Tuesday, 2 July 2013
A holiday in Ovacik, Turkey (Western Meditteranean) has left me inspired, humbled and calm. On the last weekend, we stumbled across a gig in Hisaronu and the bus obligingly dropped us off right outside. A famous singer from Istanbul (whose name I cannot find anywhere, even in Google Age). His songs and music were enchanting and my friends and we watched in amazement as the mostly Turkish crowd sung the words as the singer turned the mic to them, they sung and waved their flags, remaining mostly still until a small group near us linked arms and danced what looked like a traditional folk dance, men and women smiling as they moved in harmony. We were all touched by the sensitivity of the performance and the humility of the Turks, their welcoming and friendly presence didn't falter. There was a simple and profound beauty to the event, the type I have rarely seen in the UK - one that superceded ego and 'cool'ness. Here were Turks with their families, from little children to grandparents all swaying and focusing on this singer's incredibly powerful voice. It was music that tugs the spirit to the surface of one, and moves one to imagine...or know that we are all one without exception. We all live for peace, union, companionship and music is the juice that unites us...the songs illustrate how we came to refer to the world as the 'uni-verse'. Despite all our differences as people, our differing opinions, our constrasting temperaments, our whimsical ways, we sing one song of belonging to something great that we perhaps know that we'll never understand, yet we believe it anyway. It is beyond intellectual. Since that event, I've asked myself some questions about the nature of happiness and even though I am no closer to an answer, the texture of my questioning changes, which is significant and in many ways is the result of my experience of this magical place. It's easier, and more encouraged, in the West or at least in England, to be literal and reasonable...or certainly I have felt that pressure whilst looking for job, handling finances, spending time. My trip to Turkey foregrounded love... my love for lanaguage, animals, the scent of wild flowers, the beauty of mountains, simplicity, calm, dancing wildly for the sheer joy...translating this all into a life in England is very challenging. How do we keep that spirited side of ourselves buoyant when there can be an overwhelming sense of responsibility? As the Full Moon spread its white fingers across the sleeping Earth, I asked myself a 1,000 questions: how do I belong...how do I fit in? Is my perception of belonging outdated? What does it mean to just 'be' as the cliche goes? My life has prioritised understanding of happiness through expression that has been borne from confusion and, more importantly, an unwillingness to live my life unhappily as I did for so many years. One finds coping strategies, one manages... which is very different to authentic heart-living. I'm quite exhausted with the previous way so I'm inspired to keep the calm in my belly that I left the hamaam with. A calm that felt akin to love, the natal kind both from our own guardian and the Earth. The release I found after that massage and the peace that imbued my entire body resulted in an almost death-like sleep. It was blissful and I deserve, as do all readers of this column and beyond, to live in bliss until we take our last breath. My life up until this point has shown me that there truly is no greater purpose.