persephone_rivka's Travel Journals


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  • Currently in Kibbutz Lotan, Israel

Dancing around the Sun

This journal will chronicle pieces of my thoughts and experiences over the next four months at Kibbutz Lotan.

Circles of Identity

Israel Kibbutz Lotan, Israel  |  Aug 31, 2010
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Circles around myself.  Spinning dizzy in my head, heavy, it kept rolling and each time I had to center and come back down, bringing my mind back inside my body. Oh how it wanders.  I had a vivid dream that everyone around me was moving and talking and coming out of their meditation.  In my mind, I thought, okay, time for me to stop now, but then I'd pick my head up from my chest and remain still.  What does that mean? Do I define myself based on the decisions and actions of the people I surround myself with - either by chance by choice?  How do I identify...what else floated into my mind... it feels far away now.  The meditation was guided in English.  Language inevitably identifies us, it ascribes us to a specific group of people who can speak the 'common language'.  "White" and "English speaker" were left off our personal list as these identifiers weren't necessarily our choosing, or maybe they were too obvious too mention. I see myself most commonly identified by others - especially when traveling globally - as a young, white, american girl. This is what others could guess by only looking at me.  These inescapable identities carry connotations as well. American = rich, greedy.  American girl = naive, easy.  White American = devil? I read somewhere, and I don't remember the specifics but it was something like: identity- specifically national identity - is a relatively new invention or idea. A constructed one.  Something that Freud used, that kind of got spun to mean and carry more than its original interpretation.  Is identity now just another thing to attach to - our egos? Is that the source of conflict or is it something even greater?

No problem on our list is unique to Israel.  Not even water and oil.  Not even religious sites.  Why the magnifying glass? Having an Israeli passport means being unable to travel to Syria, Lebanon, the U.A.E., Malaysia, Indonesia and other Muslim nations that have decided to boycott Israel.  In thinking about Aliyah, is another national identity something I want attached to me? Do I want 1/3 of the political world's hostility?

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