Hmm. I do not remember when this was. Twelve years ago? That seems about right.
On the beach. Maybe 6pm, going on 7. Warm, sun-drenched. But not heat in the way that afternoon is heat. Sitting in the sand. Watching the water.
The best water, because this is the Mediterranean. And this was the time for it.
Mmm. I lived in Tel Aviv for a third of my life, but this was the point when we we were absolutely in the throes of our mad love affair with each other, me and Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv in me.
It’s the balconies. The clean Bauhaus lines and then those secret hidden winks when you look up. It slays me. You look up and suddenly you feel it: something sweetly magical in the air.
Anyway. A long slow late afternoon of beach. Beach and horizon.
And then I followed a street.
Okay. I didn’t just follow a street. I took the street that I normally took pains to avoid because it was the street where I got my heart broken years before when I was in university.
Followed it to a staircase to a porch to a bar. Sat outside. Had a beer.
Ah there is that elusive slippery thing about memory again.
I just remembered — just now! – this was not my first time. I’d been there once before. Late April. Probably when Michael was going through his divorce. He would drag me and Uzi on these long walks that ended in unlikely places. Was that then?
No idea about the shoes.
Anyway. There I was.
Outside. Oren was working and Alona was there too — Oh wow. Look! Alona!, except I didn’t know that yet because we didn’t know each other and this was before everything. No, not the Oren I ended up marrying. A different one.
It’s funny. I didn’t know at the time that this was a significant day or a significant moment. I didn’t know that until right now, actually. But I can still tell you exactly what I was wearing.
Except the shoes. No idea about the shoes.
But I remember black bikini underneath a rainbow-stripey halter top. I remember worn faded jeans. I remember sunglasses pushed on top of a careless pile of sand-encrusted hair.
I remember the beer I had. I remember the music playing.
So this was the place that ended up being home for me for the next however many years. Lots of them.
To the point that people actually sent me mail there. That’s not weird at all.
I ended up working behind the bar. The first time it was just for six weeks when I lost a different bar job. The second time I put in an entire year. I was there anyway. Why not.
It was the place of every New Year’s Eve. It’s where I had all the dreams.
And it’s where I became friends with oh, pretty much much all of my friends.
Alon. Benjy. Inbal. Oh! Sweet Alona! Marsha. Gilad.
People I still am in connection with. Ehud. Orna.
People I am not at all in connection with. Hi, Dori. I hope you are doing good things.
It’s where I became friends with my friend who is dead. And where we spent hours and hours and months and years talking about everything that can be talked about. Which is why I can’t go back.
It’s where everything happened. Where everything started.
It’s where I wrote and worked and practiced and cried and laughed and sometimes even slept.
It’s where I met The Kid. Though that took a little work.
Thank you Benjy for that strategically placed call at Mishmish. I still owe you one. And by the way, The Kid is in his 30s now. We have to stop calling him that.
It’s where I read all the best books.
It’s where I learned German.
Let’s follow the trail of stones, okay?
Well, a trail of stones. One possible likely trail.
Because of that day of beach, I found a place that redefined home and family.
Because of this home, I met The Kid.
Because of the three years that followed that, I moved to Berlin.
Well, I was already committed to the move. But I don’t know that I would have actually done it. Except I talked The Kid out of Amsterdam and he chose Berlin instead. And I was jealous. My dream! MY dream! So then I had to.
Because of Berlin, I got deathly ill and that changed everything.
Because of the illness, I learned how to heal.
Because of this new understanding of how internal-process and undoing of patterns works, we are HERE RIGHT NOW — I mean, oh god so much has happened over the years since then and look what we are doing and the ways we are changing everything, here, together, and is this not the most marvelous moment, hello! — on this hidden portal of love, disguised as a website, together.
And then! Did you know? We have this website because, seven years ago this month, The Kid made it for me. August 2005. That’s when it came into being.
He was applying to graphic design programs at art schools in Berlin and needed to build a website for his portfolio. He knew me better than anyone and so he built something that was pure Havi essence. This was born. We are here.
Cannon Beach. The Pacific Ocean. Hello, ocean. Hello, rock. Hello, quiet quiet waves.
Seven hours of beach.
For my regularly scheduled Clandestine Executive Board Meeting. It’s a thing. An internal thing.
I did shiva nata on the beach, with magical words and glowing sun salutations.
I did slooooooow yoga, until I was coated in sand, each long exhalation rippling through sand, being sand.
And the sand talked to me. It told me marvelous and unexpected things about plenty and delight and release and enough.
And then I wrote. I followed the trails of stones. Not letting the stones be a narrative of all the ways that I have been hurt. Not using stones as evidence of wrong or right. Just letting the stones show me where they have taken me.
Letting the stones show me.
Letting the stones show me how all the beautiful things from now have come from a trail of then.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that I have to be grateful for the painful hard heart-breaking crumbling of now. That is a distortion. It just means that hey, guess what, there are trails and I can pay attention to the infinite ways they can open up.
Hello, stones. Hello, trails. Hello, being covered in sand. Hello, beginnings.
This is what Havi feels like after yoga and shiva nata on the beach. Empty and full. Sweetly peaceful. Tired and releasing. Coming back to herself.
Thank you, beach. And stones. And bridges, large and small. And seven full years of this home online. But mostly patterns and shiva nata, and being able to see again.
Playing and responding.
Things that are welcome: you can leave pebbles or heart sighs. You can say thank you to stones or notice things about stones of your own, following your own trails. You can share things that were sparked for you. Or take a silent retreat — it’s way more empowering/fun than it sounds.
Things that are not welcome: the usual! No advice, analysis or attempts to try to make things better. That’s part of how we make space for people to experience what they’re experiencing in the way that they’re experiencing it.
And of course if you would like to yay with me about seven whole years of this magical online space or about how magical it is to do shiva nata on the beach, that is welcome too.
Love, as always, to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers, and everyone who reads. Happy August. We are passage-ing.