“Life is good man, if you can dance like a pansy -:)”
“Pansy – is a cultivated viola with flowers in rich colors. It’s also informal offensive an effeminate or homosexual man.” (On line dictionary) “someone who can’t stand up for himself…” (a flower-vendor at the union square farmers market)
When I went for my daily walk on the ‘Highline’ this morning, it was cloudy, cold and drizzly, so I changed my plan and went instead to the Union Square farmers market. On my way, I saw a fruit stand and decided to get a banana. The vendor asked me where I was from, and when I said “Israel”, he said – “I’m from Turkey, but life is good man, we’re middle-eastern brothers”. I told him that I just listened to some Turkish music from Anatolia the other day, and before I knew it, the two of us were wiggling our butts, middle eastern style. “Wow” I thought to myself, “there was a time, I would be petrified to do this with a strange man… he could think that I was trying to come on to him and kill me.”
When I got to the Union Square market, my eyes caught a beautiful violet pansy. As I was paying for it, the vendor said – “what a beautiful pansy you chose…” What came out of my mouth was – “beautiful pansies deserve each other..” She was laughing and giving me change, when I asked her “What does a pansy mean to you?” “Well, other than the obvious reference to the flower, it refers to someone who can’t stand up for themselves…” I told her that I never heard that version before and that It made me think of bullying. “Oh yes”, the woman said, “go see the movie ‘Bullies’, I worked on it…”
I enjoyed both encounters with these two strangers which happened in less than half an hour, encounters that at some other time could be charged with stress, anxiety and depression. They could have triggered my ‘scratch’, (serita – in Hebrew) the part in me that feels worthless, flawed and damaged, and that I have learned to accept is etched in my brain (my EFM – Ego Fear Mind). This ‘scratch’, I have been owning and practicing being present with, facing & embracing, having compassion for, loving & dancing – for over 35 years, through a moving meditation practice I have developed b r e a z e ~ choosing joy, moment by moment, breath by breath… It reminded me how grateful I was for my life these days, and how much fun I’m having laughing with the ‘scratch’ which at some time almost killed me. My main JOB is without doubt – choosing the Joy~Of~Being over anxiety. I celebrate this choice and am passionate about sharing it with others who feel similarly, and who want joy more than anything in the world.
Right now, living in a world addicted to struggles, stress and anxiety, is challenging for everyone. But for some of us particularly, it’s not much of an option. When you come close to losing your life (severe depression in my case, which is an escalation of prolonged anxiety and self-attacking, self-rejecting thoughts and feelings.) Owning and recovering from the addiction to anxiety, means not willing to entertain old beliefs such as “right now I don’t have time to breathe.. I’m too busy achieving… I have to suffer for a good future… no pain no gain… I don’t have time to enjoy the moment, and smell the flowers… I should sacrifice myself and be more loyal to my friends, my family, or my country, than to my own joy…” These are all transmissions of the EFM (Ego Fear Mind) drama-induced-anxiety – that make up the ‘scratched piece of work’ we are, which we can transform to a ‘piece of art’ – when we choose the Joy~of~being.
When my friend Ruthy visited NYC recently, I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. There is no one in the world I can laugh with like with Ruthy. It’s a creative, healing and precious laughter that makes me pee in my pants, and that I cherish as a treasure. We can go into characters that may mean nothing to anyone else, but to us – it’s a spontaneous celebration of our ‘scratches’. In Hebrew, ‘being scratched’ means being nuts.
Our gallery of characters include some scratched ‘pieces of work’ which we effortlessly transform into ‘pieces of art’. Ruthy recently discovered that her deceased mother’s family came from Makhachkala, a town located on the Caspian Sea in Russia. This picture inspired a spontaneous party, hosted by her mother in heaven, who for sure would partake in our dance. One of the gifts of passover 2012 is the forming of a new subcultural distinction – ‘The Gayly Scratched’ הסרוטים העליזים. I know a couple of characters who would join this project. Would you?