Not with that house and those fancy chickens in her yard!

I said thank you politely and left, trying to remind myself a beautiful home and fresh eggs are not everything in life.

I decided to stop off at an Arab village on the way home to look for some materials to make my own (darn) kitchen for Shir. Traffic jam. Rain.  On I plundered. I parked and just as I was wondering what to do with myself I saw a woman with a head cover walking by and asked her if she knows where there’s a toy store (feeling self-conscious that I assume she speaks Hebrew, embarrassed that I cannot communicate with her in Arabic). When she saw my bewildered face she decided to walk me in that direction, though it was the opposite way she was going.

“You looked like someone who would know” I said, “You look like you’re a mother, are you?”

“I have three children” she simply stated, and I could feel a warmth in her eyes.

“How old are they?”

“9,6 and 4. But it took me five years to have the first one.”

“Wow,” I remarked, touched at her openness, daring for more: “Did you have to do treatments?”

“Yes, I did, but then it came naturally.”

“Amazing, I guess you were just stressed and when you relaxed it happened.”

“Yes, I was stressed. There it is, you see where the flags are over there?”

“Oh those ones over there, yes. Thank you!”

And with that she was gone, with her sweet honest presence.

The store was, of course, closed, but it didn’t matter.

I had at least one worthy moment today, where I could walk in an Arab village and talk about motherhood with this gentle soul.

2

Unlimited

“If you stay within your limits, your limits will grow.”

Stay with that sentence a moment, as I did during my online Feldenkrais lesson this morning.

If you stay within your limits, they will grow.

Wow.

I am sometimes obsessed with the sense of my limitations – my sense of not having enough time, not doing enough exercise, not writing enough, not spending enough time with a particular family member or friend, not sleeping enough, not reading enough to help my patients more…in general, I am not enough of this or that…

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There were many less blueberries by the time we left the pancake stand at the healthfood store

SO what if, for just a moment, my limitations were not the end of the world. And what if I played the game of accepting my limitations, of course in the hope they will stretch, but okay, just watching the mind as I bargain for more, but still acting within my limits.

Such as right now: It’s 11:24 and at 12:15 I have to go pick up Shir from his (perfect) day-care (that we finally found), leaving me less than an hour to write this blog, get annoyed at my camera for not downloading all the adorable photos I took of Shir eating pancakes at the healthfood store (you will have to imagine that), cleaning the house (I am officially sick of that), transferring the laundry to the dryer, taking a hot shower (oops, too late for that, forgot to turn on the hot water), working on translations (don’t feel like that anyway), typing up my notes from the course I took on Native American Medicine Cards (it’s good I never get to that, because then I always feel I have something really “worthy” on my “to do” list other than life-maintenance chores), and the list goes on.

But what did I do this morning in my limited time?

I talked to my mother.

I hugged Ron for a few precious moments before he went out to work.

I did a Feldenkrais class.

I neatened my desk.

I browsed the papers from Income Tax, thinking I really should fill out those forms in the near future when I can actually look at them without hyperventilating at the same time.

And here I am.

Just made a date for tomorrow with my Feldenkrais teacher who spent the last month in Kenya.

There is a fullness in my heart.

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Thirty minutes of fun on a toy car that moves nowhere! Now THAT’s freedom within limitations!

Off to the laundry. And it’s still only 11:39. Time has just stretched.

Much love to you all. And think about it, there is a fullness in the acceptance of our inevitable partiality, a growth in the knowing of our limitations.

 

2

Coming From Nowhere

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At the museum for old buses – I’m holding the ticket puncher, but nowhere special to go, just right here

I have been hiding out. Afraid of writing the wrong thing, feeling the words slip away as the months charge by, the moments blending into one big sloppy oatmeal mush, from which Shir carefully picks out the raisins and goji berries every morning.

I have been officially stuck, and these words are my lifeline, as always, in my quest for unstuck-ness. I have been trying to “figure it all out” – the big What-To-Do-With-My-Life which usually involves a heavy dosage of escape fantasies (let’s go caravanning for three months in the US, no, let’s go for one month in Europe and two months in the US, no, let’s go only to the US, no…), with their blockages (what will we do with all our stuff, what about the cat, gosh that annoying cat keeps ruining my life! I’m sick of her, can’t she get run over already…oh my gosh, I’m a horrible human being to think that…how can I spend my time thinking of something meaningful to do with my life when it involves abandoning my cat, what kind of ungrateful person am I? I don’t deserve to go anywhere, I should go do the dishes), leaving me just where you saw me over the last, what is it now, at least six months?

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Feeding the horses behind our house – a magical moment in Nowhere-land

That’s right, nowhere.

I like how nowhere can be divided into NOW-Here. That little space bar is what makes all the difference – just a little bit of space and I can go from literally outer space into this present moment.

And that’s what Shir offers me all the time. The intensity of life within which each moment of peace and space has just that much more potential UMPH to it. So I decided to sit and write once more, because there is nowhere else to start again but right here, where I am. The apologies are mostly to myself, for thinking all those moments lost in circles are unworthy of being written or shared or dared to be acknowledged.

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Another spiritual experience – mommy’s cashew-cocoa mousse

So here I am, in my ankle-length green woolen sweater I have taken off over the last two months only to shower, feet freezing, getting ready to join Shir for his mid-day booby-assisted nap.

Tomorrow Shir, Ron and I are about to embark on our first spiritual family adventure – a five day retreat with Tenzin Palmo in the North of Israel. Ron and I will take turns in the meditation hall and with Shir. I think 18 months is a good age to go to one’s first Buddhist retreat.

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Did you say mousse?