August 15, 2013

Words for Lovers & for Myself. ~ Cigdem Toskay

Stepping down from the Throne of Catharsis and Taking a Train to Zen

I used to be a person of letters.

I wrote in celebration of love, heartbreak, wishes and dreams. I was never afraid of writing, until I wrote a short poem one day and gave it to my lover. It was ”A Message in a Bottle;” a call of hope. He might be ”the one,” he might have the courage to be ”the warrior,” entering the castle of my heart and knocking down my walls of doubt.

My short poem was about how we choose our words, how we wash them white but wear them black. An eternal karmic dance of our actions and language.

I was young and romantic. I knew it deep down, my belly knew it. Call it the sixth sense if you will, I just never wanted to believe how Satya (truth telling) was—is—the most challenging yama (ethical code) of all. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) may be even harder. I was desperately in love and afraid of rejection.

So, my lover took the paper.

As he opened my letter and started reading, my words were flying on birds’ wings. The meaning escaped him. Maybe the context too.

Words are magic, sometimes black.

My lover stuffed the letter in one of his pockets. This gesture felt like the end of the world, and was a lesson well learned. What seems like gold to you is someone else’s pebbles—it is called disappointment.

My road to a romantic catharsis was forever blocked.

Love is not a gold medal. It is not passing a test and scoring straight A’s. Love is ubiquitous. I forget. It is an offering to the Divine. I always forget. No strings attached, green pastures of the heart full of sunshine, sky is blue and the clouds of doubt pass soon.

What is important and meaningful to you at any given moment does not have to be a priority to anyone else. Nor does it have to be a Kill-Bill story.

So, dear dear heart, tell me, why do you cast your light on the unattainable? Do you ever surrender? This warm feeling is just the fever of the chase. Love is not a hunt. The thrill of the kill is what’s calling you, blood ever throbbing. Is this how you feel alive?

I used to think I chose to stay out of weary and tedious, pointless conversations because I cherish intimacy. Now, as I meditate daily, I suspect the thrill is gone. A sense of ruthless pride and stubborness makes everything unforgiven. I want to be intimate with myself.

A dialogue may be possible.

The twang of pride and a big wave of anger washes over me. But it doesn’t knock me down. I sit in meditation. I sometimes pretend to sit in meditation. Then suddenly I am meditating, at least for a  short while.

There is a certain quality of being ”raw” and ”open.”Needless to say, I am no big fan of hidden dark closets.

I like the dawn after a long night in the forest. I like truth over a lie. I like the sun dancing with my shadow. I like the tears that pave the way to enlightenment of the heart and soul. Maybe I used to like tears beyond logic.

Not that I believe in dreary drama but I remember the olden ways, the words of the Great Greek Masters, the cathartic experience and light reborn out of emotional chaos, a climax. The sun was born out of many possibilities, the universe was the darkest mother ever.

The orgasmic soul, tremors of the heart… I stop. The chase is over. I center.

Oh, let me fly, set my wings free! My pearl of wisdom is somewhere, why not take a deep breath, be brave and dive into my own blue sea? Paul Simon once said, ”the Heart is an Endless Ocean.”

It is primal and embarrassing. It feels good just being in your own skin. My animal is inside and looks me in the eye. I dreamt of two little snakes the other night, one black, the other white. They were just standing side by side, completely identical if not for their colour.

How can you tell left from right and dark from light? Would you give up on your left hand, your left leg or your left eye and say the right is better?

So, I embrace them both howling against the call of the Goddess Moon in the night and celebrating the warmth on a simmering rock under the sun, I nest and I let myself be. I take life in.

Life nourishes me; I sit in meditation daily.

Dear Lovers of my past and future,

I have done my share of howling and hunting. I am done with my catharsis and plotting. I changed tracks and hopped on a train heading towards Zen. We’ll see where it takes me. Now, it doesn’t hurt so much as it used to.

I am still raw and green, I bleed when you try to cut me open, your words are still as sharp as a blade, you have such mastery. But murder? Oh, no! Trying to kill me will only hurt yourself!

I set you free.

You do not have to understand me, nor even love me. Your capacity of life, love and death, of words will never define a single moment of me. I will not be pinned down with adjectives, I will elude your fantasies. Nor will you ever be offended by my notorious attempts. I set us all free.

So, I cast my words in white spelling, a white light I am wearing. I take the dive and when my time is up, I reach for the sun.

Dear Lovers, you may not be there to wait upon my return. It doesn’t matter. All the hurt and drama is gone. There is no one to be forgiven, since there is no one. I was never afraid of writing, nor am I of silence.

My heart is paving its way through the labyrinth of emotions to the center of the universe.

Each day I discover the meaning of love anew. It is Satya setting us all free, may Aparigraha be a gentle guide to me.


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Assistant Ed.: Andie Britton-Foster/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Kim Sep 3, 2013 10:26am

YES! Someone whom demonstrated love to me once, who made me feel understood and special, a few months later sat before me and said he did not understand me at all. That my timing is off with my words. Other things. I was CRUSHED. I mourned for two days, but came out on the other side realizing that it was my choice to allow his words to make me feel desired or to break me, and that I would not allow either anymore. It had felt personal, then I realized that it wasn't. Nothing is. And it was his choice to see me through those two dichotomous lenses. Maybe I am all of those things that he saw. Maybe not. Either way, I don't have to take that on. I am here for a reason, with my unique gifts, as we all are. Thank you, Cigdem.

bneal817 Aug 15, 2013 12:16pm

Very poetic. Our words are indeed like vessels that hold whatever we pour into them… Lovely article Cigdem.

~ Ben

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Cigdem Toskay

Cigdem lives and teaches yoga in Istanbul, Turkey. Both a Business Administration Management graduate as well as Classical Archaeology, she is also a proud member of the International Yoga Federation (IYF) Family. Her main yoga interests lie in Hatha and Restorative styles, but she is always willing to try what’s new in town. An avid traveler, she has lived and worked mostly in the German speaking realm of Europe. She discovered the power of therapeutic yoga after suffering a joint inflammation. While living and studying in Vienna, hot yoga and shiatsu practices were her favorites and a sure way to full recovery. After moving back to Turkey in 2008, her interest in self-practice grew. She graduated from her yoga teacher training in May 2012 and is currently teaching at the OM Yoga Center in Istanbul, Turkey as well as writing about her personal discoveries in her yoga journey on her Turkish blog Yoga Talasana. As the Istanbul yoga scene is growing and more international yoga visitors frequent the city she attended workshops by Sean Corn, Sianna Sherman, Victor van Kooten & Angela Farmer, Hart Lazer, Zoltan Zadjva, Mey Elbi and Nicole Ohme. Cigdem also participates in the corporate life as a devotee to the hospitality sector, working in an international hotel chain as Quality Manager. Her aspirations in life are to write and be happy in her own skin. She loves her name (= Crocus) and started to love herself more. A healthy dose of head stands and triangle poses and an active life, what is there more to ask?