The traffic was horrendous this morning, made even worse by the fact that every single traffic light (or robot as they are called here) was out for a few mile radius. Being a new driver I nervously inched my way forward expecting the worst as I neared the freeway exit. Anticipating chaotic bumper car road rage and a lot of ‘hooting’ I was mesmerized by the almost graceful order of drivers who on their own initiative were being hyper consciences of every car around them. There was no one cutting each-other off, no hooting, no aggressive arm gestures or evil eyes being thrown. Even the combi taxis were driving peacefully next to me-performing no death defying road acrobatics in search of their next 7 Rand customer (thats a dollar for all you non-SAfricans and the cheapest ride in town).
I took note of this new rhythm around the city all day today. It is resonate with the general feeling that has been quietly building here and inside of me since the Tsunami in Japan and seemingly worldwide epidemic of earth-quaking. Since my last blog post I have been feeling for the first time…drumroll please..SAFE (!!!) in my new home at the Southern tip of Africa. Feeling that the ground beneath my feet is secure and ( g-d forbid, knock on wood, Om Mane Padme Om) if I am destined to have an encounter with the darkness in the form of an axe wielding human in this lifetime-hey, I can handle it!
All these earth quakes bring up strong memories for me of my childhood spent in Northern California-the San Francisco Bay Area to be exact- and one earth quake in particular. Back in 1989 it was me and the entire Temple Beth Abraham Hebrew school in the Succah, eating pizza and listening to a lady in a clown suit tell us about the etrog spaceship landing on the earth with a massive shaking of the lulavs. Or something like that. What I remember really clearly though is that at that very moment the earth starting shaking-for real-then rolling-then rattling and bumping so hard that I was paralyzed and as a young girl child realized (first deep thought of many more to come) that there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop the earth from shaking. The Succah was jumping up and down having a trance party of it’s own and my wide eyes couldn’t take it anymore. I could put out a fire. Swim away from a shark. But when the earth is shaking? Only a bird was safe. I watched motionless as all the Hebrew school kids ran past me out of the succah screaming and looking for a doorway or desk to hide under (us California kids are trained well). The quake probably lasted only a few seconds or minutes but it felt like eternity and the spaceship had definitely landed as the S.F bay area had been turned into a post-Mars attack scene. People had died and there were fires burning. It was mayhem all around. When we returned to our home high in the Oakland hills later that evening, I was surprised to find our house intact- only a picture frame had fallen to the floor.
My parents explained to us that this was because while the fault line lay directly beneath us our home was build on ‘bedrock’. I made a mental note at that moment to forever live on bedrock and if the earth should ever open up again, I would make sure to reinforce my picture frames.
But seriously, back to South Africa and this newfound feeling of safety- I was surprised to discover that it was shared by a native S.A’er who encouraged me to write about it. “Isn’t it amazing” he beamed with excitement, “I have also been feeling a sense of safety like never before here in South Africa since the Tsunami.” Here in Johannesburg, we live on bedrock-the earth is solid beneath our feet and the ocean is miles away with no fault lines running through town. Our main environmental threat these days (besides ourselves) is the buildup of poisonous toxic water in the empty gold-mines beneath our feet. This water has turned into a serious issue as it is quickly reaching it’s point beyond no return line- meaning this water is about to flood our streets, poison our drinking supply and kill all the agriculture in the region. But hey- we can handle that!
Silly University of Johannesburg for cutting ties with Ben Gurion University. Guess you are not interested in Isra-alien technology of turning poison water into mayim chayim- the living waters.
I was just forwarded this email from a lady named Susan who has been circulating her cousin Anne’s email sharing of life post-tsunami in Sendai, Japan. We have all been affected by these recent events-some of us in huge ways others in more hidden recesses of self. One of my dearest friends asked if she could circulate my last posting to her email list- I said with pleasure-but then life took over and it was forgotten. She apologized for not sending it and my first thought was “don’t you worry, there will be more”. More earth quakes that is in many shapes and forms, molding us into a new species of heart centered being-ness. More news events to attempt to process, more tears to shed. Here in South Africa, it feels like our hearts are being worn on our outsides and it feels safe. How has your heart shifted post-tsunami and assorted other shakings? I look forward to hearing your heart-thoughts and the invitation to post replies is open to all!
On Mar 13, 2011, at 9:59 AM, SUSAN wrote:
From my cousin Anne in Sendai, Japan where she has lived for the past decade teaching English. Very moving!!
Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,
First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very
Touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems
The best way at the moment to get my message to you.
Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have
Wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy
Of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water,
Food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight,
Share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.
During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in
Their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get
Drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their
Home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.
Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines.
People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes.
People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone
Helped one another.”
Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are
Constant and helicopters pass overhead often.
We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a
Day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of
This is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed
For several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns
Than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully
On the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for
Survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.
There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places,
Yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up
For water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening
At the same time.
Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No
One out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I
Usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains are
Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the
And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check
On it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find
Food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is
There. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is
OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs
Of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.
They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for
Another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking,
Rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit
Elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off
Than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country, bringing
Food and water. Blessed again.
Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an
Enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at
This moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I
Can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small
Because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something
Happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is
Hard, and yet magnificent.
Thank you again for your care and Love of me,
With Love in return, to you all,