Before making the final decision to move back to Israel last summer, I wrote a list of all the things that I couldn’t stand here: “ani achreich” at the supermarket checkout stand, any mention of Iran and the nuclear bomb, the official one-day weekend. Mostly, though, I bemoaned the congested roads and the crazy drivers. A list-maker, I found it cathartic, as if writing down my grievances could somehow make them go away. Seriously, though, I wondered how I was going to survive living in the center of the country where I would be forced to reckon with aggressive Israeli drivers on a daily basis.

As a going-away present before leaving New York, I asked each of my yoga teacher friends for the same thing: their playlists. My intention was to play their music, which I loved, in my new studio as a way to remind me of them and my yoga life. I didn’t care if their playlists were spiritual and chant-like and intended for yoga, or not. All it took was the first beat of Trevor Hall’s “The Lime Tree” and I would dissolve, any tension in my shoulders melting, down my spine, off the mat.

When Robin gifted me two CDs, one entitled “Faith” and the other “Relaxation”, I smiled wide. Then, a week later, when Lisa handed me six with her handwriting on each, “yoga mix” or “heart opening”, I hugged her hard. Since my husband and I were in the throes of purging and packing, I put their gifts in a safe place to save them. Until we arrived. Until I opened up my yoga studio in our basement. Until I began teaching again and could play them.

As it turned out, our house in Raanana was barely livable, my studio was low on the list of priorities, and, as if that weren’t enough, my high-tech husband had banned CD players from entering our household. If I wanted to hear the music my girlfriends had given me, I had no choice but to play it in the car.

On my 30-minute drive to and from Ella Yoga at the Tel Aviv Port where I teach once a week, I listen as Trevor Hall sings to me, lulling me to a peaceful place far away. He accompanies me through the winding, narrow city streets in Herziliya and down the Ayalon South and I forget that chutzpadik drivers are tailing me, indicating for me to change lanes. I tune out their honking at yellow lights, seconds before turning green. I focus on the road ahead of me, breathing with awareness as overly confident motorcyclists swerve around me.”The Lime Tree” lyrics wash over me:

I spark a match and watch the candle burn.
The wick runs out and then love takes it’s turn.
On fallen angels and broken sounds, we will last past the final round.

Throughout the mild winter months, I would roll down my windows and crank up the volume. Now that it’s summer I close myself in, blasting the air conditioning as well as the music. The lyrics and the tunes fill the car and float around me.

It took awhile for you to find me. (find me.)
But I was hiding in the lime tree. (lime tree.)
Above the city in the rain cloud. (rain cloud.)
I poked a hole and watched it drain out. (drain out.)

Stunned, I realize that I am actually relaxed, as if in another world, while driving in this desert land. Krishna Das, Michael Franti and Idan Raichel, each of whose songs I play over and over, transport me to another place, one where drivers are polite and driving is a pleasure. Neither the stop-and-start traffic jams nor the motorists gesturing wildly with their hands make my blood pressure rise. I relax my grip on the steering wheel and feel my body soften.

It took awhile for you to find me. (find me.)
But I was hiding in the lime tree. (lime tree.)
Above the city in the rain cloud. (rain cloud.)
I poked a hole and watched it drain out. (drain out.)

Like Donna DeLory and Tina Malia and Deva Premal’s yoga-inspired music, the lime tree tune takes on a repetitive, almost meditative quality. The music becomes my mantra: I am OK here. I can drive here. I am behind the wheel of my car, in Israel, at peace.

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