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When I met Dina Kushnir, an Israeli born Rosen practitioner, a few years ago at a Rosen gathering, and she told me about her dream to bring Rosen work to Israel; I said, without hesitation, that I would love to join her some day.  The opportunity presented itself when Dina e-mailed me in April of this year and invited me to join her and the Israeli team to go to Jerusalem in May.  The timing of her offer was perfect.  That day, I had turned down a job offer therefore making space for something new to come in.

My dear aunt had passed away in February and had left me some money which; made the trip to Jerusalem a real possibility for me. This combined with the fact that the travel agent for Continental Airlines had said that my fare was the cheapest she had seen in a couple of years, made it quite obvious to me that I couldn't pass this opportunity up.

The ease and grace with which things were falling into place continued as I sat waiting for my flight to Tel Aviv in Newark airport.  I was talking to an Iranian Israeli man who was not able to return back to his home in Iran.  His sadness was palpable.  I spoke to him about bringing Rosen Method to Jerusalem and he expressed his love of bodywork.  I offered him a hands-on-shoulders session as we waited for our plane to begin boarding. He was responsive to the work and said that he would call for a session while I was in Jerusalem.

As I settled in for my long flight to Tel Aviv, a Palestinian woman sitting next to me introduced herself. I introduced myself and explained the purpose for my trip to Israel, she lit up.   Fadwa was a professor in Gender Studies at Al-Quds University in Abudeez, a village in the west bank behind the Jerusalem wall.  A few years ago, she had been placed under house arrest for a year for political peace activitism.  She explained that she lived in fear and sadness about the strife between Israel and Palestine and was continued to work for peace.   She invited me to come to her University to present a Rosen lecture/demo. Once again, I said yes without hesitation. I was feeling very excited because I was aware of future possibilities. Imagine an Isreali Palestinian Rosen intensive?

Dina graciously had come to pick me up in Tel-Aviv, and I introduced her to Fadwa.  Dina invited her to join us for a cup of coffee (Nescafe seems to be Israeli's coffee of choice).  Dina, Fadwa and I were excited about the opportunity to collaborate.

The next morning, Dina and I set off for Jerusalem; and as we approached the city, I found my body relaxing more and more and a peace filling me as I took in the gentleness and the rich spirituality of the land. I visited a Russian orthodox church where I was invited in for vespers. The women were praying, dressed fully in black, and huddled over their prayer books. I spent the entire day walking for miles exploring various churches.

Our home and classroom for the next six days was a beautiful villa in Ein Karem. Ein Karem is the 5th most sacred spot in Israel because it contains Mary's Spring, Ein Karem (Arabic for The spring of vineyard). It overlooks Jerusalem and the view is expansive and beautiful.   

Mary's Spring is the spot where Mary Magdalene, while she was pregnant with Jesus, met with Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist.   I let the cool waters of the spring gently wash over my face as a mourning dove joined me to quench its thirst.  Once again, I was filled with a deep peace.

On Tuesday afternoon, we began our intensive. The team consisted of Dina, Ritva Malka from Finland, and Zach Deri, a Rosen Intern from Israel, who was now living in Norway, and me.  The thirteen students sitting in the circle had professions ranging from alternative health care practitioners, to a physicist. It was striking that several of the students were already practicing body psychotherapists. Our first time teaching together was amazingly effortless and flowing. Dina welcomed everybody in Hebrew; and it was clear that the students were glad that she was back.  I found myself easily paring down to only the most essential words as I led the hands-on-shoulders exercise. Ritva skillfully gave a powerful demonstration and Zach/s excellent translation skills helped weave everything together.

Each day of class was rich and full.  We would begin each class with Dina's skillful instruction of Vipassana meditation, which would act as a gentle segue into the sharing circle.   The movement classes were wonderfully playful and deepening also led by Dina.  Each student had the opportunity to be worked on by, Ritva, Dina or me as each day we did a 3-corner demo.  I was impressed at how present and compassionate the students were during the practicum.

Over the next five days, I was deeply aware of the faces of these students shifting quite dramatically from ones of deep tiredness and tension, from living in a country with a history of so much loss and tragedy, to faces that were much more open, joyful, trusting, and hopeful. Halfway through the six day intensive, I listened as a student shared at lunch about her difficulty in opening to her vulnerability because she felt that at every turn something dangerous might happen.  On the final day, I listened to a student who said emphatically," Rosen work is a necessity here. You must keep coming back." Sitting in the closing circle I could see that each student here was immensely strengthened by meeting his or her vulnerability. In that moment the conflicts of war seemed far away.

 

And, so we return in October for the next intensive in Israel.   I am very much looking forward to being back in Israel again; and I am grateful to Dina, Ritva, and Zach for a great team experience. The Rosen presentation in Palestine is scheduled for November 4th.  I am honored to be one of the Rosen folks bringing this work to the Middle East. I have hopes that someday Israeli and Palestinians will come together in a Rosen intensive.

Linda Frisone, 2007

 

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