Friday, August 7, 2009


I have two songs that have been a constant accompaniment to my time here.

Kol ha'olam kulo
Gesher tzar me'od
Veha'ikar lo lefached klal.

This song is learned by Israelis when they are young; everyone knows it. They are words of wisdom from the famous kabbalist Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, set to a haunting melody. The whole entire world is a very narrow bridge and the main thing to recall is to have no fear at all. It is a message I am trying to carry with me, to keep reminding myself of as I grapple with some important life decisions, to find peace amidst the pain of closing the doors to some important players -- people and paths -- in my life (important closure, good closure, but, needless to say, not easy goodbyes).

This weight is tempered by a weight of a different kind.

There is so much magnificence in the ocean.
The waves keep coming in.

The ocean is life. The waves everything that life throws our way, sometimes gentle, sometimes rough, big, small, and in beautiful rare moments, stillness. But they never stop. I spent a good part of this afternoon sitting on a deserted stretch of the beach in Haifa, this song repeating itself in my mind.

I was having a long discussion with a friend about, well, that magnificence. Finding true self in the face of everything society says you must be, living the life you want, the raw blows, the great gifts, going inside rather than outside one's self for wisdom and knowledge, how to give back, to be a part of the magnificence. I think of the freedom, its weight, its power, that I wrote about in my first post. I think about how everything I have needed has been here for me, the synchronicities I've experienced, all of the little pieces that keep falling into place. I think of the people who have come into my life and the amazing lessons I have learned from all of them, the ways they've challenged me to grow and change, whether or not they know it. I look out over the Mediterranean Sea from a different vantage point, a hill high atop Haifa, the sun about to pass the horizon and begin shabbat, and think of that on a macro scale, all of the pieces of this world, this universe, that work together allowing us to exist at all. (And think of how odd it is that, when I logged in to write this post, I saw that a friend had written some beautiful words about this song too. Pshhhhh.)

Everything is magnificent. The good, the bad, the peaceful, the painful. It is easy to be distracted by these overwhelmingly beautiful sites, to lose sight of the magnificent small moments, too. There is this beautiful sunset behind me... but I don't need it. I can close my eyes and feel a bit of the cool evening breeze, and that's enough.

A wise man I met in Sinai said that he gets up every morning with one simple thought: being thankful for this day. It is all we have. The past is over, the future does not yet exist. All we have is this moment. How grateful I am for this moment, for every step of my journey here, whether seemingly easy or incredibly difficult. This moment. This magnificence. The balance to stay on the narrow bridge.

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