Today I write to you from the southern part of Spain, in the beach town of Fuengirola. Rays of light cascade through the lightly draped window following an evening and morning of rejuvinating rains. Candles lit, creative vision sparked, reflections of Istanbul swirling and flowing through all the cells of my being offering a look inside, beyond the veil, from my fingertips to yours. Ali Sun Trees
ISTANBUL greets us with open arms, blowing a vibrantly rich gust of wind in our sails, with an open invitation inside the chambers of her heart, vivaciously thrusting us upon the streets and waters of her ancient and culturally rich city. First impressions are golden and that it was! Exotic and rich, and wildly ecstatic.
Istanbul stands as one of the most vibrantly rich city centers of the modern world, naturally and spontaneously lifting the spirits and awakening hearts with the spiciness of the exotic past. She rests upon two continents, with Asia and the eastern world a short ferry ride away, and the whole of the western world and beyond from which the continent we stand upon. Istanbul is a bridge holding court for the world to meet, inspiring peace and prosperity all around the globe. It is palpable this center of the world feeling in Istanbul. Istanbul is a melting pot, sprinkled with a little bit of this and a dash of that, inviting a sampling of flavors, even beyond the the well loved Turkish delights.
Ferries, boats and ships move upon the water daily, transporting people from palaces to mosques along the Bosphorus Sea and along the Golden Horn. Trams, buses, cars and taxis zoom to and fro over the Galata Bridge, up into the hills and below into the narrow streets, whizzing by every which way.
There is much trade and commerce here in Istanbul, making it a bustling city filled with all walks of life, offering various goods and services from all around the world. It is a hard life, many say, for those living and working in the city. Many locals own their own businesses, which offers a certain amount of freedom which they are grateful for, however it keeps them very busy. Locals create their living anywhere from running their own little food cart, to clothing shops, street vending, cafes, and several other ways. Many work day and night, and mostly seven days a week.
Amidst all the busyness, there is this palpable presence of a limitless source of energy that prevails throughout the city. There is a heartbeat so alive and ever present that lies within each and every living being of a person down to the well worn stone on the cobbled stoned path. Once in a while, one will catch a sparkle of light shining from a place usually tucked neatly away beneath a beautifully fashioned veil. Eyes as wide open as the sky, a pair of eyes meets yours, and there you are transported, spontaneously basking in the rising and setting sun of another, in what feels to be eternity, momentarily parting the veil for a brief look inside. These are the Golden moments you simply cannot plan for, for they are as natural as the waxing and waning of the moon. Beyond all names and forms, language and cultures, you see each other, REALLY see each other. With beaming eyes and a stirring in your hearts there is this absolute awareness, beyond the shadow of a doubt feeling, that we are all ONE under the SUN.
Among the hustle and bustle of the city life, the mosques stand as a reminder and reflection of why we are here. Istanbul, a city among the modern world it may be, yet its true colors shine from a time when everyone and everything lived in harmony with the cycles reflected in the moon and the stars and constellations naturally guided the way. Here in Istanbul, the “call to prayer,” streaming through the loudspeakers strewn upon the minarets of the mosques is set in motion by the timing of the rising sun.
Within every little crack and crevice of the cobbled stoned streets, there is a world beneath, a soil rich in the very roots of the earth where ancient beings have wandered this well traveled path. Peeling away the layers of the past to find there is nothing really missed in time, it is all right here in this very moment of time. Just beyond the surface, there you see in the watery pools of eyes, and the beating hearts of all, that everything is as it always was and always will be.
Oh and how the dervish dancers brings all this to life! How graciously they spin, whirl and lift off, sweeping the temple, polishing and revealing the light in their dance beyond the veil. Their dress simple in nature, yet elegantly rich in flowy forms, invites a lavish look inside. In procession they enter the circular space with devotion, precision and detail in form. One by one, the dervishes stand creating a row, listening for the cue to begin the “sema,” the ancient art of “the divine dance,” where they leave their outer shell behind. By the art of listening, set in motion harmoniously with the prayers of the Koran in tune with sacred Islamic beats, the fire ignites inspiring the dervishes to spontaneously release their egos to God, spontaneously awakening their being in love and service for the whole entire universe. While dancing, the whirling dervishes arms are open, the right hand in prayer position directed to the sky, with the left hand turned towards the earth. A divine connection is made…One with God…and alas, a prophecy revealed for all the world to see!
Here lies my experience of Istanbul in a nut shell from my heart to yours. An easy one to open, quite graciously it seems. Watch out, once cracked, you may find yourself hooked! And hopefully hooked in a fun and inspiring way, not hooked at the end of a fishing line sort of way that one must be aware of as the fishermen cast their lines out to sea!