The Red Month of the Gray Winter…

For many on Earth, February is the shortest and one of the sweetest months of the year mostly on account of its red atmosphere dominated by hearts, fresh flowers, chocolate, gift exchanges of perfumes, jewelries and so many other things. Although there is one Gregorian calendar, everyone has their own version of it depending on their personal history and the part of the world they live in. As I live in the Garden State, which is wrapped up in a shade of gray and occasionally covered in snow after all big trees lose their leaves and which might use a little bit of more sunshine, for me February is the red month of the gray winter. It is also my very special month in which both of my boys were born and my hearth became the home of a breathtaking form of love.

As much as we all like the “love is in the air” marketing atmosphere of the month, we pretty much know that Valentine’s day should have a more in depth meaning other than dining out at fancier restaurants or having expensive gift exchanges. No doubt that we are experiencing relatively harder times which can make use of this economic stimulation. However, I am a firm believer in the motto of “less is more” especially when it comes to the expression of a supreme feeling such as love. We often buy gifts or flowers for our loved ones but tend to keep the words and feelings to ourselves for the most part. How about making a change this Valentine’s day and doing something extraordinary and modest by trying to customize the way we express our feelings? It could be trying to put it into words why a person is so special for you. Perhaps writing a poem or revitalizing the memories of a past moment that left a very special trace in your heart in writing. It could as well be making a craft or trying a different recipe, knitting something, painting a picture or preparing a special photograph album for your loved ones.

Although we all experience different kinds of love, it is difficult to define it. Obviously it is a very strong form of positive energy. Perhaps it is the supreme feeling that encompasses many different feelings. Fear (being afraid to lose), courage (taking risks), jealousy, happiness, sadness, waiving, self-abandonment, patience, being silly, you name it… Maybe it is a form of theft: you steal someone’s heart and mind and someone steals yours :). As love has so many layers or components, at times it might not be that easy to express it. Thank God we do not need Valentine’s Day to express our love or we are not limited by one day to disclose our feelings either. However, this very commercial but kind of fun day might serve a good purpose by making us explore our hearts and urging us to express our feelings.

So explore and join your hearts and appreciate the presence of all forms of love in your lives. May it be the love for your spouse, parents, significant other, children, friends, pets, places, houses…Just any form of it that adds beautiful colors to your life…

PS: Here is my little Valentine’s Day gift to the readers: my favorite love poem by Rumi. I am happy to share it with you.

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Notes from a Yoga Class

Saturday morning our yoga teacher asked us a question which I would like to share here. “What is the difference between curing and healing?” If you look up these words in a thesaurus, you will see that they are defined to be synonymous. However, there ought to be a difference which requires a deeper contemplation. He did not reveal the answer but gave an important hint by saying that “you can be healed but not cured, you might be dying of a disease but be totally healed or you might be cured but not healed.” This question remained with me so I decided to write about it in search of a Continue reading

All That Matters…

Once we reach mid-December a naive joy breezes into our lives. A chatter of so many motivational sayings, inspirational quotes and New Year resolutions starts in the magazines, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter and so on… As much as I am critical of the attitude of perceiving the night of December 31st as a magical one in the morning of which everything will change and all the problems will disappear, I like the effort of making New Year resolutions. I like them in the sense that they provide us with an opportunity to discover the deep connection of things that surround us to our inner selves. At this point I would like to share with you my translation of a short paragraph from a favorite Turkish book of mine called “Küçük Seyler” (Little Things) written by Üstün Dökmen, Professor of Psychology.

“……….An old saying of a Chinese sage: Once you are born you are 1, simply and only 1. As time goes by you add zeros to the right side of 1; you get your diplomas, titles, roles, badges, you buy Continue reading

Where the Wild Things are…

Pretty much every American who became a parent or a child after 1963 knows the children’s picture book of “Where the Wild Things are”. Let me give a few details for the readers of other cultures. The book, which was written by the American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, tells about the little boy Max who steps into a wild world in his imagination after being sent to his room for being a child of mischief by acting wild. In his daydream, he travels to a wild place where he becomes the king of wild things. Those wild things are weird looking big monsters with big rolling eyes and gnashy teeth by the way. They live far far away… Eventually Max feels lonely and longs for love and security. So he voluntarily decides to sail back to his home. As I was not born into the American culture, I got introduced to this book a year ago when my older son turned 4. Actually I like this book a lot in the sense that it is different than the conventional norm of children’s books. Unfortunately, in the real world we are not as lucky as little Max. We cannot leave the wild things behind us just as easily… Sadly, there have always been wild things in every part of the world since the very beginning. And now, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has collapsed into our lives as a nightmare since Continue reading

Olive Tree

Does absence make the heart grow fonder or is it in human nature to realize the true value of something when you can no longer have it? I really cannot figure out the right answer to this question. Coming from the coastal Aegean region, I grew somewhere in the midst of olive trees. I was so used to them and to the sounds of the crickets during the summer nights that I had almost taken them for granted. Maybe on account of this certainty, I had never tried to analyze an olive tree so closely until this summer. During my annual vacation with my family in my homeland, we went to a breakfast place on the hill of Aya Seranda in Cesme overlooking the Island of Khios. What a view it was! As you would imagine the Mediterranean Sea was the lead actor. Yet, in my eyes there was Continue reading

Brook Hollows Barnyard

Brook Hollows barnyard is our special place in Denville, NJ. My son adores it and it is where time flows by… There is a bit of everything for a kid in that cozy barnyard which is a home to goats, sheep, pigs, cows, donkeys, peacocks, bunnies, chickens, ponies and alpacas. Observing and feeding them is a fun activity that make  children  experience the farm life, and get used to other domestic animals. However, animals are only a part of the experience. There are pedal tractors and an electric model train which goes through a miniature village as well as a fancy sandbox. Tractor rides and a cow train which take the kids and the Continue reading

Piano Man

It was one of those days that you need something to cheer you up. I had wished for that silently as I was preparing the dinner. Less than an hour later, I heard a sound from the living room. “Billy Joel is on PBS”. It was his concert at Shea Stadium in 2008. Was that my wishful thinking coming true? Better than that, my little one started to dance and he applauded after each song. Continue reading

Three Things

If you have the following three things inside you, your life is beautiful…

The habitants of a small Anatolian village gathered at a plateau for a collective rain prayer in a very dry season. All villagers attended the prayer in person. Only one of them had an umbrella.

This is FAITH.

Daddies bounce their babies or Continue reading