LIVING UNSCRIPTED: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

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There aren’t any (mirrors). None that I’ve noticed, except the small above-the-sink mirror in the bathroom, nailed to the wall, 4’5″ from the floor — which means I can see me from my shoulders up, a sink width away (tough, cause I’m near-sighted). I can see my upper half at night, reflected back through one of the glass windows but the only way for me to see my whole self is thru the eyes of the beholder. If I’m dressed appropriately — or in short-shorts too early in the season, it’s obvious from the grins or grimaces on the faces of my fellow kibbutzniks, that even in the dessert, I can make a fashion faux pas.

I’ve been trying to grasp the psychobabble concept of Mirror Reflection for years: Projecting something on to someone else what’s really about you. And here I am face-to-face with my face through the look on their faces — and it’s fascinating. When I realized “eye contact’’was available as a ‘”quick check” for the proverbial “slip showing,” I looked in their faces and the first thing I saw was my ego – and my ego told me to go back to putting on eye make up.

This place is conducive for reflecting and the Kibbutzniks often do. They like sitting quietly, communicating softly and examining their inner thoughts. The young volunteers that are here, for the most part, have consciously disconnected from outside influences trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve already lived the answers to their questions but after 5 weeks in the Promised Land, I’m hearing a bunch of reflective examining going on in my psyche even so …

In the middle of wondering if I could actually have the guts to stay here for a year or three or five, whatever, my tenant emailed that he’d like to extend his sublet . . . Ok, the additional income would be smart but what would I do with more time outside my apartment?? What if Brielle comes home for summer break?? My inside voice talked about feeling unsettled.

I checked out at least one option via SKYPE and Bond, James, stepped up immediately. He suggested I to move to Tampa and in with him. “What?” I giggled, “Do you really want to live with me??” “Sure!” [pregnant pause] “…think of all the great sex we’d have,” he added in a husky whisper. No surprise there . . . but seriously? He is one of the good-guys/he loves me. My inside voice talked about feeling protected/safe.

And I read an email from my daughter, Lynn, the same day, that they were packing up for a family ski vacation – Ok, wow. I had no idea they were taking off for a week. My inside voice definitely picked up on my feeling distanced.

My inner noise took over, sorting out the issues and the dialogue inside my head went like this:

Inner voice (while my eyes were surveying the landscape):

Ok! Twenty years ago, these guys were a group of like-minded relatively young adults who got together and decided to form a society, combining their skill sets to build a community for the benefit of the whole, including the planet (ergo veggie, organic).

Inner voice responding to itself (using logic):

Well…not unlike my gal pals back home…a group of “like-minded” — ok, relatively middle-aged and unexpectedly single again women, but yet we banded together for the benefit of — ok, not financial but emotional support and to help each other through whatever happens next (ergo wine, and more wine)

And adding on a positive note (finding the ‘win’):

I have real family (and a great guy) who love me and want me to be a part of their lives…

None-the-less, here I am, admiringly envious of the core group at Neot S’madar who have created nothing less than a masterpiece with their families, their extended families — and us buddies, temporary participants in the fabric of their day-to-day, touched by their generosity and spirit…

So I’m reflecting. Questioning my own limits….Wondering how I got to be “here, now” — very likely a direct descendent of a Hebrew-speaker a lot shorter than me, who sat on these same pile of rocks a very long time ago, probably also eating olives and milking goats.

And then we had one hour of total silence this morning during breakfast, as an experiment…  To see what affect the absolute quiet would have on us as individuals and as a group. We couldn’t use words to ask to pass an egg or the breadbasket…We had to point to it if we wanted it. Never-mind that I joyfully waitressed the first half hour, knowing the imposed non-verbal communication would put us on a level playing field: I can’t speak Hebrew and they couldn’t use language…But the amazing part was when I stepped outside after eating.  Everyone was in the courtyard, laying out on the lawn or sitting along the wall – close but separate, not touching…”together in silence” as Max would say. It was extremely powerful… emotional.

It reminded me of a moment I had earlier with Tessa, a genteel beauty at 55, who’s in charge of the herbs (Note: fresh lemongrass, sage and mint make a fantastic tea). She showed me a bed of flowers in various shades of orange and yellow growing in bunches on the grass near the courtyard. From a distance, each appeared to be one solid color…despite a bent leaf or two, when you look closely, there are layers of very different colors at the base of each petal coming up from the center, in perfect symmetry, as if hand painted by Mother Nature herself. Mystical.

On the morning of absolute silence, I suppose we looked like a field of multi-layered colorfully clothed still bodies from afar. But what I saw up close were very different faces on those various shaped bodies — and reflected in those faces sitting quietly near one another, was depth in silent meditation. In the mirror of their collective reflection, I felt that biblical connection to the Hebrew-speaker who sat where I was sitting, eating veggie organic, while I wondered who I am. Where/who is my future?

As I walked away from that hour and on to my workstation, I noticed the mountains in the distance, brighter, sharper — and the goats in their pens…the dry sand, the rich patches of garden, spring beginning…Taking it all in with a deep breath, I smiled — and heard the voice in my head conclude that if everything in nature is “in balance” then so are we. Like the flowers that come in many colors, we do too. And like those flowers with bent leaves that are still “perfect” in color and design — so are we.

That’s what I see in them and see in their faces reflected back at me… I see different — and perfectAnd that’s how I feel.

NOTE TO SELF: Skip on down the road girl! Whatever…lol!

About Shaz

I’m 59 and never expected to be divorced and, having raised a big family in the city I grew up in, to be still living there now completely on my own. My parents are gone and my grown children have opted for smaller towns. My father passed away this past February and my children suggested I take off and make a world tour of all my friends overseas…In piecing that together in my mind, I imagined taking a boat across, as I did the first time I went to Europe with my grandmother, as a teenager – and in that vision, I imagined taking those first five days and writing. Writing about where I’d been, writing about what I want, writing about the crossing over from my past to my future.

In reestablishing myself as a single woman, I’ve made new connections with some fabulous women and realized I’m not the only one going through this; there are other women out there who are also on a journey to becoming whole again. I hope my personal adventure will help us all find humor in the aging process –and confidence in following our hearts.