At 6:20 AM

February 26, 2019

Marti and Ami were leaving.  We headed down the hill to Karakoy to catch the ferry for Kadikoy.  Marti is pulling a beat up suitcase whose wheels are frozen.  A taxi driver tried to convince us with much tenacity to get into his car “for cheap” but we marched on. One last time we reloaded the transit card, we hugged a final time, they crossed the tourniquet but I didn’t.  This is where our roads split for now.  They embarked on the ferry while I looked on.  About 3 minutes later the boat was leaving, I tried to catch of glimpse of them one last time, but could not.  It was 6:20 AM it looked like the middle of the night, rain was gently coming down in the crisp cold air. I tried to leave, walked a few steps to return home but I could not. The simit man asked me politely if I’d like a simit, that they were hot, it was tempting but I declined. I returned by the water and stood there the waves clapping against the concrete wall and the ferry terminal, which is like a giant deck, bobbing gently up and down made the chains clink lightly.

I watched the boat until it disappeared around the bend, past Topkapı palace, and listened until the sound of its engine melded  into the other sounds of the early hour and I could not distinguish it anymore.

In the distance, the ezan rose, piercingly clear… Istanbul. Oh dear Istanbul. I’m still in love with you. You are magical, dark and bright, generous and savage, unpredictable but always fascinating. I stood there some more, to absorb the smells, sounds, the cold air on my face contrasting with the warmth I felt under my black wool poncho.

The last week’s events were running in my mind. The good times spent with Ami and Marti, how good it had been to share food, talk, walks, laughs and tears with good friends. It made me realize that I don’t do that as often as I should, it made me really thankful for the gift of friendship. Marti and Ami stopped in Istanbul for a week after a 3 month journey in South East Asia. They had so many stories of the faraway lands.

When I finally turned back, a new seller had appeared, the poaçaci (poaca man, the poaça is a kind of small bread) My resolve not to buy anything failed and I got one, it was crispy, hot and so delicious!

Up the hill I went, as the neighborhood started to wake up and take ownership of the streets. As I reached the top, the Galata Tower was standing there, still wearing it’s night dress of orange and blue lights, so beautiful. A cat was there, looking philosophical, I peered in her eyes, wondering is she’d like to be petted and she miawed that yes, she would like that. Another joy added to this morning.

These little things, they accumulate in a sort of cushion of quiet joy. Create a filter of magic through which I make abstraction of all the possibly annoying things to only focus on the grace of being alive right now.

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February 9, 2019

 

I sat in the cafe, became really still. Everything started to penetrate my being; the music, the voices, the temperature of my body, the feeling of my clothes and the warmth between the many layers I need to wear these days. My eyes coursed along the contours of the cafe, the white ceiling marbled with many shadows, green patches from plastic plants. The hand gestures of a woman sitting one table down from me. The energy radiating from the young lovers hugging each other while looking at a phone.

Calm inside.

A moment of stillness amid the rolling conversations and the Latin rhythms of the music on the speakers.

I just came through a week of intense turmoil that required a second week just to feel human again.  It was all so tortuous I thought I’d lost my mind, lost my heart in a kind of typhoon of the psyche, a storm at sea so fierce, I could not see sky or sea. Yet, here I am, on the sideline observing and telling my mind to shut up.

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Faced with the demons of attachment and unable to detach with any sort of grace.  I see it now.  I went and read about brokenheartedness.  They say that the physiological process of a broken heart put the person into the same physical and mental distress experienced by heavy drug users going through the withdrawal process. Physical pain, mental anguish, restlessness, depression.

It was a relief in a way to learn this, I had a massively bad time in 2011 getting over a breakup that I only understood about 2 years later.   I can be slow.

Now, all is calm.  It was a lesson, it pushed me to look into my own psyche instead of blaming someone or something. We create it all, we are the creators, always, of all that happens to us.  All.  The good and the bad.  This creative responsibility is hard to face when the ugly side of us pops up and when the deeply buried emotional pains from deep unhealed wounds appear on the surface.  I’m here, up to my waist in this dark soil, and however painful, I am digging.  Digging to be free and set all others in my circle, in my universe free to be.

Digging to bring into the light of love and acceptance and understanding all these shadows I refused to see, hated, rejected.

And the journey continues.

Much love to you all