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Cappadocia: Compassion and Magic Unfolding

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

I had not written a blog for many days because for many days the Monastery Cave Hotel in Mustafapaşa had other plans for me. Finally, a quieting rain offered a day to write. Come, I'll tell you about what's been happening here.

You may recall me saying that upon arriving in Cappadocia, I stepped into magic. The sprouting of magic began when I stepped off the plane. I felt a vague mist of excitement swirling. Everyone stepping off the plane seemed to feel it. Camera phones were snapping like crazy with people trying to capture whatever it was. In the shuttle bus, sitting in the seat behind the driver, the magic mist began to form into something of substance.

I heard the driver cough. a lot. He was maybe in his twenties or early thirties. I didn't mean to be invasive but I tuned in. His lungs told me they were sick, like emphysema-sick. His lungs said he would die from this. They said he needed to do three things: (1) Quit smoking, (2) Do cupping to clean out the lungs, and (3) Sleep more. I asked the two men in front (the driver and his friend and co-pilot) if they spoke English. The passenger-seat co-pilot friend said he could, so I talked with him. I asked if his friend (the driver) was sick. He said, "from smoking."

I asked him to ask his friend-the-driver if it would be ok for me to tell him the (energetic? spiritual?) message I was receiving about him. The driver said, "Yes." I told him that he needed to do three things: (1) Quit smoking, (2) Have someone do cupping on the back of his lungs to clean out his lungs (I showed the passenger-seat co-pilot friend how to do this), and (3) Sleep more. The driver laughed and said to his friend (in Turkish) "If I stop smoking I will die." What came out of my mouth was, "If you don't stop smoking you will die."

I was not in my right mind. I was not in my left mind. I was not speaking from the me I've come to temper. I was channeling. I hadn't had this strong of a take-over for quite some time. It was surprising. It was humbling. It was empowering. It was who I am when the personal "I" gets out of the way.

The driver seemed to want to laugh it off, while squirming. I channeled this statement of hope and urgency: "You are sick but you can be healed. You need to do these things." The two men remained quiet and inside my mind a story about the driver began to unfold. I tried to stop the internal channeling because the driver had not asked me to continue channeling for him. He, in fact, seemed uncomfortable with this invasive attention and advice-giving. The unfolding story in my mind did not stop; the story was relentless.

Finally, the passenger-seat co-pilot interrupted my unasked-for channeling for the driver. The passenger-seat co-pilot helped me shift gears. I felt grateful. He asked what I felt from him. In asking, he gave me permission to channel for him. So I tuned in.

I got that he was a gentle man, that he was deeply spiritual, and that it would be good for him to focus on his spiritual path. He said, "That's true. I've been wanting this." He seemed amazed that I knew these secrets about him. He said, "Things distract me. I want this." I nodded and stepped (energetically) aside. He asked, "What do you do?" I told him I'm a therapist and life coach. "Everyone needs this," he said. I gave him my card.

Dude, that all happened before I arrived at my new home.

When I arrived at my new home, the magic landed. LANDED. BOOM. WOOSH. I felt like I stepped into a body of water, and the water I was in was magic. Like I was no longer on the earth I had known. Like I was in a magic ocean in a different dimension. I am trying to put an experience of feeling immersed in magic into words and I am thinking my words are falling short. At the time, I knew I had stepped into magic. I wrote it down and sent the words as a text message to a few people. "I stepped into magic," I wrote. At the time, those words seemed accurate.

The magic is this hotel and cafe, my cave bedroom, my nightly hot bath, the people I'm meeting around tables and living rooms and fires, the music and singing and dancing, the laughing, the joy, the kindness, the love. The magic is the channeling and healing energy and generosity that is spontaneously coming out of me. The magic is the connections and compassion. The magic is the opening into collaborations and workshops and retreats. I have been waiting for this magic to unfold. It is unfolding.

It was raining and chilly when I began writing this post. I was content in my cave bedroom. I felt I would remain content long enough to write a full blog. I was content, until the smells from the kitchen wafted up and beckoned: Come, there is coffee. There is feta. There are olives. Come, eat.

Even though you did not hear from me since the day I arrived, I had not been holed-up in my cave bedroom since then. I did not remain holed-up in my cave bedroom on that rainy chilly day. I left my cave bedroom, many times. I left that day. That day, I drank cappuccino and hot chocolate and ate Menemen, feta, olives. Every day, I have eaten Turkish delights. Every day I have fallen more and more comfortably into this new reality.

On Friday, the day after the night I had arrived, I was sitting at the hotel cafe, drinking cappuccino at a table with Ercan and two other young men. Ercan and one of the men left the table. The young man left sitting with me at the table spoke English well enough to ask me questions.

I told this rather young English-speaking man that I had visited my son and his wife in Uzbekistan. He was curious about my age. I told him that my age is 64-years. He seemed shocked. He jumped up from his seat, and then sat back down. He tilted his head one way and then the other and said, "Nooo," numerous times. I felt the need to prove that I was speaking the truth. I told him, "I have a 20-year-old grandchild." This led to more questions. This led to me telling him that my daughter (Michelle) had died. He wanted to know how this happened. I told him that she died from a heroin overdose. He literally jumped out of his seat, again. He sat back down and looked at me, a story burning wildly in his eyes.

He leaned in and said in a whisper, "This is a secret. You can not tell anyone I told you this. You can not tell him," he said, pointing at the seat where his friend had been sitting. "You can not tell him I told you this," he repeated. I later learned that the secret needed to come up and out. It needed to breathe. And once it was set on the table to breathe, it no longer needed to be a secret.

My new English-speaking friend told me that he and the other man (who had been sitting at the table with us) were close friends, brothers-from-another-mother kind-of friends. He told me that they had met in jail. He told me that he was in jail for two years,. He told me, in detail, how he was arrested and what it was like to be incarcerated in a Turkish jail for no reason... how it affected his marriage, his career, his future goals. He told me that he was arrested because an older man who worked for him at his bakery was selling drugs, and the police entered his bakery and arrested him because he was younger and therefore more suspect. He told me that the police asked him to come to the police station and arrested him, and took him to a jail, where he remained, for two years. He told me that every day he asked: "Why am I here," and cried. He told me that this other fellow inmate comforted him, and that the fellow inmate was his friend who I had just met, who he now refers to as his brother.

He told me about his brother-friend... that he is Kurdish, that being a Kurd in Turkey caused him great troubles, and that he had used heroin. He told me that his friend had not done heroin for four years now. When I had told him that Michelle had not used for 3-years before using again, twice, and overdosing, one last time, he seemed distressed and worried for his friend. He hung his head and spoke in Turkish.

When Ercan and the other man rejoined us, my new English-speaking friend asked me if he could tell his brother-friend about me (in Turkish). When his friend heard that my daughter had died, and from a heroin overdose, he looked directly into my eyes and I could see that his eyes were filling with tears. He grabbed hold of my hands. He spoke to me in Turkish. His friend translated. He told me that he was a Kurd, and that being Kurdish in Turkey is problematic. He told me that in response to the multitude of problems related to being a Kurd, he had gotten into drugs, including heroin. He told me that he has not used heroin or other drugs, not even tobacco (which is unusual here in Turkey), for four years now. I learned all of this not only through the voice of his English-speaking friend, but also through my new Kurdish friend's direct, dark eyes, and through the morse-code pulsing grasp of his hands squeezing mine. I told him (through our interpreter) that every time I meet someone who is no longer using heroin, it feels like a part of my daughter is alive. He held my hands even tighter, like he didn't want me to float away. He did not let go... for at least half an hour... maybe an hour. We held hands, we talked, we cried, we were silent.

The three men were curious about what I did. I told them about psychosynthesis. Ercan said he knew of psychosynthesis because a friend of one of his sisters who studied it told his sister to tell him how to do subpersonality work for a problem he was having and in doing sub-work, the problem was solved. I told them I also practiced and led meditation. That elicited lots of questions about meditation. I suggested we do a one-minute meditation right then. They nodded and sat upright. I suggested they notice their breathing. I watched as they closed their eyes and got silent. I set the timer on my phone for one-minute. When the timer went off, Ercan said that he felt calmer. He definitely looked more relaxed. I told them I'd be leading a meditation group later and they were welcome to join. I told Ercan that anyone and everyone was invited to the meditation. I asked where I might set up my computer, in a space large enough to welcome a group of people, just in case.

The two friends invited me to gather with and meet their families later, at an Aunt's house nearby. They said they would come back to pick me up after the meditation. And they left. Ercan helped me prepare for the (online and maybe live) meditation in a room in the hotel that he referred to as "the cave." The room was indeed a cave, and also like a conference room.

While preparing, I passed a group of young (maybe aged 18-20) Muslim women who were talking, playing guitar, and singing. I looked at them and smiled. I felt a great love for their friendship and self-expressions. I think they felt my appreciation. They invited me to join them. I had to decline, because it was almost time to join the online meditation family. In response to their warm invitation, I invited them to join the meditation. Then I continued to prepare the cave.

I was surprised when the the young women walked round the corner into the cave. They had never meditated and did not speak English. I was impressed that they even tried. I felt that their trying was a testament to their open minds and hearts. They left early and Ercan joined late. Such as it is here in the land of the open-minded and open-hearted young women and the busy cave owners.

I believe that sitting in silent meditation was fairly torturous for the young women. Ercan said that it was difficult for them not knowing what was expected. Later that night, when I saw them in the cafe, using her phone translator, one young woman apologized, saying, "I'm sorry we left early. We had to do work." I used my phone's Google Translator to say, "It's hard when you try something new and don't speak the language." She looked at me with eyes that said, "Yes. Thank you for understanding. It was SO hard."

After a while, my two new young-men friends (who had invited me to their family's home) showed up in a car to retrieve me. When I started walking away with them, Ercan asked them where they were taking me. I felt protected and safe from all angles.

When we arrived at the family home, at almost 22:00 (10 pm), there was a sizable group of people sitting on ornately cushioned couches and chairs, below colorful mosaic glass hanging globe lamps, gathered around small tables filled with nuts and seeds, dried fruits, and "wedding" cookies, talking and laughing. One man began playing a bağlama or saz. Another man began to play a goblet drum or darbuka. The men sang. Everyone sang. Some got up and danced.

At one point, my new English-speaking friend told the group that I was 64-years of age and pointed to a wizened-looking man, an uncle. "He's younger than you," he said. The "old" uncle said (in Turkish), "If you worked as I do, you'd look 120-years-old." I looked at him and said, "you have lived a hard life," and we both nodded and teared up. I was welcomed into these people's home and hearts. I felt a need and want to give back.

My new English-speaking friend had said that he was exhausted and looked to be uncomfortable in his neck and shoulder area. I got up and moved behind him, asking if I could do a pressure point release on his shoulders. He said "yes" and I began. At first, all activity stopped and everyone watched. They seemed to be making fun of my new friend, who was concentrating on breathing the intensity of pain he was experiencing out through his exhale, as I had advised him to do. After a while, the music and festivities resumed, and I was able to continue adding pressure to the shoulders of my heavy-breathing-recipient-new friend, without an audience.

When the "session" was done, and my new English-speaking friend expressed feeling much lighter, one-by-one, each person in the room asked if they could have a "healing." For some, their problem was stress, for some, "mental disturbance." One woman told me she'd had brain surgery. My hands shot up to hold energy around the top of her head and she said "Reiki." She closed her eyes and seemed to take in the energy healing. When we were done, she was crying and smiling and looked younger and glowing. I moved over to my English-speaking-friend's wife. I had felt pulled to do energy work around her lower belly area. This made sense to me when I remembered he'd told me that they were having difficulty becoming pregnant. When I checked in with her, asking, "You're wanting to get pregnant, right," she sobbed. There were so many tears, so much making-fun, so much joy.

My new English-speaking friend and his wife and my new Kurdish friend and I left the party. The couple walked one way and my Kurdish friend walked me home. First, he showed me the cave hotel that he owned and ran.

When I got back to my cave hotel, there was a large group of people outside the cafe, talking, laughing, playing music, and singing around a fire. As ridiculously late as it was and as tired as I felt, I sat with them. It was surprisingly not long before my energy began to rise and then... singing, playing the darbuka, dancing... and more impromptu healing sessions gifted to each person around the circle, one-by-one, into the wee hours of the night.

This happened every night. I can't even remember which video belongs to which night. I think this video (below) is from that Friday night...

Before I had left the family gathering, I was invited to eat at the "old" uncle's home the next day.

The next day (Saturday), Ercan gave me a ride on his motorcycle to his sister Süreyya's new house. When I stepped off the bike and noticed the pool, I wanted to dive in!

I felt a surge of joy, stepping into the main entrance...

Maybe it was the table of peanuts that tickled me...

Süreyya told me that she is not living there... that she has made a partial payment of (the Turkish Lyra equivalent to) $50,000... that she is thinking how to best make money so she can make the remaining payment due of (the Turkish Lyra equivalent to) $150,000... that she has been fixing it up, and, in the meantime, that her uncle, who was visiting for a couple if days, had been staying there. I got the full tour.

I also learned that Süreyya had a healing experience here, that she comes here to meditate, that she feels there is good energy here, and that her dream is to make this something of a retreat center.

A couple of nights later, sitting by the fire in front of our Hotel Cafe, Süreyya shared with me that her beloved 14-year-old dog recently died, and that she has been heavily grieving. My heart opened even wider for her. When we first met, I learned that Süreyya is a hot-air balloon pilot. What I did not know was that, because she's female, she was a trailblazer in the field of balloon aviation. Sitting by the fire that night, Süreyya shared a short film about this major achievement. I watched the short clip on her phone and felt a new sense of honor sitting in this woman's presence.

As I walked around Süreyya's new house, I took pictures of fruit trees...



...and (what I'm calling) a Nazar tree...

...and I heard gunshots.

We couldn't see what was happening, though someone said it was probably the neighbors scaring away wild boars getting into their garden.

Ercan gave me a ride back to the Monastery Cave Hotel and cafe, where I was picked up by my new Kurdish friend. Driving to our destination was so familiar... It turned out that "Uncle's" home was directly behind where I had just been. I literally could have walked around the corner from Süreyya's new house to join the family feast. And, come to find out, the gunshots had been my new friends target practice shooting while they waited for the feast to begin.

When I arrived, everyone was outside talking and prepping food at a table set with plates and silverware. Ten chairs awaited ten of us. I was told that the wife of the "old" uncle had prepared a traditional Turkish bread, Gözleme, that had been baked on a hot stone by our dining table, and stuffed with peynir (cheese). There was a plate of tomatoes, and a platter of fresh arugula, mint, radishes, and scallions from their garden, surrounding a bulghur dish topped with cooked eggs from their chickens. And the whole platter was adorned with chunky lemon wedges. At first I didn't know what to do. There was a lot of wheat in this meal. Then I threw caution to the wind and ate. everything. with gusto.

After eating, I was asked to work on the "old" uncle's wife's back "for cooking for all of us." Suddenly, it seemed, it was time to go. Everyone rushed to clean up and we clamored into cars.

There had been a wedding earlier that day at the cave hotel that my new Kurdish friend owns and runs. Soon, there would be an after-wedding gathering, with picture-taking and laughing and cheering and a parade of cars honking their horns. The family seemed excited for me to witness this.

Here are more pictures... my Kurdish friend's cave hotel, watching the sun set and listening to the Call to Prayer, waiting for the wedding parade to begin...

Wedding party people gathering...

The bride and groom descending stairs into the crowd... the beginning of the parade...

The wedding car, followed by more cars, all honking as they "parade" through town...

Ima skip lots more details about so many more days and nights worth of compassionate sharing with new friends for now and just say this... I have not strayed far from home. I have done healings around the nightly fires on multiple evenings, here at this cave hotel and cafe.

I have used the bongers on many shoulders and bodies. I have passed them around and others have used them on their friends and family members and on themselves. I have done pressure point release, massage, and energy work.

One night, a woman became the interpreter for those in the circle who wanted healing from me. There were many. One who wanted healing was a 17-year-old girl. She said (through her Auntie who was interpreting) that she was holding onto something she could not forgive and could not talk about it in front of her family. We did subpersonality work with two parts that came up, and ultimately, placed the unforgivable item in a box outside her body. She said she felt much lighter. Her mother hugged and thanked me.

One night, one of the cafe employees (? so iffy about this!) waved me into the indoor section where a family was eating and talking. The dad had been playing the guitar and I was being asked to use the bongers on him. I did, and because he spoke English, we ended up talking about my work. He asked if they could have a private 30-minute session the next night, after my meditation. It would be 21:30 (9:30 pm). How could I say no? The family came back to see me the next night for a 30-minute private session... the dad, mom, two young boys, auntie, and 55-year-old grandmother/mom. We met in the cave. The dad interpreted. By the end, even the 5-year-old was calmer, closer, more connected. The grandmother/mom, hugging me, crying, said, "This has been the highlight for me."

One night, a group of University students (aged 18-25) had a private group session. It started with one young woman asking if I could help her breathe more deeply because she was anxious about upcoming exams. Other fellow students joined. At first, I used a phone to help interpret. Then a young man able to, became our interpreter. One-by-one, a few of the students present told me what they'd like healed. Anxiety, depression, anger.

It has been a full week of healings, and it has not yet been a full week. At some point soon, I will become a tourist and explore an underground city. I'd like to ride a camel. I already rode a horse. Süreyya said that maybe next week the weather will be good enough to take me up in a hot-air balloon.

In the meantime, I've been in contact with the woman who interpreted for me one night by the fire healings. We seem to be what I would call "a good fit." That night by the fire, after the healings were finished, we talked about doing workshops and retreats together. She liked the idea of being my Turkish-English interpreter. The next day her family returned to their home in Melikgazi, Kayseri, an hour-and-a-half drive from here. Since she's been home, we have been making plans for me to travel to her home after I leave Mustafapaşa, where she will host me for my gap-week, and organize our first workshops together. Here is where the magic is unfolding.

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