A magic night

April 30, 2014

Magic.

Magic is good. Magic of life and this big IT that is this Universe and our being IT in IT. The day started with a bit of frustration as I could not get WIFI and I had many things of the “real world” that needed my attention. Things like taxes, residence permits, bank account balances and the such. And on top of it, my head was full of this uncertainty of tomorrow regarding the permit that brings with it the possibility of having to leave Istanbul in a little more than a month, a thing for which I really am not ready.

I finally landed at Chillout where the WIFI was alive and spent a few hours digging into websites, forums, banking and all that stuff. Then my angel showed up. Maryam. Oh what a joy to see her shine so. She now finally has her passport. There had been a big confusion last week that resulted in her having to change her flight to Lebanon, she came back from a first trip to Ankara empty handed having to go back there to finally have the precious document in her hand.

She leaves today, so we hung out. I am very, so very happy for her. She is going to Beirut and it seems perfect. We went out and we splurged into having a meal in a restaurant (!) and then we went for a fancy desert in a fancy place. Yes my angel… I’ve written much about her, there is no need to expound more, but lets just say I adore this girl and the bright sun of her beingness. I will miss her.

Later that night, I had a last minute show booked at Karakedi. Joris the violinist who was playing with Eren and I a little while back is visiting town for a week and Eren managed to get us to play. I had not performed in a while… about a month. About an hour before the show, while standing outside the venue with Maryam and I was overcome with emotion. It hits me that way. I go on feeling just fine whilst pushing what I actually feel down into my heels.. but I can only do this for so long… All the goings on taking place these last few days were stirring me up

“I don’t even feel like playing…” I said to Maryam.

“Why??”

“It’s too much…” I said… I was feeling the tears coming up, which is so very annoying…

and on this, Joris appeared, coming up the street loaded with a huge backpack and his violin. It was as if he had never left… Friends… We hugged, then Eren and Joris hugged and it was such a thing of beauty.

In those beautiful moments, all makes sense. The ups the downs, the unexpected and the seemingly neverending that lead to this very precise instant become all totally worth it. Inside the venue, there was the spoken word event that takes place once a month. I was to come on and play the last song and tell the people about our concert hopefully enticing people to hang out, then Eren would set his drum kit and we would start. I was going sing alone but Joris joined and then as we played Eren joined in on the snare… it was perfect.

As I sing the words “Let be, the Love that stills the heart, let be the knowing rising deep inside, let him show you the way, close your eyes and trust…” I started to float on the moment. The worries erasing. This scene, moment, instant so beautiful. Meaningful. To be playing with two of my very favorite musicians in this room filled with these souls, I felt blessed beyond belief.

The night went on as we played our concert. Eren said after the performance : “Tonight was perfect” It seemed that people were feeling everything we did, a woman who was dancing obviously totally into the music came and put a ring with a huge red stone on my right hand. She gave this red ‘ring of power’ to me out of bliss. We had this something that happens sometimes with the music when everyone slides into the groove and the mood, the energy grows into something that envelops all. Last night was like that. Blessed.

But there was more to the night… Conversations took the shape of guiding lights. First it was with Joris who asked why I wouldn’t try to play bigger venues, do more with the music. My answer was the usual “the music industry sucks” which I realize is a stock excuse-answer. Then I said something about not being so great, which is another stupid way to not face things. To that he said, everyone loves what you do… and as I played, and after I got off the stage, seeing the happy glow of happiness that had engulfed everyone, I could not deny this.

Of course it’s not the first time I get this acknowledgment from life. Music is always the thing that makes my life make sense. I know these things. These things that make my existence feel aligned with the greater forces, with the IT. Like the cell in the heart that does its job to keep the heart pumping to keep the body alive.

After the show I sat with friends, I brought up the residency issue and a new friend, suggested something that might solve the insurance issue and the whole residency issue. I will see him later today, we can talk more.

Umut who just came back from a few months in India was telling me about it. Yes, India again. I need to go… Eren is talking about Berlin. Motion is in the cards, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely, recluse thing… I know that I have to honor my gifts and maybe that is why life has given me so many chances at it… setting me free in a world where so many are tied by the bounds of family, jobs, responsibilities.

Later Joris and I stopped for some soup then to Chillout where he is staying. We chatted longer, he went to sleep and I kept talking with Talat who made me realize once again the magnitude and the gift of my freedom… Being Canadian, like it or not, opens the doors of the world. This passport thing is a weighty document in this society. He spoke with so much passion about his country, his struggles, his fights.

How amazing is this chance to exchange and interact. I find meaning through others, this interaction inside the IT. The red blood cell gathering oxygen, again, keeping the organism alive. We need each other. We are each other.

I ended up walking back to Tarlabasi around 6 AM. Walking gently in the slowly stirring to life Istanbul. Before everyone and everything gets up to its relentless speed. It feels like the World is where I should be, go, experience. Home is a nice thought but a static one. I am not a static particle. Oh Istanbul one more time you shook me, hugged me, pushed me, loved me and I love you back. All is well. Really truly.

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Should I stay or should I go?

It has been the question on my mind for a while and now that my residence permit is almost over and I have to consider action.. it is now at the forefront of my preoccupations. The thing expires on June 9.

I started the renewal process yesterday I took an appointment online and that felt really good. It felt like I finally had turned on the light in a dark room. One way or another, If it is renewed then I have the choice to do whatever I feel. That gave me a boost, “Yeah” good something is happening. But later, a friend told me about this new thing that is required: health insurance that costs 250 lira per month, that is 3000 lira that I would have to come up with up front. Well, I don’t have that. So no more choice… so this morning I scoured the internet for more information about this insurance and very little shows up other than it is a new requirement. Can I get my own policy (I found travel insurance for a year for $450 online… would that work?) But this new fact brought me back to this “what’s next?” position all over again.

So many things are moving, evolving, changing… people leaving, places closing… yes, it is quite normal for this place. When I think of leaving something comes to make me want to stay… When I think of staying another event happens that make me feel that I should maybe go then…

I play tonight at Karakedi, with Eren and Joris. Yes, Joris had left and he is back for two days and miraculously Eren was able to get us a night at Karakedi. Another friend from Iran will be here in 5 days… Last week Jule was here. After almost a year I can see the cyclic nature of this city. People come to visit, then leave and eventually come back in cycles, while the natives live through this flow of incoming and outgoing humanity.

I have a tremendous love for this place. I made some deep friendships that are really hard to imagine leaving behind. If I try to imagine not being here it seems I would just miss my friends, the color of the light, the cats, the buildings, the philosophy of life so much… Then there is this thing about not getting attached… letting all go. It’s been truly amazing…

Decisions seems easier to make when there is a future plan, a goal, a target. I don’t really have such a thing. I don’t have career dreams and expectations and must haves anymore. I am just happy to play when I can, when there are ears… I am just happy to help whenever, whoever and wherever I can… I am not in a hurry to go back to the materialistic West with its hard rules and its unstoppable obsession for money. I think in wide strokes about writing, music, practice, walking… There are places I could go volunteer for a while all over the world. It would make for great experiences. then I come back to that question: What do I want? and that is where it gets strange, I don’t really “want” anything specific. I do miss my friends over in North America… I can always come back… I think of all that the world offers… so much to see… Where does one start?

6th Day

April 23, 2014

6h day…
it’s hard to grasp that I’ve been back in Istanbul for 6 days already… I still am confounded with the way the days seem to smoothly go by and yet, are so filled with so much that one has a hard time keeping track with all that took place in a 24 hour period.

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Since I came back it’s been all about friends, and that feels so good. I first saw Eren, then Meron, then all the people at Karakedi, the friends at Chillout, it was really cool. I saw Maryam not so well as she has been waiting for her passport for three months… then Maryam completely elated as the passport arrived. She is leaving for Beirut on Monday, so we hung out quite a bit together these last few days. Jule came to visit us for a week, we spent time together. Meron and I were hanging out together on Friday and we found the perfect chair for my baglama practice, the thing was sitting there, abandoned on the street. But Meron is also leaving… he is going to leave any day now for a while. The constant Istanbul dance of comings and leavings of friends, new faces, old faces…

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The strangest thing I found in coming back here was that everything seemed the same. You know when you go away usually things look different; bigger, smaller, nicer, worse… but this time it was all the same but I felt I was the one who was different. Rested. Refreshed. With the images of Crete still vibrant in my mind. The air… the flowers…

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The big bonus: I have really learned a lot at my baglama seminar. At times I truly wondered if my head was going to explode but now I can see that I have absorbed a lot of information as I go back over the materials we worked so hard on. I have been practicing between 3 to 5 hours a day since I’ve been back. Now I am considering going back for the summer seminar. Get another dose of intense learning while I am here. I am not sure that I can find this sort of training here in Istanbul. So far I have not been able to do that. What I have learned in Crete showed me how much and how I should be learning.

I wish to really practice intensively for the next few months. Meron offered me a place to stay until August and it seems that I honor this by really working hard for these next 3 months.

coming to the forefront is the issue of my residency permit which will expire in late June. The rules have now changed and it is going to be a priority in these next few weeks to see if I can renew it and for how long. In a way it might be a bit simpler since we have to go through our embassies. I now have a contact there, after renewing my passport and that should help with the process.

Yeah, sorry, no massive piles of photos on this post! My apologies to the visually hungry! Next is a not so exciting necessity to handle papers, taxes, banking and money issues as soon as possible. I have avoided those for a while and I need to get that happening!

Hugs to all.

the way back to Istanbul

April 18, 2014

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started with a rainbow

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leaving Greece
I’m not sure how I feel… a bit sad I think..

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High in the sky

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Approaching and reaching Istanbul

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and then in Beyoglu

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started in the dark with the moon shining so bright at 5:30 AM
Then this incredible sun rise over Rethymnon
Then the rainbow
then the incredible skies
then this sunset…

it just goes to show, no matter where you are life is beautiful

Tuesday

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I did find the sea… I went West, found a trail, many fences that have been breached, then ended up on top of an abandoned hotel facing the sea. I had taken the dirt track and it got me there. I was trying to get down from there but it was too high to jump… I found an abandoned room with these painting on the wall…

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then stairs… down one level, but it was still too high. Two fat women and a guy were watching me. One of the women said angrily:

“What are you doing there!? You can’t come down.”

“I came the wrong way.”

They could actually help me down, but you know humans and this thing about “can’t” and rules and conventions… And you know my intense allergy to “Can’t” So I thought to myself: “Watch me.”

I climb on the side of the wall, but there were new plants that had just been put in the earth below and I didn’t want to destroy anything. I went back up the stairs… looked. Found. And I jumped as they watched and walked by them down to the water. In my mind I stuck my tongue at them: Pffffttrrrrr!!!

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Now to the water. The set up: It’s about 4 PM, 22 degrees Celsius, the sand is golden, the water turquoise, you can see the bottom and it’s like crystal. I took my shoes, bracelets, jacket and bag off. I walked into the water. It’s cold. It’s like a caress. It’s been a long time since I went in any sort of natural body of water. It’s the first time in … 3,4 years that I am actually wearing shorts… I decided not to care if I was to blind a few people with my extreme whiteness… Oh it’s so good. The waves come and hit me, they are not big but the bottom is slippery and I quickly fall. Water in my mouth, oh it is so salty. I swim. It is amazing.

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After a while I get out. I went in with shorts and top.. I don’t have a swim suit, so that does not dry that well, but it’s warm. I walk back to Plakias. There is a field of wheat. It’s so high… up to my waist and more, and there are those daisies… I feel the earth, the life. It’s as if the field could swallow me. This energy… the earth… without warning I cry. I miss the earth. The bees buzz all around. This is their world.

Back at the hostel. I play all night.

Wednesday
I wake up it’s not so sunny, but it’s nice. I found good espresso. Greeks love good coffee so it’s easy to find. I go enjoy a double come back and start practicing. I play for 2 hours or so. Then I go for a hike. I walk by this place on the sea, it’s called the rocks because the water is full of big rocks sticking out… I promise myself to come swim here later

I up, up, up. It is pretty amazing… the life, the smell of olive trees, the buzz of the bees again. They say the bees are dying everywhere… not here. There is no one around and I love it.

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Back down to the hostel and I cook some food. I have Prince as my helper. I make a feast of pasta, tomatoes, kabak, onions and cheese. With the taste of olive oil and herbs here any food becomes glorious in an instant. I eat and it’s delicious. I clean my stuff up, put on my shorts and sport top and out again I go.

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The night is approaching but it’s still light. I walk to the rocks place. In the water I go. There is no more sun. but the water is good. Oh…. I swim for a good while as I watch the clouds who are like giant ships in the sky, they are white with the gold from the sunset. They shift, approach… over the mountain, a man’s face appears, it’s mouth open. I head out towards the big open sea past the rocks… it’s always a bit frightening… I try to turn around but Poseidon doesn’t really want to let me back towards the beach… he holds on to me a bit… but slowly, slowly I return, I can see one day that I should heed his call and not return. Meet him, like in my song… but this time I would not faint because of his beauty. I would look at him, deeply in the eyes and I would reach out to touch him… (the song is Tourne from Aventuriere Accidentelle)

I went back to the hostel. I am soaked. A guy at the door of a restaurant (they stand there trying to lure tourists in) says to me: give me your card, I have a phone, I will call you… he had asked me to stop by after my swim when I first walked to the beach. He laughed, a woman who was doing the same job at the next restaurant laughed and I laughed too.

Back at the hostel… more playing. This course I took, I did learn. I was not so sure if it was going to “take’ or not… I was so stressed at times, trying to keep up… but I have learned a great deal. It is starting to show. I play until about 1:30 when one of the women from my dorm came with a sort of panic on her face and asked me to stop playing. I was shocked. I didn’t realize that they could hear me… I apologized… I hate this… always kicked out of places for playing… I stopped, not ready to. And that frustrated me more, so I watched another Alan Watts lecture on Youtube. Awesome. After that I quietly slipped into bed.

Thursday
Last day. The women in the dorm woke me up at 8 something… crap. It’s raining out. I go back to sleep after asking them if they could be more quiet. I went for coffee… the people are so nice, I tell them it’s my last cafe here. We chat a bit. Back to the hostel I pack. Get ready for the 3 pm bus.

The bus shows up late. Then up the hill he goes the wrong way. The views are spectacular. We had a massive thunderstorm coming from the sea. It was so powerful, the whole land got soaked so it’s impossibly green now , all over, a green symphony.

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We get into Rethymnon. I find the hostel following my nose. I laughed out loud… I walked… not too fast, looking around… on the Hostel website there was a painting of a guy sitting at the hostel and a minaret was sticking out… I sort of knew the approximate direction as I had looked on Google map but here too there are no street names to be found. So I proceeded.. saw a minaret… then turned… then turned again, after about 10 steps I saw the sign. I dropped my stuff off and headed out for a walk to see the fortress… there was a way to get in but they want money and I don’t have any to spare… so I skip it.

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This place is mystical. Especially out of the cities… Out there one gets visions of creatures, Gods and sea spells to mind. When I was walking out in the hills I could almost feel myself wearing sandals and a tunic… really… If I came back, I would like to just go on foot. Anywhere… on the small roads, through the small villages. Good shoes, a GPS and not much more and then just walk. Feel the place. This was like a little tasting… but at least, I have been here. it”s pretty unbelievable… Tomorrow back to Istanbul. That is not real either yet… I don’t know what awaits me. We’ll see. In the mean time, I am so grateful for my time in Crete.

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We’ll go to the sea…

April 15, 2014

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Blue. In front of me, a blue expanse of sea. The waves come in all of them gentle. Far in the distance I can see the outline of another island. The blue goes from gold to deep blue into the distance. What the hell? What am I doing here? This is the stuff of dreams, stuff I would have never imagined getting myself to do. But here I am.

Yesterday I took something like 1200 photos during the day. Intoxicated by the nature, the flowers, the beauty of the day. Then, night and the moon came out and we had a date. I was running down the streets following her, she was dancing with the clouds up there and I ran around with the camera, giggling, laughing out loud unable to stop myself, feeling so incredibly lucky.

Is the magic in the air, in the place? Or is the magic always in the human? Is the magic temporary or always available? Is it magic? Or is it just that when we ourselves, get out of the way everything is, in actuality, immensely magical?

It has been good to be by myself. Away from the constant flirting of Istanbul. She is a demanding mistress with its nights, music, friends, energy, shapes and colors, madness and exuberance. It has been good to feel the earth, hear birds sing, see nature, flowers, trees… feel connected to the world of the earth as opposed to the world of humans.

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Today I will endeavor to find a beach and go in the sea… I need to meet with Poseidon, it’s been too long… get myself in the healing waters and bask in the superpowers of the sea God. I will stay one more night here then tomorrow I will walk again. My body is much better than it was a few days ago. One blister still is a bit tender, I’ll have to heed the body’s demands and stop when it requests such a thing. And… I have better shoes now, not great but much, much better. What I really need are shoes that have adjustable suspension, like on my motorcycle, so when I carry my bag I could tighten it up.

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I’ve had some nice talks on Skype these last two days… I called mom. It is always incredible to hear a smile form on her voice when she recognizes me on the line. With Skype, if you try to look up who is calling it appears like some kind of phone spam, she took a chance and answered, I was laughing.

“Allo.”

“Allo…”

“It’s Greece calling…”

then followed the recognition and laughter. For those who asked, she is doing well after the cancer surgery. She has started to make music again, always a good sign. I am thankful. Very much so.

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Only a few more days in this paradise. North American city planners could take a lesson or two in land management from this place…. I am amazed at the fact that this island has been inhabited for centuries and it is not fowled and broken and polluted like what we are doing over back home. We in the West have much to learn.

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now for the night images

April 15, 2014

Oh moon, moon, moon how I love you… tonight you shone like the sun and made me run like a mad girl, laughing and exclaiming all over town… I was the only one there worshiping you…

My moon, my beautiful moon you make the world anew with your pure light
Oh how I love you

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