Sunday, August 7, 2016

Karate, What Are You Telling Us?


Last year, to be exact on August 31st, 2015, if you had told me that in a about a year’s time I would be sitting next to two, one Turkish and one Scottish, World Karate Champions, that I would be doing Karate with orange belt, and maybe more importantly, that what they talk about would sound meaningful to me, of course I would not believe you.

However, in 2016, on August 3rd in Fethiye, on a night that seems to be cooler than the nights before, I am sort of baffled by and positively surprised at myself as I am sitting on a stool next to these two Karate masters at the end of the training, at my Karate teacher Mr. Ömer Habeş’s Dojo.  I had just completed a training where I was both taking part in the training and translating for our visiting Shihan from Scotland, Mr. Alistair Mitchell. Me, Zeynep.  Although I was feeling that I was not even close to begin to comprehend what Karate is, which was a point that our teacher had pointed out at times and that I could only agree with, I had started to do Karate which I had loved since I was a kid for some reason.  I was doing it.

I was doing punches.  Different kicks.  For example, I was able to lift my legs like I could never before in my mawashi geri kicks.  The list of the names of the techniques that I know was getting longer.  I was beginning to comprehend the existence of Karate’s way ‘Do’.  I was reading the books by Master Funakoshi, who is known as the person who made Karate known in the World as Karate.  I was listening to my own Shihan, my teacher Mr. Ömer Habeş attentively.  I was realizing that Karate was making me stronger as well as calming me down while strengthening me.

Last year on August 31st, a new page called Karate opened up in my life.  And since that day on, almost every day, I am grateful that Karate is in my life.

*

On the night of the August 3rd, as I was translating for my Master Teachers, Shihan Ömer Habeş and Shihan Alistair Mitchell, I felt myself again in a movie scene.  This was not my first time to translate for them.  When Shihan Alistair Mitchell was in Fethiye last May, I had had the chance to translate a few times in and out of Dojo.  In this new visit in August, the two Shihans were having long conversations and this was giving me a chance to peek in through, the sort of mystical, doors of the world of Karate.

I probably would be needing more time to be able to go through those doors, yet, to be able to listen to two Karate people who have given their lives to Karate, to be part of their deep conversation in a sense, was such a great luck.  I was feeling maybe more lucky than ever as I was translating.  It was as if I was watching a movie and I was so close to that movie, as if I was watching it from inside the scenes.


*

What did the Masters, the Shihans talk about?

First of all, they were two people who understood each other very well. Even though they were speaking two different languages, even though they belong to different religions or nationalities, they were two people who very apparently understood each other very well.  They had represented their own countries at the very top level, earned medals, became World Champions as sportsmen; however, there was something that they almost shared in every conversation that I had translated.  They were not Karate sportsmen. They were Karate men. They were people who did Karate.  This was a very very important distinction that needed to be understood to be able understand them.

Shihan Habeş said that what disappoints him or makes him sad the most is having a student leave the Dojo, leave Karate, or continue to train with another teacher. “It makes us sad,” Shihan Habeş said.   He told that it is as if one leaves his father to go to his step father.  He told that this slows down one’s training, one’s path.  An even if they unite afterwards, there is this heartbrokenness that cannot be totally mended.  Shihan Mitchell was feeling similar things.  That it is not possible to win every student, but that they hope and work for this.

As they were defining what being a good teacher is, Shihan Habeş talked about the importance of being a good person.  Shihan Mitchell emphasized many times that they are working and trying to be a good person. They agreed that a good teacher should surpass his own teacher and also should raise and train students that will surpass him.  It was difficult to be a good teacher.  But maybe it was even more difficult to find a good student.

At the end of the training in our Dojo on August 3rd, Shihan Habeş had mentioned something that he had shared with us a few times before.  “Maybe very few of you will continue to do Karate.  Maybe one in a thousand will continue.  And maybe that person will someday pass on the knowledge that we share to others.”   He was sharing that most of the students that a teacher spends a lot of effort to train would be leaving the path of Karate.

So were all the efforts wasted then?

“Efforts are never wasted,” said Shihan Habeş.  Shihan Mitchell shared a story from his own life.  About 15-20 years ago, two young boys aged 14, 15 who were students of a friend of his, came to his Dojo. Of these two boys, one went on with his Karate training, had a good career in the army and had a good family. Yet, the other kid got into alcohol, drugs and gangs and went into dark time in his life.  Shihan Mitchell told us, “I said to myself, we lost him.  We lost this kid.”

Well, years pass and one day Shihan Mitchell receives a message in Facebook. From that kid that was lost.  He introduces himself and continues to tell that for three, four years he had done really bad things and were in the dark.  However, this kid when he reaches the age of 18, remembers Karate.  He remembers what did with Karate, the principles and teachings of Karate that Shihan shared with him.  And he decided to leaves this bad life; he decides to change his life.  He moves to Japan, does Karate, marries a Japanese lady, has a great family, becomes a Karate teacher, opens up a Karate Dojo and works to train his and other kids as champions.

What affected Shihan Mitchell the most was what this man now in his thirties said.  He said, “Karate saved my life. I remembered the things that you said, the things that you taught.  I tidied up my life. Thank you.”  His sharing this so many years later was obviously very meaningful to Shihan Mitchell.   “I had thought that we had lost him,” Shihan Alistair Mitchell said. “But we hadn’t.  We were successful.”  Shihan Ömer Habeş added that he had similar stories, similar examples in his life as well.

To help children and young people become good people, help them improve themselves, being good role models for these kids were their common goal.  These two kind and calm, peaceful warriors had so much life experience. Shihan Alistair Mitchell said with his calm gentle smile, “We had to give so much effort to learn. Wish we can find a way to pass on our knowledge, what we have learned over  thirty years to the younger generation, so that they do not lose the time we lost.”  Shihan Habeş was saying “We learned by trial and error. There were only a few good teachers around the world and how would we get the chance to meet them.”

They were sharing that it is now possible to reach all top level Karate information through a smart phone.  “There is no excuse for bad Karate” Shihan Mitchell said.  Indeed, in their times, under their circumstances, to be that successful, to live and to do Karate as successfully as they were able to do, they must have really given it a lot of effort.


*

That night I had the chance to listen an important story about the life of my teacther Shihan Ömer Habeş for the first time.  As he was telling it to Shihan Alistair Mitchell. Actually they were talking about being a good person, doing goodness, trying to keep others especially students from bad examples, pushing them, leading them towards the good.  They were talking showing the direction and also that each students has to walk the path himself.  Then, one topic led to another and we learned that Shihan Ömer Habeş, while he was living and training teams in Germany, for over ten years, he gave seminars on weekends and with the fees of these seminars we helped support many different organizations.  Some were for the rehabilition of alcoholics and drug addicts in Germany.  He sent donations to different causes in Africa.  He tried to support many people from many different backgrounds.

He continued to explain, “I did not know about racism, but saw it in Germany. That’s why in all my seminars, I started by saying that ‘No Karate person around the world is racist.’ That was my headline.”
                
Shihan Ömer Habeş gets to see and experience racism in many different forms as a Turk living in Germany.  With that personal life experience, he spends a special effort to if U may say obliterate racism.  He helps people from different walks of life and backgrounds.

So much that, one day the chief of police of the state that he is training the Karate Team of gives him a call and tell Shihan Habeş that he has a letter from the President of Germany.  The chief of the police department, who is also a friend and a student, makes an official visit to Shihan an gives him the letter that is inviting Shihan Habeş to the capital Bonn to visit the German Parliament and the President.  In about three months, on the day invited Shihan Habeş goes to Bonn with the members of the parliament from that state.  The head of the German Parliament welcomes him to the Parliament and he gives a speech at the Parliament.  At the end he is exposed to a what he calls a sad question by a journalist who seems to be racist.  A question that is unfortunately applauded by some in the crowd. Yet,  Shihan continued to tell us “We Karate people need to think fast” and told that he gave a reply that made the members of the Parliament give a standing ovation.

The question is really a sad question. The journalist asks, “As a Muslim aren’t you sad for the massacres of Usame Bin Ladin?”  It is hard to grasp what kind of thought leads one to ask such a negative question because of his religion, to a person who has been invited to the German Parliament for his humanitarian work for people of different nationalities and religions.  However, the question is indeed stated. And Shihan Habeş, with that quick thinking that he was mentioning gives this reply, “As you feel very sorry as a Christian for the massacres done by Hitler, I also am very sorry. Yes, I am very sorry.”  Shihan said that for about five seconds there was no sound in the Parliament and afterwards came the applauding and the standing ovation.
*
In Fethiye,  on August 3rd, on a night that seemed to be slightly cooler that the nights before, coming out of our training in my teacher Shihan Ömer Habeş’s Dojo, I did a translation for two World Champions.


They understand each other very well, they really respect each other, and make it known through their words as well as through the unspoken that is reflected in their eyes, they have very similar life adventures with their unique stories.  I am feeling very very lucky to have had the chance to get to know and to have as role models these two good and valuable people,

Friday, August 5, 2016

Karate, What Are You Telling Us? - A Translation

On August 3rd, I wrote an article about the Karate conversations of two Karate Masters, Shihan Ömer Habeş from Turkey and Shihan Alistair Mitchell from Scotland.  The article appeared on my Blog page in MilliyetBlog and on my personal Blog page.  Of course it was in Turkish.

I write in Turkish and in English. However, up until today, I had never really translated any of my writing from Turkish to English or English to Turkish.  This is a first.  And I realize that this is difficult.  And this translation is for Shihan Alistair Mitchell. To be able to share as correctly as possible what I wrote in the article in Turkish.  Maybe some of it could have been said better in English in another way. I tried to do my best as fast as I could.

Dear Shihan Alistair Mitchell, 
I wish and hope that I was able to reflect your thoughts and feelings correctly.  I am feeling grateful to you and my Shihan Mr. Ömer Habeş for giving me the chance to listen, to learn, to share this experience. Thank you so much.

*


Karate, What Are You Telling Us?

Last year, to be exact on August 31st, 2015, if you had told me that in a about a year’s time I would be sitting next to two, one Turkish and one Scottish, World Karate Champions, that I would be doing Karate with orange belt, and maybe more importantly, that what they talk about would sound meaningful to me, of course I would not believe you.

However, in 2016, on August 3rd in Fethiye, on a night that seems to be cooler than the nights before, I am sort of baffled by and positively surprised at myself as I am sitting on a stool next to these two Karate masters at the end of the training, at my Karate teacher Mr. Ömer Habeş’s Dojo.  I had just completed a training where I was both taking part in the training and translating for our visiting Shihan from Scotland, Mr. Alistair Mitchell. Me, Zeynep.  Although I was feeling that I was not even close to begin to comprehend what Karate is, which was a point that our teacher had pointed out at times and that I could only agree with, I had started to do Karate which I had loved since I was a kid for some reason.  I was doing it.

I was doing punches.  Different kicks.  For example, I was able to lift my legs like I could never before in my mawashi geri kicks.  The list of the names of the techniques that I know was getting longer.  I was beginning to comprehend the existence of Karate’s way ‘Do’.  I was reading the books by Master Funakoshi, who is known as the person who made Karate known in the World as Karate.  I was listening to my own Shihan, my teacher Mr. Ömer Habeş attentively.  I was realizing that Karate was making me stronger as well as calming me down while strengthening me.

Last year on August 31st, a new page called Karate opened up in my life.  And since that day on, almost every day, I am grateful that Karate is in my life.

*

On the night of the August 3rd, as I was translating for my Master Teachers, Shihan Ömer Habeş and Shihan Alistair Mitchell, I felt myself again in a movie scene.  This was not my first time to translate for them.  When Shihan Alistair Mitchell was in Fethiye last May, I had had the chance to translate a few times in and out of Dojo.  In this new visit in August, the two Shihans were having long conversations and this was giving me a chance to peek in through, the sort of mystical, doors of the world of Karate.

I probably would be needing more time to be able to go through those doors, yet, to be able to listen to two Karate people who have given their lives to Karate, to be part of their deep conversation in a sense, was such a great luck.  I was feeling maybe more lucky than ever as I was translating.  It was as if I was watching a movie and I was so close to that movie, as if I was watching it from inside the scenes.


*

What did the Masters, the Shihans talk about?

First of all, they were two people who understood each other very well. Even though they were speaking two different languages, even though they belong to different religions or nationalities, they were two people who very apparently understood each other very well.  They had represented their own countries at the very top level, earned medals, became World Champions as sportsmen; however, there was something that they almost shared in every conversation that I had translated.  They were not Karate sportsmen. They were Karate men. They were people who did Karate.  This was a very very important distinction that needed to be understood to be able understand them.

Shihan Habeş said that what disappoints him or makes him sad the most is having a student leave the Dojo, leave Karate, or continue to train with another teacher. “It makes us sad,” Shihan Habeş said.   He told that it is as if one leaves his father to go to his step father.  He told that this slows down one’s training, one’s path.  An even if they unite afterwards, there is this heartbrokenness that cannot be totally mended.  Shihan Mitchell was feeling similar things.  That it is not possible to win every student, but that they hope and work for this.

As they were defining what being a good teacher is, Shihan Habeş talked about the importance of being a good person.  Shihan Mitchell emphasized many times that they are working and trying to be a good person. They agreed that a good teacher should surpass his own teacher and also should raise and train students that will surpass him.  It was difficult to be a good teacher.  But maybe it was even more difficult to find a good student.

At the end of the training in our Dojo on August 3rd, Shihan Habeş had mentioned something that he had shared with us a few times before.  “Maybe very few of you will continue to do Karate.  Maybe one in a thousand will continue.  And maybe that person will someday pass on the knowledge that we share to others.”   He was sharing that most of the students that a teacher spends a lot of effort to train would be leaving the path of Karate.

So were all the efforts wasted then?

“Efforts are never wasted,” said Shihan Habeş.  Shihan Mitchell shared a story from his own life.  About 15-20 years ago, two young boys aged 14, 15 who were students of a friend of his, came to his Dojo. Of these two boys, one went on with his Karate training, had a good career in the army and had a good family. Yet, the other kid got into alcohol, drugs and gangs and went into dark time in his life.  Shihan Mitchell told us, “I said to myself, we lost him.  We lost this kid.”

Well, years pass and one day Shihan Mitchell receives a message in Facebook. From that kid that was lost.  He introduces himself and continues to tell that for three, four years he had done really bad things and were in the dark.  However, this kid when he reaches the age of 18, remembers Karate.  He remembers what did with Karate, the principles and teachings of Karate that Shihan shared with him.  And he decided to leaves this bad life; he decides to change his life.  He moves to Japan, does Karate, marries a Japanese lady, has a great family, becomes a Karate teacher, opens up a Karate Dojo and works to train his and other kids as champions.

What affected Shihan Mitchell the most was what this man now in his thirties said.  He said, “Karate saved my life. I remembered the things that you said, the things that you taught.  I tidied up my life. Thank you.”  His sharing this so many years later was obviously very meaningful to Shihan Mitchell.   “I had thought that we had lost him,” Shihan Alistair Mitchell said. “But we hadn’t.  We were successful.”  Shihan Ömer Habeş added that he had similar stories, similar examples in his life as well.

To help children and young people become good people, help them improve themselves, being good role models for these kids were their common goal.  These two kind and calm, peaceful warriors had so much life experience. Shihan Alistair Mitchell said with his calm gentle smile, “We had to give so much effort to learn. Wish we can find a way to pass on our knowledge, what we have learned over  thirty years to the younger generation, so that they do not lose the time we lost.”  Shihan Habeş was saying “We learned by trial and error. There were only a few good teachers around the world and how would we get the chance to meet them.”

They were sharing that it is now possible to reach all top level Karate information through a smart phone.  “There is no excuse for bad Karate” Shihan Mitchell said.  Indeed, in their times, under their circumstances, to be that successful, to live and to do Karate as successfully as they were able to do, they must have really given it a lot of effort.


*

That night I had the chance to listen an important story about the life of my teacther Shihan Ömer Habeş for the first time.  As he was telling it to Shihan Alistair Mitchell. Actually they were talking about being a good person, doing goodness, trying to keep others especially students from bad examples, pushing them, leading them towards the good.  They were talking showing the direction and also that each students has to walk the path himself.  Then, one topic led to another and we learned that Shihan Ömer Habeş, while he was living and training teams in Germany, for over ten years, he gave seminars on weekends and with the fees of these seminars we helped support many different organizations.  Some were for the rehabilition of alcoholics and drug addicts in Germany.  He sent donations to different causes in Africa.  He tried to support many people from many different backgrounds.

He continued to explain, “I did not know about racism, but saw it in Germany. That’s why in all my seminars, I started by saying that ‘No Karate person around the world is racist.’ That was my headline.”
                
Shihan Ömer Habeş gets to see and experience racism in many different forms as a Turk living in Germany.  With that personal life experience, he spends a special effort to if U may say obliterate racism.  He helps people from different walks of life and backgrounds.

So much that, one day the chief of police of the state that he is training the Karate Team of gives him a call and tell Shihan Habeş that he has a letter from the President of Germany.  The chief of the police department, who is also a friend and a student, makes an official visit to Shihan an gives him the letter that is inviting Shihan Habeş to the capital Bonn to visit the German Parliament and the President.  In about three months, on the day invited Shihan Habeş goes to Bonn with the members of the parliament from that state.  The head of the German Parliament welcomes him to the Parliament and he gives a speech at the Parliament.  At the end he is exposed to a what he calls a sad question by a journalist who seems to be racist.  A question that is unfortunately applauded by some in the crowd. Yet,  Shihan continued to tell us “We Karate people need to think fast” and told that he gave a reply that made the members of the Parliament give a standing ovation.

The question is really a sad question. The journalist asks, “As a Muslim aren’t you sad for the massacres of Usame Bin Ladin?”  It is hard to grasp what kind of thought leads one to ask such a negative question because of his religion, to a person who has been invited to the German Parliament for his humanitarian work for people of different nationalities and religions.  However, the question is indeed stated. And Shihan Habeş, with that quick thinking that he was mentioning gives this reply, “As you feel very sorry as a Christian for the massacres done by Hitler, I also am very sorry. Yes, I am very sorry.”  Shihan said that for about five seconds there was no sound in the Parliament and afterwards came the applauding and the standing ovation.
 
*
In Fethiye,  on August 3rd, on a night that seemed to be slightly cooler that the nights before, coming out of our training in my teacher Shihan Ömer Habeş’s Dojo, I did a translation for two World Champions.


They understand each other very well, they really respect each other, and make it known through their words as well as through the unspoken that is reflected in their eyes, they have very similar life adventures with their unique stories.  I am feeling very very lucky to have had the chance to get to know and to have as role models these two good and valuable people,
*
Links to the articles in Turkish:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Peace at Home, Peace in the World


Believing as always, and more than ever, in what the Founder of The Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said in 1931:

Peace at Home, Peace in the World.



Monday, December 14, 2015

Energy of the New Year, December 17th, Thoughts of the Day

Those of you interested in Astrology or Numerology may be familiar with the concept that every day has a unique energy.  A unique set of possibilities, surprises, gifts and difficulties or issues rather.
As each day and each year have their unique energies, so does our own years as well.  What do we mean? Well, according to numerology, starting on the day of our birthday every year of our lives offer a different energy to live and deal with. Some say that this is how our destiny is set and revealed. Some believe that a child is born at a time that has been predetermined and that date and time identify that child’s destiny. So, every year, his or her year up until his or her birthday and after the birthday offer different possibilities for the child, for the person. These two time fragments have different energies and will affect the person differently.  In short, the numerological year starts and ends with our birthdays.

Let’s look at what number 2016 is in Numerology. 2016 adds up number 9. 2+1+6=9.  What does the number 9 say to us in general?

Well, 9 is usually told to be about introspection.  It’s considered to be about going inward, maybe learning to connect or connecting with our inner voice, with the inner voice of our spirit, the real voice of the universe as some may call.

9 is usually told to be about searching for internal fulfillment and about finding it.  In 9, there is a connection with the real truth.  How can I describe this state better? You know, there are times when regardless of what is happening outside, at work, with friends, with the World, regardless of how bad everything might seem and be, regardless of the cloudy greyness and darkness in life, internally we may still feel complete, safe, light and delightful.  That feeling of feeling complete without needing anything or anyone or at least needed less from outside is considered to be about the energy of number 9 in a year or day or a person.  9 is taken to be about searching, experimenting and sometimes reaching that state.  This may involve spending more time alone and being aware that we can always choose not to be alone.

*
There is an important date for many Turks , Muslims and Sufis in December.  December 17th

December 17th is the death anniversary of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi. That date is considered to be a date of a wedding since according to Rumi and his disciples that is the date he returns to God.
 Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi lived in the 13th century, spent most of his life in Anatolia and passed away in the city of Konya on December 17th, 1273. 

Rumi - that is the name most of the World know him and call him by, although we Turks use the word Mevlana - was a scholar, teacher, religious and spiritual master, a master of words and poetry.  For many he is a true example of showing how one learns to surrender to God completely and with utter love.

This year let’s look into what this December 17th might be telling us through its interpretation in Numerology. To be able to look that up for this year, we need to make a calculation to find its number in Numerology.  We need to reduce it to a number including or less than 22.  17.12.2015 can be reduced to the 22 possible numbers of Numerology by adding up the numbers of the date and month first.  17+12. 29. Then, we add 2015 and 29. That is 2044. And now we need to add up the individual numbers is 2044. 2+ 0+ 4+ 4. The result comes out as the number 10.

Some believe that the Universe is based on a mathematical system and that life and destiny is designed and may be revealed through math. Through numbers. Sufis and Kabalists are known to look into the number values of name, prayers and the holly texts and look for answers in the numbers that come up and appear.  Numerology tries to do it in its own simpler way. Let’s look into what the energy December 17th offers might be telling us this year.

10 is told to be about expansion. It is believed to contain an energy of break-throughs. Unexpected goodness and positive personal self-realizations may appear.  How that date will actually live out in our lives is of course for us to discover.  If we choose to listen to Rumi, we might need to let go of all our expectations and just surrender to what is or surrender to God.  And maybe that will involve doing what we can with what we see and discover.

And let’s leave the last words to RUMI. 

From the book The Glance (A translation of RUMI by Coleman Barks):

The Self We Share
Thirst is angry at water. Hunger, bitter
with bread. The cave wants nothing to do

with the sun. This is dumb, the self-
defeating way we’ve been. A gold mine is

calling us into its temple. Instead, we
bend and keep picking up rocks from the

ground. Every thing has a shine like gold,
but we should turn to the source! The

origin is what we truly are. I add a little
vinegar to the honey I give. The bite of

scolding makes ecstasy more familiar. But
look, fish, you’re already in the ocean:

just swimming there makes you friends with
glory. What are these grudges about? You

are Benjamin. Joseph has put a gold cup
in your grain sack and accused you of being

a thief.  Now he draws you aside and says,
“You are my brother. I am a prayer. You’re

the amen.”  We move in eternal regions, yet
worry about property here. This is the

prayer of each:  You are the source of my
life. You separate essence from mud. You

honor my soul. You bring rivers from the
mountain springs. You brighten my eyes. The

wine you offer takes me out of myself into
the self we share. Doing that is religion.

*
With love and light.

Zeynep

Monday, November 23, 2015

November, Istanbul, Books, Questions and Answers

The month of November is a month of art and literature in Istanbul.  Every year in November a couple of important international fairs take place. The most attractive one for me is the International Istanbul Book Fair organized by TUYAP.  Contemporary Istanbul and ArtIst International Istanbul Art Fair are the two other important annual events.  And I was in Istanbul for the two weeks this November to enjoy and attend these important fairs.

I must admit my favorite event is the Istanbul Book Fair.  Has been since I was a child.  This year I had the pleasure and honor to attend the Book Fair as a writer. Although my books have been out starting from the year 2009, this year I attended the Book Fair as a writer for the first time.  During my childhood years, the Istanbul Book Fair has been one of the big attractions in Istanbul every year. 

This year the Fair is in its 34th year and it is continuously expanding.  I have been told that this year 750 publishing houses attended the Book Fair.  In a very tough year for Turkey and the World, the theme for this year’s Fair was “Humor: Looking at life with a smile.”

Looking at the drastic events taking place in Turkey, in the World and with the latest Paris events sometimes it is indeed almost impossible to smile.  However, to be able to cope with all that is happening, maybe humor and laughter are the most important tools that we need to survive. The tools that we desperately need to find the power and courage to live, to keep on going.

The Book Fair was packed with visitors from Day 1. The first of my book signing days was on the first day of the Fair, on November 7th, 2015.  The second was on November 13th, 2015 which was the last Friday of the Book Fair.   During the Book Fair, I had the chance to meet some of the organizers of the Fair through common friends.  I learned that even though about 750 thousand people visit the Fair, only about 20 thousand pay an entrance fee.  Watching the entrance gates is enough to see that it is very true.  All students and teachers enter for free as well as many other groups.  The representatives of TUYAP emphasized that for them this Book Fair is a social responsibility event and has been since the beginning 33 years ago.

*

Being among thousands and thousands of books for many days during the Istanbul Book Fair, I must admit that I felt strangely peaceful.  They seemed to offer the possibility of finding all the answers that we are and have been looking for.  They always seem to do that. Then again with my last fifteen-sixteen years of working with energy techniques like Reiki and Jyorei, following the path of listening to our heart and soul, I know that the true answers that we are so desperately seeking come from within.  Or rather from a connection with the whole, a connection with the Source that resonates within.  The answers are not exactly in the books. Yet, the words of many authors whether in fiction or non-fiction, through the stories that they tell, help us identify that which we find in our knowingness.

I do not know the exact number of books that I have.  Probably around five thousand or maybe more. I have never counted. They are scattered in my different libraries in about four different locations.  Many that do not fit in the shelves are in boxes.

I feel good around books. I feel at home around books, wherever I am.  I love the possibility of being carried away and also the possibility of being carried into different moods, emotions, thoughts and the different possible worlds of the real and the imaginary.  I loved reading. Well, I still do. I spent years reading non-stop. 

For years, the books that I had were never enough.  To be honest, until quite recently.  Every new topic of interest brought the desire and the need of reading about it.  I felt best in book fairs and libraries.  The amazing libraries of Cornell University in Ithaca New York still amaze me as they used to do during my college years.  I remember feeling sad for studying engineering because there was not enough time from school to explore the unlimited world of books at Cornell. 
And to study engineering was my choice since I just adored math since I was five or six years old.

As the years progressed, even though I could not resist the temptation to buy new books, I found myself re-reading a selection of less than a hundred instead of continuing to read on as I used to do.  There have been times when I read books continuously one after the other. Sometimes a book a day. 


I also discovered that I am able to read fast, not using a known reading technique, but I seemed to be able to do it. Reading fast made it possible to keep the pace of reading. However, it started to slow down.  My interest turned into returning to read a favorite selection.  And introducing a more carefully selected new ones rather slowly.  The desire and the actual act of buying books unfortunately have not diminished as much.

*

My pace and my choices of reading books seem to follow a strange correlation with my questions in and about life.  As my questions diminish and/or as the answers to my questions emerge more naturally or easily from within or from sources that seem to appear and find me, I seem to read less. I read more slowly.  I wait between books. I take my time.

I do not judge the various phases of my own story with books during these last 35 years. It was in fourth grade that I realized their importance for me. The importance of having a book, reading a book, getting lost and found in a book.  It was like breathing and without books I usually felt as if I could not.

And today in Fethiye, I feel thankful.  For having had the chance to meet with the worlds of  many through books. Thankful for having had the chance to quench that thirst. Thankful for knowing that what we need to know seems to have a magical way of reaching us.

I now use my personal libraries more to lend books to friends, students and clients that for myself.  
What the next step in my connection with my books will be, for now I need to wait and see.

With love and light.
Zeynep

Affirmation of the Week:
From Louise L. Hay
It is my Divine right to take my own direction in life.  I am safe. I am free.

Quotes of the Week:
Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.
Anna Freud
*
Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece.

Nadia Boulanger

Monday, November 9, 2015

To Be a 'Karate Kid' at the Age of 45

The movie “The Karate Kid” that came out in 1984 was the reason many kids like me got interested in Karate.  One of my cousins, Erdogan had started to learn, but learning Karate as a 14 year old girl was not so common and easy. And for that reason, my desire to learn Karate was dormant for over 30 years.

In 2010, this time Will Smith and a couple of other producers made the new version of “The Karate Kid.”  This time with Jackie Chan as the unusual karate teacher and with additional touch of Chinese Kung Fu.

I had been so busy with work and also with NGO activities with Lions Clubs International, with Down Syndrome Association and many more that, although I had never totally forgotten, learning Karate was a dream which would always stay a dream I had thought.

Well, maybe life had other plans for me.

It was a few months ago, after over 30 years, when the topic of Karate came up again and I found myself talking with my cousin Erdogan, telling  him that I wanted to learn Karate.  He immediately had an answer for me. He told me to find, to go to and talk to Mr. Omer Habes in Habes Sports Centre, in Calis, Fethiye. 

I had not known that there was indeed a World and European Champion Karate Instructor in Fethiye.  In turns out, Mr. Omer Habes, who is 7th Dan in black belt, had won countless National Championships in Turkey in both Kata and Kumite braches of Karate.  He had been the captain of our Turkish National Team for many years, who is also known as one of the best technical Turkish sportsman in Karate. And had become World and European Champion.

One Monday evening I found myself sitting at the corner of Mr. Omer Habes’ Karate training place * his Dojo. The word Dojo in Japanese literally means the “place of the way.”  Watching his class for adults that Monday, I decided to put my fears aside and do something that I wanted to do since I was a young girl.

After my first day of training on that Wednesday, I had become sure that I had made a very good decision. Having wanted to learn Karate for many years, of course I was motivated. I was scared and motivated.  And as some you might know, I have a favor for things Japanese. I am a Reiki instructor and have to Japan many times and I have worked with Japanese NGOs and Foundations.  However, what I found in Karate from day one is beyond what I expected.

The way of Karate is a path. It is told to be a life-long process of self-discovery. However, again from day one I found myself in a wave of energy that energies the body and the soul. I was also amazed, and still am, how Shihan (Master Instructor) Omer Habes follows his students in training.  How he knows the limits and the potential of his students.  Kids and adults alike. In a training, at an unexpected moment you may find him call your name from a distant corner of the Dojo telling you to not give up and do your best at a punch or a kick, just to realize that you were indeed about to give up and wonder how he realized it before you yourself did.

Apart from the classes for adults, I had the chance to watch some of the classes for kids as well.  Tiny kids who are four, five, six years old in yellow, orange and green belts practice Karate in such beauty and discipline, you may find yourself just wanting to keep watching them. I also am very proud to see that there are many young girls of all ages learning and practicing Karate in Mr. Habes’ Dojo. 
Shihan Mr. Omer Habes practices and teaches the “Shotokan” style of Karate, developed by Master Gichin Funakoshi from Okinawa, Japan.  Master Funakoshi was born in 1868 and has passed away in 1957.  Although Karate has very ancient roots, Master Funakoshi was the person who brought Karate from Okinawa to main island Japan, to Tokyo.

On the evening that I visited Mr. Omer Habes’ Dojo in Calis, I ordered some of the books of Gichin Funakoshi online.  I usually feel the need to connect through reading and for Karate I felt the same need.  Of course until the books arrived, I continued to attend the three-nights-a-week classes for adults.

When the books arrived, I started to read “The Twenty Guiding Principles of KARATE” first.  My first impression was that, although the words were not uttered, these 20 principles were very alive and present in our Dojo and in our classes.

One of my other interesting discoveries was that Karate is, when taught honest to its roots, is very “nonviolent.” It is not easy to explain how.  We probably expect Karate to be about power, using power and we expect it to be even dangerous.  I probably did.  The power used in Karate might be dangerous when used with a negative intention, however, the real lesson behind it all seems to be about discovering our inner strength and discovering our weaknesses that we hide even from ourselves and making peace with them, as well as turning them into strengths.

I am lucky because I had the chance to unexpectedly find a world class instructor in Fethiye.  I felt even more lucky when a few trainings later I found myself training in Fethiye with World Champion Scottish Sensei Alistair Mitchell from Great Britain.  We may call Fethiye a small town in Turkey, however Fethiye seems to be able to offer the World to many.  Well, as for Karate, it turns out many World Champions, teachers and masters visit Shihan Mr. Omer Habes, and students like me find the amazing chance to meet these other Karate Masters in his Dojo in Fethiye.

My dream of starting to learn Karate came true after 31 years. 

May your dreams and desires come alive as well.

With love and light.
Zeynep




Contact for Master Ömer Habeş:
Mr. Faruk Habeş / Mrs. Elif Habeş
Fethiye Karate Habes Sports Centre
Habeş Spor Merkezi
Yerguzlar Caddesi No.73-1, Fethiye, Turkey
+90 (543)357 48 00

Sunday, October 19, 2014

There is a reason for everything, behind everything in our lives...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Love & Gratitude

 

Wishing you days in which you will always remember the power of words.

With Love & Gratitude.

...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December

December is the month of Rumi for me.  The great Sufi master Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi passed away on December 17th, 1273 in the city of Konya in Turkey.  He is known as a poet, a theologian, a sufi mystic.  He is the best selling poet in the US.   He is even better known abroad and I believe that his energy, his soul belongs to the highest truth and therefore is valuable to people of very different beliefs and traditions. 

December 17th is celebrated in remembrance of his reunion with his Creator. 
And every December I like connecting with his writings a little more, in order to connect with his wisdom.  Kabbalistic teachings say that we are able to connect with the energy, the soul, the wisdom of a person on the yearly anniversary of their death.  Kabbalist say that to increase our awareness, we can connect to the energy of a Tzadik on their death anniversary, which in the Jewish tradition means a righteous person or spiritual master.   I would like to write more on Kabbalistic traditions in the future articles.

In the Turkish Islamic tradition it is also customary to pray for loved ones who have passed away on the anniversary of their passing.  It is considered important to make sure that we pray for them, for their soul on those dates.

I believe that it is possible to connect with those who have passed away.  That it is possible to communicate. The important thing is, why do you want to connect?  If there is a need, a real need, it is possible, it will happen.  It can happen anytime, anywhere. However, I have also seen that it is possible to connect with some souls on their death anniversary, and/or near their graves.  Sometimes it is easier and more possible to connect with hem in places that they like or find important, or used to find peaceful and serene. 

And sometimes out of nowhere, we will feel their presence.  We will hear their voice or just know that they have given us an answer or a message. 

*
One of the personal development tools that I love is the Transformation Game of Joy Drake and Kathy Tyler.   This spiritual game is an amazing tool that helps us to connect with our inner wisdom as well as what we might call Universal Wisdom. 

The creators of the Transformation Game sent me an e-mail at the beginning of this December, they do at the beginning of every month, inviting me to connect with the Angel of Wisdom this December.  Wisdom really seemed like the perfect angel to connect to this month.  In the Transformation Game, concepts like Wisdom are defined as angels, or rather that some concepts are also strong energy frequencies that we might invite and experience and communicate with, that we might also call Angels.

As always, intention is the key.

The Universe provides us with information, with power to know, with strength, with power to heal ourselves and others. However, the ability to use or have any of these depends on our intentions.  Are we respectful to free will?  Are we respectful of others’ choices even if we do not agree with them?  Of course, we have the full right to protect ourselves if others violate our rights.  You know what I mean,  are we manipulating others to make our wishes, our ideas to come true, or are we working to allow what is meant to happen to come alive? The information is always there. The power is always there.  Whether we will be able to see it or use it depends on choices and intentions.
*
And RUMI has said most of it so well so long before…

Two Kinds of Intelligence
There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.
With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.
There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.
This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.
*
With best wishes,

Zeynep