This weekend twenty years ago I left Israel and moved to Canada.
It was the kind of journey that, like stormy waters, made me a skilled sailor. I left my extended family behind, and old, strong friendships with people who loved me dearly to follow an yearning for a loving marriage that took me to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories (where you hit the nail in the Canada map to hang it on the wall), and later to the coldest capital of the world.
I learned hard and valuable lessons in these twenty years. Among them:
- Making life changing decisions, like getting married and migrating to another country must be done with the agreement of the head, the heart, and the guts.
- Love is unconditional; relationships are not. I designed my wedding invitations with an image of a camel and a polar bear kissing over the globe and the slogan: "Love has no boundaries". It turned out that the camel froze her butt and the polar bear can't handle heat.
- Following a yearning is not enough. You must have a good map to navigate relationships that includes knowledge of developmental stages, personality types, cultural conditioning, trauma. If you asked me then why I would think we'd be a good match, I would say we shared a sense of humour and a love for dogs. That was true, and far from enough to play house together.
- Listen to your instincts. Embodied awareness of the gut feelings could be a life saving skill and now I know how to do it. I did not know to notice when my stomach was shrunk, my belly tight and cold, and my shoulders raised, and had no language to interpret the tension and contraction. Now I know. And I teach it
- Follow the loving kindness. How your mate treats his body, his family members and other people, is how he will treat you.
- Listen to your friends: they shed light on your blind spots, especially when in the spells of attraction. Mine did.
- Heal your trauma, it leaks in relationships and will poison them. And enter in a relationship with someone who's been healing their trauma as well. That's a non-negotiable.
- Pay attention to your dreams and intuition. Before moving I dreamt that I was in a dark, arid place covered in ice, running after a bus to take me out of there. The place was vast, only ice and dark skies, I was alone and scared.
In the photo: the stuffed polar bear that greeted me in the Yellowknife airport twenty years ago yesterday.