I had a wonderful four days in Istanbul, what a beautiful and rich country! I stayed at a guesthouse right in the old city so I got to visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi, Grand Bazar, and many markets nearby. It was fun to just walk along the cobblestone streets and alley ways, and I got lost most of the time! The men on the streets were pretty insistent for me to go into their stores so I ended up feeling pretty guarded most of the time I was there, which isn't my preferred method of travel. I felt along most of the time and was also PMSing so that didn't add to the "lost" feeling. But then this beautiful man and woman reached out to me! Kath was a facebook friend and was in Istanbul visiting her husband who was working on getting his US passport! They had me go North to Bebek (super cute town right on the water, next time I go I would like to stay there for more time) and we ate a delicious fish - opps I lost my track for being vegan! I did stick to vegetarian though which I was proud of! Afterwards we took a taxi to Taksim square and walked around to see the nightlife and went to a cute tea cafe built into the side of the mountain.
My time in Istanbul consisted of museums, eating delicious food, enjoying the rooftop at Agora Guesthouse each morning, a boat cruise along to the Black Sea in between Europe and Asia, a cultural dance show, and visiting markets and eating lots of sweets! I learned a lot about the Muslim culture, which was good to understand after spending so much time in Israel and learning more about Judaism. I didn't realize how interested I am in religion until this trip, but as I learn I am putting the pieces together of what I call my own "spiritual" practice and I'm understanding how a lot of these practices I've learned come from these old religions and cultures. Ive really enjoyed reading and experiencing so much about these religions and seeing that they really are ALL saying the same thing. So why is there all this fighting, how do we not see that they are all saying the same thing but then all saying, "MY God is the way." if the sentence before says that God stands for all the Gods because it is only 1 God for all. My beliefs of trying to be a stand for world peace are changing daily with these travels and I'm becoming less and less positive that the fights between these religions will come to an end or agree. As this may sound extremely pessimistic it also has me rethink - well can I do from here? It becomes ALL about the inner game of finding inner peace. I feel like this is really where the focus MUST go, and those focused on the fighting will continue to focus on that until they all die out. Hmmm well see how long I believe this, as I said my perspectives are rapidly changing. And yet I feel my heart is much lighter, freedom is more expansive, and my head is more clear. Now my personal fears are coming up stronger than ever - my image, my thoughts, my worth, commitments, grounding, connection with source, intuition. The game is becoming more internal knowing that the ripple will end up helping the world on a larger scale but for now the world isn't ready for that. We'll let them figure this one out by themselves and I'll see YOU at the organic and sustainable markets healing our bodies, minds, and spirits through connection, community, love, and health.
SO OFF TO BALI for me!