Thursday, October 6, 2011

1st Year Anniversary!!

Exactly 1 year ago today I said Goodbye to USA and Hello to Turkey. I had lived in USA for 13 years, 9 of it in Boston. I didn't have much idea about what was going to happen when I moved to Turkey, similar to when I moved to USA as an 18 year old, I had the blind courage of leaving and moving away. Although this time it was more like leaving and moving on, rather than moving away. Plus when I was moving to USA I knew it was mainly for the purpose of education. Moving to Turkey had no clear purpose whatsoever, except maybe I wanted some change and adventure.
Today, during my meditation, I strongly felt the real reason of me moving back to Turkey, more specifically to Istanbul. Before I get to that, I want to write about what happened during this first year.
As I'm writing I'm eyes getting slightly wet with tears that have been coming out since my morning yoga/meditation...and I'm nervous for no specific reason that I'm aware of at this moment...Am I nervous for sharing these with you, maybe?
I bought a 1 way ticket to Istanbul (never bought a 1 one ticket before). I flew to Istanbul on the 5th of October, arriving on the 6th, 2010. I had sent my belongings as in 25 boxes via a shipping company which was to be arrived in 2 months or so. So once I arrived home (or rather my parents home) in Istanbul I was exhausted from packing and saying goodbyes. Within a week or 2 I flew to Bodrum in the south of Turkey where we have a summer house. This was also a 1 way ticket from Istanbul. As I tried to relax and enjoy the off season emptiness of the South, warm days and cool nights, I found myself meeting locals, making friends and planning on living in Bodrum without returning to Istanbul. Ha! Remember I had no clear purpose of why I was moving to Turkey. I did want to eventually live in a quiet place away from the city, in nature, but I hadn't thought about Bodrum and imagined I would stay in Istanbul at least for a while. But life was moving on in Bodrum and I was loving it the more I stayed. I stayed there for 3 months and returned to Istanbul end of December only because I had to go and fetch my boxes from customs. I didn't plan on staying in Istanbul for too long, I was planning on living in Bodrum, for real! But then I started yoga classes in Cihangir Yoga and then Acupuncture therapy and then decided to continue in Cihangir Yoga with their Yoga Teacher Training...still thinking I'll go back to Bodrum every month or so. Then I found myself with job options in Istanbul and I was making friends. But I was very very unhappy in Istanbul. I was thinking the only reason I'm living in Istanbul now is because my acupuncture therapy is taking long. I was waiting and waiting to move away from Istanbul again...I even thought I would move back to USA if jobs in Bodrum didn't work...I was really unhappy in Istanbul for several reasons. One, living with parents after 13 years of independence was really challenging. Second, I didn't feel like I belonged to Istanbul, I felt like a foreigner...and so I acted like a foreigner. All this time I was continuing my acupuncture therapy and yoga teacher training. Then, some things started to change. It was the time after my brother and his girlfriend came to visit us and we were 5 people in the house. I found myself going mad...seriously I was like a madwoman! The house was too crowded, not to mention the 13 million crowd of people living in Istanbul that I had no interest in knowing because I didn't give them a chance or myself a chance to really look. I was like a lunatic American, afraid of Turkish people...split between an unknown Turkish personality and strong American personality. I was irritated and angry all the time. I quarrelled a lot with my family. I didn't like what had become of me and my life in Turkey. I was so frustrated not only with the chaotic city and my family but more with myself. What the hell was going on? So, one of those days when I was extremely frustrated, I decided to sit in meditation. Meditation was not something I liked really, and we hadn't studied it much in our yoga training so far. But for some reason, I felt the urge to sit in meditation. So I did. And once I sat still and closed my eyes I felt at HOME! There was craziness and ugliness outside and no place I could call Home, but I felt at HOME in meditation. It was an amazingly beautiful feeling. I don't remember if I cried during my first meditation or how long it lasted, but after that I decided to give myself homework to sit in meditation every day and see what happens. So I did. And eventually I fell in love with meditation. Few weeks later my yoga teacher gave us the same homework; to sit in meditation everyday because we had studied it now. I continued and have been continuing it ever since, every day, sitting in absolute stillness for 5-30 minutes. The more I meditated the more I was able to sit still and tolerate life. The life as it is. I just watch and observe my thoughts and feelings that pass during meditation. I sit still even though my back, or hips or knee hurt sometimes. As I continued meditation every day and my yoga teacher training and added my own yoga practice to my day...I found myself being calm, quiet and peaceful throughout the days. During this time, somewhere around June-July my acupuncture therapy was coming to an end, but suddenly my right knee was in a lot of pain. It limited my yoga practice so much that I cried from frustration. I refused to be seen by a doctor other than my Acupuncture doctor. But the knee cried in pain every day. Then I decided to try Family Constellation. I did a session in Bodrum. I felt even more peaceful after that...but that only lasted until I came back to Istanbul and faced my parents again. Meanwhile I got involved in a very short but extremely upsetting love story which lead me to crying for unknown reasons during my daily meditations. I cried during every meditation for about 2 months. The love story wasn't the reason I was crying. The love story was a vessel that lead to deep holes inside of me and stirred it all up. In a way I was cleaning up the dirt inside of me. I also did another Family Constellation session, this time with my yoga teacher, Zeynep Aksoy, in Istanbul. Again I felt more at ease and peace the days following this. But I think there was something else, maybe I still couldn't accept some things or whatever that was supposed to happen after the Family Constellation seemed taking too long. Later, I decided to stop expecting something, and just let life be itself and tried to continue working on accepting life as it is.
I don't know how to continue writing, but so many little things were happening these past several months...making really good friends in Istanbul, getting to know the Turkish culture, accepting the fact that I too am Turkish, visiting Budapest, visiting Bodrum again, and deciding to settle and live in Istanbul and not Bodrum, preparing a house to live in Istanbul...somehow little by little I found myself more and more tolerating and accepting life and especially my parents as they are...and accepting myself the way I am. Istanbul became a livable place for me, and I actually was enjoying the fact that I could stay calm and at peace while life in Istanbul continued to be chaotic! And my knee pain was a lot less, although now I seem to have a neck injury, but no worries, I'll get over that one too...
Then in September our yoga teacher training ended with a retreat in the Kaz mountains which was an amazingly beautiful experience. I was sad when departing from my group of yogi friends, but I also knew that now I have a community, a place where I belong in Istanbul. We had shared so much that I'm sure it is impossible to stay apart now, although we may not live in the same city or see each other.
So now, I am a Certified Yoga Teacher, Dietitian and Breastfeeding counselor. Already giving yoga classes at a gym and have plans for my new home.
I still continue my daily yoga and meditation practice. Yesterday, during my practice I saw myself back in Boston, I saw myself with my friends there and then I saw myself with my yoga teacher Jenn Pici in Boston. Her warm smiling face sent warm feelings to my heart and suddenly I was filled with courage to accept myself as a yoga teacher and go and start teaching.
Today, I designated as a holiday for myself since its my 1st year anniversary. So, I slept in and when I woke up did some gentle yoga and in the end sat for a 20 minute meditation. During shavasana, the last resting pose, I again felt myself in Boston and found tears rolling down my face, and then as soon as I sat in meditation it started again, small and then huge tears rolling down my cheeks wetting my hands, clogging my nose and throat. I was thinking, am I missing Boston, or am I sorry for leaving? That did it. I cried harder..and harder..and harder..I couldn't sit still anymore, I was bending over my legs, head on the floor crying like a madwoman...this is what happened: I had the urge to keep saying "I'm Sorry". Then I felt and then saw the reason, the unknown purpose to why I came back to Istanbul. My Mother! I was sorry to leave and keep leaving things behind and ignoring the fact that I have to face my order to move on with my life as it, during meditation and in between crying I faced my mom and said: I am Sorry! ...And this went on for about 30 minutes. I realized very clearly that the main reason I moved back to Turkey is so I would learn about Family Constellation and do this yoga teacher training and have my own Family Constellation sessions done so that I can face My Mother and unravel all the knots in our we can continue our family tree with tolerance, love, peace and harmony. Once I realized this I started shivering. So this must be the reason. And I am happy that all of this happened. It was not an easy process, but this is a big step forward in my life!
Thank you for reading. This was very openly written, but I felt the need to write it and share it.

(The photograph is me and my family camping in North of Turkey. I am around 16 years old.)