29 March 2007

Ain't It Purty?

I can't believe it...after all that, it's finally here. I am so happy!
For those of you who have never owned a mac, and for those of you who have but have never been forcibly separated from your beloved mac, I will try to explain this to you. Until yesterday, I was left without my mac for over a month. I was going through withdrawals, foaming at the mouth, having seizures...I almost didn't survive....almost. I was like a photographer without a camera, a lifeguard without a whistle, a freelance writer without a pen and paper. I was a freelance writer without a medium. Awful. And then the day came. That glorious day of my salvation, when I picked up the phone and heard that sweet voice on the other end:
"Your laptop is here and ready. You can come pick it up."
I about died when I heard that. I. about. died.
So here it is, my new baby; she is going to help me make a lot of money too.

I would like to formally, although not finally, thank my grandparents - the Scheyer gma and gpa, and my gma Chandler. They saw I was in distress and helped generously and benevolently, and especially at this time when I needed them the most. Thank you.
One more view:

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28 March 2007

Working Hard

I am officially a freelance writer, although not yet published.
I am working, part time, on my own time really, for a Online Travel Publication - TripCart.com, writing up an enormously large project, detailing almost everything you would ever want to know when traveling to the Oregon Coast.
The bad news: there is none, really, except maybe the lack of guarrantee of income/payment. One word - freelance.
The good news: there is no bad news. Better than that, I work on my schedule, I set my deadlines (with pushes from my editor, who is a real 'ball breaker'- exactly what I need) and I'm working with a subject about which I know a lot already and will be an expert on before I'm finished.
Lastly, it's my first real job in Israel, and....I don't even need the Hebrew for it.
Just say yes to income....
Well, that's all for now.
Must go to work so I have something to turn into the editor tomorrow.

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10 March 2007

Purim...again, Dead Sea, and Why I Live in Israel

One of the pics I tried to post earlier. Jacqui (roommate) and I at the purim party. I'm on the right, in case you didn't know.

Maya and I at the Dead Sea:

Charlie's Angels wannabe:

Why I live in Israel:

I am hugging a Roman-era pillar found in the Cardo area of the Old City in Jerusalem. This is a representation of one of the main reasons I moved to Israel - the history, the archaeology, the incredible things that have happened in this place of which I now get to be a part. I am another link in the chain. I love that. That's the smile on my face, from deep within.

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09 March 2007

A Lesson in Empowerment

Per my last post, I would like to say a few things about UYO - Understanding Yourself and Others, the course I took a couple of weeks ago.
I first heard about the course while reading a woman's blog that I frequented before making aliyah. She is a new oleh herself (or was a newbie like me at some point - now a veteran relative to me) and described the course as 'the weekend that changed my life'. Okay, I was interested, although skeptical. Changing my life in one weekend? Hm....not so much.
I then read an article she had written about the course and was inspired that this might actually be something worthwhile. So, being the adventure-seeker that I am, I signed up for the course.
I arrived Wednesday evening nervous, afraid and self-conscious, with all of my well-developed defenses operating at full power. Our first order of business was an exercise centering around our attitudes and defense levels. The instructors began engaging individual students in simple conversations to determine whether the student was 'in learning' or 'in protection'. Learning, they explained, allows us to be open to an absorb any new information or ideas into our minds and hearts. Protection, you might imagine, does the opposite; it is an important mode of defense that we use to protect ourselves at key moments. Neither protection nor learning is better or worse than the other. There's really no need to put a value judgment on either of them. The point was to make sure that we were, first of all, aware of which mode we were operating in at any given moment, and, second of all, to make sure that we could be in learning at that moment, which was the best place to be in order to get the most we could out of the course - for ourselves.
The real purpose of the course was just what the title suggests, but much more - to peel off the layers of pain, rejection (my hold up) and mistaken beliefs that we have formulated about ourselves, the world and our place in it and to begin to see ourselves in all of our magnificence, power and potential so that we can better fulfill our vision for the world.
The course is structured so that it does not end until every student feels 'complete', like they have gotten out of the course what they came to get out of it. This was a different thing for everyone, but everyone left with a feeling of real personal empowerment and a real connection to themselevs and other people.
Without providing too much detail, I experienced and completed some real breakthroughs within myself in relation to my brother and myself, which had been real hold ups for me for as long as I can remember. The instructors created an intention for me: "Expect the best - you will create it". The hit home. I realized, first of all, that, although I consider myself a very intuitive and 'in touch' person, these people could intuit and see parts of me better than I could and, second of all that I really truly believed, with everything in me, that at some point these good things that were happening to me were going to fall apart. I believed that, eventually, no matter how good things were going, the bottom was going to fall out, that I was going to fail, that my life was going to blow up in a big mushroom cloud of nuclear destruction. Great outlook on life, huh?
The thing is, this belief that I had was not connected in any way to reality. I was helped to see that this was simply a mistaken belief that I had formulated when I was growing up, connected to some experience I had. the truth is, kids are great at feeling things and experiencing things but lousy at interpreting them. I had simply misinterpreted some experience that I had had and held on to that belief deep inside, whether it served me or not, or even whether I was conscious of it or not.
With this in mind, it was not revolutionary to figure out what to do next - find out where the belief came from and change it. What was revolutionary was actually changing it.
The instructors took one of my earliest memories, which, for the sake of your time and mine I will not go into here, and recreated it. It was painful; I allowed myself to go back there, to feel the pain that I had felt. I literally felt like I was back in that place. We recreated the experience with a role play, and then they did something I was not expecting. The instructors set up the same experience but simply tweaked the ending, which turned the experience from one of pain and rejection to one of love and acceptance and friendship. I was in shock. I literally felt as if I was back there again and that the situation was different. I really was loved; I really was accepted. It really is true. It is amazing.
All it took, honestly, was altering reality in my head. Yes, I know this sounds like a cult or something, but if you think about it it really makes sense. Every day, with every experience we have, we develop some belief about the world and where we stand in it. Could it be possible that we are creating an alternate reality in our heads that doesn't actually exist? What if we could create a happy reality in our heads? Just a thought.....
This was, at the surface level, the beginning of the jist of my UYO experience. Of course, there is so much more, especially stuff that I am still processing today. I am truly beginning to see my own magnificence. I never had any problem seeing the amazing qualities of my fellow human beings, but BELIEVING myself to be a brilliant, fabulous and powerful person...this is new. And I am loving it. I am loving that sweet, innocent, witty, gorgeous little girl that still lives passionately within me, the one with all the potential for changing the world. I am loving that this same sweet, beautiful girl is me.
I wish you all an excellent day and, for my jewish readers, a peaceful shabbat.

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04 March 2007

Purim '07. Could it be just a little more boring please?

It's Purim!!!! (Note, I was trying to post a picture on here, but it's NOT WORKING!! boohoo. Next time...)
This is actually one of my most favorite holidays and my first Purim in Israel. I've seen people dressed up in their costumes since the middle of last week and lots of litle kids dressed up as princesses, cowboys/girls (p.c.: cowpeople?) and spiderman.
I should be out having a party right now, but no.....I had to go and get sick today. Wait wait, don't worry about me. It's just a small head cold that will go away once I stop staying up until the wee hours of the morning every night when I have to get up early the next morning. So, it's 10 pm right now, the night before Purim in Jerusalem, probably the biggest party night of the year, and I must be the only person out of over a hundred living in this ulpan in bed talking to you people. Okay, you're right I'm talking to myself, but I can pretend, can't I?
I actually already had my party day today, as far as I'm concerned. Today, my good friend Maya and I took a bus down to the Dead Sea. We floated in the slimy, salty water, rolled around in the mud pile, rubbed mud all over ourselves, sat in the sun talking to an enourmous group of wonderful Nigerians (whom I think we saw in Jerusalem yesterday afternoon), got back in the water, washed the mud off of our skin, soaked in the hot spring/mineral bath, ate some ice cream and returned to Jerusalem just in time for a hot shower and dinner. IT. WAS. DIVINE. My skin feels silky smooth. I got more sun than I get in a whole winter in Oregon, and I am perfectly content to fall asleep to Indiana Jones right after I finish this post.
I just want to say a word about something I will try to blog on in the near future (god knows where I will find the time).
Last weekend, I participated in a group course entitled Understanding Yourself and Others, or UYO for short. The basic function of this course was, in short, to allow the us, the participants, to identify and understand the ways in which we sabotage relationships, and, furthermore, to strip off the layers of destructive behavioral and thought patterns that prevent us from getting what we really want - to connect to and be close to people - and that keep us from fulfilling our destinies on this planet. And all of this in one weekend. Let me just say that it was incredibly amazing, and I am still processing through the weekend and carrying powerful lessons and breakthoughs with me. For those of you living in Israel, there will be another UYO course in Jerusalem, in the second week of May. Check back for more about it here, or check out the blog authored by the woman who brought it to Israel (chayyeisarah.blogspot.com)
My friends keep asking me if it really was a life-changing experience. My relativist answer is that all experiences are life-changing, even you reading this sentence on this page right now. I have just changed your life....The real answer is that yes, it did change my life, not by virtue of the power of the course or the people or even the instructors (who are incredible teachers and people), but by virtue of my choice to change my life because of what I learned. This is the key. I made a choice, and I am different (positively) because of it.
I'll leave it at that (while I'm ahead). And go nurse my cold.
Au Revoir, L'hiraot, Sayonara. G'night.

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