Lessons I Teach Myself
You and I have quite a relationship, don't we?
It's healthy, most of the time. You have your place, I have mine. I accept you, invite you, and you show up most of the time consistently, and sometimes -- at the very last minute of the party of my life.
You know, I don't say this often - but I truly love you Money.
Not for who you are. I am well aware you are only an idea, a figment of our species' imagination, an agreed upon concept that is deeply ingrained to us all. Us humans see you as the force that 'makes the world go round.' And in some societal ways, you do.
But you see Money, I love you - for what you bring along with you.
And by that, I DON'T mean the material, security, or freedom that you grace us all with your presence. Sure, they're all incredibly nice, and worthy of attention as well, but I am referring to the possibility of personal growth you bring along both in your absence and in your presence. I guess I am a junkie of 'getting to know myself', and you Money, help quite a bit in that department.
I always thought of you as a bi-product of my success. And if so, then what is success? Is it measured with material? With luxuries? With generational wealth? Perhaps to some. But not to me.
To me, it is measured with the willingness to go on a journey and trust that there would be no lack where I go. That there will be an abundance.
An abundance of creativity, of joy, of happiness, of richness, of thought, of love. Yup, as cheesy as that may sound. And it seems to me, that that type of abundance doesn't always depend on you. It can show up with you, or completely without - for the enlightened ones among us.
You, dear Money, bring up to us small minded humans - the notions of greed and survival. As if to tease us, to say 'Where are YOU at with money? Do you have plenty? Do you want more? Do you need more? Are you content with what you have? How are you at releasing money? Does it bring up fear? Are you ashamed to ask for more? Is it never enough?
Thank you Money, for showing up, with all these questions at once.
Our encounter with each other is sometimes frightening - when I feel like I'm going to lose you and never see you again. But other times, it is invigorating - when you show up gloriously, and with you - so does my sense of inner trust, gratitude and moments of abundance.
To the phrase 'Money doesn't grow on trees', I say:
'True, it doesn't. But rather, it IS trees.
So plant them well, water them, untangle their roots, and enjoy their fruits.'
P.S. Don't wait for another invitation to show up. You are invited, welcomed, and wanted. COME. :)
The first understanding of the other --
Is with mother.
She welcomes you to live, to listen, to dance, to play.
To put on the coat of identity.
It starts with a push.
Then, a sob.
Then, an embrace.
Then, a name.
That is always there.
If you ever wonder who you were before you became an other --
Ask your mother.
Deserts are my favorite landscapes.
Why is that?
Reason says it's because I grew up in the desert mountains of Jerusalem, only twenty minutes away from a full-on-desert with all its bareness.
A more poetic perspective will tell me it's because of the desert's "vast openness and seemingly deserted vacancy of life. It's in the emptiness that we grow, emerge and create."
A desert surely isn't the most beautiful to look at it.
Nor is it the easiest environment to live in.
Not to mention the heat can be unbearable even for the heat-lover that I am.
But when I dream -- I am often in a desert.
When I am in a desert -- something instantly relaxes in me.
When I think of a desert -- I get a twinkle in my eye.
Is it home to me? Perhaps.
Here are some deserts I love:
*Wadi Rum, Jordan
*Joshua Tree, California
Making decisions for an unknown future is like the bizarre experience of jumping off an airplane:
*There is no logic to it whatsoever.
*You have no idea how it's gonna go.
*Fear is along the ride, whether you plan for its arrival, or not.
Bottom line is, I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time (or, all the time?), and I believe this applies to most of us. But we roll with it. We make our decisions, plan our plans, dream our dreams, and hope for the best.
Covid era, stripping off the illusion of 'knowing how the future will go', can connect us to what we really want. So as I am scrolling through listings of potential new homes to live in, I realize I have a desire to live surrounded by nature, in a community of like minded friends. A commune of mobile homes in Malibu? A kibbutz in Topanga?? No idea. But in the spirit of being a hippie, I'm gonna roll with it and see where it takes me.
Consider this my first step at manifesting my desire.
What would the next step be?
I asked for mystery,
And mystery, I received.
In a blank afternoon,
An afternoon delight,
And food for thought.
I invited mystery into my life,
And there she was,
With her magic touch,
And her fearful pull.
I followed her down her chimney,
And it lead me to the other side.
Where I got to live in color,
And wonder where I was.
Where time no longer mattered,
And neither did I.
Mystery hugged me with love,
And spat me out with venom.
And she spun me into peace,
And echoed with violence from above.
It was a rollercoaster of the magical kind,
And the chimney lasted a century.
Or so it felt,
In the other side.
I asked for mystery,
And I received.
And now back home I know,
That Wishes come true.
And Dreams are lived .
And Mothers are our gateway to the selves.
So good night world,
And thank you for the magic .
I remember it all,
Your message, was received.
I see you, hiding behind your computer, calibrating which words of hate will you write today, or what person would you target, with that smirk lined up across your face.
That smirk is hiding something.
You think you hide it well, under the facade of digital anonymity, but the message is clear between your hateful lines. It says: 'I am hating on YOU, because I'm hating on ME.'
Some unsolicited advice:
Have you tried meditation? Therapy? Counseling? Going jogging? SELF-CARE!?
Before you retreat into your habit of hating and calling me a hippie, or whatever... take a moment, find a quiet place, and take a deep long breath.
Have you taken one yet?
Take another one.
Good. Now close your eyes. Listen in to your breaths.
When there is no distraction around, and nothing to hear but your own breaths and thoughts.... what do you hear? Do you hear words of judgment coming from that thinker in your brain? Words of contempt, even? Maybe some shame will surprise you with its presence? Or pleasure? Or perhaps softer words thanking you for the stillness?
Keep breathing. Keep tuning in.
Maybe eventually you can take off the mask of a hateful troll, and join the rest of us self-caring hippies. :)
I GENUINELY wish you well.
Now excuse me while I go and sage off the hate you tried to lash on me .
New York City, two thousand and...something.
I am a young enthusiastic actress, fresh off the boat foreigner with big dreams and 'chutzpah'.
I go to an acting conservatory in Times Square during the day, and watch theatre on and off Broadway, at night. My life revolves around theatre. I left a country behind, a language behind, a boyfriend behind, an actual acting career behind in Israel, to hone my craft in NYC because 'If ya make it there, ya make it anywhere.'
If this sounds familiar, it's because there are millions of others like me. Millions of young dreamers, setting foot in the city that never sleeps. The city that may be the answer to their prayers, the starting off point of their careers. Be it in theatre, music, art, or even wall street.
Embarking on my journey to the United states, wasn't a thought I had to dwell on. Not even for a second. It was something I knew I'd do years before. Back when I was a little girl in Jerusalem, I adopted the American dream as my own, and as an actress - I knew I had to be in New York City.
So here I was, living my dream as an international theatre student in the big apple.
It sounds magical in retrospect, but it was a bit of a grind in reality.
I went through a healthy portion of hurdles in those days, but a particular one is important to mention: The English Language. How to speak it. And how to sound native to it.
As someone who was born and raised in another country, speaking Hebrew as my first (and only fluent) language, I had to overcome loads of language barriers (Um, occasionally I STILL have to), and learn how to eliminate my non-American accent. (something I STILL work at, though I can fool most people as being American nowadays). And I wasn't going to let the hurdles of speaking with a foreign accent, and having a limited vocabulary, stand in my way. After all, I was driven by fearless ambition and 'chutzpah', remember?
So I began...
Reading ONLY English. Speaking ONLY English.
Studying speech & dialects diligently with the help of a dialect coach (Leigh Dillon, I'll shout-out your name forever 'cause you're the BEST!), and re-training my tongue and mouth as if they were muscles. (Because, well, they ARE.)
I would practice daily.
In the subway, to the mirror, with a cork in my mouth. Whenever, wherever. I was hungry to learn. I was hungry to succeed. And mostly, I was hungry to disappear into another identity.
Bear with me as I fast forward to some years later: I am in the City of Angels, I am a working actress (working sometimes, I mean - the ups and downs of this industry are things I know all too well. Sigh..) and among my many supplemental jobs, I am finding myself coaching a Ukrainian actress on how to reduce her accent. She has a great ear, and can repeat sounds perfectly, but retreats back to her Ukrainian accent when she forms words and sentences. Although she has all the technical skills needed, she is clearly resistant to reducing her accent. In a heartfelt chat, we discover why: She doesn't want to let go of her identity.
And in that moment, I realize: I DID.
In fact, It seems as though I wanted to let go of my identity more than anything.
Speaking and sounding American, was sort of like a 'mask', or a self-given permission to BELONG to the new environment I was in.
That 'mask' fits well, and believe me - I get immense pleasure when people are surprised by my country of origin. But underneath the mask of 'Perfectly sounding American accent'?
Underneath, I am an outsider. An 'other.'
One who is still seeking to belong, but accepting that I may never will.
To be continued...
*Photo: 'Lunch Atop A Skyscraper'
Where have you been?
It's been like, forever, since the last time we've seen each other.
We used to hang out a lot, you and I, remember?
I know I promised that I will never leave you behind.
But I grew older, dear Innocence, and I'm sad to say.... I forgot about you.
Us adults do that. We forget the things that mattered to us when we were children.
To survive a less-than-innocent world, we learn to be 'thick-skinned', 'street-smart', 'aware.' And with those new findings, some older ones get lost. Like our innocence.
Dear Innocence, I catch snippets of you in moments. They're brief, but precious moments:
Like when I lick my favorite flavor of ice cream; When I play with my nephew and niece; When I stare at a newborn's eyes staring back at me with their innocence in full bloom; When l hear certain music. Folky music that seem to belong to a more innocent time, Like The Beatles. Or Simon & Garfunkel. Or Don McLean; I feel you with me when I rollerblade; And when I eat french toast, or blintzes, or a bar of Toblerone; I meet you in my dreams, my favorite dreams actually. The ones when I fly and soar so high, I wake up invigorated; I notice you when I cuddle with my love, and press my head against his chest, to feel his beating heart; I remember you in the mornings when I catch a ray of light shining through the window, and when I feel the warm sun on my skin; I feel you when the rain drops. Especially with the first rain of winter. A sight that makes me smile so big, like how I did when I was little. Back when you were with me all the time. Back when I had no worries in the world, because I had YOU.
I miss you, Innocence.
I've grown up, and left you behind. I've grown sharper, darker, smarter, grittier.... like the rest of us 'functioning adults' (Yuck! Even writing that makes me nauseous), and left my dear ole' little innocence, behind. And now here we are: I am longing for your return, while you punish me with your absence.
How long, until you grace us with your presence?
Wondering for me, and also for the entire world.
You see, we could all use more innocence these days.
*ART: 'Innocence' by Tanya Eliasov
Fly me to your dream,
Let me see what's hidden in your thoughts.
Why you wake in sweat, and scream.
Let ME connect those dots.
Fly me to your dream,
Let me hear your deepest melody.
Let me gush, crawl, watch, swim
And not be here, in my jealousy.
Fly me to your dream.
Tell me, do you dream of me? Think of me? Serenade to me?
Do you die in your dream? Do you fly?
Do you fall into the bed and freeze?
Do you fall back asleep with ease?
Fly me to your dream.
Let me see the story that you ride.
The misery that you hide.
The man-child that has lied.
Fly me to your dream.
Let us waltz together on a cloud.
Let us gaze at each other, proud.
Lets forget life back over here.
Lets dive deep, and disappear.
*ART: "Dream Lovers," by Jamie Goldenberg,
One day we may all look at this time in our lives...
We may be telling our grandchildren: 'You know, when I was your age, the entire world shut down because of a rapidly spreading infectious virus, which lead to political movements and collapses unlike anything the world has ever seen before, globally!'
Or we may say to our grandchildren over and over again: 'Watch your hands twenty seconds honey. Better safe than sorry...' And while they roll their eyes at us, our sons or daughters will come to our rescue and whisper to the grandkids: 'Don't mind grandma. She went through Covid.'
We may be reminiscent of this time in our lives and of our communities coming towards each other.
Or we may be shaking our heads in disbelief, at how divided our communities have been during this crisis.
We may count our blessings and be grateful to have survived.
We may mourn those we have lost.
We may not think much of it at all. Maybe we'll even block this era from our brains. As if it never even happened..
Be it what may, changes are happening on a personal and a collective scale.
Personally, this era's pause in time, gave me a gift of appreciating time. I no longer will waste it on anything that doesn't sit well with me. That isn't aligned with me. That isn't filling my gut with butterflies, rather than dread. Whether it is whoever I work with, in a relationship with, am friends with, what information I take in, what source, what entertainment I absorb, and so on.
Valuing my time, means setting boundaries for anything that isn't nourishing and fulfilling.
But also remembering that nourishment and fulfillment can be UNCOMFORTABLE. Discomfort is often where growth and change happen for me.
And the art of distinguishing between what is truly nourishing, and what is a waste of my newly crowned precious time...?
Well, that's another lesson to learn, another seed of growth to plant, and another change to go through. Here's to ch-ch-ch-changes!
Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog that may, or may not be, of any significance to anyone other than herself. If you found her lil' life lessons, stories, poems and blurbs meaningful to you, well that's f**ing amazing! Comment and share so she can pat herself in the back - she doesn't do that nearly enough. Cheers.