Wandering around the watery lilting landscape of Dalyan yesterday after teaching a week’s retreat in a magical part of Turkey, I stopped on my bicycle to greet some adopted stray dogs, one a silver colored shaggy mix of retriever poodle, reminding me of my puppy Willow. Such gentle affection exudes through these beautiful dog spirits, filling me with bliss as I spoke with a girl, also sitting on the grass, who began with a comment
‘ Karl Marx said ‘ Love is a form of extended selfishness’. Wow, I thought, as I felt material for my class offering itself the next day, where I ‘d be teaching in Catford Bridge to Lewisham Foster Carers.
She continued to explain other Sufi mystic poems. she was so generous and delighted to know that I ‘d be using her thoughts in my class the next day:
‘Oh, how I love the bird
But to own the bird I must break its wings
Oh How I love the Bird’
Another quote came, which I shared today with the carers:
If I like the flower I pick it
If I love the flower I water it daily’
All these quotes probed the nature of love – Does the spirit of love die when obligations and expectations are brought to it, with ‘strings attached’ ?
The spirit of the seeker imbued my trip to Turkey, one who gathers inspiration as she travels, not to accumulate and own, but to feed the inner life and share as she goes.
Today in Lewisham, a lady arrived wearing the veil and gently asked if any men where coming to class? No men were attending, so she unwrapped her scarf and said ‘ I am free’. During the class, her shoulder aches surfaced and dissolved, her eyes deepened, her face softened and her whole persona changed. I think this was facilitated by the inclusion of ayurvedic massage balms applied to the neck (‘yogassage’), from Kerala (Rumalaya Gel), to facilitate self nourishmnent, releasing oxytocin and endorphins, (well being chemicals).
In the previous class I was touched and honored to welcome Mohammed, dressed in full Shalwar Kamiz, which I had worn during my year spent in a school in the Pakistan Himalayas in 1984, a gap ‘Yah’, my way of avoiding ominous Orwellian echoes of being drawn into a life I would not want to live, of certain boxes to be ticked (university , marriage, kids, mortgage…). I did not want these things, I wanted to be a wandering Troubador.
The previous day, a Turkish politician, opposition party to the current president, walked for 25 days, from Ankara to Istanbul, in a peaceful pilgrimage protest to the way that the government is taking away people’s right to be expressive and creative, a trademark of the mystical legacy of the Mevlevi (Whirling Dervishes) of Turkey and Persia.
Speak my Soul
Express my Song
Dance my Rhythm
God is in my Feet
God is in my Throat
She is in my Heart
I like the spirit of collaboration of ideas, to evolve, with shared values, rather than trying to fly a flag of righteousness on the top of a building. Yoga is a shared evolution, a wonderful mixing pot, a palette of many colours and textures. Let’s experiment with the ‘felt sense’ of proprioceptive awareness, the primal feeling place (hanna somatics) where separateness fall away.
Arriving home to the cottage at 3 a.m this morning, my teachers, Timmy Quizlet (Cat) and Willow (dog) lay on the bed as I ‘bridged the gap’ before teaching the class, inspired by the wings of these quotes.
The final poem of Rumi’s ‘Guesthouse’ resonated with these noble carers, who really do allow the world to sweep through their ‘Guest house’, in their noble Dharma (purposeful path), critical in our over populated, under loved world.
The Meditation training course I am completing this weekend with the wonderful spirit, Alexander Filmer – Lorch, captures this elusive, beautiful approach – ‘No One Way’, to draw upon the richness of any teachings and not to confine oneself to one ‘camp ‘ only. We can find it in a pop song……