At the soul-care garage

As my visit is drawing to a close, the sun is rising over Brooklyn. The magic red couch is holding me as if I weren’t leaving tomorrow. I have come apart at the seams, and I feel safe.

True transformation, I have learned here at the soul-care garage, does not require the impossible. “If you let yourself feel the world’s needs and shortcomings to the bone and let it transform you, you will have everything you’ll ever need.”

I am prepared now.

So I will leave this place, with a suitcase full of stories and a heart full of love, and will start unearthing the treasures I didn’t know I was carrying all along.


Thoughts on loss*

Every now and again,
my mom would say
“I don’t want to grow that old”,
meaning 81, like her father,
whom she found
dead in his favourite chair,
in the home she’d grown up in.

She is 63 now. I do the math
and feel panic
bubbling up inside me.

For that moment
I lose the ability to move, to think, to hold on
paralysed, I look at
my children’s faces
my children
who wouldn’t even remember her
because they are still so small
and, invariably, I cry.

Then I look at her
taking solace in her eyes,
her delicate hands and
solid body
and promise myself to stop
and remember, always to remember
this love.

*first published as a comment to this post.

List No. 7: 25 random things about me

<I wrote this list a year ago, forgot all about it, found it again and was reminded of that time. A time of need, dire need, of despair and help from unexpected place.>

1) I am much less organised than it seems.
2) I hardly ever get up when my son wakes up at night. It’s always my husband.
3) I need A LOT of sleep. Lack thereof leads to severely bad moods.
4) I love Arabic coffee.
5) However, I didn’t start drinking coffee until my pregnancy. Talk about ironic.
6) I don’t drink any beer except Guinness.
7) I would probably win against most people in a quiz on the TV series Friends.
8 ) I love making things myself. Most days involve some planning of new DIY projects.
9) I used to be afraid of the other mothers at the playground.
10) I believe that feminism shouldn’t be about women, it should be about mothers. It’s mothers who are being discriminated.
11) While I can be fairly opinionated, I mostly choose silence over upsetting or provoking people.
12) I am not happy about that.
13) While I love Hamburg, right now I would give my left foot for some sun and warmth.
14) I tend to get tired when it’s getting dark outside. Yes, even if it’s only 5pm.
15) I have a list of dreams I would like to see fulfilled. Although the thought alone scares me to death.
16) Attending a service at church never fails to make me cry. I have no idea why that is.
17) I once went to a church in Jerusalem where an old lady sang for me and my parents in Aramaic, which is supposed to be Jesus’ language. It was touching.
18) A British soldier once told me to go away unless I wanted to be shot in my pretty face while I was watching a parade in Derry, Northern Ireland.
19) I believe friendship doesn’t need spatial proximity.
20) I believe in friendship at first sight. Some call it congeniality of souls.
21) I hated being 16.
22) It took me several years to get over my first love starting a relationship with my then best friend behind my back.
23) I didn’t talk to my oldest and best friend for a year at high school. I don’t even remember why.
24) I admire people who follow their heart.
25) I will never forget the feeling of holding my son for the first time (and my daughter, too).

List No. 6: Places I want to go

Right now, life is crazy busy over here. Every time this happens, part of me longs for a quick get-away to far-away, exotic places. Preferably those I haven’t been to before. Here are some of them, in no particular order:

1. Iceland. There is something about this place that makes it magical and mystical in my head. I’ve been wanting to go there for a looong time.

2. Kenya. A good friend grew up there, and her brother is painting the most amazing pictures of their time there. I think I haven’t been there yet partly because I’m afraid I will want to move there. Or something.

3. Damascus, Syria. I can’t count the times someone has told me Damascus is the most beautiful city ever anymore. I want to see for myself.

4. Kashmir. Supposedly unbelievably beautiful, at the same time part of a political conflict. This has to appeal to someone of my profession.

5. Japan. I’m fascinated with the Geisha- and Samurai-culture, and absolutely adore Japanese artwork.

6. Istanbul, Turkey. I want to see where Europe meets Asia.

7. The Scottish Highlands. I have been to Scotland a couple of times, but have never made it into the Highlands proper. (We are going there this summer!!!)

8. The American West coast. I have never been to any Pacific coast, but have heard much about it. My dream is a tour with my family in a camper down from Vancouver to Mexico.

9. The Carribean Islands. I realise that’s a whole lot of islands, but I just find it too hard to decide! They all sound fabulous.

10. The Black Sea. I have seen the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. I want to go to Crimea, too.