Sunday, May 28, 2006

in the moment..

It’s amazing how the memories that pop into my head are rarely the ones that were created at major events. When I lie in bed and daydream, it’s always flashes of emotions that trigger the images in my mind.

I don’t particularly remember my first trip to the kotel, or most of the other times I was there, but I often remember this one time I went there alone, and sat at the back of the plaza and people-watched. I don’t know how long I was there, but I remember the afternoon breeze, I remember the sun setting on the kotel stones and I vividly remember how I felt - this incredible feeling of connection. I don’t remember when it happened, or what I did before or after, but the memory of me sitting there and feeling this moment of complete inner peace never left me.

When I get homesick, I don’t think about all the great things I've done with my family, the big celebrations, the exotic trips or the big family dinners. What comes to mind is the tight hug I got from my dad at the airport before I left to Israel or the phone call to my mom after my big heartbreak and her strong, soothing, non-judgmental voice telling me I made the right decision and I’d be ok.
Sometimes, I think of that Sunday morning in Tsfat, sitting by the window of our hotel room, overlooking Meron, my parents eating fresh figs and me delighting in their newly discovered contentment and serenity.

When I was becoming religious, I attended countless lectures and shabbatons, but one of the moments that stand out in my mind is a Shabbat afternoon I spent with some girls. I don’t remember who the girls were, I don’t remember who’s house we were at, I don’t remember much else of what we did before or after that day, but I remember listening to them sing and talk, and my heart feeling like it had just discovered a secret passageway to a hidden treasure. I remember feeling overwhelmed by how strong those emotions were and wanting desperately to connect to the source of this beauty.
I remember feeling my soul come alive.
And I remember crying so hard thinking that I would never find my way back to this treasure, once it was gone.

I remember that Friday night I spent on the porch of the hostel in tsfat. Traveling on my own, discovering the world, and myself, I took a mattress and sat out facing the mountains. Taking in the mystical beauty of my surroundings, I relished the harmony I felt myself becoming a part of. I remember the cool wind, I remember the graying sky but most of all, I remember the longing I felt deep inside me, that longing to attach myself to my beloved Creator, to the source of me, that mountain, the wind, and that Shabbat. For a moment i disapeared as a distinct entity and became an indivisible part of a connected universe.

I remember that time I prayed alone in an empty classroom, completely surrendering myself to G-d, throwing my head down, and my heart up, and begging for Him to take care of me. I remember opening my eyes at the end of that prayer and feeling surprised that I was still standing there, surprised I was holding a siddur, surprised how nothing around me had changed, and how everything about me had.

I remember random little stolen kisses and glances. I remember that all-night road trip we took, and the deer that crossed the road just as the sun was rising, and feeling like only we existed. I remember that look in his eyes, flowing with so much love. I remember those sad Sunday morning bus rides home and that desperate feeling of not wanting to let go. I remember that last kiss, the smell, the taste, the feel of it. I remember that ripping in my heart and that hopeless feeling that it would never heal.

I remember that feeling of trust and strength and clarity I felt when my friend would sing to me my favorite song before I went to sleep. Late at night, when the world was asleep, she would sing to me, her heart comforting mine through her powerful voice. I dont know if she realized, but sometimes it was the only thing that would quiet the demons inside of me, just long enough for me to fall asleep.

I have so many positive memories. My family and friends have helped me celebrate every milestone and important event in my life; pictures and gifts will attest to that. But what amazes me is that those memories that creep into my mind when I least expect it, are often those that did not seem momentous when they occurred. They are not memories of events but memories of emotions. The strongest emotions, those that left a discernable imprint, are those I experienced fully. Those times when I stopped and let my senses and emotions guide me are the ones that made an impact on my psyche.
It leads me to wonder how many more of these memories I could have if I took the time to really feel and really be and really live in the moment. How much richer would life be if I didnt just survive through each day, but actually took the split second it takes to live with intention, to stop and feel each moment as it comes.

(thanks to my beautiful, talented goldie for that stunning picture of the pink flowers)


At Sunday, May 28, 2006 10:02:00 AM, Blogger HumanBeforeJewish said...

the powers of the human mind coupled with the power of the heart.

At Sunday, May 28, 2006 12:32:00 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

yI also enjoy thinking back and remembering certain milestones and the events leading up to them.... I really think your story is beautiful and you are amazing for sharing it!

I also wanted to say that the picture of the pink flowers really made me homesick for Israel. Something about that picture really rings true for me... tell your friend its great for me.

At Sunday, May 28, 2006 4:51:00 PM, Blogger the only way i know said...

just wanted to say 'hi' on your blog site!
did not get a real chance to read -but will try later!
see ya around!

At Sunday, May 28, 2006 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Lady-Light said...

I can very much relate to what you are describing; the moments I remember of my life, I would not call them 'emotion', but rather, 'portraits'; a sort of stop-time moment of ordinary significance: me as a child in my grandparents' (z"l)apt. in NY, not far from Y.U., a fruit bowl with persimmons on a little table...a fern tree through the smudged window pane down in the street below...their alarm clock ticking in the bedroom through French doors...a memory of my grandparents in the not-so-nice neighborhood of Washinton Heights, NY. My grandmother saying to me, 'a gedileh af dein kepaleh'...bittersweet memories...

At Monday, May 29, 2006 6:32:00 AM, Blogger jim said...

I was raised pagan/christian, mostly pagan. a child, i played with the neighborhood children, it was a Jewish neighborhood. I am 60 now, I remember vividly the interiors of the homes, the elders sitting and talking of Israel, Zion, I remember the infrequent trips to the synagogue with my playmates and their families. Those are my emotions, those were my treasures.

I love your photograph as well, it is so real.


At Monday, May 29, 2006 7:19:00 AM, Blogger Benji said...

I am heading to Yeshiva in 2007, and in the last few months I have wondered whether I should immerse myself in Torah and let myself go, or hold on to my heart. Your beautiful essay gave me the answer. Thank you.

I often wander if I took the right path. In retrospect, while I found this journey to be a tremendously lonely one, for the first time in my life I am able to look myself in the eye and say that I am being true to myself and my beliefs. While there is a lot of work to be done in the future, it is the first time in my life that I have had peace of mind.

At Monday, May 29, 2006 8:57:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

HumanBeforeJewish - amazing isnt it? we seem to know what to remember and what to forget without even realizing it.

FrumGirl - thanks for your praise. hopefully i wont need to let her know and she will check out my blog on her own (right goldie??)
she really is talented!

the only way i know said - hi to you too :) come by and visit again.. and stay longer next time. and READ next time!! (and start your own blog already!)

Lady-Light said - 'stop-time moment of ordinary significance' i like that. thaanks for sharing your memory. one thing though, what does this mean : 'a gedileh af dein kepaleh'? :)

jim said - im glad to know those memories will keep being as vivid, sometimes im afraid they'll fade.. then again, sometimes im afraid some of them wont..

Benji - what can i say, im (almost)speechless! im flattered to have had a part in your decision. not to sound any more corny than necessary, but listen to your soul - you know deep in your heart what you want and where you want to be. and if anything tries to get in the way, know that its fear - and once you give it a name, and you face it, you can also learn to let it go. if you want to discuss this more, going to israel, going to yeshiva, taking this lonely journey, please feel free to email me. good luck benji

At Monday, May 29, 2006 9:31:00 AM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...


At Monday, May 29, 2006 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Yid Erotica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Monday, May 29, 2006 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

come over-we need each other

At Monday, May 29, 2006 1:38:00 PM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

I don't want to spoil the atmosphere of this beautiful post, nevertheless you may be interested to know that it's quite known in the field of Marketing that memories coupled to an emotion are the strongest one.

At Monday, May 29, 2006 1:43:00 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

lakewood venter, thanks :)

pragmatician, nothinig to spoil. marketing wouldnt be such a succeful field if it wasnt based on some good research on the human psyche.
i never claimed that this was my own discovery :) i was just commenting and reminiscing on my own memories.
thanks for calling it beautiful tho!

At Monday, May 29, 2006 2:45:00 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Ahhh I loved this...
My favorite place on earth is soon as I'm rich enough...I want to buy an apt there..
(of course you're all invited..)

At Monday, May 29, 2006 8:21:00 PM, Blogger Mata Hari said...


At Tuesday, May 30, 2006 3:21:00 PM, Blogger zenjew said...

i love this blog! you put so much thought in to your posts.

there's actually a new genre developing now of ppl publishing their blogs as books! you should seriously consider.

about your whole reflection on memories....i really feel the same way! i'm not visual about my memories at all, and i create and re-create my "souveneirs in time" as i like to call them. my memories. i'm constatnly recreating, constantly re-membering (re-assembling), retelling my life, my story in new ways that mean new things at new times!

wow. i think im going to write a poem about this.

all the best, and keep up the beautiufl posts!


At Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:09:00 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

It is funny how out of nowhere memories do just pop up. Wish only the good ones would pop up.


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