Days in Pai are slow. Days at Circus are even slower. It’s a place that seeps into the crevices between your bones, relaxing you from the inside out. Keeping you in place in the best way possible. Most mornings are a process of slowly –sloooowly– eating breakfast and easing into the day. The farthest you make it after that is the few meters to a hammock or to the pool. As the day passes you chat to new friends, or practice your skills on a hula hoop. Maybe you learn how to slackline.

On one of those slow mornings, I found myself making two new friends. They were having a conversation and as I joined in I quickly noted that this was going to be interesting.

They were talking, it seemed, about love.

“I don’t believe in love,” one said. “At least not in the way that people use the word. They say love too easily. And they say it means love for a person. That’s bullshit.”

I settled in, immediately wanting to hear more.

“In Israel we have this word, it’s called ‘havaya.’ It’s hard to explain but it means looking at something from the outside. Being in an experience but seeing it from the outside.”

He continued, “it’s being a part of something. That’s real love feelings.”

A part of something?

The corner of my mouth began to tug into a smile – you can’t be serious.

Oh yes. Because what he said next was:

“It’s like when you go into nature and you feel the nature. That’s when you feel it. Those are the true love feelings. It’s when you are feeling like a part of something. And havaya is really seeing it.”

Feeling like a part of nature. True love feelings.

My brain chimed in: are you hearing this, Nicole? Yes. I am. But I still can’t believe it.

A part of something. I sat there smiling big while he talked. The three of us discussed. We mused about what love is, what it means to feel like a part of something, how it feels to see your experience from the outside.

I told them about my feelings over the past few days. In the jungle, past the rice paddies, in the caves. All the time, feeling like a part of something. All the time trying to figure out what that actually means.

“I keep getting this strong feeling like I am a part of something. I feel like a part of something right here, right now,” I said.

Three pairs of eyes smile at each other; glittering. I look out at the view before me. I take it in; breathe deep.

I guess this is love, then.

3 thoughts on “Havaya

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