Saturday, February 11, 2012

that time I moved

I've moved around quite a bit.  An "I can't take this place anymore!" feeling accompanied most of these moves for different reasons.
When I moved from Istanbul to Athens it was a relief because I hated my manager at that time
When I moved from Athens back to Istanbul it was a relief because all my neighbors were getting robbed and I was scared to sleep at nights.
When I moved from Istanbul to Dubai it was a relief because I was finally away from the aggressive traffic and the crowd.
When I moved from Dubai to Asia it was a relief because I could no longer take the corporate life.

Brown Iguana, Image by DogMom Librarian
However, when I was moving from Bali to Istanbul two months ago I didn't have that feeling at all. I wasn't fed up with anything. In fact everything was as good as it could ever be.
I was staying in a small place with a Balinese family, a few meters away from a ravine. I was sleeping to the sound of the waterfall, waking up to watch iguanas sunbathing on coconut trees. I was enjoying the nature so much, most nights I was falling asleep out in the veranda.

I met the most amazing people in Bali, and had been very inspired by their stories. Ubud was the place that I discovered the wisdom of the "older", solo travelers. Mostly women. Coming from a place where people over 25 are considered as rather "expired", it was extremely refreshing to meet 60+ people who used their wisdom to do inner work and to bring improvements into the lives of others. With some people I've only shared a cup of tea, but those 20 minutes are still vivid in my memory. With some, I spent hours 5 days a week for many many months and felt that there's still so much to share. Teachers, neighbors, students, clients, friends, colleagues... Every contact, every relationship in Bali meant something and had huge impact on who I am today. I was always blessed with the right people around me.

It takes a bit of time to settle in somewhere and have a reputation in your work so that you would attract clients, right? Within 12 hours of landing to Bali, I had also landed on my first yoga teaching job. From that moment on, it just kept getting better and more. I was lucky to have a balance of paid and charity work. Especially with CranioSacral, I had a number of clients that I would probably expect after at least 4-5 years of experience. I was very busy and very happy about it.

So the weeks before I left Bali were golden. A peaceful life in nature, amazing friends, great work that enabled me to create difference in other people's lives. It was the first time that I was leaving a place at its peak, with a lot of good memories and confidence. Moving to Bali was a huge leap of faith and that was only one year ago. Everything was ambigious, but I knew I had to be there. Looking back, I feel that I was gifted with a happy life in Bali because I was able to trust and take that major step.

2 months ago, I even took a bigger leap of faith by moving to Istanbul. I lived here twice before and both times were very hard on me (to say the least). Yet deep down I feel that I have to be here again.
I am just curious if I will be able to continue trusting and what things will change in my life a year from today?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

madonna and buddhism

This morning I woke up and browsed through the tweets of the previous night to see if anything interesting or important happened. A yoga journal tweeted about Madonna's Super Bowl show and how she is still amazing at the age of 53. I watched the video and there she was; once again in a very extravagant stage show. Songs were Madonna, but remixed. Her dance was Madonna but adapted. Her face was Madonna but obviously lifted. She was a chameleon and that was one of the main factors that kept her as the star for over 3 decades. 

Some people are stuck to a certain period of their lives. Careless college years, honeymoon months of a new relationship, or the peak years of the career. They fail to notice that with every passing moment, life changes. And that change requires adaptation. The minute we try to hang on the "good old days", we begin to suffer. We desire something that we don't have and we will never have again. The more we desire, the more time we spend fantasizing about that time. The more time we spend thinking what we had in the past, or how great it would be to have it again in the future the less we become aware of the present. Then maybe 25 years from now, we will look back in surprise and realize what made us such bitter and resentful old people...

Alternatively we can choose to go with the flow and live what present moment brings. Adapting to every new stage of life will always come with its own rewards. If Madonna was stuck in her "Material Girl" tunes and look, she would have disappeared as fast as Cyndi Lauper. If she stopped reinventing herself after Vogue, her name wouldn't be recited more often than Spice Girls. If she didn't take the bold risk of creating religious controversy (just after an album that sold 25 million), she wouldn't have been who she is right now. I see Madonna as a good example of Buddhism, at least in the way she works; continuously accepting that nothing is permanent and everything changes.

For those who might be interested in the three marks of existence in Buddhism and how change fits into that scheme, I created a little something: