a year after
thoughts of death
meditation therapy, one year after my father’s passing. Okay, got it under wraps.
Then comes Tuesday night, with constant Red alerts. My phone app repeats again and again, which of my friends and neighbours are being ordered into their shelters within 15 seconds. On my kibbutz, life goes on until 2 a.m. when we, too, are ordered to the shelter twice within 30 minutes.
Morning arrives for me at 4:30 a.m and all’s well until once more Red alerts begin at five a.m. School buses are on standby until five-thirty when we’re told everything’s fine for returning to normal living.
Our English department has been geared up for running our second highly organized, multi-stationed English Day, this time for the seventh grade. All teachers rally, send their own little children to kindergarten or to school and show up to don commemorative shirts and organize their stations: obstacle courses, Bedouin tents, Hanoch Piven portrait stations, falafel making, poster-making, map making, theater and dance stations, to name only a few.
All goes well. We do it. We are immersed in alternate learning and the pupils respond well. We clean up and head home. Wednesday has been offered and delivered.
Then comes the post-trauma
cracker and peanut butter therapy
hanoch piven style art therapy
guantanamera rhythm therapy
I think I’ve got it under control. But that night, I can’t sleep, I’m buzzing, and I wake up on Thursday with a feeling of vulnerability. Gratitude for the chance to lead a classroom mindfulness morning.
I coast along through Thursday’s classes, looking forward to my mindfulness workshop. Today’s topic: being the change. If we find ourselves unable to alter outer circumstances, we can shift our own perception.
Happily I invite in the participants and hoping to draw on our last workshop when we came up with solutions, I’d like to offer the chance to experiment with our own perceptions and how to notice our inner responses to an event.
When I introduced the theme, T asks for a chance to talk about the war we’d all just been through, a mini-session and a major trigger of all previous wars in our area. I assured him we’d address it right after we began with a short breathing meditation to connect to the present moment.
Some of the boys couldn’t get into it, and they bothered others. This was no time to remove students, since I wanted us to feel that all were welcomed.
Being the Change didn’t seem to make a dent in what they needed to talk about, as each expressed anger at the Hamas in Gaza, at the civilians for voting in Hamas, at their attacks on us and on world opinion which seemed bent on placing the blame on us, on Israel.
The session was what they needed. The session was not what I personally needed since my own personal sadness was being given serious reinforcements. Sadness for their predicament, sadness for the predicament of the civilians in Gaza, sadness for the impossible situation in which I was currently living.
Sadness for the lost optimism, sadness for lack of hope in these kids, sadness for me being unable to magically snap my fingers and create a better present moment.
Tears are ineffective in such cases of sadness, and although I let them fall when the last student left the workshop, they barely made a dent in my well of sadness.
all things pass. This too is but a cloud in the huge blue sky of life. But attention to the cloud is valid, for out of recognition comes self-knowledge. No point ignoring the cloud, for the cloud is indeed stubborn. And rather than allow it to fester and infect other clouds, observing it and honouring its presence might allow the infiltration of light.
Worth a try.