Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Precious Time

How do people spend their time? How do I want to spend my time?

Some people spend their time caring for others, like doctors, nurses, therapists. Some people invest their resources into educating the masses. Others spend their time accumulating wealth or knowledge. There are also those that create, in all of art’s many forms. And then there are those who turn in circles trying to figure out what is good for them.

Lately, while watching a TV show or a movie, I think to myself, “Is this something I would enjoy doing?” I analyze all the factors that go into making said production. Is there any role I would enjoy playing? Actor – No, I don’t think so. Line memorization sounds tedious and I am not so good with performing on demand. Director – Probably not. There is just too much pressure to create something that is my vision, as well as, the studio’s. General production work – Talk about long hours and hard labor!

What about being a doctor? I’ve spent many hours in the hospital and during that time, I’ve watched different doctors in varying roles.  And no, I don’t think being a doctor is how I would want to spend my time.

Nurse? Maybe in another life. These people are angels, sent in to aid when necessary in their patients’ silent battle with disease. That’s the hematology department in my hospital, at least. It takes a strong personality and a whole lot of guts to deal with daily.

I’ve thought about spending my time as a musician, but the idea of performing in front of crowds of people sounds exhausting. And that’s only after you make it. Fame is not something I desire. It is one serious double-edged sword.  I think it brings out the worst in people. It can make them believe that they are better than others, when in fact, we are all the same. We are all born, we all die and in the middle, we poop and fart. All the same!

Then I get to thinking about how I spend my time and whether I am satisfied or not. Other than feeling weak and nauseated from the cancer treatments, I spend most of my time doing the things I love: reading, writing, drawing, cooking, baking, sharing with loved ones. I’m even taking a couple online literature courses.

Here are some yummy treats I made in the past couple days.

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Little rose-shaped clementine cakes a la Nigella Lawson and Walter Mitty

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This one came out of my own imagination. Strawberry “soup” with a touch of cream and almond/coconut crunch on top. It came out scrumptious.

For a long time, I had this belief that my life stopped when I got sick. Everything I wanted to do could not be done because I could not plan or study or travel or anything. But, this belief set is incorrect. Although I have been “stuck” in one place, going through some shitty shitty shit, I am still moving forward and still engaging in the worlds that inspire me.

One of the worlds that has shown me light and understanding repeatedly is the world of visual art. I’ve struggled with it for many years, due to internal and external voices trying to present a reality that was just not true. For the first time in my life (last fall) , I went to a proper art class, with a teacher and other students. And it was terrifying. But, it helped me find what I love to do (and what I don’t love to do.) I feel that every day that passes, I learn more about my strengths and weaknesses and how to move forward from them with grace.

I draw because it brings me peace. It expresses the brightest, happiest sides of myself. Even when I’m feeling down, focusing on artwork usually brings me around to clearer space, reminds of my truth.

To sum it all up, I am not a sick person who likes to draw. I am an artist, who happens to be going through some medical issues.

It’s a slight change in perspective, but it makes all the difference.

And with that, I say, Adieu.

May we all find that which brings us satisfaction.

The Book of Light

A story.

Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Ella. She was an average-looking girl with an average amount of intelligence. She was an only child and it seemed that her parents were far more interested in each other than they were in her.

Ella spent most of her childhood in the care of her grandfather. She called him Papa. He was a tall, wizened, old man with sparkly blue eyes. He was a teller of stories and a cracker of jokes. And he loved Ella dearly.

Wherever they would go, whatever they would do, he was always relating it to when he was a boy or when dragons roamed the Earth. These stories filled Ella’s mundane life with joy and fantasy.

When Ella was close to adulthood, Papa passed away peacefully in his sleep. The death of the righteous, they call it. The grief Ella felt was immense and the hole in her heart was cavernous. She had never felt more alone in her entire life.

One day, her father approached her and said that he had found something that Papa had left for her. Ella’s heart leapt with joy and at the same time, her stomach turned. The subject of Papa was still fresh for her and her longing for his company never truly dissipated.

Her father handed her a leather-bound book that had a distinct smell of age. Ella opened the book and realized that it contained all of Papa’s stories. It seemed as though every time he would tell her a story, he would jot it down in this precious journal.

Ella danced and sang. She was joyous. Her mood lifted and from within came a strong drive to create her own story, start her own adventure. She no longer understood the desire to wile away in loneliness and misery. For she was no longer alone.

She packed her few belongings and said her goodbyes. Her parents barely noticed, mumbling under their breath, “Is she still here?”

Ella was on her way.

Ella decided to go through the ancient forest. It is known that the safer route is on the paved road. But the ancient forest was magical and mysterious and she felt drawn to its power. Also, the path through the forest was much shorter.

Shorter does not mean easier, she soon learned.

As Ella walked deeper and deeper into the woods, she noticed that the light from the sun was getting dimmer and dimmer. It felt as though the darkness was closing in on her. Ella felt paralyzed with fear. Her feet were stuck, her heart was racing. As she tried to see in the dark, she was not certain if what she saw was real or figments of her imagination. The darkness was dense, thick and sinister. She could hear it whispering her name, but it was not with love. The sound was cacophonous and terrifying. The darkness wanted to feed on her. The darkness was a vampire that had a ravenous appetite.

Suddenly, quietly, she heard a voice. The voice was different from that of the darkness. This voice was melodious and although it was surrounded by the dark, it sparkled with light. It whispered in her ear:

“Breathe.”

She sat down where she stood and did just that. She started to relax. Each breath brought her deeper into herself. The world was no longer spinning. She could no longer feel the darkness’s presence.

Ella opened her bag. Her hand brushed Papa’s book and she smiled. She pulled it out and opened it. To her surprise, the pages were glowing! In fact, the light was so bright, that she could see the path ahead.

Feeling more confident, Ella stood and slowly, one step at a time, started walking down the dark path armed with her precious heirloom. The ancient forest opened up in front of her. Her path become more and more clear.

Finally, after a full day and night of walking, the path opened to a clearing. The sun was rising. The sky was filled with every color imaginable. There was a field ahead carpeted with wildflowers of every variety and the softest, greenest grass. To the east, she saw snow-capped mountains, strong and regal. To the west, she saw the ocean’s majesty in hues of green and blue.

Ella closed her eyes, held the book close to her chest and said, “Thank you.” She now understood that Papa was always with her, in the dark, in the light, she just had to ask.

After a few moments, she opened her eyes. Ella looked down and realized that she was no longer an average, little girl. She was a strong, beautiful woman filled with light and love, with the power to create her own reality. All she had to do was decide where to go next.

THE END

bookoflight

A Journey to the Inner Voice

It has been well over a season since I’ve shared by experiences through this blog. I continue to write daily, I just haven’t been able to transmit my feelings to a wider audience.

Today, I feel compelled, so I will write.

These past few months have been a rollercoaster ride of feeling well and not so well. I am currently in the midst of medical testing and am making a concerted effort to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

And next to the general anxiety that surrounds the illness that has followed me for many moons, I am also dealing with hypothyroidism, which is connected to the radiation treatments I received in 2011. And, when the dosage of thyroxin, the synthetic hormone prescribed for the condition,  isn’t perfect, it feels as though there is a fog in my brain that is very difficult to shake.

At the moment, I am still making adjustments.

So, what is this and what is that? I am not sure and I am taking everything one day at a time. One step at a time.

Which brings me to this post and why I feel compelled to write.

Today, I am in Jerusalem. Initially, I came here in an effort to de-clutter my life. I had a suitcase full of personal belongings, clothing, books, etc, sitting at a friend’s house for over 5 years.

Then, I heard a voice or my inner voice, telling me to go the Dome of the Rock.

I lived in Jerusalem for about a year back in 2005. My time here was emotionally tumultuous, for many reasons, and self-centered. I studied, worked and tried to live a normal life.

Looking back on the Healey of 2005-6 leaves me with a strange feeling of foreboding. I seriously thought that living in Jerusalem could be normal? This is a city that has seen more violence and suffering than any place in the world. Don’t quote me on that. It’s hyperbole. Thousands and thousands of years of bloodshed and war. And to this day, there is a constant struggle in this city. The Jews stay on the Western side of the city and the Arabs stay on the Eastern side of the city. There is a constant feeling of tension that is palpable.

The Old City of Jerusalem is separated in four parts: the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Armenian Quarter and the Jewish Quarter.

The holiest place for those that follow the Jewish religion is the Kotel or the Western Wall. This is the place that is believed to be the outermost western wall of the ancient Jewish temple. On any given day throughout the year, you can see devout Jews praying at the wall (male and female worshipers are separated), placing notes in the cracks and feeling connected to that space.

The entrance to the Dome of the Rock or the Temple Mount is directly next to the Kotel. There is a sign at the entrance that says that Jewish people are not allowed to enter. There is another sign that says non-Muslim prayer anywhere in the vicinity is strictly forbidden.

I believe in the yogic energy system which consists of energy bodies surrounding the physical body as well as seven chakras (and many thousands of nadis) that connect our physical body to the external world. These chakras are found at different parts of the body, from near the anus to the top of the head, with stops at the sexual organs, the solar plexus, the heart, the throat and the brow.

With that in mind, I was recently introduced to the idea that the Earth also has chakra centers. I spent a couple days in Glastonbury back in October and the experiences I had there were unexpectedly profound. I shared this with a friend, who told me that Glastonbury is considered the Heart Chakra of the world.

After doing some research, I found out that the Throat Chakra is located here in Jerusalem. The Throat Chakra represents our voice, self-expression and purity. Prayer and singing is an excellent way to bring energy to that part of the body.

I have struggled with finding my voice for most of my life. More specifically, it is finding the balance and purity within my expression. This has been most apparent since moving to Israel. Living in this country calls for a voice that knows when to speak up and be assertive, and when to step back and be quiet.

The illness that I have struggled with is also throat-centered. At least, that is where it started physically.

So, I find myself here, on a journey to the Dome of the Rock or the Temple Mount or the voice of the Earth. And lo and behold, we are not allowed to pray or sing or connect to the sacred space.

I wish there was some way that this special space could be open to all worshipers, to pray and sing and feel connected to this most sacred space. The place that is believed to have birthed the physical world (the Shekinah). This is the dwelling place of Mother Earth/Mother Nature/the Goddess and She is being bound and gagged, unable to let Her voice be heard. It is sad. And it has to change.

I am not religious. I was not raised within any type of religious community. I don’t feel the binds of religion on my heart or in my soul. Community is deeply important to me and I understand the need. Yet, I do not understand the pride that goes into the feeling and idea that THIS PLACE IS MINE/OURS. I do not understand it now, nor will I ever truly understand it. These types of feelings come from pride and insecurity. They do not come from the Universe and from the love and light that seeps into our world from there.

My conclusion is this. (Disclaimer : This is my feeling, my opinion. And it brings up all sorts of anxiety inside of me, because it seems nearly impossible.) Jerusalem or the Old City has to be an international city. I spoke about this last week during the Passover Seder with my very learned cousin, who has a wealth of knowledge on the history of the region and he said it could never work, because there isn’t an international organization with the ability to make that happen. I don’t know about the details or what would or could work, I just know that it is very important that something changes here. That the voice of this Earth (and all of our collective inner voices) be heard.  It will not happen in the present reality.

Writing this makes me feel like I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have or maybe I just see things differently than I used to. I have changed a lot since I last lived in this city. I see the beauty and the sadness and a mixture of the two. And it is heavy on my heart.

This visit brought up a lot for me. This country and this city needs help. It needs support and love, not Jewish or Muslim or Christian love and support, but Conscious Human Love. I wish there was some way that I could help make that happen.

Here are some photos from today’s journey.

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Walking along the cobblestone streets, just as the sun was rising.

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A view of the Kotel and the Dome of the Rock from above.

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The number 21 has been following me around for a while now. Thought  I would document it.

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Facing Al Aqsa mosque from the Jewish Quarter. Being behind those bars was prophetic to how I would feel when I entered the courtyard on the other side.

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The Dome of the Rock from up close.

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Sitting in the courtyard next to the Dome of the Rock, facing the Mount of Olives and wishing I could sing and pray and love the Mother.

With love and light. May we all find our inner voices.

HealeyOr

Atone this.

Today is Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the Jewish year, the day of atonement. It is a somber holiday and every year it affects me in different ways. During Yom Kippur, Israel shuts down. There are barely any cars in the street. The day consists of a 25 hour fast during which the people take that time to reflect on their past year and mistakes they’ve made. Forgiveness of one’s self and others is the theme.

I’m not religious. (Obviously, or else, I wouldn’t be typing or enjoying a morning cuppa.) Nor do I have a draw to the religious aspects of this day. But I am drawn to the idea behind it. Forgiveness is a huge part of my practice. Mostly, it’s forgiving myself, letting go and moving on.  I actually did alot of that this summer in Peru and at Burning Man (yes, yes, I know…those posts are on their way!)

And now that I have this day of atonement in front of me, I feel a bit distant. I’m staying at my cousins’ place in Tel Aviv and the people that ar participating are full of excitement…they are full of a sense of belonging and desire to take part. I don’t feel like its a communal day. I feel like it is a very personal, introspective day. In fact, in my opinion, the best way to celebrate, or (more appropriately) observe this day, is to go into a natural setting, preferably something calm and beautiful and take that time to look at yourself, who you are, why you are here. Take a moment to cleanse yourself. Take time to see how you can be a meaningful part of your community. And, of course, move past the things that hold you back.

Rituals are also helpful. Like writing the thing you want to get rid of on paper and burning it. Or throwing it into the sea. Or meditating on letting go.

I’ve done a lot of fasting in my life and it is always hard and I know people have different ways of dealing with that hardship. But that is new for me. If I decide to do something, I do it. I rarely complain about it. If you want to do it, do it. If not, don’t. But don’t do it and then complain about it. For some reason, I find that difficult to swallow. I feel so strongly about it, so it must somehow reflect something in myself that needs work.

I met with my ex-boyfriend last week and we sat for several hours picking up the book of our relationship, flipping through it, smiling, laughing, crying and finally closing it with a feeling of gratitude. It took a very long time for us to be able to come to that point, look each other in the eye without hurt or anger and say, “I release you.” I feel very lucky to have taken part in that experience. That interaction set the mood for my coming year. I feel very atoned.

Wishing you all closure and a feeling of release on this day of forgiveness.

Love and compassion. Healey.

Morning musings..

Good morning, friends. Happy new year, shana tova (happy new year in Hebrew), and many more salutations.

Daylight savings began, which means I’m a bit jet-lagged for a week or so. I usually wake up around 7, but during daylight savings, it’s more like 6. I can’t help it! The sun is awake and so bright, how can I still be sleeping?

Last week was an eventful week, full of love, light and so many friends. I closed one book of love and opened another. I spent time with my uncle who married his love. I made new friends, I saw old ones. I felt beautiful and happy. It’s like it’s the Spring, but it’s not. We have the Harvest ahead of us!

Two days ago, I went to the hospital to get a PET CT scan. Its been 5 months since my last test and it’s just a check-up. It was fine. Not traumatic, not overwhelming. Even getting the IV was ok.

The first time I went in for a PET scan, I was very sick. I had a terrible cough and I was extremely itchy. I was also hyper-sensitive to pain. When the technician gave me the IV, I was in shock by the pain, I started to cry and couldn’t stop. My father and my brother didn’t know what it do. It was crappy. (And all of that was before I was taken to the scanning machine.)

And since then, I’m always worried that the PET scan is going to be equally as traumatic. It never is. It’s like that one experience has such a strong influence on my memories and colors everything related to it.

Let’s hope that my meeting with Dr. Dan will be equally anti-climactic. I’m scheduled to see him on October 10th to discuss the scan results. I wish the meeting was a quick in and out, but it usually means sitting in the hematology department and waiting for hours. That, in itself, is a bit annoying, but then it is compounded with all the people receiving their chemo, with the smells and whatnot. It isn’t the easiest situation to endure.

And then there are the test results. I’m not so worried. But there is always a seed of doubt, no matter how positive we are. I’m just hoping for the best. And I have faith that all will be well.

During my time in Peru with Juan, the curandero/shaman/healer, I was surrounded by this deep faith in my healing and it started to rub off on me. Juan is an accomplished shaman with 40 years experience in treating people with all sorts of illnesses. He knows what he is doing and he is also aware of the importance of Western medicine in many cases. I trust him. (Which I can’t really say that about my current physician.)

I enter this phase of testing and moving on with that in mind. The doctor is not God. The doctor follows certain protocol and does specific testing, but oftentimes, he is unaware of what is actually going on with the patient (aside from vitals and physical symptoms). No matter the doctor says, there are always options. And I’m going to leave it at that.

So, on that note, I will face the day. I need to get blood taken today (blech.) as well as running errands with the mom.

Wishing you all a splendid day. Enjoy the fall!

Some.thing I found.

I have been going through my old journals in the last couple weeks… and its been an adventure. Its like going back to the lifeboat in the middle of the hurricane to remember how it felt. The journal I’m going through at the moment is from 2004.

I was living in Boulder at the time. It wasn’t an easy time. Full of frustration and ambivalence. But I remember that girl and I love her.

A poem I found. (Mind you, I’m not really a poetry person per se. I usually don’t get it. I GOT this one.)

“The time will come, when with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger that was yourself. Give wine, Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you.

All your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letter from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.”

— Derek Walcott

The Joy of Ceviche

I consider myself a lover of food. It runs in the genes. The Gabisons are known for their foodie ways which accounts for our tendency towards chubbiness and food comas. Oh wait, that’s usually just me and Jonathan. 🙂

As a little girl, I remember my grandfather sitting at the table with an array of condiments in his reach. He was constantly looking for and working on the perfect bite of food. Sometimes it meant a little bit of olive oil or chopped parsley or perhaps some harissa (a North African spice paste which is usually on the fiery side), he was ready to make the food taste exactly as he wanted.

This discerning palate and love of delectable morsels is clearly present among his offspring. My cousin Moran is a Cordon-Bleu certified chef. She is a wealth of culinary information. My aunt Liora bakes the most wonderful cakes, as well as, lots of savory favorites. My father can grill the most sumptuous steak. And I just love to cook and then eat my fabulous creations.

Back to Peru. Jonathan and I spent a few days in Lima before continuing on to our Amazonian adventure. A friend of ours had spent some time in Lima and was particularly impressed with a certain cebicheria called La Mar. [Camille, I think you actually said that you were in love with the place, but I didn’t want to put words in your mouth!]

A cebicheria is a restaurant that makes ceviche. Mmmm…ceviche.

Ceviche is a gift from the gods. It originated in Peru, but variations can be found throughout South and Central America. It is the marriage of an array of ingredients, usually fish or seafood, onions and cilantro in some form of citrus juice.  The seafood is essentially cooked by the citrus, but maintains a very special texture. It’s delicious.

My admiration for all things ceviche led to our arrival at La Mar. I enjoyed our meal so much that I daydreamed about it for days afterwards. Recounting the flavors and textures of each of the dishes in my mouth and my mind, I understand why Camille was so smitten with the place.

First, they gave us complimentary chips and sauces. The chips were made from taro, plantains and yucca. The sauces went from mild to spicy. It was a great way to start a meal.

The next item we ordered was a traditional Peruvian dish called tiradito, which is reminiscent of carpaccio or sashimi. Thin slices of raw fish are topped with a spicy sauce. The type we ordered was made with tuna and marinated in a traditional ceviche marinade with added tamarind flavor. Very tasty and also well-plated. The colors were stunning. (I don’t have a picture of that one.)

Next came the degustacion, which was basically 5 different types of ceviche. Each one tasted so unique and filled me with ideas for my own homemade ceviche.

Let’s start with the ceviche all the way on the other side of the picture. It was a classic ceviche made with a white fish, possibly hamachi, and the traditional leche de tigre (tiger milk) marinade. The next one is the mixed ceviche, which was similar to the first except it had both fish and seafood. The third ceviche was called chalaco and was spicier than the others. The sauce was different than the first two. It seemed like it was made with tomatoes and was a bit thicker in consistency. The chalaco also featured squid.

The fourth ceviche on the platter is the nikei. It was slightly sweet in flavor and featured pieces of tuna. It was our least favorite, but it was still tasty.

The final ceviche was the chifa chifa, which was my favorite of the bunch. It had a mixture of fish and seafood and incorporated more traditional Asian flavors, obvious in its use of sesame oil. Very tasty and inspirational for my own cooking.

It was a wonderland of ceviche. I was impressed.

For the main meal, Jonathan and I ordered a dish called plancha anticuchera.

It was a grilled dish consisting of octopus and squid cooked in a special sauce and tossed with Peruvian corn and potatoes. The taste was very special and the texture of the octopus was amazing. Not at all chewy! I loved this dish.

Can you tell?

(Can you say foodgasm??)

The only drawback of this culinary dreamscape was the price. It was expensive and according to what we later discovered, ceviche in Peru is, for the most part, absolutely delicious, whether it’s in a small reasonable-priced cebicheria or a massive, expensive chain like la mar.

I heard that the reason the seafood is so fantastic is because of a certain ocean current that travels from northern California down to the Peruvian coastline. Apparently, the current creates the perfect environment for delicious seafood.

I will leave it at that for today.