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The Healing Process image2

The Healing Process

What is Kidville? I’ve been asked this a few times and always have a slightly different answer. Kidville is many things, and to simplify it I would say it is a children’s playspace. I want to focus on my time working there as a part of the Rockin’ Railroad.

After leaving a bad situation with my former band, I was having an identity crisis. I had forgotten who I was. I cannot help but think back to the Lion King movie, specifically the scene in which Mufasa visits Simba from the heavens and says “Remember who you are.” I knew I had to remember who I was, so in order to make that happen I had to jump into my childlike sense of wonder and joy. Joining the rockin’ railroad was a big step in that direction.

My first stint with the rockin crew was at the location in Montclair, NJ. I remember playing drums for the first few classes and thinking “is this what I do now?” I had been touring the world as a professional drummer, playing the biggest stages for thousands of people, and now here I am playing drums for a childrens’ musical group. It was surreal, but I knew it was what I needed to be doing. It was humbling, and reminded me that there are so many good people out there who want to help and inspire others. Humanity was slowly being restored to my being.

The band was made up of a guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, and conductor (band leader). We would teach the kids about percussion instruments, sing songs, and read stories together. There were puppets too. The kids loved it.

After about 3 months I received an offer to work at Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Spring, NY. This was another sign that I was moving in the right direction. I knew it would be a challenge to work as the Jewish Specialist at this camp, given that it was my first time holding that position. I have a fairly good understanding of Jewish thought, but this specific position would challenge me in new ways. I had worked at a day camp for four previous summers, but this time I would be at sleepaway camp. I knew going in it was a completely different animal than day camp, and I was ready for the experience.

It was at this camp that I started to feel my age. I was 32 at the time, and I did not realize how much older that was compared to most of the counselors. They were all in their early 20s, some of them 18 and 19 years old. Most of them were from Israel and the UK, and this was their first time in America. I quickly learned about how numb I had become to the human experience by touring around the world and living a somewhat isolationist lifestyle. What I mean by that is I felt it difficult to relate to the younger counselors. I wanted to make friends and connect with the people around me, but it was hard for me. I still had many wounds and scars that were in the process of healing. Still, I held my own and did my best. By summer’s end I had rekindled some of my childlike wonder, and flew out to Oregon to visit some family and purchase a car for the first time.

This would be the first time I drove across the country on my own terms. There was a stop in the Big Horn mountains that was quite a moment. I stopped at a gas station that felt familiar and I realized I had been there before with my former band. This time it was me, all by myself, and I took it all in, processing the moment, in awe at the transcendent nature of time and space. Re-visiting a place you have been to years before is when you realize how different you have become. It was as if the universe was guiding me to this gas station up in the mountains. I felt like someone was watching over me. It was as if the universe wanted me to have this humbling experience. I stood in the parking lot and took it all in.

The Healing Process image1As I continued to drive across the country, I became closer and closer to moving into my new apartment in Brooklyn, NY and working at Kidville once again as a part of the rockin crew. After a few months I understood that the city was not sustainable for me. It felt like a dream. I’m still not sure if I ever truly lived in NYC…

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020 I moved back home. 5 months later I found myself planning a move to Ithaca, NY, and here I am. It was not until I lived by myself that I could understand the forces that were working with and against me. This move to Ithaca was so pivotal in my life’s trajectory. It truly opened my eyes to where I was in my life, and it was not pleasant. After much pain and inner turmoil, I started to find my way.

This may seem random, but I cannot help but think of a biblical tale in which Terah (Abraham’s father) is compelled to move out of his hometown of Ur and head towards Canaan. There is no reason as to why Terah leaves Ur, he just does. My move to Ithaca is similar. I believe that the universe has led me here, and by listening to my gut I have allowed a new chapter in my life to commence.

The healing process will look different for everyone. It requires struggle, patience, reflection, and time. I had to be with my own thoughts and remove any bad habits. It’s complicated, painful, mysterious, inexplicable and mystical.