Arrival of the Soul

Dear People of the Other Side,
2 weeks after the arrival, I am feeling balanced again. This has a lot do with the fact that I started teaching again. I think I am a workacholic. I don’t feel good when I am on vacation. (Well,  maybe, maybe not. Why come to conclusions about ourselves?) What I know for this phase in my life time is I love teaching and it is only when I am teaching I feel at home. 

After two weeks of sleeping in (until way past my wake-up time. blame it on the jetlag), last Monday I got up at my usual 5:30am.  By the time I arrived to the studio, the morning prayer from the mosque started. Five times a day we have ezan, the Arabic chanting from the loud speakers that invites people to pray. In the darkest time of the day, the only quiet time of this ever beating city, I started my practice. 

The studio I work in Istanbul (Cihangir Yoga) is on the 5th floor of a building by the sea. As my students walked in, I saw the sky changing from black to purple and then to deep pink. I watched the sky waking the sea up from its dark sleep and listened to the seagulls screaming in ecstasy to salute the sea.

Photo: Murat Pazar
I don’t remember seeing any other city in the world that is more beautiful than Istanbul. I am not saying this because Istanbul is where I am from. Most of you know that I have a long list of complaints and reasons of why I don’t want to live here.  Yet still, as the day breaks over Bosphorus, I remembered such a  breath taking beauty this city was!
During the class hearing my voice in Turkish felt a bit strange at the beginning. My mind is still operating in English language. But while teaching something else took over and spoke all the words in Turkish for me. That was the strange part. Who is speaking as we teach?
The weather is like lemonade as we say in Turkish. Sunny, crispy, no winds, no down jackets.
Plus my soul finally arrived!
Now that I have my soul with me, it is time to enjoy the beauties!
I hope you are all doing great whereever you are. Know that you are missed!

Sleepless in Istanbul

3:50 am in the morning… sitting by my desk, far from sleep. My body and my mind are resisting to adjust the 10 time-zones I flew over. My phone and my laptop have already spotted their new location on earth and automatically changed their clock. My body could not. Neither could my mind.

In one of his books, William Gibson writes that it takes a week for the soul to travel and find the body when the body is taken to the other side of the world only in 24 hours. I wonder where is my soul now? Somewhere over Greenland? Maybe. I am sure it is not here in Istanbul yet!

Times of transition, always a hard one! This is the town I was born and grew up. Actually this is the apartment I spent my childhood. All I feel is my disconnection. All I want is to take the first flight back to Portland and have my morning coffee at Albina Press.

Well, that is not quite right. All I want now is actually to be able to sleep.

How strong the mind’s addiction to habit and routine that I can’t feel at home when I am at home. Oh well, I say to myself, this will pass too. I have people here. People I dearly love. My family, my friends, my students. Once I connect with them, I may feel at home again. First my soul must arrive!

We have a tendency to come to conclusions in times like this. Transition times, hard times. As I lay wide awake in my bed for the last 3 hours my mind kept telling me that the discomfort is a sign that we are not supposed to be here. “This should be last time” it tells me. “Make the decision right now” it insists. Such an insecure child the mind is! I don’t want to make a decision based on my discomfort. Those decisions are rarely accurate.

And oh, yes, I made it safe and sound. That is what matters at the end.
And the sleep of course.
It does matter a lot.
Anyway…sleepless in Istanbul, I wanted to reach out and say I miss you Portland.