“To die with elation is a crappy way of dying… A warrior dies the hard way. His death must struggle to take him. A warrior does not give himself to it.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Family

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My recent travels have given rise to thoughts about family. Traveling agitates my energy, it destabilizes me and my body tenses and aches. So, actually, the stops on the way are those that affected me and got me thinking.

A few weeks ago, during my day in Tel-Aviv family surfaced for the first time in my consciousness. It was just past 5pm. I felt demolished. I called @ronenk, whom I’d never met in person before, and asked him to bring me to a place of shelter and refuge from the overwhelming city experience (I could not yet leave the city because I had one more engagement I planned and wanted to attend). He told me to come and join him and @naamasegal. When we spoke on the phone I was standing on a busy road overlooking a traffic-jammed highway, and I thought (wished!?) he was inviting me to Naama’s home.

When I reached the address he gave me and found him I realized I was going into another disturbing experience – a coffee shop. I was in for a surprise. After a full-hearted, paternal hug from @ronenk, I soon found myself sitting in a corner chair of a corner table in the company of two new friends (soon to be joined by @yoavsegal) – and the rest of the city seemed to fade from my consciousness. They took me into their intimate bubble, one that was created before I arrived. They were understanding, soft and caring. There were family.

When I set out on my journey to Romania I left a couple of days before my flight. The first leg of my journey was from our house in the north to my parents house in the center area of Israel (so that I would have a recess before the next part of the journey). Obviously my parents and sisters are family – biologically. Yet our relationship is not always familial. They gave me shelter and food and we also managed to strike a conversation in which we met with attention and curiosity (instead of typical friction). They too were family.

I wrote these words at the home of a family who lives in Bucharest. They are Andreea’s friends and they offered to help in making a transition from Bucharest airport to Piatra Neamt (where Andreea and her family await me). Help was needed. The trains in Romania, like many other things, are not very reliable and the fresh snow made them even less so. We were not able to make it to a train on the day I landed and so they gave me a home for the night. They live in a 2 room apartment and I slept peacefully in one of the rooms while they (two adults and two children) slept in the other. They fed me and provided me with a warm shower. They cared and supported with generous patience. Even thought I was in a distant, foreign, busy, cold and snowy city, diverted from my planned journey, I felt at home. They too were family.

As I write these words, I am on my way to another, even more remote, distant and cold city. I am going to meet new members of my biological family. I can already feel care and curiosity reaching out to me from Andreea and them (people I’ve never met), wrapping me comfortable and safely in another familial bubble.

I eventually made it onto a train that was heading in the correct direction. I purchased 1st class tickets to ensure I had a place to sit. I had seat number 104 on carriage 9. The carriage only had 96 seats. When I approached a conductor – he said “yes, this is a problem” and gestured for me to get on. I climbed back into the train into a crowded passageway, barely finding a place for myself and my luggage. I was standing right in the connecting area between two carriages. When the train began to move, snow, from the carriage seams, began to fall on me and on my luggage – while I was holding first class tickets. Despite all the discomfort I was still content and happy, still protected by family.

Family is a surprising and refreshing experience for me after all these years. I believe that families make homes.

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