I feel a little like I am looking through a tunnel at a bright and shiny entrance ahead. Do babies feel this way when they are entering the birth canal? A baby may not cry from fear or trauma or shock, but from the uncontainable joy of ultimate possibility that awaits when transitioning into the light after spending its entire existence in darkness. My passage is not one of birth, but rather renewal and regeneration. At this time I know only what has passed behind me, with a vague impression where my transition will lead. Despite the uncertainty, each step feels like a fluid progression that has been illuminating a path of tremendous creative, emotional, and spiritual growth with increasing intensity.
On December 1, I moved out of the home I have shared with my spouse of 22 years. I am moving willfully—no, eagerly—from the darkness into the light. Heart first, not head first. I am dancing through this transformation. Each step will fall wherever it takes me.
With the history of Central Europe in the context of recent sentiments of xenophobia and white supremacy spewing from the daily news, during last month’s visit to Vienna we wanted to devote some quality time to honoring the local Jewish population who survived a genocide less than two generations ago. On a Monday morning M, G, D, and I boarded the streetcar for downtown from our apartment in the Döbling district. After a delightful breakfast at the historic Café Central we made our way to Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Wien, the Jewish Museum Vienna.
The second equinox hangs in the air, suggesting balance between dark and light. As the earth rotates through its even-handedness I am preparing to take a short break from the whitest metropolitan area in the wealthiest nation to visit a region infamous for the systematic murder of racial, religious, and other minorities: Central Europe. Our long time friend M will be joining G and me while we are stationed in Vienna, the birthplace of Alfred P. Adler, my university’s namesake and Jewish refugee who moved to the U.S. in the 1930s in anticipation of the horrors of the emerging fascist regime. The equinox paired with Adler’s principles of gemeinschaftsgefhül—roughly, we as humans are whole within our community—create a useful framework for me to wrap my journey. Lately I’ve been feeling the need to find balance in myself as a part of my community amidst its extremes.