One Universe. One Breath. One People.Jul 21, 2013
We recently returned from a two-week trip to the Republic of Turkey. An absolutely phenomenal experience. The Turkish people are beautiful, hospitable, and purposeful. This was the most powerful travel experience I’ve had. Our incredible guide, Ender Tan, wove ancient history into our trip bringing the landscape and ruins alive. I decided to share my final trip recollection as a hopeful inspiration. For those considering a trip to the Republic of Turkey, I hope this piques your curiosity. This is a country that was at the intersection of the ancient world’s most extraordinary historical events.
Jet landing. An abrupt screech of tires and an ear-shattering roar of engines at full throttle reverse thrust. Back in the USA. 11.5 hours cramped up in Delta’s rickety plane hurtling through time zones and away from an experience that is now a memory.
The Republic of Turkey was home for almost two weeks. More than 2,000 miles of roads covered; more than 6,000 years of history explored. We traversed two continents–Europe and Asia and laid our heads in six cities: Istanbul (17 million people the largest city in Turkey), Çanakkale (visited the 9 cities of Troy/Trojan War and that famous wooden horse), Izmir (3 million people 3rd largest city), Antalya (enjoyed the azure blue Mediterranean Sea washing over our bodies), Cappadocia (balloon rides, cities in caves and underground), Ankara (the Republic’s Capitol and 2nd largest city of 6 million people).
Hallowed and Holy waters flowed. From the crossing of the Dardanelles by ferry (retracing Alexander the Great’s invasion to the WWI Gallipoli Campaign that birthed a hero who would found the Republic of Turkey–Atatürk), waters from the Marmara, Mediterranean, and Aegean Seas met our eyes or washed over our feet. Holy healing waters bubbling from the ground at the Pergamom/Sanctuary of Asclepius (an extraordinary Healing Center where water was the therapeutic healing force)–in this place you were not allowed to come if you were near death. I splashed the holy water on my head and took a drink. In the early 1800s, the detailed visions of a bedridden nun, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, led to the discovery of the House of the Virgin Mary. Her humble abode near a bubbling spring of water high in the mountains outside of Ephesus. Three Catholic Popes have visited this holy site. I drank the holy water. At Pamakkule – Hierapolis (Holy City), hot spring water bubbles from the ground, cascades down, turning the minerals in the water to whitestone. I bathed my feet in the holy turquoise blue pools. Hierapolis was a Holy City where people came to die…the hole in the Earth of the gurgling warm spring water was believed to be the gateway to heaven.
My memory is full of the confluence of language, civilizations (the Hittites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and others), conquests and invasions, adaptation, the holy books (Holy Koran, Bible, Talmud), and holy and powerful peoples: Prophet Muhammad, Abraham, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael, Jesus, Apostle John, the Virgin Mary, Saint Basil, Rumi, The Sultans, Queens, Kings and so many more. This adventure over two continents leaves me with this understanding. We are all birthed from one Universe…one Source. Our stories–no matter our ethnic group or socially constructed racial caste–are historically intertwined from the beginning–across wide expanses of geography. We are all holy and sacred. Our Holy Books or indigenous oral traditions have common intersections in the creation myths, moral laws, and the cultivation of good character. Allah/God/Spirit/Jehovah/Goddess or whoever the Holy’s name has one edict: To Love ALL without judgment, without prejudice, without fear. Just Love.
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