Free. Now.

August 26, 2018

 

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We can wear chains of our own making, unwittingly

Memories, habits, opinions.

Suddenly our thoughts are not our own.

When we stand and look at the present moment, is when we can tell what is really going on.

Usually when we do this, we observe that we are alive, breathing, that at that very moment, all is OK.

 

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We create our reality based on our beliefs, our acceptance level and the size of our dreams. All of it. The good and the bad and the mediocre.

We are creators, all of us, to the very bottom of our cells, DNA and molecules.

Today I was made to realize the speed of that process from thought to realization. It is instantaneous.  It was huge. There is tremendous power there, creative power.

Live, Love, don’t dwell on anything, breathe deeply.

All is well, all is part of a brilliant, enormous play from which we barely just see the edges.

 

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D-I-V-O-R-C-E

August 20, 2018

August 20th 2018

 

Maker:S,Date:2017-2-2,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

It is gone. The leash’s clasp finally opened and the collar was finally removed.

On August 17th 2018, in a Tennessean court a judge declared us “divorced”. Finally. It had been 9 years since the original separation and since that, I had requested this many, many times and each time I was met with a barrage of excuses and an impassable wall. Nothing would happen and the leash would stay.

It was while I was in California sitting in Coffee Klatch in Rancho Cucamonga, drawing away when suddenly a loud call to action came from deep within. “Send him a message, offer $250 (approximately 1/2 the cost of a divorce without contest) and ask him to get it done. My head shot up in surprise, I stood for an instant wondering what the heck that was and then felt that it was really the moment to take action.  So, I sent him a message. My heart was pounding, I could just imagine another 12 incher message on Messenger delineating all the reasons why it could not be done… I felt so nervous.

In the mean time, my friends came and picked me up at the cafe, I told them about my sudden inspiration, we were all crossing fingers. Arriving home, I gingerly opened up the laptop and checked messages… again, heart pounding, fingers slightly tremulous. There was an answer. He said that, yeah, it would be time, that he would look into it…. I jumped up and started to dance around and hugged my friend. OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!!!!! was all I could come up with.

At that point I had about 10 days left before flying out of California to return abroad. I felt this countdown ticking loudly, intimidating. I immediately sent money.  He was the one who long ago had told me :  “When there is a problem, just throw money at it.”  I should have done this much sooner.

I had tried alternative ways to getting this divorce thing done by myself, in Turkey it would have cost 15 000 Turkish Lira, too expensive…   In Canada I would have to be there for the duration of the procedure which could take up to 6 months, that seemed impossible and prohibitive, I looked into the “abandonment” thing but then I again would have to live in the USA or Canada to get that done. The simplest most expedient way always pointed to him initiating the process in America.

So the process was engaged, and as in all endless, impossible to terminate cycles, sticks were constantly appearing and finding their way into the wheels of this crazy wagon. First my Paypal transaction almost failed, because of the 5 day transaction delay, I had miscalculated transaction times and got messages to the effect that funds were insufficient… I rushed to fix that, not believing how I could let that happen.  Then he sent me the official forms and I almost missed getting them because the address was incomplete.  Then opening the package and looking at the papers I saw that my name was misspelled to Herbert instead of Hebert. I started to panic, it seemed that a strong counter-intention was infiltrating every aspect of the process.  After 16 years! Misspelling my name… it seemed crazy.  I was with Mona at that time and she was my rock being there to keep me grounded through it all. As I was starting to freak out, she proposed:  “We should be able to find these legal files online…”.  So I went online, and to my great relief, found the files. We printed them and filled them anew. Phew!

Then there was the question of the marriage certificate, we both could not remember either the date or the year of the marriage. I never had had possession of the certificate, he did. First he told me it was in storage far away, then in a later message said he had “lost it”. I asked everyone who had been at the wedding if they could remember the year, no one could. The only option was to go to the source, so I called the BC Vital Statistics office.  They would not give me the date of the marriage, I had to buy a new certificate, which annoyed me as I did not really wish to have such a paper in my possession.  The damn thing was $60 to be paid by credit card and I had no more credit cards…  I was starting to panic again, arguing with the woman on the phone,  Mona, who was hearing the conversation said “Just get it! I’ll pay for it!” So we ordered the certificate.

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More obstacles reared up… we were waiting for the certificate to arrive, to be able to fill that one blank spot on the forms for the marriage date.  The courrier came but Mona or I weren’t home, so they refused to leave the document at the address. I called UPS gave them the tracking number the Office of Vital Statistics had given me, they told me it was not a tracking number…  The woman on the line was silent for a moment, then she said:  “it’s your lucky day, I just looked on my special folder and found your package”… She then gave me the US tracking number and I could thereafter find the package.  The next day, I found myself perched on the back of  Hector’s Suzuki GSX flying through LA to get to the UPS office. We had been following the document’s whereabouts online trying to catch it before it would be put on a truck again. We finally got it. In my hands… I opened it up… August 9, 98 was the date.  I was looking at that piece of paper…  a simple piece of fancy paper holding so much power, yet so meaningless.
Next day, next step: getting the papers notarized. I went to a UPS counter, they offer the service there. I was starting to feel that the strength of the obstacles was diminishing. The road was gradually opening. There I had notarized both the papers for the divorce and the papers for the bankruptcy.  The Notary asked me:  “anything else?”  I said: I think that is quite enough!”

Next day: I put everything in an envelope and headed to the post office. I took the bus, it was sunny and hot in central LA.  I was looking out the bus’ window, looking at the typical low lying southern California buildings. At the post office there was a big lineup. I grabbed the express shipping envelope, filled the form and slowly moved up the line to the counter. I was feeling everything, all the energies around me it seemed, I was supercharged.  Every person’s vibrations were hitting me.  At the counter,  I gave the letter, the clerk who asked me if it was indeed  going express, I acquiesced, paid, thanked the clerk and walked out. In the sun outside, I suddenly was hit with this big burst of emotion. I could have danced, tears rolled down my face in relief, I felt this long, long held feeling releasing. Finally. Finally. FINALLY.

I have felt this collar and leash around my neck for a long, long time. I have rebelled futilely against it. I could not remove this tether by myself… He had to cooperate but he always had a litany of excuses… In San Dimas, two years after the separation, after unsuccessfully requesting this divorce to be done he had told me:  “You are in such a hurry” (!!!!!!). Which had frustrated me to no end. Back then my friend Asbjorn told me to “forget about it, live your life fully as if it wasn’t there since there is nothing you can do.” I followed his advice and it was the best thing to do considering the circumstances, but I cannot tell you how many times it came up and how many times I was chafing to do something about it only to be left there powerless.

This time, in our email exchange he wrote to me: “I am very happy to give you your freedom completely” I was outraged.  This just was a punch in the stomach. Did he own me? Who gave him the right to dispose of my freedom as he wished?  All along, he was the one who could facilitate this process and he took 9 years to do it. For those 9 years I felt this hold, this tug, this leash. I felt his presence, his counter-intention that I had to accept, that I had to bend down to. How can a person have the leisure to keep another person attached against their wishes like this? As if he kept holding on to the last thing he could control over me.  I remember telling him in 2010: “We are done.” and his reply was “You’ll see”.  See what?  Why not take and respect the words coming from my deepest soul?  from my heart?

But this is all past.  I have been released.  I am free. I can now speak of all this in the past tense and do whatever I please without this shadow following me.

That night I went to the beach, on the pacific with friends. A gigantic feeling of freedom, happiness and lightness rose and rose from the depth of me. I burst into a run on the beach, into the water, laughing, crying, and by divine grace I was surrounded with three of the best people ever: Seraphim, Hector and Sarah. The size of my emotions, of the tension release surprised me. It made me aware of how I do bury and push down painful personal  issues I cannot solve. I saw how these things affect me on a cellular level. This newfound awareness will help me handle other issues.  I am thankful for that.

 

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That night after the beach, we all went to a Cuban restaurant, ate, laughed, Mona joined us and we went dancing until the wee hours.  All was unplanned and so perfect.

It has been a year of deep personal discovery, a year of liberation of old things, of disentangling claws from the past from the fabric of my life. Walking on a thin wire, homeless, bankrupt, moving from place to place relentlessly, to the point of complete exhaustion. It has been so enlightening. Every place, every face a mirror for me to look and learn. I felt I was on the edge of rebuilding I was looking for stones to make a new foundation, but I see now that it’s not about rebuilding, it’s about expressing, vibrating, integrating.  Nothing is burnt to the ground and annihilated, all is moving, flowing, existing, nothing lost, nothing created.  It is about putting the mind outside of the habits, beliefs, reactions and bravely look and humbly recognize so to create the space, the moments that allow us to be creative, to be contributors.

The journey continues, there will be more challenges, or should I call them, chances to grow.  I am grateful.

“When you fulfill your own abilities, when you express your personal idealism through acting out to the best of your own ability in your daily life then you are changing the world for the better. Believe in your own reality count on your abilities, give them a practical form of expression.”
Seth, the Nature of Mass Events.

Much love.

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I woke up feeling completely useless. My body aching, my mind dull, my spirit seemingly absent. I went back to sleep hoping that a little more rest would wash away this extreme weariness. It did not. I proceeded to do menial things, laundry, put order in my things, eat something. No improvement.

I decided to go out, there was a nice breeze and I thought fresh air cannot hurt in all this heat. During my travels I lost my watercolor kit. I don’t know where or how but it’s not in my pack anymore and I was really missing it.  Last Wednesday I checked the prices in a Kadidöy art store and found that the paint kits were up 30% from the prices I paid when I bought the kit back in December at 75 TL. Yesterday I looked again the same kit was now up 15 lira from Wednesday’s price at 85 TL. The lira is plunging in an abyss.  A year and a half ago it was about 2.5 TL for a US dollar. Now it is 6.43 for a dollar….

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So I hopped on a ferryboat across to Karaköy, then walked over to Sirkeci.  There is a row of art supplies stores there, I wanted to see if i could find a better price over there.  In the big store, no one would help me so I went to a smaller one, I found the Van Goh 12 pad kit, the same one I lost.  I asked the price: 75 TL he told me.  I decided to buy it.  At the register the man told me that I was getting 15 pads for the price of 12.  Bonus!  I felt good about finding this and replacing the lost one.  Later I checked online and on Amazon it would have cost me $35 dollars plus shipping for the same thing.  Right now it cost me $11.  A sweet deal.  I am happy to have watercolors again!

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For a while we may be having some good deals like this but if it continues too long, all imported things will start costing much much more because of this economic crisis.
I wonder how far that will go. It is of course yet another Trump effect, the two ‘dictators’ displeased each other and now the currency is in free fall.  Politicians are mad men. Most of them. Fanatical people, ready to magnify their ideals into the worst expressions of human narrow mindedness.

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So as the day went, the cloud of fog and pain dissipated. I walked through the Sirkeci district, where the oldest ottoman buildings stand and inspire. It’s full of people everywhere, it is hot, brilliantly sunny. There are always these moments where I look around me and find myself in awe to be here, not quite understanding how it is that I walk these streets under this sky.  All around me, it is like a fairy tale. But a realistic type of fairy tale, from filthiness to impossibly wealth and poshness, from misery to glory, from beauty to gut wrenching ugliness. When the sun shines though, Istanbul shows it’s prettiest face.

I walked to Galata, up, up, up the stairs, I don’t exercise enough so this is good for me. I went to my favorite cafe; Federal Galata, enjoyed one of the most amazing espressos one can have on this planet, drew for a while and headed back to Kadikoy with a friend, taking the ferry one more time, enjoying the sea breeze and the magical view of the city from the Bosphorus.

I’ve been back here for a week now. Time is flying by at warp speed. Starting Monday I have to accomplish many things I promised myself to attend to while in İstanbul as I only have 2 weeks left before heading to Yalova for my next Workaway on an organic farm. Monday there will be a job interview. I don’t think it will stick, but just to see what happens.  It’s a job at an elementary state school as a native English speaker, 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. That means I would have to live close to Şişli or spend half my life commuting (if I took the job) it pays 1 100 TL a month, right now that means $171 dollars a month !!?!  On top of that, they do not take care of procuring the work permit so that means first that I would be working illegally, and second that I would have to spend about 1000 lira to get a residence permit and there are no guarantees that İ would get  the permit since they changed all the rules and cannot apply like İ used to.

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I am not sure I want to end this nomadic streak right away.  I have this feeling that I must do these Workaway places I have found in Turkey.  Even more, that it is important that I do them for some obscure reason.  I do have longings to find a nest here, but again, I think that it is not quite time yet, and that I should go back to Europe, France more precisely before settling but I do not have any clear cut reasons or targets about this. We will see.

Yesterday I created a new Facebook page, my art page, I want to materialize this aspect of my life into the world.  I wish to do more learning and more work in this field.  The simple process of setting up the page made me see how unorganized I am and gave me some ideas about what to concentrate on next.  Step by step.  I am finding the way.

Much much love.

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Oh Istanbul

August 7, 2018

 

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It was a long, long ride. From Resita, Romania to Istanbul, two buses, the first one coming  in 4 hours late, motion sickness, yahoo driver and passengers, late night border crossing and an arrival in Sofia at 4 AM which meant that my hostel’s reception was closed and that I would not sleep or have the luxury of a shower. 5 hours later, sleepless I boarded the second bus, this time it was a big, pretty comfy ride with driver and assistant, drinks and snacks and some fairly regular toilet stops, as opposed to the 20 seater microbus.

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I made it in Istanbul on schedule, at 5 PM. Crossing into Turkey really felt like coming into a different world. Coming from the rural Romania and Bulgaria, Turkey seemed like a country in warp speed development. There is money here and projects and so much energy and dynamism. I was hit strongly by this perception. I wasn’t seeing it like this before, but after being all over the world from Europe, to the USA to Eastern Europe, I got a whole different sense of this place. Given a fair government this place would definitely rule the world. Why? Because of the willingness of its people to work so incredibly hard and the incredibly young demographic chomping at the bit to have a chance for a decent life for them and their families.

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We finally made it to the otogar, this place is worthy of scenes in Clockwork Orange or such science fiction movies. It is a cross between a bazaar, a bus station, a shopping mall, a free for all flea market where you’ll find everything from cell phone credit providers, money exchange, restaurants, clothing stalls, tourist shops, travel agencies, kebap sellers and on and on and on. It’s old, dirty, cracked and worn out yet incredibly vibrant.

I put minutes on my SIM card, got credit on my Istanbul Kart (transit card) and was ready to tackle the city, despite my complete lack of sleep, I felt excited, elated, and strangely, home. I made it directly to Sishane, I went to the little bus stop to see my Queen, this cat I loved so much. Was she still going to be there? Healthy?

The escalator took me outside of the metro station, I looked up and the blueness of the sky made me so happy. I love the skies here, I smiled really widely and took a deep deep breath… I am back.  Then outside, surprise, the road is torn apart, they are repaving all the way up to City Hall. It is bustling, people all around, everywhere, taxis honking their way up the broken road, the Peace sculpture standing there in the sun as always. On the way to the bus stop, I saw that a building I have described before, with its gold material shining strangely in the light, dilapidated windows, standing oddly as it did not fit the neighborhood has been completely renovated. I had wished to do a series of photos of this building before because of the way it shone strangely in certain lights and stood out so much next to the other buildings,  too late now.

I arrived at the bus station, I called: “ pssss, pssss, pssss…”

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5 minutes later she arrived! We chatted for a bit, I was so happy, she was a bit disappointed that I didn’t have food for her, but it was so hot she decided to lie down in the grass in front of me. I relaxed, took the whole scene in, watching the buses go endlessly, one of them the 55T which used to take me to Gaziosmanpasa to teach English… the birds flying, the Golden Horn shining in the sun behind me. Wow.

It’s the fourth day now. I slept in a hostel for 3 nights then found a place to stay with a friend. Scott. Scott is one of the best people I know here. So kind, open, up and positive. He is an American who has redesigned his life here in Istanbul. We’ve been here about the same amount of time. He teaches English. I will stay here for 3 weeks. One of those weeks he will go take a vacation and I’ll take care of the cats he is babysitting at the moment. I feel good that I can help with that. It was not my original plan but when he said he had not gone out of Istanbul for so long because of the cats, I knew this feeling too well, one has to exit this city once in a while to stay sane.

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I feel tired, good but tired. I wonder if I didn’t leave Romania too soon. I miss the puppies, the garden, Ami and Marti… There was something so out of time there… I felt it was time to go, but I could really have stayed another week.

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This Workaway thing is like that. You come, you share the life, then somehow it’s time to go, there is always a bit of a feeling that these people are doing so much for you… Then you leave, and you miss them.

At this point I am pondering what I should do with the 3 months I can spend here.  The Workaway is there and available and they are looking really exciting, at the same time I am dying to have a studio a space to work on my own things and then just do that for 3 months. I need to come to a decision; continue this nomadic thing or stop for a while, or stop for good…  I see advantages to all of those, my heart wishes for creativity, my finances spell the necessity to live as frugally as possible.

It is clear that every time I move around, all the questions of my life take a back seat, the work, the needs, the feelings, the dreams, the problems, my reality comes down to the immediate necessities: toilet, food, rest, shower… and each time I stop, it takes a while to return to a sense of continuity. The constant change is great to observe the world, to apprehend it in many different ways. This chance to live in all these different cultures is really awesome. I get to see what I truly need as a human, and many things become unimportant. The baggage gets lighter.

 

As an artist I feel the need to express all this, but it’s not always possible, I express it in a sort of psychic way instead of through an instrument or on paper, but being a physical entity I also need to express things physically. Hence my dream of a workspace. Simple. Calm. Clean. Maybe that is why I continue… continue until I find it.

What an amazing journey. I am blessed. I am grateful.

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