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.

a30

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

Advertisements

Journeying

January 6, 2019

arabian

 

A new year. Yes, another one. I find that they go by but they don’t pile up, become burdensome. On December 7th I turned 55. 55… and it hit me as a kind of wondrous thing, all these experiences, all this living, so, so, so much living.  Some so intense and focused you could call them lifetimes.

My life, a funny zig zag of creative endeavors, road and adventures… I delved deeply in the horse world, the bicycle world, the motorcycle world… I am a rider.

I delved deeply into the songwriting, singing world, into the computer world, creating graphic images, I delved into sculpting stone, clay… drawing, painting…

I was married, been divorced, been in love, been a wife, been a lover, been a friend.

I have been a rocker, a singer songwriter, a composer, a guitar player, a performer.

I have been a gardener, an animal caretaker.

I have been a housewife and a vagabond, a nomad with no address, no money, no job.

I have been fed to satiation and been hungry without a crust to eat.

I have been injured, ill, concussed to the point where I would just fall down losing consciousness, I have been so strong I had a 110% lung capacity and physiology that was 20 years younger than my age at the time and could win time trials on a bicycle.

I worked with corporate dudes and with hippies.

I spend my life exploring.

At times now I wonder if I wasn’t a jack of all trades master of none.  My urge to create, to exist fully is what drives me to constantly experience more. This life is a wonder, at times I am blown away by the breadth of variety, experiences, avenues, environments, realities that exist side by side.  Just go to Pinterest and enter “birds” and you will be astounded by the endlessness of types of birds… things right out of the wildest imaginations…

At this point I am finding though that my quest is turning more and more towards the inside. Know thyself… it’s always been part of my search but as it deepens, I am drawn more and more towards the essence of what we are. I find that maybe I don’t know how to love… because of how much I can not love myself at times. Learn to love myself. As I learn to do that, layers of false data reveals itself. Mind blowing.

So the journey continues.

Much love.

The coffee’s magic is starting to permeate at cellular level. I just went through re-checking one more time my papers for the residence permit application, my appointment is tomorrow, in Pendik, which is almost out of Istanbul, it will take about two hours to get there, one hour alone sitting on the metro from Kadikoy all the way to the Pendik.

a61

This will be a significant moment. If it is a ‘no’, I’ll have ten days to leave Turkey. The residence permit process was yet again changed last May and I heard that there are thousands upon thousands of applications awaiting response. Rumors are going wild, like 30 thousand plus applications coming every week and piling up in a room as there are not enough people to handle the inflow. People are waiting 3 to 5 months for an appointment, people stuck in limbo as they are not getting their responses and then are not able to leave the country, lest they pay an “overstay” fee and find themselves in an illegal situation.

Surprisingly, and against all expectations, I got my appointment immediately after putting in my online application and got it in a reasonable time (10 days).  Pendik, the rumor is,  is the only office that still more or less functions properly. Westerners dealing with Turkish bureaucracy always get really nervous and upset because here it operates on a different paradigm. In Canada or Germany for example, if you did not provide the exact, required, expected data, papers, at best you get back to the back of the line, at worst, you missed your chance and it’s over. Here, there is dither, leeway, detours and a kind of ‘cross your fingers, Inshallah, give it a moment’ kind of thing that means that if, for example, you are missing a document, you can come back with it later, and if you have discrepancies on your paperwork, you can just explain it, and who you talk to has a huge influence on the outcome of your query.

a67

So tomorrow is a bit of a fateful day. I will go, give my papers, talk to someone and then go back home wondering what will happen, and when.  In the past I have waited for 3 months for an answer, so if it is a ‘no’, and I wait two, three months to learn about it, it gives me two, three more months to spend in my beautiful flat. If I am denied the permit, the question will be: where do I go for 3 months? I do have a few Workaway host requests in Denmark, Ireland, France. So there are options.  I am ready for anything, but  I really wish to stay put a little while longer in Galata, it seems I am just starting to really settling, to relax more deeply into a non-nomadic reality.

One of the question marks with this application, is the financial picture, in the past I would move a bunch of money from the line of credit, take a screen shot and there would be the $5000 annual  financial requirement to stay, then I would move it back whence it came. This year I cannot do this as I don’t have a line of credit anymore, so it’s up to the person I will talk to.  The last time I applied they didn’t even look at the banking papers, so we will see this time

a64

So lets see what happens. In the mean time, every day I still am in awe with my surroundings, Galata tower, in all its beauty, the Bosphorus, the poetry of this place that is everywhere, the cats, the old buildings, the faces, and the light… I am living in a fairy tale decor. I draw every day, I am working with the art course tutor on some basic skills right now, like hatching… I am putting thousands of lines on paper, I am going through the steps a beginning art student would go through and I can see the value of that. My first pages of hatching look freaked out, I was panicking at “how am I going to fill this page? (A2 size) I was freaking out at the ugliness of what I was doing. Ugliness freaks me out… then it started to show, the lines straightened and the mind became quiet and it started to have unity. Not quite beauty yet but getting there. The pleasure of seeing the extra crisp and straight lines appearing from my hand and onto the page is very rewarding.

squid

Last week I met with a friend from Canada. He is Turkish but has been living in Canada for 35 years. It was a very interesting connection, like me he is between two worlds, feeling a stranger in both, yet enjoying both also. He helped me decipher the internet provider’s packages, and on that note, I still don’t have internet at home, he also gave me some plates and utensils, I have to say, I had been eating in plastic yogurt containers and the plate felt gloriously good! Our conversations felt so good to me, that is when I realize how a person’s culture is so deeply ingrained, there are so many points of agreement in reality, it makes communication flow much easily even if you don’t know each other so well. Plus of course, the common language, I still struggle a lot with Turkish, I am improving but to speak my mind clearly and express myself in this language is not quite available to me yet.

cat&wall.jpg

Well, I must go… gotta get a few more photocopies for tomorrow’s appointment. If I have the gumption, I will go to the Fatih pazar to buy fresh food. And… I will draw some more.

Much love.

w-lemur

Images of the days

October 8, 2018

 

Istanbul, light, wind, clouds, emotions.  The water heals me.  I escape on the boat.  I feel alive.  I breathe.  Without this window on the sea, this place would be impossible to live in. a01

Birds always.  they fly and I watch them wishing to fly with them.  I look how they look around, how they glide on the air effortlessly.  They make me feel free.

a07a10

the sun’s brilliance married to the reflective water, such perfection, it is sweet and powerful at once.a16

Approaching the European side, as the sun sets.  Every time it is unbelievably gorgeous, breath taking. a20a22a33

the brilliance always mixed with the rough the aggressive, the dirty.  All extremes side by side, being one. a36

end of the world skies, every day. a37

Camondo steps, legacy of a wealthy family that disappeared during WW2a40a42

I have been drawing, I feel a huge need to express the feminine without it’s trappings. girl on a ball

marion_color

This is Marion, I girl I know, activist for animal rights who does something.  She came to me, her spirit did, and I drew this.

a45

Galata in the morning

a46a52

 

a brave kedi who will fight a huge tom cat a few moments after this picture

a48

 

and me… a55nightcatscottscat

A home at last.

September 29, 2018

 

 

a84A home

Much has taken place in the last 10 days, but the big new is that I now have a home after a whole year of travel and nomadic life, with a back pack and a laptop  Now I have a set of keys to a door that is mine to lock and an address, a home.

It’s beautiful, spacious, simple but perfect.  It is in Galata, I can see the tower from my window, it’s a 1 + 1 meaning a bedroom and a room that contains kitchen and a living room all in one piece. I have “my” bed, “my” pillow, and thanks to my mother’s help, I have a work table with a lamp. There are many things missing, for example, there is no hot water yet, clothes are in a bag and there is no oven stove or fridge either.  The electricity just got figured out 2 days ago (I moved in on the 16th) but it’s home and the sun shines in the windows and the view are magical, breath taking.

a91.jpg

I arrived back in Turkey in August planning to do Workaway projects but this strong urge I had to find me a place to call home became more and more pressing.  So I listened to it. I now have to apply for a residence permit, that is always a bit of a gamble as one never knows if an application will be rejected or not. If it is rejected, then I’ll have to leave which is not so great but, if I do I could sublet and come back in three months.  It can take some months to obtain the appointment, so worst case scenario I’ll be able to enjoy this place for a few months. Best case scenario, my application is accepted and I have a whole year to enjoy, which at this points seems like a lifetime.

I spent the last ten days cleaning and painting, I am sore everywhere, the person who painted this place the last time (in a dark charcoal gray) must have felt a bit ill and out of sorts these last days as I cursed them constantly while slaving on the task of removing the millions of paint drops they spread all over the light gray floor. The first three days were spent on my knees with a scrubber removing the paint roller splatter. Then I painted in a lighter gray the room that is to be the work room and I painted  the bed room in sunshine color so I would always wake up with sunshine so to speak.
It is hard to describe the feelings I had while emptying the back pack, the little souvenirs from my journey, bits of paper with someone’s handwriting, the few precious objects I managed to keep, mainly pine cones and snail shells, a flower of life coaster that Pavlina and Pavel gave me when I left the Czech republic, the crystal from Ami, the giant cone from Oleron, the weird oak tree ball from France… the paper cone that held my brushes since February as we went around the world, that piece of paper was first a water color paper then it became my hitch hiking sign, on it you can read “Limoge” written in black pen marker rendered blueish by the time and humidity .  The realization that I am going to stop for a bit, retire the bags, take the clothes and the little items out of their traveling spots and routine.  Every piece of clothing is worn out, everything, road weary.  They can all rest now.

My main reason for wanting a flat was to have a place to create. With a kind and generous gift from mom I was able to go shopping to pick up a table and a lamp, I went to Ikea, in Kartal. I left at about 7 PM took the metro and there I quickly found my table, and the lamp (which had a super low price tag compared to all the other stores I found out after careful online checking) I got a tiny floor mat for the entrance, a toilet brush and a face cloth. I was going to get the table shipped, but I had this nagging feeling that I’d never see the order arrive… so after paying, as I was lining up for the shipping service desk, I considered the boxes and realized that I could carry it all by myself and not have to worry about bad shipping service or days of delays, and having to stay home waiting for a truck that would never come. So I taped the two boxes that contained the legs together, slipped them on the straps of my backpack, then put the lamp and the rest inside the back pack and carried the table top … on my head.

The store is practically built over the metro station, which was why I chose to come to this branch, so I got to the Metro easily. Then I had to cross on the ferry back to the European side, and then the longest hardest part was to climb up from Karakoy to Galata. But I made it. It was exhilarating!

I found a nice second hand office chair in the classified ads for expats on Facebook.  Dana, had a bunch of chairs so we got one from her.  That too traveled on the metro, no one lifts an eyebrow no matter what you are carrying on a bus or metro or ferry, in Istanbul, since many don’t have cars you will see just about everything being carried on public transit.

Other fun parts of this move was my dealings with the paint stores in Karakoy… Painting here is much more risky that in Canada, you can get the shittiest paint and brushes and rollers… but I had experience from my days at Chillout so I made out pretty good explaining my needs in broken Turkish to the guys in their shops. Again, I had to carry that stuff up the hill to Galata.

I made the first steps towards the residence permit application by obtaining my health insurance today. There are multiple steps to take, I am hoping to be able to apply online Monday. So if you can, or think about it, send me some successful wishes and thoughts my way regarding this, it always helps.

Coming to Turkey I was shocked by how different the reality was. On some level I felt terrible as a Westerner for all that we take for granted, all that we use and abuse and so much unconscious habits that we have, for which other people suffer for us. I went on a sort of “consumption diet” I wanted to see how much I could “not consume” “not spend” “not desire”. I got really good at it. To the point of forgetting my own beingness. But by not desiring you erase an essential component of being human. Desire is a sort of motor for life. I don’t mean greedy want, or other determined goals (like all that is proposed by commercials and societal structure) I mean things like the desire to speak up, to create. The desire to feel to experience. The desire to push boundaries. To exist as who we are.

When I saw my motorcycle in California this last June, I had a very strong shock as I faced a part of me that I had erased without wanting to erase it. I had made that part of me out of the realm of the possible. I did this with many aspects of my life.

Getting this home, is a huge step out of paralysis into going for what I wish, believe and desire. I’ve made a whole list of those things. I have a vision of what I wish for and I will go for it as there is no other way to live this life. Otherwise you’re just a tourist, I am the adventuress, right?!!

Much love.

Anxiety attack

September 12, 2018

There was a lull, I grabbed the guitar, the Go guitar.  That was the first time in 7 or 8 months. My fingers are ignorant, not callused, the mind is not connecting with reflexes of scales or riffs to run gracefully like when you run to the front door of a known home.

a38

In this very moment, there is no noise, no sounds. It is extremely rare. My room has a window on a physical well inside the building, there all the other apartments have windows as well, from their kitchen, bathroom and small bedroom that all communicate with this well.

I plunk some chords of a song I arranged, I sing a verse in Turkish, I have no more personal songs that represent me now, so personal songs don’t come. When I stop, there is silence still.

The guitar reverberates on my chest as it has one thousand million times before, and I don’t feel an emotional response. The Go and I might have said all we had to say together, like old married couples, we just grunt at each other and do the expected things on time to avoid having to explain anything.

I thought maybe I’d find some solace in the instrument. But no. Today I quit a job I didn’t even start. I was so freaked out. Freaked to the point where all that manifests in my incoherent thought process, is just a gigantic anxious “OH SHIIIIIT” I wonder if maybe I am afflicted with some sort of manufacturing defect that makes me escape, run away like this. You know like those Toyotas a while back, the accelerator would get jammed and you could not stop the cars except to run them into a brick wall… Come to think of it, this giant snafu did not stop the Toyota sales for very long. Marketing is powerful…  but I digress.

a06

Suddenly from the window a voice came up, an over excited young woman whose pitch drowns everything and spews over excited things out in the air, things that rise and reach me here, next to the well of the building where I camp at in the moment.

Now I hear showers and TVs and a giant fart and small kitchen noises. You are never alone. Earlier, I went to a cafe to be alone but there it’s the cigarette smoke that started to drown me. But what is truly drowning me now is this anxiety.

Why?  I’m not sure, nothing really changed since yesterday when I was on a thunderous winning streak (in my mind). Now I am (in my mind) completely eaten by anxiety because I backed out of taking a job that would have swallowed all my time and creative space… I am drawing, drawing, drawing… I am starting to see concepts and I am experimenting with colors and I feel like it’s going to be great, it shines and smiles to me and I get enamored and giddy and obsessed and that is all I want. Why should I give up my time to those thieves who believe in jobs and in “reality”? They never helped me before,  they just took from me.

a05
Back then I felt like they were bestowing some honor on me or something of the sort for having deigned to hire me, little, nothing me. But, time taught me that it’s not magnanimity that drove them and that what they were looking for was not the talent and qualities I so feared I lacked but the pliability and plasticity that would make me a good employee. I never got those jobs from those interviews because they clearly could immediately see that ‘I don’t line up too good’ and they saw that from a mile away.

Animals and trees. I miss animals and trees and grass. I miss animals and trees and grass and wind and flowers and their smell and space to stretch and the silence at night and the stars in the night sky. So I am looking for a flat with a tree nearby.  I did in fact get massively excited recently when I saw house plants for sale on a classified ads on a FB page. The tree thing seems pretty basic, but it’s hard to achieve here.

a41.jpg
I found animals in the cafe I go to these days. There is a cat and a love bird that hatched a baby love bird. There is also (not another animal but a beautiful gift) a beautifully spirited girl working there. On second sight, we hugged with great emotion for no apparent or known reason.

So the first day I saw the bird, way up on a fan on the ceiling. The cat was sitting next to me, I thought they were maybe too close but they are still too far for the bird to become cat snack.  The bird that day just sat there looking pretty nervous. The next day, there was a scraggly looking nestling of a bird next to the proud but still nervous looking parent. It looked like a decrepit sculpture of death with empty eyes from where I sat.

Today I saw the baby opened its wings, with feathers that looked like the feathers of a cheap plastic birdie for badminton (with really long quills). He already wants to fly. The cat, he is young, and he’s a sort of hip cool kind of cat, contrary to many cats will gladly stay there sliding into another pose just fast enough to give you time to shoot.  Since the cafe is pretty  hipster-ish, it makes the shots look like the cat is a supermodel doing a fashion magazine photo spread.  He will accept to be petted, and he will also bite a chunk of your hand once in a while just for fun. So there is my dose of nature.

a44

At the moment I have to figure out where I’ll live and how I’ll support myself. And to tie into all this questioning, a few hours ago I had the second and last “counseling” session with the bankruptcy firm.

“So you are careful about how you spend your money?”
“hmm hmm” (in the affirmative)

“You have to send your proofs of income.” she scolded me ( I had forgotten to do that) “Oh, OK. I will.”

“Do you want to get a credit card?”
“No. I don’t”
“Oh… uh, well, when you do, go to your bank and ask, don’t take it personal if they say no, get a prepaid card then and rebuild your credit.”
“Hmm hmm” I said. I had looked that topic up on line some weeks ago out of curiosity, a young financial wiz explained in 3 minutes how to rebuild your messed up credit to a stellar rated one within a couple of months.  That whole session was so mediocre. It didn’t help my anxiety. “Play by the rules and shut up”, I told myself.

So… the extraordinary moment… yes last week an extraordinary moment of clarity. It worked I was cruising in my new reality until I looked at the details of this new job, the commute time, the hours teaching, Istanbul is a nightmare for transportation.  I calculated that some days I’d spend 4 hours of commuting for 120 minutes of teaching and that I’d need time to prepare classes and that I am not a teacher and that I don’t know how to prepare classes. I realized clearly that this job was going to be a sort of prison and at that moment I started to lose all composure to a gigantic tsunami of anxiety.

I stayed in a daze all day.  Then I got the call.  I had to tell them that I must back out, and I love Beste so very much and I know she’s having a hell of a challenge finding teachers (hence my appointment).  I am trying to find something to say but I just stutter stupid stuff and I feel like throwing up.

After that conversation I was just blabbering feeling fever.  An email came in:  quote of the day: “Be in love with your life.  Every minute of it.”  Jack Kerouac, novelist. It hit.  BLAMMMMMM!!.

True.   It’s true, so true, so so so true. I need to hook my talons into life right NOW.  NOW.  NOW.    NOW.        NOW            NOW.
I spent the last 24 hours floating on a load of nervousness coming from God knows where.

NOW.

I look around!  NOW  I look inside.  NOW Feel your heart.  NOW  breathe deeply.  NOW.  Wow.  Phew….  the ground, earth…

I am a bit rudderless at the moment,  I made a mistake with this, never betray your own truth.

a17

 

a20

Something extraordinary

It was another day, another morning to wake up to. I felt tired, sore. But I remembered the promise I made to myself and the Universe: see the joy, be the joy, see the beauty and don’t let this sort of unconscious habit to pay attention to what feels bad instead of what feels good.   So I got up, did my morning stretches, some push ups (started that in June) I sat for meditation and my mind was roving wildly all over the place.

But it had its reasons. Yesterday I was in a blur of options and choices and indecision. My original plan was to go do Workaway jobs all the way to November when my 90 day visa expires.  After that the plan was simply to do more Workaways in Europe.

After the bankruptcy, I had many realisations. It was very intense and kind of scary. But looking back over the last 5 years or so, I was able to see my decline and the reasons why it happened. Through that whole period, (the last 3.5 years)  I was completely unable to make any single decision. Anytime I would make one, it would promptly skid and land in some ditch.  It was so ubiquitous that I finally accepted that I could not make decisions anymore, and I let it all go.
While I was in Romania last July, Ami gifted me a sketch book, a small, black, hard covered, rectangular sketch book. On it I wrote “What?” short for “What do I want to do?” I would fill it with my questions, resumes of my state of mind and some drawings of potential projects.  At the same time I started listening and reading all sorts of people from the self help community.  I listened to the Get Rich lectures with Bob Proctor, to Tony Robbins, I started  to read “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and a large number of inspirational people and ideas to see what would stick. I started to make lists of “my dreams”, and keep updating them, lists of my skills, wishes, fears, lists of possible jobs fitting my skill set, then I went into exploring the internet marketing thing to see what is going on there ( and I saw that I’ve been left in the dust since my days of website design) This gave me some hope, a sense of vague possibilities other than just surviving the next day, having the next meal.

I left Romania, arrived in Istanbul on August 2nd, felt good to be here despite seeing the immense economic stresses caused by this falling lira and political scene. I kept searching for answers. But this last week things started to click. I didn’t realize how much until today.  If you remember I had enrolled in the drawing academy, drawing course. One thing led to another, and after sending a series of drawings to the tutor because I could not get the concept taught, he offered to tutor me by sending me the exercises that address my faults directly. I was completely elated. So we started this exchange this week. I felt so validated and so thankful to have this personalized support as I am so determined to draw to the very best of my abilities, no matter what it takes.

a01

Then as part of my search, I went to the Udemy website they have courses on all imaginable subjects. There was a gigantic sale and for some reason, the courses in Turkey were charged in Turkish Lira, which means that what would cost $25 in Canada, cost me 25 TL (less than 5 bucks) So I bought a number of courses on topics I need to study, one of them, a “watercolor fundamentals” course (which I finished and which gave me so much knowledge!!)

Another one I got on a whim, it is a course on “how to manifest” by Ray Maor. I knew this guy from Youtube, I found him about 1 year ago, when I was looking into breatharianism, I had a sense that this was important to me.  This week I started and finished the fundamentals in watercolors course and started the next course which is about brush strokes.

Yesterday I finished the Manifestation course. I actually teared up because it was over!  Now, how to explain? I did all the exercises, once again building lists about dreams and lists to make you aware of your blocks.  there were a few exercises, so simple they were mind boggling, but they totally made me see and experience the power of an idea, a thought. I knew this, but never quite experienced it this way.

a97

So, I was about to leave to Yalova on Sunday for the first Turkish Workaway.  I felt confusion and many things were colliding in my mind.  This brings me back to this morning.  I went for coffee, then suddenly, as if all the ideas, choices, desires, blocks found their place in the scheme of my life, I made all those decisions not quite with my intellect if more by the work of some sort of mind gravity that put all the pieces in their place.  I made some drastic decisions, decisions to serve my longings, my desires, my needs and not just to fulfill the need for a roof and food when one has no money.

I decided to stay.  I will not go do Workaway. I will get a flat, my flat. Apply for the the residence permit despite all the system changes and the widespread panic within the expat community. I will work and support myself, as I write I have 3 possibilities awaiting my answer. I am investing time in educating myself with courses, with my drawing tutoring, so I can get more qualified to do work I adore.
It is a huge bite,  a dramatic volte-face.  Yesterday, I had no idea, I was vacillating between ideas and very confused. Now I am set and it feels … Extraordinary. Life is getting better all the time; My health, my focus,  my work, my love, my aspirations. Today was an incredible example that anything is possible.  My main “job” is to stay “elevated” in the soul.  Keep seeing the beauty, the wonder, the incredible magic of this little trip on earth we call life.

a09