Sunday, November 6, 2016


I sleepwalk through insecure times. That’s not a metaphor. I really do sleepwalk.

One night, a deep mysterious voice told me, “Take dictation. This is important. Go get some paper and a pen.” I first checked my bedside table, but there was nothing. I went to my art table, which more conventional people would keep as a dining room table. It’s a mess, but I always have a pile of printer paper next to my framed photo of Flannery O’Connor. She was a devout Catholic and I think she would have respected my dream as something spiritual. I took a sheet of paper and a pen and announced, “I’m ready.” 

Unfortunately, I woke myself up. I couldn’t believe that I had scared the voice away with my own voice, so I repeated, “I’m ready.” Nothing. The realization that this voice was just a fleeting whimsy was so disappointing. I’m the kind of person for whom opening a packet of Yogi Tea and reading the message on the teabag is an exciting event. I’m always seeking new wisdom. And having a voice speak to me in a dream would be like finding out Athena is my guardian angel. Anyway, just my luck to have a male Athena. Just like a man. “I’ll call you.” Then, nothing. “Take dictation.” And still, nothing. Next time, summon a GODDESS of wisdom, will you?!

My message accompanying my Yogi Hazelnut tea at the moment is, “Uplift everybody and uplift yourself.” That’s a pretty big request. I wonder how I’m supposed to do that. I’ve been very depressed, thinking about how Turkey is no longer a safe place to live. American families of Embassy workers have been evacuated. I called the embassy and the consulate to try and get more information and apparently there was no more information to give, other than the frequent security warnings I’ve been receiving. There have been attempted kidnappings of Americans. We’re supposed to avoid crowds. (In Istanbul, that’s just flat out impossible.) I no longer take the Marmaray, the metro that goes underneath the Bosporus. I no longer go out to Taksim, or Kadikoy, or Beyoglu.  I try to avoid going out all together. This is no way to live.

One security warning counseled Americans to avoid events attracting large crowds, because even if the gatherings are intended to be peaceful, they can turn confrontational. That’s how I feel about living in Turkey. I feel as if I came to a peaceful demonstration in August, 2015. Then . . . well, the mood isn’t exactly peaceful these days.

It’s time to spin the globe again and search for wisdom that can’t be attained from drinking Yogi tea and reading books in my lonely apartment, not that there aren’t benefits to that lifestyle. I recently read a letter from Mahatmi Gandhi to Adolph Hitler, in which Gandhi addressed Hitler as “Friend.” Throughout Gandhi’s life, the only time his philosophy of nonviolent resistance was shaken was when it came to defeating the Nazis. Sometimes the world forces us to break from our normal lives, cancel our plans, and question our beliefs. I’m nowhere near as evolved as I would like to be. I couldn’t call Hitler a friend, but Turkey is still a friend. Sometimes when our friends change, it’s hard to adapt to them.

Athena is willing me to go to the gym. Maybe if I exercise before bed, I won’t feel the need to sleepwalk tonight. 

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