Suddenly, Turkey!

Trip Start Oct 30, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  , Antalya Province,
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Marian Williamson  wrote what later became a part of a well-known speech by Nelson Mandela. I’m sure many of you are already familiar with it but I’m moved to start this entry with it:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves; who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. 
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Amen to that!

I’m so very grateful for my life!
So very grateful for yoga and the gifts it bestowed upon me. So very grateful for the teachings of Abraham Hicks, and so very grateful for all the shining light beings I’ve been meeting along this life path.
This is not an “I’d like to thank the academy” kind of a story but rather an account of “my life these days”. Thrillingly, my life these days is flooded with feelings of gratitude and love. Moreover, while the “I can’t believe my luck” pops up in my mind every now and then, I’m very much aware that my current reality is the fruit of the deliberate attracting seeds I’ve been planting in my mind in the past couple of years.

Manifesting dreams technique
From mid 2007 to the second half of 2008, based on Abraham-Hicks’ <> instructions, I’ve been writing notes about the things I love and appreciate in my life . The process itself, of noticing joyous experiences and writing about them, was very joyful.
I wrote about my love of water, of swimming in the sea, of drinking water, of steam rooms, hot springs, and of living near the water edge.
I wrote about practicing yoga, of teaching yoga, of reaching deeper understandings within the path of yoga.
I wrote about food. About my love of cooking, eating and appreciating good food. About fruit and vegetable markets and trying out new foods.
About attempting new things and daring to try different adventures. About traveling and meeting new people. 
I wrote about being creative and about designing. About flowers and gardening. About sunrises and sunsets. About meditation. And about getting high on life.

After more than a year of journaling these floods of appreciation, I read the notes all at once and a dream life begun weaving in front of my eyes. A life of a yogi practicing and teaching yoga at a studio by a body of water, surrounded by a beautiful garden or a forest. A life where I eat delicious food cooked by myself and others, where I get to joyfully swim every daily, where I live close to nature. Where water is abundant and where I meet new people and have new experiences very often.

When I visited Morocco in November 2008 I thought I found a way to realize part of this dream in Sidi Ifni, and planned on moving there. When I was in Koh Phangan an additional thread weaved into my dream; a life where I lived among people who are both humble teachers and eager students, the type of a person I aspire to be.

Taming the mind
Daydreaming about the life I want to live was not a full time job. More of a sporadic and spontaneous string of short episodes. In between The “full-time job” was the in-between work, where I was focusing on moving my mind into a happier state. I already knew that it made no difference what I did but rather how I did it. And I also knew, as my business card states, that “The greatest measure of success is the ability to be happy at every moment, regardless of circumstance and/or outcome.” As I was noticing undesirable thought patterns within me I attempted to change them. Replacing complaining (internal and external) with appreciation, and using yoga practices (asana, pranayama, mantra and affirmations) to tame and master my mind, the same one that has been running wild for most of life. 
“The mind is like a drunk monkey”, said one of my earlier yoga teachers.
“The mind is like a drunk monkey stung by a scorpion”, said the Agama Swami, and I completely agree. The process of noticing the turnings of the mind and taming them is not easy, but I am happy to say, it is not impossible (That is, as long as you are willing to commit to a lifelong practice).

How dreams come true
So there I was, daydreaming about the life I’d like to live while focusing (at times it was much more of “struggling to focus” rather than simply “focusing”) of accepting the present moment by pointing towards its most harmonious perspective. And then, as if out of nowhere, I found myself living my dream, or at least a very close version of it. This is how it unfolded:

Shortly before heading to Israel, I saw a small ad on the bulletin board in Agama. A Bed & Breakfast place in Turkey was looking for a yoga teacher. Intrigued, I inquired about it. My main concern was that a sunrise or a sunset was visible from the place, as by that time I was committed to practice solar gazing. “We have sunrises and moonrises”, answered Pinar, the owner of Myland Nature Otel in Çirali, Turkey, and shortly after that I booked my flight.

What waited for me in Çirali was literally a manifestation of the dream I was weaving; A beautiful tiny resort of 13 charming bungalows in a fruit orchard with orange, lemon, nectarine, apricot, pomegranate, quince, banana, peach, plum, guava, loquat, and mulberry trees. In the middle of the orchard a large yoga studio with wooden floors and walls. The restaurant here features authentic Ottoman cuisine cooked by Yetish, the most unassuming yet incredibly talented chef who is a true food lover. His creations, although seemingly effortless, are exquisite. Gladly, despite the language barrier we talk quite a bit about food and share our creations with each other.

The entire staff, from the owners Engin and Pinar to the kitchen aid (Mehmet), maid (Emine), waiter (Mehmet Jr.) and driver (Yalçin) is lovely. From the moment I arrived I felt very welcomed. In fact, this engagement was supposed to be only one month long, but within less then two weeks I was invited to stay for the entire summer.

The resort is 100 meter from the beach, which is a nature reserve, thanks to the endangered sea turtles which come here to lay their eggs. If not for the turtles, this lovely village on the edge of the Mediterranean would have most likely ended up with huge resorts taking over its beaches.
There are no buildings between us and the beach, only trees and shrubs that are used to block the village lights from reaching the turtles and scaring them off.
The beach itself is one of the best beaches I’ve ever been in. The surrounding rocky mountains are majestic, as if guarding this piece of paradise from the rest of the world. Crystal clear water with up to 20 feet of clear visibility. The pebbles along the water edge come in a rainbow of colors and look like gems of endless sizes. The sea itself is like an enormous salt water swimming pool; clear sandy bottom and a steady depth of about 15 feet for hundreds of feet. Sometimes, early in the morning, after watching the sunrise, I swim naked in the waveless water. No other humans on sight. Just me and the wondrous nature around me. Incredible!

The “deal” is that I get to teach yoga twice a day (8am and 5pm) in the beautiful yoga studio. I also do “Karma yoga” for 3-4 hours a day (which means working for no pay). My karma yoga includes laundry (which I surprisingly enjoy and find it romantic to hang white sheets to dry in the sun). As per my request, the yoga classes are offered by donations. Prior to my arrival classes were offered for free to Myland guests and at 10 Liras for non-guests. Now classes are free to all and donations are given by guests and non-guests. I have zero expenses here so whatever I make is pure income. I’m not making huge sums of money but this is the first time in a couple of years that I am actually earning a steady income (rather than spending money), and that’s a pretty good feeling. I assume the income will grow significantly when it gets busier here, but I’m not that concerned about it. These days, I rather visualize abundance than worry about lack. It seems to work better for me.

My life these days
Every day I wake up at 5AM to the urgent calls of the rooster. I have a new habit these days: whenever I hear the rooster call I take a deep breath (I find it a better alternative to wanting to cut his throat). I start my day by doing a few yoga asana in bed followed by the yogic cleansing kriya-s (if interested, check out for an excellent explanation of a part of the process).
At 5:30 I walk to the beach and chant as I wait for the sun to rise. When the sun circle is completely visible, I start the solar gazing practice, which is gazing at the sun continuously. The practice is to increase the gazing time by 10 second with every session. Today I reached 350 seconds. Tomorrow I’ll gaze for 360 seconds. Supposedly, by the time I reach a solid gazing of 45 minutes my eyesight will be perfect (it has already improved quite a bit), my mind will be sharp and focused, my body stronger, and I will not need to eat that much, if at all.
I’m certainly noticing increased vigor and sharpness of mind, but not sure that I can attribute it only to the sun gazing practice, as these days I’m also engaging in urine therapy, steady yoga and meditation practices, and swimming at least once a day.
By the way, a few mornings ago, right after the sun gazing, I witnessed the marking of a new turtle nest. It was very special event.

After the solar gazing practice I either swim, meditate or walk barefoot along the beach, collecting trash expelled by the sea during the night. There is a calming quality to the practice of collecting rubbish, leaving an immaculate beach behind for the turtles and bathers. This is not part of my job here. I do it because prefer the beach clean. It also helps me with the taming of the mind practice, as I direct my mind from the default “people are wrong for throwing trash in the sea” to “how lucky I am to find yet another piece of trash from the sea. Now the water will be cleaner and safer for the turtles”.

From 6:30 to 7:30 I practice some Asana-s and pranyama-s and prepare for my class. At 8 AM I teach my first yoga class. Afterwards, around 9:45 AM, it’s time for breakfast, a delicious spread of fresh fruit (some from our own garden), vegetables, marmalades, fresh bread and cheeses (which I do not eat). Pinar is very interested in Ayurveda so there’s a large selection of herbal teas too. From my perspective this means heaven on earth!

After breakfast I do my “chores”: cook a vegetarian main course or an appetizer, wash, hang and fold laundry, some gardening, and/or clean the yoga hall. With the exception of the laundry duties all these “chores” are on my list of things I love to do. How lucky am i!?

After three hours of work, at 1:30 PM, it’s time for a delicious lunch. Today Yetish made okra that he cooked with tomatoes and unripe grapes, giving the dish a delicately sour taste. Divine! Every day he makes a mouth watering dish that is a celebration for the eyes and taste buds. Kind of hard not to gain weight with him around, unless, of course, you balance it with yoga and swimming . . .

After lunch I read or write or rest. Just before 4 PM I spend the most glorious half an hour to an hour of swimming. The purest form of joy for me is to swim in these waters. So clear and vast. So clean and refreshing. I can swim in any direction and since most (of the very few) bathers here stay at the shoreline,when I swim it’s always just me, the sea, and the few fish,. Glorious!!!
I even developed a new style of swimming; I call it “Turtle stroke”. I flap my hands and legs like a sea turtle. It is surprisingly effective.

At 5 PM I teach my second yoga class. Sometimes I’m so charged after the class I continue with my own practice, which is much more vigorous than my morning practice. Then I do some more laundry for 30 to 60 minutes and then it’s time for dinner. Another delicious vegan meal. After dinner its internet time, chatting with guests, playing guests and hanging out with the staff.

By 9:30PM I’m getting ready for bed. Another wonderful day in paradise passed. Glory, glory Hallelujah!

“When you deliberately seek positive aspects of whatever you are giving your attention to, you, in a sense, tune your vibrational tuner to more positive aspects of everything. And, of course, you could tune yourself negatively as well. But as you are deliberately looking for positive aspects in yourself or in others, you will find more of those things: "The better it gets, the better it gets," for you get more and more of what you are thinking about —whether you want it or not.”
--- Abraham-Hicks
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yorron on

Hi Tony
Welcome to the Internet Age :-)
Thank you so much for the kind words. Been trying to contact you via Skype several times but no answer.
I love you very much!

armance on

be readind again about you and ciralli it came all back,what a great time we had,sorry it took so long,but I often think of you,as always,Armance

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