Author’s Note: This story is based on the true rendition of some of my life’s events. Only through writing did my sources of transformation reveal themselves clearly, hiding as they were in the shadows cast by my memories. Yes, memories are subjective; what I am sharing is my visceral, emotional experience of the “facts.” The thread of exploration weaves through the theme of freedom. Freedom from wars, freedom as license, and inner freedom, as well.
Looking at her life, a successful Psychologist unearths her secrets of childhood evolution into the present. The book is divided into three parts:Mother land Palestine/Israel; Fatherland- living in America; the journey home – the spiritual journey.
Part 1: Motherland, 1940-1967
This part of the story is told through the eyes of a Yekke (German Jewish) Sabra (born in Israel) who mostly grew up in boarding schools until she was in high school. Born in Palestine to a Yekke family faced with the British mandate and Arab and Jewish fighting in the streets, Shuli also endured the ghosts of the holocaust at home. This part of the story weaves a child’s view of Arab-Jewish distrust as it was experienced through the holocaust, divorce, and wars. Through her experience of being sent away from home as a four–year-old entrusted with the care of her two-year-old brother and without the knowledge of where her parents were or whether they were even alive, she learns to cope with the chaos of Palestine as it became Israel. Her sense of grounding comes from her relationship to nature and the magic of a supernatural world hidden within it, which begins her spiritual journey. Her coming of age and spiritual evolution inspire a longing for a normal home, which she manages to manifest during her first marriage to Amit, an Israeli Air Force electronics mechanic.
Part 2: Fatherland 1967-1978
At her wedding, twenty-three-year old Shuli reconnects with her long-lost father, who disappeared to America when she was five. Her dad invites her to visit to recuperate from her divorce in 1967, right after the Six-Day War. This section describes the experience of an Israeli provincial girl diving headfirst into the Berkeley, California counter-culture movement, the summer of love, and psychedelic altered states of consciousness. Her awareness opens to include free exploration of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. These experiences transform her understanding of what was considered normal as she redefined love, family, spirituality, community, and the license to live freely. In the middle of this transformation, she musters up the courage to become a successful psychologist and university professor. This career move was discouraged by her family in Israel who perceived her as “a mere woman.” They sincerely believed that she was meant to be a housewife. Shuli succeeds in accomplishing all that her grandfather was respected for in Israel: all the trimmings of normal living. Her success, which included the acquisition of a house, a husband, a good job, and two cars, brings her to an existential crisis that she can only define as “emptiness.”
Part 3: The Journey Home 1978- 1993
Out of loss and desperation brought on by facing the illusion, by both Israeli and American conventional standards, that having it all would bring fulfillment, Shuli dismantles her life yet again and leaves by herself to embark on a journey of self-discovery for the grail of “Truth” and “Life’s meaning.” In India and Asia, she immerses herself in meditation and the inner life, which form her new spirituality. Life in Poona, India, at the Rajneesh Ashram opens her perspectives wider than drugs ever did. She learns the meaning of living in the present moment, through the simple experiences of love, trust, surrender, and laughter. Within that easy mix, she finds home for the first time in the form of her true self. She takes this new state of being and discovery on the road in her adventurous travels in Asia, finally landing in Hawaii, where she renews her practice of psychology and heals her relationship with both her parents and her ancestry.