Hazırım (I am ready)

February 16, 2015

b40

The waves crash, retreat, regroup, crash again. Life. Like the ocean, like all the oceans and the seas put together, all the waters of this earth, in a come and go, reach and withdrawal, highs and lows, never stopping.

Emotions. Looking at reflections, a maze through the eyes of Friends on Facebook. Not a regular wave anymore but but more like a tsunami. Clips, blinks, flashes from all around the world, words, cries, declarations and curses swirl in a funnel, hit the retina touch the brain, the nerves the senses, thoughts race, collide, pupils dilate. Emotions rise. Kaleidoscope of faces, shifting focus. Girl murdered. kid cutting their arms. Electric shocks in America. 48 rapes an hour in Congo. Vaginal reconstructions. Underage marriage. Governments attacking their citizens. “Schlock” brothers owning America. Media lying. Neighbors hating. Road Rage. People supporting violence, lack of education. Criticism. Derogatory language. Ignorance. Superficiality.

I reel.

I tried to write a song. A melody came… and words. And I couldn’t go on. And I started to cry.

I normally do not read news, watch TV or pay attention to the latest crises. But lately I’ve had constant WIFI and I’m connected and it’s right there and I slipped the slippery slope.

Oh Earth. Oh humanity.

My soul cries.

I woke up the next morning, looking and feeling like shit. But I have a meeting so I have to face this world. I go out. Out in this ghetto. Garbage strewn all over, buildings collapsing or in mid collapse… you want to see what I mean check this out… https://www.google.com.tr/search?q=TARLABASI&rlz=1C1ASUT_enTR594TR594&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=VEPhVM6nDYrzUrmnhPAN&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ

it really is like this. People yelling at each other, screaming, shouting. There is no finesse. I look down, realizing that today I am one of the frowning ones, I’m not helping anyone, I’m part of this then… I have to slalom, weave my way through pedestrian traffic as most will just walk aggressively right into you. First I am woman, then yabanci, so they can vent their discontent on me. Horns honking. Anger. Restlessness. A guy almost gets hit by another bilious taxi driver. A guy spits right at my feet. Another throws his cigarette butt in my path. I walk on. Outwardly I ignore it all. Inside it’s like a rust. I get off the sidewalk and walk on the street so to not have to do this constant zig zagging to avoid the mindlessness, the veiled hostility. It’s a gray day again. I missed the sun earlier. I need the sun these days. I get to Taksim. There are hundreds of gray pigeons flying low, blanketing the sky. Arab tourists with their wives. Turkish youth in their black leather short jackets and acid washed jeans posing for selfies by the Ataturk – republic monument.

What am I doing? I think. I ask. The bağlama is on my shoulder. Black case, so light. This gift… This gift that got me on this quest here on the other side of the world. I take long steps. I will be late if I don’t. I meet Elvan at 15:00 hours and then we will meet Tayfun; bağlama player and spiritual man in Beşiktaş. Another street corner, 3,4 people walk and cross. This driver should stop. He doesn’t and I don’t either. So he does. I look at him. Raise my hands… like… yeah… you’re not alone dude and I do have the right of way. But who am I kidding? That in a way… is just another act of war on my part. OK. I won’t do it again.

I get to the meeting. Not before sitting with Elvan and finding myself in a torrential downpour of tears. I am sad for the world. Sad for the hurt. So sad for the mindlessness, the lostness, the helplessness of my fellow humans. Yeah, maybe on a quantum level this is all just supposed to be, to happen like it is, this is the course, the pendulum, the yin and yang. But I feel. I feel and feel and feel and lately I’ve been meditating for the healing of the earth, for light, for lightness and maybe I’ve opened some channel that I had sort of avoided. That what passed for my strength was an avoidance of feeling. Because I was always feeling too much, could not take it. So I closed it and wiped my hands on my jeans.

“Lets go guysö I’m good now… no worries…”

But, a few months back, I had realized this : “I’m not scared anymore.” So now, I think, I’m strong enough to feel without self-destructing. So there I am, this live wire in the storm. But I can look at these vibrations disturbing the force, and yes I cry but I’m not disabled, I’m on. And I know now that this too shall pass, so lets feel it all to learn more.

I met Tayfun Hoca. There, something extraordinary happened. The dreams and the vectors and the dots connected. I remember very clearly a moment in San Dimas, fall 2011, Asbjorn was out and I was alone in the house and suddenly I had this compulsion to grab a book in Melanie’s library… and the book had this sort of mental experiment that was supposed to tell you about yourself. I can’t remember what it was… but as I went on with the process, a clear message came to me that night. I was to meet a terminal about my mission, my quest. That much was indubitably clear. I Didn’t know who, where, when or how, only that I had to go to Turkey so I went. One must listen to these directives. Once here, after a year, I wondered if maybe my meeting had happened and the connection had been made? I did indeed meet many souls over the last 18 months… But as we sat around the table, with the two cats and bağlamas I realized the import of that very moment. In my solar plexus, an immense ball of energy rolled and roiled and surged. Music rose and fed and drank from this energy. The words fell down like diamonds. Or more like pure, fresh flower petals. Many of them. Questions were asked, answers to them provided and all this drew a picture. I followed the guidance and put one step and the other down and now I sit here between Mufti the female cat and the other who is a blind healer cat, Elvan and Tayfun.

“You came for Pure Music.”

“Yes.”

“The earth now needs simple melodies from us humans.”

This man connected with the earth and the stars and he is one who makes the sounds that rises in between the two, connecting them, he will show me how to make those melodies.

Hocam, hazırım.

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Recap

February 14, 2015

c80

4:47. AM that is, I hear snoring upstairs and outside it’s the quiet hour on an Istanbul Friday night. Tonight was a good night. We played tonight. Yeah on a Friday night, lately it’s been the quiet Sundays, but tonight it was a full on, full power Friday. Atölye is bustling, faces facing us. Eager, wanting, and us delivering. I had this smile pasted on my face the whole way through… but I should tell you more. Who was “us”? I had Bariş with me, and that is always a massive treat. But tonight there was also… Eren. My magic drummer…. yeah!!! Sitting on my left, back on the kit! Yeah, yeah, yeah… I cannot describe my joy. To hear his touch.. his beats, feel his soul then to look at him and just fill up with joy! He has this …not sure how to say, it’s not a dimple… it’s a sort of angle, light crease at the corner of his mouth, it’s the coolest smiley thing to see. It’s an almost smile all the time, but a gentle sort of smiley thing… there are no words. But we had played so much in the past… then not at all for almost a year… I really missed his music. On top of that personal thing, the two of them, Baris and Eren, tuned into each other so very nicely. I was sandwiched in the middle of both grinning endlessly.

The room was packed. I had a feeling it would be, the last 10 days have been kind of filled with rain, cold, snow and shitty weather, tonight the skies held back and everyone went out. Friends showed up some I had not seen in a loooong time and it was just too cool, it all went by too fast. And maalesef, no there is no video… a friend wanted to come but could not free himself from work. So this music headed into the ether. Into the wide infinite universe to maybe be heard somewhere light years away from our little blue planet in a far, far away other-worldness.

But it will live in my heart.

Yes I know I’ve been sparse on the writing, lately I could feel the “where is she?” “Is she OK?” “Wonder what’s going on..?” from a few of you. So here are some news:

I moved again… yeah, 16 days after the first move that happened 6 days after I arrived back in Istanbul… (gotta love those :D) I moved again. I got fumigated out of the house, literally. There is no point in fighting against smokers, whatever stuff they put in the cigarettes, one of the 400 and some additives (I believe) does makes smokers fierce. Combative. Territorial. When they feel the vibe of a non-smoker, someone from the “other” side, they will instinctively smoke more, fan out the enemy so to speak, exhale war like vapors and eliminate the threat. In that “new” flat on the 15th night, all cigarettes were on, rolled ones, commercial ones, upstairs, downstairs… they were all alighted and that from about 10 PM until 7 AM. It was a freezing night and yet I had to have the window wide open as I was choking. Headaches, nausea, dizziness… coughing.. it was just horrible. My window open I think was a double edged sword… as I was trying to get fresh air, it also worked as a draft, bringing the smoke from the house into my room… could not win… At around 5 AM I hit Craigslist ( an wanted ads website) Plunged into it, scoured every possible avenue.. around 7 I had 4 candidates. I crossed my fingers after sending emails and finally could close the window and try to sleep as everyone else had finally gone to bed and stopped the pollution.

Two days later there was two options left. I visited one and I said yes. The next day I moved in. I liked the room, the flat, the roommate, the owner, the only downside…. Tarlabası… I had sworn I would not move there again… but here I am…

Now there are some things I know if as a non smoker you live with smoking flatmates here is some advice: you want a flat with multiple levels. Here there are three: bottom is the kitchen, main floor is my room, top floor is the bathroom and my flatmate’s room. Smoke goes up. He’s up, I’m down. No smoke I get. He does smoke, all the time, but I don’t get it… smoke goes up! remember that! The second important point is: density. The more the smokers, the more there is smoke and smoke starts to expand ( I believe there must be a formula for smoke expansion) it fills a room then goes from room to room and there is no escaping it. (I learned that in June 2013… Ömer Hayyam flat… one level, 6 smokers and …me. It didn’t work. Here we are two. It works. I can breathe. I never imagined that this could be my fate… In Canada, when you smoke you are pretty much considered a defective person… so smokers go outside, huddle around windows, are embarrassed… you can expect a smoker to go outside without protests… Here, the guy at the Kasımpasa flat told me flat out (pun intended) about the smoking: It’s the way in Istanbul. All right dude. Got it. I know this. so I left.

Now issue number one is handled… I can breathe and not wake up in a nightmarish panic for fresh air.

So along with flats comes rent and rent I will need to pay in another 3 weeks. Work I need. I had some hopes on some gigs but I realize they’re not going to happen, there are much politics involved in this game, but at the same time, there are many many venues, so I’ll just keep on looking, the path of least resistance. But this week a couple of things appeared that are showing some promise. The club Mono is interested in having me play there, they are working on it… cross your fingers for me… and there is this hotel in Taksim, Eren has a contact ther and they were very interested in my playing there… I also had a chat with a really cool ex-pat who lives here, he teaches English and was saying that he thought I would be just fine doing that. I’ve had hang ups and did not even try because I am not a “native speaker” or a teacher for that matter, but when he explained what he did, I thought that maybe I could be good at this… so I must gather my courage and go seek and who knows maybe I can enjoy this and do a good job.

What else? Well, I did enroll into a philosophy class on Coursera and I am really, really digging this. I think this is part of a calling … I am reading Plato, the dialogues, and it is really exciting to me. So I study this daily, I also have been doing my yoga and meditations and a program that addresses various weaknesses, neck, shoulders, core, lower back… a sort of physiotherapy DVD from my cycling days that I found when I went to California… it has been very good, I’m getting stronger. And… back to studying Turkish. I got two new books that arrived today. They were recommended by my Turkish teacher in California, I started on that too. So my days right now are disciplined: wake up, yoga, lemon water, study, practice, cook at home… I feel I must use this time in this space (in MY space.. oh luxury…) as much as I can and be focused on these things. I think they will matter… well no, lets rephrase, they do matter somehow I sense this. And… this weekend I will meet a possible bağlama teacher. My friend Elvan’s ex is into Sufism and bağlama. The two main things that motivated me to come to this country… we will see. No expectations, but magic is always welcome!

So I learn, play, practice, exercise, meditate. And there is of course time for friends. My beautiful, amazing, wondrous friends. Life brings much goodness… so much. So much. I am grateful.

b19

It’s like a dark snake racing down the hill, the water, the head of this water coursing down from some higher up starting point, I walk faster than it is going down so as I get closer to the head of the snake, there is a sound, the sound of water molecules encountering the dry, red drainage bricks. It’s around 5 AM, Monday morning. It’s all so very quiet. Quiet enough to hear this water insinuate herself towards her inevitable gravity bound destiny. I listen. This is the quiet hour. Even the cabs didn’t honk their horns as I made my way back home. Now, a plane, on it’s way to Ataturk airport. The sound widens, thickens with all it’s high pitch overtones and low rumble, then decrescendoes in the distance. Now I the gulls squeal, the lightness of my steps on the road. A piece of tar paper waves in the wind. Two cats, two ugly cats, congregate on the cement slab by the garbage bins, one black and white with its eyes too close together, one dull tabby reluctantly prodding a white plastic bag filled with someone’s garbage. The pavement at this point is cement on which cobblestones were etched. There is garbage everywhere, the wind did it and the street cleaning guys have not been around yet. It’s so very steep at this point. There is still wind, earlier it had been hard to move in some exposed spots, the blasts were so strong. But now it’s spring like. The sky is fogged, unclear, the moon wearing a veil.

I wish I would have to walk 4,5 more Kilometers. My heart-head-mind are full. I played tonight. Solo thing. It’s started like the wind: wildness and disorganization had infiltrated everything. I arrived at the venue only to realize that I had forgotten my capo, picks and power supply for the delay. Meaning that besides the guitar and the cables I forgot everything. I called a friend about a capo, no one home, call a second friend, she’s away from home so no capo until at least 20 minutes. OK 20 is just fine, there is no one here… she calls back, it’s going to be an hour or more… no problem. I’ll play the songs with no capos. Then when I plug in the guitar a gigantic low hum fills the room. We try every cable in the house and there is still a hum, it’s the guitar is fucked. Didn’t expect that.

My guitar is out of order, but per chance there is one in the venue. Someone’s instrument. I try it. I hate it. Takamine… never liked them. They are showy but to me they are these passive aggressive things, they fight all night with a smile on their face. I start to play and my wish is that I want to quit, everything about that thing is wrong for me. But I warm up, gradually focus. Forget about the thing and play, play, play.

I go deep.

But there is a part I forgot. Today, earlier, I plunged into my Plato-Socrates course, yeah, I’m doing a free online philosophy course. Today, it spoke of the cave story. Do you know it? It’s known in Sufism too. Quickly: there are people born in a cave, they’ve never seen anything else. The are seated and can only look forward. They cannot turn their heads in any way. All they can see are shadows that appear in front of them. The shadows come from behind them. Objects are carried in front of a fire and the shadows they produce appear on the only wall the people can look at. That is all they know. These shadows. One day, one of the guys gets out of the cave. First the light blinds him, gradually he gets used to it. And then he can feel the wind, see the sun, the sun putting its light on the things, the world reality is a whole other thing. no more backlit shadows,but clear objects… clear reality. It is an analogy with the human perception, society, what we conceive as true. the shadows are the things we believe are the actual reality, we are the people sitting in the cave, all convinced we know it all, that we have it all wrapped up.

so one day the dude goes back in the cave and tells them about what is really going on. And they all think he’s mad. Which is kind of what happens when someone comes and tells his fellow men about higher reality. Everyone demonizes him…

there was a drawing, 3 levels, the sun up in the sky, sun= life then a line, then the things on earth, then another line and an underworld with no sun, with this wall behind the seated people who are unable to see behind them that there is this wall, a fire and people carrying objects that are reflected on the wall. A sort old school TV… it also made the analogy of the people carrying the objects are like our politicians and leaders.. showing lies and fake things as the reality. And looking at this, reading this, made me detach somehow, detach on some level. Something happened. I kept wanting to continue reading… I’ve heard, read, all this before, in various forms, but this added something. This, was pure observation, from a man centuries ago, who saw. Without equations, computers, or any technology. He thought and he saw and he wrote.

After that, I grabbed my baglama, played.. and got into this other intense world, of notes, of fingers and of working on just making as pure a sound as i could. Then I had to run to my show… and that is when I forgot everything on the bed.

At the venue my head, mind, felt changed. This reading and the playing, something happened. As I was playing, playing,I started to fly. I was lucky enough that a few souls came in and they were really enjoying the music so I tuned in and made the wheels spin. worked the magic. I reeled them in and let them loose and tuned into my self and tuned into sounds, tuned into them, into past and future and now and the voice started to detach and do its thing, without me hindering it by thinking I can try to do something. Ah the voice, my voice… this entity, this gift… this other part of me not in the physical… I dug deep.

Later, after we left, I say we as Baris had come down, just to listen Lela was there, and Ekrem we went to his atelier, but this time we talked. About spiritual things… about quantum and then I saw it again, this thing that happened earlier, a new reality. I showed itself again. And I said, as I say too often how all is so perfect. The world, this existence, if you trust it, it’s absolutely perfect. But I said it this time on the heels of this quantum physics fact of the frequencies, the weight of thoughts and how they are heavier than the lines of energy of the smallest of all particles, how thoughts influence these particles, and the complexity of this whole universe made of these particles, which are all the same basic material… yet, with various densities, you get the immensely complex world we see.. it’s …Genius. It’s beyond any conceivable intelligence to actually have all this diversity actually all working all together, it’s… divine. Life, is much bigger than us, and that is where my determination in not planning things really stems from. I am way too narrow and limited a CPU to be able to even come close to imagine or to pretend to know the possibilities that could be. So I trust and let go and understand that I cannot know it all, or even attempt to think that I know what’s best. So I surrender. I call it Faith. This Faith, Surrender is about trusting into this divine intelligence, ability, possibility that is our world, universe. My 5 senses to narrow to truly perceive.

After this we played music, I ate some food then we listened to some songs. First an acoustic guitar player, Tommy Emmanuel. I was blown away. You must watch this guy, this is the first song we listened to : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cHeNscKZN0 and I was taken by is energy, his love for the instrument,for the music, the absolute joy of playing, a child like abandon. Then we listened to a Turkish musician and it was so intense and so sad.. it overwhelmed me. And there that was. Emotion.

As I walk back in this post windy night I feel Emotion. I remember this from forever. I was always too wound up by everything. And I remember shutting it all down, becoming teflon like. After hitting the wall too hard too many times I figured how useful that was going to be to be this tough. Somehow all of this all ties together. The nature of human reality, artistic expression, my own “hyper-sensitive”( I was told so often) the Sufis, the physicists and the individuals, God and nature. There I am. Moveable, moved, moving, part of the whole; everything and one, complex, alive. So to read Plato and feel the nature of your very own self. who would have thought? Ah, to live. Yes, forgive yourself everything and live.