Coming Alive

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

July 30th, 2012 • Random RamblesPrint Print

When I traveled through Spain and Israel a few weeks ago, I came alive. There is a vibe there that feels AWAKE. People seem more human. People are talking and laughing and connecting through very late at night. People are spilling out onto the streets. In Tel Aviv in particular, I felt safe walking around by myself at 3 am. I felt safe walking on the beach at midnight. Speaking of which, I joined a group of people dancing and drumming. Then I heard trance music from a café and started dancing to it, only to be joined by a group of three people who danced with me. And throughout it all, I was accompanied by a guy who was also walking on the beach – we had started talking after about 10 min of walking on the surf, 10 paces apart.

In Tel Aviv, life was crazy – people on scooters driving onto the sidewalk, where cyclists also bike and throngs of people walk. But somehow it doesn’t bother me. I realized, as I walked around in the chaos, that I trust people in Israel, in a way that I don’t trust people in America. I trust people on the roads, too, driving on the freeways. Now I know there are lots of accidents, so I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just that everything feels fun and friendly and human and family like (in a good way). And that just brings out in me something that flows.

Here in America, I find myself getting angry often. Angry at the way people drive, at the way people push past me in the supermarket. I guess I’m like a piece of a puzzle that clicks into place when I’m in Israel. Genetics, culture, familiarity from going back and forth as a child and young adult. I don’t know quite what it is. But I know that it’s not just the travel high, because I lived in Israel too. I mean, I’m sure that some of my ease came from the fact that I’m traveling, but there is something else too. I think it’s accurate to say that, despite stays in Israel where I’ve had some real struggles, I’ve always felt more alive and open. In fact, Israel was always the place where I came alive – where what needed to open opened, and where what needed to close closed.

It’s like, their crazy is my crazy. Their weirdness is my weirdness. There is something that just clicks into place. I don’t feel as defensive or on guard. I feel such a deep sense of joy. And of course, it’s just the coolest thing ever to be living life in Hebrew and knowing that my ancestors walked the land. Israel feels mine like no other country ever can. Maybe that’s part of why I feel safe and grounded – I’m home.

It’s been a real struggle coming back. I’m having a hard time. My relationship with my mom is incredibly strained all of a sudden. I think I felt so free and joyous, and then to come back and have all the family drama and crazy shit and accompanying depression just feels like stepping into quicksand. And my soul is yearning for the aliveness, the freedom that I felt just two weeks ago. The contradiction between that sense in my soul and this sense in my soul is almost too much to handle.



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