Returning to Arrive
I am currently in Istanbul. I had been here almost nine years ago as well. I had come in August of 2004 as my time as a linguist in the United States Army was coming to a close. The weather, here in Istanbul currently, has been moody & melancholy as has kind of been my own mood. I had met up with a good friend here whom I had not seen in almost nine years – and who just happened to be from that part of my life when certain things were coming to a close.
I am a huge proponent of moving forward and of not looking back and of embracing change. But what I have learned is that one must look back not only to move forward, but in order to advance & progress – To grow we must learn from the past. And how can we learn from the past if we do not revisit it?
I had not chosen Istanbul for this trip consciously with any intention other than I already had the time off and it was the most convenient place to meet up with my friend. In fact, during this time off I was supposed to be running a half marathon in Germany but due to a knee injury these few days off were open for other plans. As I look back now I had not consciously chosen to visit Paris or Scotland either – It was most definitely an unconscious decision. What I am realizing now is that all three destinations even though unconsciously chosen, definitely had a purpose.
I’ve mentioned before that Edinburgh & Paris are my two favorite cities in the whole wide world. And I hold to that – I will always love these two cities. Both places hold unbelievably sentimental, romantic, and tender memories. I know, as a logical intelligent person, one can not return to a time (perhaps that is why I am obsessed with anything time-travel?) but what one can do is return to a place. And that is what I chose to do – be it consciously or unconsciously. At different times in my life Scotland & Paris represented two very significant but different people in my life – Both who are in my past but who never truly received the proper closure & good-byes they should have. As I look back now to this past November & December when I was making my way from Saudi Arabia to Paris, to Edinburgh, and to the Highlands of Scotland, what I was in fact doing was saying good-bye in my own way. Saying good-bye to something intangible – I was saying good-bye to my own ghosts. Because regardless of how often or how forcibly or stubbornly I buried, covered up, or brushed aside these ghosts, they demanded I confront them by returning to them to say good-bye. For only then could these ghosts release me to be able to arrive into the person I am going to be.
“I am far from what I once was but not yet what I am going to be.” ~ Author unknown.
So I as sit in a Turkish café, drinking Turkish coffee, eating baklava, and awaiting my flight back to Saudi Arabia, I reflect back on this short trip and I am consciously aware of the good-bye I am saying now. I am saying good-bye to the scariest ghost of all… that of my own ghost. I realize that what has been haunting me, that even the good-bye’s (though much needed and definitely part of the process) in Paris & Edinburgh were not able to put to ground, is my own demon-ghost. I am saying good-bye to the ghost of me. Almost nine years ago I was practically sitting in this same exact spot literally – I was wounded, scared, insecure, self-conscious, worried what others thought & perceived of me, out of one relationship and in a desperate pitiful search for another one. And in my own wounded glory back then, and so unaware of my surroundings, I did not even realize the magic of this city.
I believe this is what they mean by being in the moment.
I have been fortunate in that I have the means and the opportunity to revisit these places. I have been very fortunate in many ways in life. I feel as I have not only revisited a place but as if I have actually revisited a time (yes, in the end I always attempt to link everything to time-travel.) And I have put a certain time to rest and in turn I have opened up the possibility of new time. A new time for the arrival of me. There is a saying that an experience or a setting or a certain type of person will keep showing up in one’s life until the lesson is learned that this particular experience/setting/person is supposed to teach us. I’m an intelligent person, sometimes, though, I don’t always get the lesson the first time around. Sometimes it takes a couple (or 3 or 7) times for me to get it. Sometimes it takes a revisiting across continents (hey, I’ve always been an on a grand-scale type of person) for me to get it. What I’m trying to say is that I got it and that I’ve made room for better things to arrive. Anybody can do it because we all have ghosts – One just has to be aware of them and be courageous enough to acknowledge them and brave enough to put them to rest.