I created this image from a photo I took of St Evlalios Church, a deserted church on the site of Lambousa, an ancient port on the north coast of North Cyprus. It’s about 5 minutes up the coast from where we live in Alsancak, close to the historic port of Kyrenia. The photo is superimposed over morning clouds on the coast of Turkey, with gizmos from PicMonkey and BeFunky adding light to recall times when the church was full of the energies of those at prayer inside the building.
The church foundations originate in the 2nd-9th centuries with the final version being built in the 16th century. Close to this church stand Akhiropiitos Monastery, built originally on an early Christian basilica of the 6th century and re-built several times; as well as the rock chapel of St Evlambios which is carved from a single block of limestone.
I’m not a religous person in the least – for me the spiritual is personal and an expression of my heart for which my soul and spirit is responsible. It doesn’t, however, stop me visiting churches and cathedrals and enjoying the feeling the power of so many people over decades and, perhaps, centuries pouring devotional energies into the sacred spaces.
I also admire the grace of the many mosques here in North Cyprus. I love the azan, or call to prayer – sometimes, if I’m awake around 5.15 I hear the hoca (pro. hodja) with his call to prayer and it feels full of divinity in the quiet of the morning.
This piece of digital art is one of my all-time favourites – probably because it’s got lots of purple in it and I’m a purple-loving gal!
I created it from a photo I took of the Besparmak Mountains which run parallel to the north coast in North Cyprus, and I got just a peak of light at the top of the mountain. I also created this image quite by chance when I went back into PicMonkey to add a colour frame, after fiddling with gizmos in Pixlr, and accidentally poked the wrong button which intensified the colours.
I’ve called it “Visionary Journeys” because yesterday I read a newspaper article which talked of what people considered they had to have in order to have “arrived”. The list was quite amazing, so many “things”, so much striving for social climbing, but what happens when you feel you have “arrived”? What is going to fill the inner emptiness if not more “things”, more striving to reach an ephemeral “somewhere”. Does behaving like an animal (although that’s likely an insult to animals) on Black Friday sales day leaving people feeling satisfied and not wanting more?
It’s an endless treadmill where so many people seem terrified to sit and be with themselves and to honour themselves as unique beings with so much to contribute to a kinder, more loving world.
In relation to this, I think the words of Gabrielle Roth, at the right, are quite pertinent. Whether we like it or not, there are deep spiritual depths in people which cannot be filled by objects, addictions – whether drugs, alcohol, shopping, mobile phones, tablets or excess exercise – and a material society. It’s like a nightmare vision of eternal expansion, creating more and more material goods, in a mad, Max Ernst-ish, dark vision of an imploding society.
We are supposed to live in a bleak world defined by how much we own and the objects we can put on display. Yet if objects satisfied our inner urges, there would not be so much depression, unhappiness, anger, hopelessness, weight issues, bulimia, anorexia, and sadness.
I believe our inner spirit calls us to so much more, whether we realise it or not, a spiritual calling to all the dreams we yearned for in our childhood but which are battered out of us by conventional schooling and a staid, controlling, money-centric society.
So I thought I’d simply end with this quote from Walt Whitman, something which speaks of a soul’s purpose – to find happiness, kindness, creativity and our soul’s purpose when we enter this lifetime. After it I’ve added the original photo of mists over the Besparmaks because, looking at it now, it rather reminds me of the fog we find ourselves in when we’re not living up to our highest purposes and are mired in negative emotions and depression as a result.
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
Something a little lighter. I created this piece of digital art and for some reason the title of the nonsense song “Mairzy Doats” came to mind. Although it sounds nonsense, it has actual words which are strung together the way kids do. I remember when I was at the Catholic Convent as a child, for example, that one prayer read “to thee we send up our sighs” only I thought it read: “to thee we send up our size” and I used to wonder why anyone in heaven would want to know how tall I was!
And here are a couple of versions of Mairzy Doats: