Written by the Mediterranean Sea on March 15, 2018, in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

All is gray in the sea today.  Perhaps it is mourning the death of 76 year old Stephen Hawking.  But rather than mourning such a totally remarkable life, perhaps its grayness is simply marking his death.

I can vaguely see the light of the sun mostly blocked by clouds.  The clouds form a thick layer rather than the puffy pictures they often draw.

Stephen Hawking, for all his physical trials and tribulations, never lost his sense of humor.  Ah, perhaps keeping his sense of humor allowed him to be mostly a very active brain encased in a very disabled body.  He knew the sun would come out again.  Perhaps that was the secret to his survival.  He understood in ways 99 and 9/10ths of us never could how humans are inextricably intertwined with the ultimate mother — Mother Nature.

I don’t understand even a mere fraction of what Stephen Hawking did, but I do know that I am also inextricably intertwined with Mother Nature.

Rest in peace in whatever dimension you now inhabit.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

 

Written March 13, 2018, by the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel

Breathe in

Breathe out

Today I cross the road so I can walk along the sea.  And what do I see?  My eyes pop, and my mouth makes a wide “O.”

The color is different today.  It is multi shades of the color turquoise, a favorite color of mine that always makes me feel guilty because of the day a young me clumsily dropped the turquoise stone friendship ring my father gave my mother into the sand on the beach, and never found it again.

And the sun makes sparkles in the sea that reflect like twinkling stars of nighttime.

How can this sea keep thrilling me day after day, view after view?

I think of my most creative friend who told me that it is her creativity that wakes her up joyfully every morning, ready to pursue her many talents.  For me, less talented than my old friend, the sea awakens something wonderful in me too, lulls me to sleep, and soothes my aging soul.

In the vastness of the sea before me, one sailboat trying to catch the wind goes slowly by.  It doesn’t look lonely out there by itself.  It doesn’t look afraid of the breadth and depth of the sea it is on.  Does it have a purpose?  A destination?  Do I?

Now that I’ve seen the turquoise blue sea, and felt the wind upon my face, I am content not to live too long.

Long live the turquoise sea!

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written March 12, 2018, looking out at the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

How can it be that we are kin?  You, with your endless blue water, and me, with my puny human characteristics?  “They say,” and I do believe, that we are connected by nature.  I, the sea, the air, the wind, the birds, the land — we are all a part of nature.

Perhaps I could not bear to believe that I pass through this world for years with no connection to it — just floating by, and then into nothingness before and after me.  I have no proof of our kinship except that I feel it physically and spiritually.

I do not wish to be only another human among billions because humans are such a small, inconsequential part of nature — and certainly not the best part.  I am often ashamed of being human given all the meanness of the species.  I think of my friend, Ruth, whose worst three years of life were spent as a young teen in Auschwitz.  She endured and overcame unimaginable things to have what she amazingly was able to call “a good life.”

And then I read of quite normal, beautiful teens who commit suicide to escape bullying by other teens on social media.  And I can’t understand either the brutality or the fragility of teenagers who grew up in a world of social media.  I can’t put them together.

When I divorced, I felt opposing pulls of pain and the excitement of pulling together a new life for myself.  But now I’m old, and there are very few mitigating factors to ease the depression of deterioration.  How to sustain my spirit like my friend Ruth did through the horrors of continuing to live through evil times and cruel humans?

You, nature, are the only way I can balance the world enough to want to stay in it a while longer.  And then I will join you as an intangible, forever lasting, infinitesimal speck of dust.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written on March 10, 2018 by the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel

Breathe in

Breathe out

Your sound today tells me your waves are agitated.  Indeed, even you do not have all the power to do as you will.  You must obey tides, timetables, and a moon so many miles away.  For they are stronger than your will.

What do you do when you want to fight back?  When you want to insist on your way?  Does the deep deep blue of your waves today mean you are angry?  But, even if you are angry, I still follow asleep easily by your side.

I cannot always do as I wish.  And even you, oh mighty sea, cannot do only as you wish.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written on March 7, 2018, by the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

We are like a bottle thrown into the sea.  Pushed down by the wind.  Tossed around and around and around until we are dizzy and disoriented.  We bob back up, and are pushed under again and again and again.

We sink down and down to the bottom of the sea, and join the shipwrecks strewn around.

We flop onto a deserted beach for awhile and inspected and rejected by a hermit crab looking for a new house.  Then pulled out to sea again to continue an endless journey to nowhere in particular.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel on March 6, 2018

Breathe in

Breathe out

It is a partly blue, partly cloudy, partly gray, partly sunny day looking over the Mediterranean Sea.

It has taken me a few days to get back here again, but the missing of the Mediterranean Sea pulled me unrelentingly to it.  I can hear it calling to me.

I am beginning to feel the coming of my leaving on March 27.  And I guess in most ways I’m ready to go home to the ocean on the other side of the world.  But … but … but my special spot by the sea I can walk to in truly 10 minutes; the knowing that is probably never going to happen again — ah, it tugs at me so hard.

Not that I wouldn’t be ready to die today, here in my Jewish homeland by the sea within the whimsical ceramic creature by the sea that lets me feel so cozily curled within it.  It has been worth all the trouble, all the planning, all the money, it took to unite us.

And yes, I’ll miss the Ethiopians, the school where I tutor, the concentration of my students who want to be tutored — but, after I’m gone, I’ll only be a fleeting memory amongst them.

I guess it’s clear there’s really no future for me to live in Israel now without more money than I have.  My time in Israel hasn’t given me a new direction at my age and financial situation.  If I were younger…if I were richer — would it matter?  I see around me a variety of personal plights that money can’t fix.

The sky in front of me has god-like sunlit rays breaking through it that add grayish shadows on pathways to the sky — to space — to infinity.

In some ways, I do have as many choices of paths to take.  I am not so old, not yet penniless, not all that unhealthy to make choices for myself.

The big, dark gray blob in the sky is trying to gobble up the heat of the sun.  The birds see it too, and are talking to each other about the picture in the sky.

The things that are going right on this 3 month jaunt are going very right.  What didn’t go right – the billing mix-up with Airbnb – was very unpleasant, but didn’t actually end up costing me more money.

How am I different going back to my Laguna Woods Village near Laguna Beach after my happy hours by Lagoon Beach on the Mediterranean side of the world?

I don’t think I can answer this now.  Perhaps it will eventually be clearer.  My time here isn’t up yet, and neither is my time to curl inside the ceramic dragon’s tail — thankfully.  No goodbyes are necessary quite yet.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

 

Written by the Mediterranean Sea on 3/3/2018

Breathe in

Breathe out

I breathe in.  I breathe out.  And then the warmth of the sun.  The kiss of the wind.  And I fall into a sleep.

My mind is free to wander where it will.  It hears the sea ask me if I am a better mother to me than my hypercritical mother was.  “My Mother, Myself” was once a popular book that said you would see more and more of your mother in yourself long after she was dead.

And, in many ways, I have.  I chose an independent life over 35 years ago.  Since then, I have been totally responsible for mothering only myself.  In Israel, I have become even more aware of how much I am in charge of taking care of myself, both physically and emotionally.  It isn’t easy.

Sometimes I’m very aware of getting more and more tired of taking care of myself – particularly as getting old gets harder and more complex.  But, I am all too aware that I chose to be fully in charge of me.  If I’m not taking care of myself, no one is.

I have only myself to take care of.  All the others in my life are dead.  But I sometimes feel I am spoiling the “me” I have to take care of.  And this is where the fear and vulnerability comes in that makes me an insecure, “Can I do it?  Should I do it?” mother to myself.

I loved being loved.  I really did.  My teenage sweetheart turned into a loving husband.  But eventually I wanted a lifestyle he didn’t want, and I gave up being loved for my freedom to do what I wanted, to live where I wanted.  It was a reasonable deal — give up something to gain something.  I couldn’t have had both.

And I did quite a good job setting out on my own becoming who I was capable of becoming.  But I gave up being loved and taken care of.  Actions have consequences even many years later.  And putting my trust more solely in myself has led me to think of doctors as consultants, friends as companions instead of caregivers, and the world as a rather more dangerous place for me to be an old person.

But, I don’t want to be an overly spoiled child, or an overly critical mother of myself.   And that means I must fear less for myself, and worry less about myself.

Mothering and loving are two of the hardest jobs — even of ourselves.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written next to the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel, on 2/27/18.

 

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Ah, the Mediterranean is riled up today.  The sun is shining, the waves are roiling, and I breathe in through the sounds it breathes into me.  Then, I breathe it out back into the world.

I come here for peace.  I come here for beauty.  I come here for inspiration.  I come here for hope.  I come here for wisdom.  I come here to figure out the rest of my life.

I only have 27 days left to sit by my Mediterranean guru.  And then I go back to another home that is close to, but not so very close to, another sea.  It is here, by my Mediterranean guru, that I hope to bring back wisdom and peace to direct me forward.

Options, options.  Good options.  Good sounding options.  Smart options.  Bad decision options.  They are all still possible.  At 74, I still have some relative youth, relative smarts, relative eyesight, relative wealth, left for what’s left of my however many years before I die.

I haven’t had the “aha” moment for my future yet.  But I know I will continue to have old age physical and mental challenges to face.  With the wisdom of my Mediterranean guru, I will hopefully not crumble, or lose interest or energy in fighting on for my mental and physical health.

But I don’t like the words, “fighting on.”  I prefer to learn how to live with any lack of health, lack of wealth, lack of energy, and these myriad stupid ways I keep injuring myself.  In fact, it’s mental control I seek.  Worry and fear are easy to come by and hard to get rid of.  I hope you can help me banish worry and fear from my mind.  They are the killers that destroy the good that coexists with the bad in life.  What can the sea teach me about the rhythm of life and death?  About how to keep going?

I wonder what my life would have been like had I stayed in Israel for the rest of my life instead of leaving after 6 years.  I would have been able to keep my rights to a little room in a building for immigrants that cost only a small pittance every month.  It would have given me a moderate financial security for my lifetime, including old age.  It was a lot to give up, and it made me once again a newcomer to today’s Israel.

What was possible then is impossible for me now in modern Israel with its strong economy and prices higher than southern California.  I do not regret the paths I chose in my life, but financial security wasn’t something I thought much about until recent times.

Dear Mediterranean guru, can I learn from you how to see the micro better than the macro around me?

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Namaste

 

 

 

Breathe in…..Breathe out……..

Laying curled into the ceramic slightly serpentine snake along the sea cliff, I allow my mind to enter free fall.  It’s the sound of the waves, the caress of the sun in in the wind, the incredible blue of the sea, and the smell of the water imagined since I lost my sense of smell some years back.

No longer does it seem a big deal that I pulled a muscle and it still hurts to walk.  My cares about what my future might hold diminish.  My search for some way to survive longer financially slows down.  I relax.  The sea is much wiser than I.  I just lay here quietly pondering its wisdom.

Breathe in…..Breathe out……..

Breathe in…..Breathe out……..

Namaste

Written while sitting by the sea in Netanya, Israel, on February 24, 2018.

Breathe in…..Breathe out……..

By the sea, my mind calms.   My brain rests.  And I fall asleep.  I want to think great thoughts, but I think of nothing.  I’m in a physical space, not a mental space.  I don’t have to see. I don’t have to speak.  I am the closest I can be to a state of simply being.

I wanted to come by the sea to figure out things — me, the world, my future.  But I sink into a state of being that simply “is.”  Time stops.  Thinking stops.  Worrying stops.  All I know is that I need to be near water – somewhere.

Perhaps this is the high point, the best point — but can it only take place in my imagination?  Or can I let it seep into my bones?  Or imprint it upon my mind?  Or enter it as a loop inside my mind?

I have felt a dip this week – mentally and physically.  The hip muscle I strained is simply a reminder that such things will keep happening until I die.  That’s just the way it goes with aging.

I can’t figure out now whether I will return to Israel again as a visitor, or to live.  I can’t figure out today how I can survive on the money I have left.  I can’t determine if I will be homeless, or go blind with the disease in my right eye, or become a pathetic bag lady, or even if I’ll keep my mind.

My time here is almost two thirds over.  Absolutely, without a doubt, it was worth coming.

I can regret I didn’t get to see my old friend, Bryna, before she unexpectedly died, to really talk, to pin down just why she cared so much about my coming back to Israel 30 years later.  But then, perhaps I wouldn’t have been here for her memorial service and seen how much she had turned her sad life into a happy, fulfilling one in Israel.

I don’t have the money, the physical strength, or the desire to travel within Israel.  But that’s okay because I have been in a kind of heaven by the sea just a 10 minute walk away.  Which is good because my hip and knee aren’t so strong now.

I would like a bright idea to strike me as I sit here — to answer all my questions.  But that most likely won’t happen.

It is Purim next week.  A happy holiday.  A children’s holiday.  And a Jewish holiday celebrated in the whole country.  It’s been a long time since I was in a country where the whole country celebrates a Jewish holiday.

From the Facebook groups I’ve joined  – Keep Olim in Israel and Keep Olim 50+ in Israel – I have read a lot of the good and the bad of living here.  I waited in a line for 4 hours to renew my passport for another 10 years.  I am just as Israeli as I was when I lived here for 6 years in the 1980s, but renewed, and biometrically to boot.

Thoughts have flown through on how to manage to come back again for at least 3 months, but I definitely need to take with me this place by the sea!

Breathe in…..Breathe out……..

Namaste

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: