12 Days Back Home in Israel, 10 Insights from the Home Front- Nomadic Family Reunited
12 days back home in Israel and 10 insights that are screaming at me to listen. They have to scream cuz it’s louder here than it was in my home alone in Goa, but not really because my neighbors were this huge mass of vibrating, pulsating, emotional disaster and I would chose my own family chaos (though I am emotionally involved) over their mess any day. So it screams because the decibels in my mind have shifted and sometimes you have to raise your voice (the true one) to be heard over all the other competing chatter.
I am in a calmer state than I have been for many years. Yes, I still got chokingly offended and wanted to escape in those two enormous fights Kobi and I managed to get into; yes, I cried and had a panic attack when all three kids whined/begged/demanded of me at the same time when we walked in the door and I didn’t know how to handle that much ‘being wanted’ after three months of ‘solo me’; yes, I have my little dips and moments of lost, overwhelm, and frustration but they are momentary (or extremely less in duration and intensity than they used to be). I’ve released several elephants of toxic baggage and can now fly, soar, twirl, and be freer than I ever had, also here in Israel, also with my family, also within me.
My 10 insights on my 12th day back home….
INSIGHT 1– They are precious. They need me, all four of them do. And I need them. They had a magical life (in many ways extremely different) when I was gone, and now we’re reshifting into a new life together that’s wondrous fluidity is filling with new rhythms that I believe we are all deeply enjoying.
You see, I was scared, shocked by this:
and received so much love and wisdom*** that said, “guide them,” but above all, “trust them,” and still, when I came home I found a family, dimmed. A family that had really fallen into the addiction and convenience of habits that had drained them all of livelihood, and within days of my observing presence, it all started to shift- major screen time cuts, sugar cuts, and enforced we’re-going-for-a-family-walk-now-and-you’re-going-too sort of shifts that after the groans and moans, created a light and closeness in our circle.
OK, so it was not passive at all. Kobi and I had it out in a huge, scary, loud way. These “who we’d like to think we are” and “based on our actual life who we really are” lifestyle opposites had to had light shined upon it. And when the intensity of that fight faded, the gravity of truth sunk in and could no longer be denied. We either had to embrace who we had become or create who we wanted to be.
I’ve been facing major health issues for too long. I was away from my family for three months because of these health issues. Kobi is not getting any younger or healthier these past few years and we have to decide if our health is important (emotional, physical, nutritional, spiritual) or just something we’ll get around to one day, if ever.
*** The comments are seriously blow-me-away-empowering and unreal. Definitely worth the read!
And so, this is our conclusion:
We are a health-embracing, active, nature-loving, creative project-thriving, adventure-seeking, intentionally-bonded family who is rising to the occasion of the new, cool, crisp, spring sunshine and carpe diem-ing of our days by moving our bodies and our minds, our creativity and our life-joy in ways that we know, we know, we know fills us with light and love and life.
So that’s probably like 6 insights right there. It just sort of gushed out of me, just like that, and there goes me trying to be all focused and organized. You know, it’s me! Gabi! Some things just spiral cuz that is my magic. It’s the same logic (or lack of) that explains why the blog is not in chronological order, including but not limited to:
Fourth of all, I don’t believe that Earth-time, meaning Monday then Tuesday then Wednesday; 10 am then 10:30 am then 10:34 am is the most inspirational nor the only time that exists. I like spiral rather than linear. I like it (more like a real conversation) when one story just sort of sparks “remember the time when…” Which fades off into some other seemingly unrelated topic that leaves us all laughing or crying and wondering how we ever ended up talking about that.Non-Earth time is much more magical and more full of possibilities and miracles and the unexplainable- all of which I thrive off of.
(You can read it all here at TEN ANSWERS TO THE TOP NOMADIC FAMILY QUESTIONS. You. will.love.)
So, that covers, let’s see:
INSIGHT 1– That missing each other has been golden and beautiful, painful and has made room for wonderful new levels of appreciation and understanding.
That this missing was beyond just the five of us, it was mostly to us, but also coming home allowed me again to see with fresh eyes the unreal blessings of our school community, extended family, and network of friends, like we felt in Dahnya’s Bat Mitzvah and life I felt in Wings and Roots: Euphoric Chatters of Coming Home. Love is endless!
Glimpses into Kobi’s family that first weekend back (my first attempt at editing a video, tell me what you think) :
Us at our dear loving babysitter of almost ten-year’s wedding. What an honor to be there, together, for her [edited too!]:
INSIGHT 2– That my shock at the dead-winter-lifelessness of my family and realizing that in my absence they created a life that worked for Kobi as a single parent and worked in the storms and cold of winter and all that time inbound and huddling together. Winter always invites an internal season of going within, gaining weight, and settling inside.
INSIGHT 3– That the colossal fights between Kobi and I and the revolutions quickly shook up up all the pretty surface excitement, missing each other, and love and are tearing down the walls of keep-the-house-happy-docile-acceptance-of-what-sucks and forces us to really look at what matters and what hurts and create the life we really deserve to have. Though painful, we both believe that we are strong enough and mature enough in our two decade+ relationship to handle this our-pouring of raw honesty and take it as an opportunity to grow and develop as individuals and as a couple.
INSIGHT 4– That all of these new insights and inspirations regarding the way we want to lead our lives are life-altering, magnitude blessings I hope we will look back on later and ‘remember when’ we didn’t live that way and not just another phrase that we change, and then change-back to again. For me, this was a huge insight :
But this was and still is where I meet myself, where I say, with love, “Gabi, you choose for you and for you alone, and if they choose to join you or not, if they eat this crap and you decide not to, this moment, this temptation, this decision to be on Facebook or online or to sit and look at the clouds and reflect, is mine and this is what you own. That every day, this one decision, this one ownership of my actions cumulatively will lead to who you are and who you will become.”
INSIGHT 5– That us working in the garden, reading aloud to the kids again, shoving technology and shit-food way aside, and doing trips and activities out in the glorious Upper Galilee Valley of Northern Israel feels deeply right.
We’re doing chores as a family, projects as a family, talks as a family, making and eating cookies, and laughing, and taking on turn-our-life-around decisions as a family. Feels great.
Kobi is doing major work around the house and even moreso in the garden– de-weeding the jungles that have grown there, clearing, and making it magical. Orazi planted organic broccoli seeds and Kobi and the girls planted cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, and lettuce. Here are two videos showing active/creative/alive life in the garden. The first one shows what our lives look like when we are in our heavenly backyard on the side of the mountain; the second one shows a really funny few seconds of our cat shitting in the same foot of dirt Kobi was overturning, as if to help and contribute what he could to the gardening process.
SNAPSHOT OF LIFE IN THE GARDEN on the Mountainside
VERY HELPFUL ASSISTANT in the Garden with Kobi
This is now the what-we-want mantra and we’re working on it, together, Kobi and I. For the record, I have no judgments whatsoever on how Kobi ran the household while I was gone. The fact that he pushed me to go for THREE MONTHS and volunteered to be a single-father with birthday parties he hosted, emotional drama with a teen, driving the kids to school and back and to all of their activities, cooking, cleaning, sitting down with them to help with their studies, cuddling, and working… I think he is a God and I bow down to him and the kids for supporting me and for getting by as they did.
It’s just that I’m back and I do have a role to contribute to this family and I see the light I bring and I see the closeness and aliveness it brings, which brings me a precious, vivid moment to share (it’s the garden snapshot above of us in the garden a couple of afternoons ago)
INSIGHT 6– That sometimes you catch this thing that you manually did, out of the ordinary routine you created something magical, and it feels unreal amazing! Last night, we turned all the big lights in the house off, left the soft lights and a candle burning while meditation music played. We all cuddled in the shanti room (which I’ve worked on to return to a place of cuddle and relaxation and not a technology hub and family junk-dumping ground). The five of us cuddled in that softness as I read until page 19 of The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Even this, the evening before, was met with much resistance, and last night, everyone quickly finished their business so that we’d have at least half an hour- forty minutes to read and cuddle.
No story sits by itself. Sometimes stories meet at corners and sometimes they cover one another completely, like stones beneath a river. – Mitch Albom
We’ve been reading again as a family and that, that sharing, that bonding, the discussions, the quiet way of fading off to sleep with shared literature is our signature that we are doing well as parents, as guides, as lovers of learning, as a family.
INSIGHT 7– That domestic is ridiculously fulfilling.
I was just matching socks on the deck in the sun. Kitty cat is sleeping behind me, cuddling up on Solai’s bed with her turtle stuffed animals, meditation music is playing in the living room where Kobi is redoing all the mosquito screens of the windows and doors, and this white orange-tipped butterfly flirts with me in the sun. This is who I am today. Laundry. Cat. Butterfly. Sun. Husband.
And this is where I want to be.
INSIGHT 8– That we quickly become the environment we live in.
When I left Asia after 18 months to go visit my mother in the West, I was blown over by the Oddities of the West, including but not limited to:
Neatly Packaged Everything
You suddenly see it when you haven’t been around it for a long time. Everything is wasteful. Everything. You’re convinced to waste, waste, waste your money at every corner and buy more and more and more stuff you don’t need in more and more and more packaging you’ll get rid of the second you get home. Everything is buy, buy, buy and it’s crazy how quickly I got into the rhythm of satisfying my voids by shopping.
I walked into Hobby Lobby with my brother and started to convince him as to why he should buy this ceramic turkey that was 80% off as a table piece for Thanksgiving.
“What am I going to do with it the rest of year?” he asks.
“I don’t know. I live out of a backpack. You have a house. Figure it out. You have shelves and cool stuff like that,” I say.
“You’re just trying to live vicariously through me, ” says my wise 26 year old brother.
Oh, yeah. That.
In the single grocery store in Chawdi (the town neighboring Goa), there are no plastic bags. Everyone brings a bag; I bring my big backpack. Around the world people are using wisely what they have. Every ounce of material is reused. At home in India and around the globe, we creatively use cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, ceramic pots, and anything else we find for second, third, and forth uses.
In the really endearing video below, we’re in Kampot, Cambodia welcoming in a new salad bowl. The last one, a Kobi-cut 5-liter water jug, served our family of five for eight months. See what a non-consumerist world could look like? [It’s another video]
And I feel that again here in Israel in all of these things. Big things like how much we consume and how expensive everything is here in Israel. Small things like how I’m the only one head-bobbing all day and no matter how much I try to stop it for I know it’s weird here I have lived in India for 9/18 of the last months so it’s part of who I am.
I’m adjusting, and figuring out, how to acclimate into this new life and retain what I loved from the old ones.
INSIGHT 9– I walked around for three days looking at old mess, gross cat-marked-his-territory-gross mess, someone-needs-to-scrub-this-place-in-rivers-of-chlorine mess and I was looking, waiting, desperately, for someone to come and take care of this disgustingness, for someone to come clean it, and then it dawned on me, with a sickening thud, that I was that somebody and if I wanted it ‘taken care of’ I would be the one who had to do it.
So, I did, and I am, and it feels great.
Single-mindedness at it’s prime. Like the kind I learned as a martial art in my 11 weeks at the Clinic.
“Gabi, just do number 12, and just do number 13, and 14, and 15.”
“Gabi, just do this one next exercise. Don’t think about the next 20 to come. Do this one.”
And after class, “Gabi, dear one, just get down the stairs. This stair, then that one, then this one. ”
“Gabi, just put your shoes on. Just get on your bike. Just drive, slowly. Focus, get home. Just find the house key. Just stop your hand from shaking just enough to get the key in the key hole. Just.”
And so I’m just doing one major spring cleaning project after the other. The girls and I each got rid of 40some things from our closets- many of them clothing I have been holding on with the hope that it will fit one day (I’m over that now). Dahnya has taken her room by storm converting a dump filled with things she was holding onto (cuz she could- no more backpack) into a breezy, space-filled, organized haven. She did such remarkable work.
I’ve cleared, decluttered, swept and chlorine-scrubbed both patios which were heavy in pigeon droppings, broken eggs, and too many cats claiming their territory in semen-wars that kept me up at night from the stench ; converted the technology room/junk room into a true shanti room with tibetian bowls, crystals, candles, and mountains of pillows, and more….
Solai has been a loyal and generous partner in most of these projects and it feels great to do these purge-a-thons and deep cleanings with her, physically creating light in our home and emotionally allowing us to further bond and share in making clean spaces full of empty potential.
Single-mindedness. One thing at a time. This one thing and only this one.
INSIGHT 10– That taking care of my health was much easier when it was just me, and that slowly I am reintroducing into my life that which was the focal (and entire point) of my life in India. I’ve been doing my exercises from the Bone and Body Clinic 5 days yes, 2 day no with wonderful devotion and regularity, but also allowing myself rest days and sanity adjustments when my life as a mom of three has not allowed me to do only that which I intended to.
Began my second batch of Kambucha [pictured above], whom I’m lovingly named Kambuchi, which Gosh so generously gave me. It is the most beautiful Kambucha I have ever had. Ever. (This video shares Kambuchi’s new home in our home)
I gave my friend Yehudit a few of my ayuvedic medicines and promised her a SCOBY (Kambucha mushroom) when he has a child and she was so thrilled that I’ve gone through this deep detoxifying and that now I am cleaning, freer, of a more-breezy frequency, and more able to bring light from within me to others.
I am taking my stomach medicines almost daily. Finding that about half the days I’m taking my spinolina, moringa, cocoa powder, and brahmi and that slowly, in due time, I know that these will also re-become habit for me in my daily life.
I rang the tibetian bowl today and felt it’s vibrations. We did the remarkable Palmach Nature Trail with friends yesterday and it was glorious.
The details fill me but also go right passed me, as it’s all good and wonderful and the backyard is magical and my mountains sigh and our lives, as a family, are interwoven with love and growth and change and development and learning.
That all of this health comes down to love- loving myself, loving what life brings us. Inviting, like a radiating magnet, not pushing like a bulldozer through a snow storm, all that I want into my life. And if and when it works, it does; and if and when it does not, so it is meant to be and trust in all that the Universe brings and end is all that’s left. Love is Endless!
Speak, loves. Tell me also that sometimes your kids sit and laugh so hard over nothing in particular and fill your heart with love. Tell me sometimes family life sucks beyond comprehension cuz you can’t run away and you have to face whatever it is you are meant to. Tell me your insights on health, life, family, and love. I’m here.
Read the entire Solo Healing Journey Adventure, loves.
ABOUT THE NOMADIC FAMILY:
The Nomadic Family of five spent three and a half years settling into small communities in 16 countries world-wide. Now, they are acclimating back into life in Northern Israel and the story continues. Gabi lived alone in India for 3 months this winter, Kobi is going backpacking for 2 months alone this Spring, and the family will spend this summer in Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Follow their adventures as they share their emotional journey, their spiritual growth; their falling apart and coming back together, the real ups and downs, the sticky, painful, colorful, and magical moments of life on the road and back home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on her path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. This family of five has lived with an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Ecuador, hitchhiked throughout the world, danced with drunk Vietnamese at weddings, and hiked the entire Annapurna Circuit trek with a documentary film crew in tow. Gabi writes about the untold sides of family travel life, those moments that take your breath away, adventures and mishaps while globetrotting, and how bits of her soul remain in this small town and off the side of that river. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat. Hugely romantic, tantalizingly sweet, and hysterically funny, Gabi Klaf represents a rare Rubik’s Cube of family world adventure.
We’re out doing crazy stuff and making our dreams come true, every single one of them, and a few more that sort of flew into our mouths while we were smiling into the wind. Should you like what we are doing as a family, BUY AN EBOOK to support us, share this, tell any media source or local newspaper, leave a comment. Your footprint makes all the difference in the world friends. Gracias!
Gabi and Kobi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai
And, sweet new news loves: In addition to parenting, family life and trauma therapy, Gabi is now offering Make Your Dreams Come True/We Wanna Travel But.. Coaching too. Engage with Gabi!