the Dalai Lama in Darwin

i miss my own Guru. i miss the overwhelming feeling of love in the presence of enlightened beings. i am grateful that i was able to be in the same room as the Dalai Lama. the familiar wave of pure happiness swept over and into me as soon as he walked on stage. i cried when he was leaving the stage as well. he smiled as he spoke of going beyond the chains of suffering; he wore his red visor to see the crowd better and folded his legs up on the couch...he was having a chat with us you see, with 5000 of us. he sneezed and said 'this will wake up people in the audience'. he giggled and laughed as he spoke of altruism and forgiveness to be the path to being happy and feeling love. i had missed him in Dharamsala and now six years later he was in Darwin.
i felt safe and internally hugged being with him. to identify that feeling means one has felt it before, the challenge is to feel it all the time. and one can cultivate that through yoga or quietness of  mind.


day 20 identity only scratched

the resistance will go on for months. a new identity is forming in Turkey with Istanbulites paving the way. the PM 'cleaned out' the park forcefully yesterday, police hurled tear gas into a hospital and a hotel lobby with kids and mummies screaming, their eyes burning. there are videos of police filling in a water cannon with chemicals that the Governor reassured was not chemicals. people with rashes and allegic reactions filled my newsfeed. police of rooftops shooting tear gas canisters into homes, those who want to cause trouble walking in neighbourhoods with knives and armed. doctors and lawyers getting arrested for helping the protesters.

Turkey's karma is heavy... sharing borders with restless countries is not an easy burden to bear. its soil has seen centuries of war and different rulers. and then there is the new age of awakening and the time to create what you want and when poeple unite to want to simply live a life of freedom, that is when the awakening has only begun. this has to become a habit then a value then a characteristic in ones DNA. there is a road to continue to walk, continue to take responsbility for each step, and hold on to ones integrity. there is no way the awakened Turks will sit down and watch television for hours and believe what is said.


occupy gezi park day 15

it was a new moon yesterday, time for new beginnings. in Turkey it was the beginning of a wave of attacks on peaceful protesters at 07.00 am. my best friend messaged me that she was having difficulty getting to work, there had been a sudden escalation of unrest and she was going to go buy a gas mask. the evening before the Governor of Istanbul tweeted about how there would not be any police or any operations because rumors spread quickly about an imminent crackdown Monday morning, quicker than ever before. the morning of 11th June the police came with the tear gas and their water cannons and the media called in to get people posed as protesers hurling molotov cocktails, some had guns in their pockets. the protesters were screaming on social media that these people were not one of them. the police started the tear gas, a man in a wheelchair was hosed down by a water cannon, lawyers were arrested, dozens of people hurt from plastic bullets, women beaten up with nothing to defend themselves, children were in the crowd because the Governor had said there would be nothing going on.

it is painful to watch this from so far away. all of my friends and family have been directly effected and are resisting. they all believe we deserve to live in a country that believes in free speech and in civil liberties. hundreds did yoga at the park a few days ago as a statement of belief in hope and peace. Turkey has gone through much in the past 80 years- growth has been difficult because people have had to learn from their mistakes and now the learning has come to a peak. Turks have had identity issues. Turkey is not like India or the States where the country has adopted the identity of embracing all cultures and groups as their own. this is the first time that gays, transvestites, kurds, alevis, sunnis and shias, apolitical folks have come together to simply want transparency and honesty from the ruling government. the Turks have been lied to and deceived for a long time, before this current government there were plenty of hidden agendas which is why the Turks have not healed. their stress threshold is extremely high which makes them very strong but how long this trauma can last is unknown to me. something has to change for a new idea to take root.


freedom to dream, speak and live- occupy gezi park

my friends in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir have distraught faces, weepy eyes and dark circles under their eyes. they have been out since Thursday walking and running for their basic human rights. i wish i was there. my little apartment in besiktas would be full of tear gas and pepper spray i am sure because my neighbours are posting on their facebook that they cannot open their windows, there is too much gas in the air. there is gas in their home. they have vinegar by their side to spray on their faces when a canister of tear gas explodes by their side.

after a dictatorship in Pakistan during my teens and then political turmoil soon after Zia-ul- Haq's plane exploded, the chaos and finding my way through to simply try and live a normal life had not been easy. i commuted to college  in Karachi on buses that had no seats because it had been torched a few days ago. i took exams behind locked doors while student activists boycotted exams right outside setting fires to chairs and desks. curfew times, sirens, smoke and media silencing are not new to me but it will never be a normal way of life. anywhere. Turkey's cuurrent state of chaos is actually what the country needed for a long time.

the decade i  lived in Turkey was during Erdogan's government.  he started off promising democracy and he was able to push Turkey towards being more financially stable. only a few eeks ago Turkey was upgraded in ratings but OECD did show the Turkish people were unhappiest in the world. living in Turkey i saw the unhappiness and the growing misery....even though the EU applauded the PM for weakening the military in Turkey, the way it was done was not right. most of the military is behind bars with no court dates, all of them in there with a charge of conspiring against the government. then there are all the news of clashes on the border that the media could not report because if they did people would get fired, blacklisted or jailed. in the past three years things have gotten worse though. i felt judged getting on public transport wearing a dress, waiting at the bus stop was uncomfortable, overheard snide rude remarks, more western looking women were attacked...and then there was a recent ruling that stewardesses on Turkish Airlines could not wear red lipstick, alcohol would not be served...the ban encompassed public spaces followed a  few weeks later.

a few friends of mine were at Gezi Park, they had their books, they had their tents where academics had their documents supporting the fact that the mall project was illegal. 5 am May 31st police came and attacked folks with tear gas and water cannons. they destroyed the tents and started to uproot the trees. the brutality sparked anger and friends of friends became a larger group that had enough. there have been reports that some protesters are taking out their anger on cars and  shop windows and facebook posts are beginning to yell out stop to harming property, that would only decrease credibility.

Stu and i are in Darwin watching events unfold, watching our friends out on the streets make a point and express their dissatisfaction. i dedicate this video of a sea eagle that flew over our apartment to my Turkish mates. i wish i was there and i know that freedom is a right.