Hacivad Bey consults Rumi on the topic of work


Words by Rumi, image by Liz Cameron

Silence reigns this Saturday as the majority of the Karagöz puppet troupe lounges, arms all akimbo, in and amongst the orchids that line the kitchen windows.

They enjoy the soft, green moss blankets we tuck the orchids in with and hope that it is not orchid-watering day – as that is the day we place a peace-shaped ice cube on top of each mossy blanket, to slowly melt and sink down to the roots.

Esma the hippie puppet, known in part for her green thumb when it comes to orchids, insists that the best way to water orchids is with peace-shaped ice cubes placed on top of their mossy blankets for slow melting nourishment. (Image by Liz Cameron)

Esma the hippie puppet, known in part for her green thumb when it comes to orchids, insists that the best way to water orchids is with peace-shaped ice cubes placed on top of their mossy blankets for slow melting nourishment. (Image by Liz Cameron)

Esma, the hippie puppet with the green thumb, tells us this is just the absolutely most respectful and effective manner of orchid-watering.  So far, the orchids seem very happy.

As I shuffle past the kitchen windows, Esma calls out to me, explaining “my work for the day is meditating, centering myself, finding inner peace, do you care to join me?” I can’t decide, and move on, leaving her atop the golden dotted-maroon blossoming orchid, way above the slowly dissipating peace-sign-shaped ice cubes below.

The chorus of little dancing ladies have made their own harem, replete with a eunuch or two, in the bottom of my big bucket purse – thanks to several of my missing silken scarves….

Forgoing the mossy softness, the little chorus of dancing lady puppets has retreated to their lair, the inside of my purse (their own self-imposed harem, a respite from the world), where they have dragged a set of particularly smooth and silky scarves in hues of amber and aqua which to recline, drink tea, and sleep.  They are pretty sure they will not be disturbed as I am not working these days, so the purse remains quiet, hanging on the back of the bedroom door.

Turning the corner into the foyer, I see Zenne, the shivery, quivery nervous nellie like a bowl of jelly being schooled in the work of stain removal by none other than herself, Kenne, the Queen of Manners, Etiquette and the Maven of Maintaining Ladylike Behavior.  “Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and this is our work, dear, even if all others are lounging and loafing like those chorus girls – ah – M’lady – care to join us in this spot-removal tutorial?”   I demure, lowering my head, and politely decline. Slipping past the duo thanks to the wax on the hardwood floors, I turn the corner into the living room just in time to ignore Kenne’s protest about my mismatched socks.  That stubborn, image-conscious lady refuses to accept that this is my signature look, even if it is usually hidden in my boots.

And it is then, that I notice Hacivad Bey, the learned elder, follower of Celaleddin Rumi, sitting atop my Great-grandfather’s wooden armchair, having a conversation with himself, or so it seems.  “Please join me, M’lady, I am just speaking with the spirit of Rumi himself – as he is in all of us who believe – I am speaking to him of your conundrum, about how to re-negociate your relationship with work so that you can feel healthier.”

Brought to tears by his kindness, all I can muster is, “thank you Hacivad Bey, you are so kind to help me think about this.  I feel lost in the woods, and don’t know exactly what the right thing to do is.”

“You won’t know, not until you do.  You need to rest and get well, and you need to look in your heart and consult those you love, and eventually, the way will become clear….” as Hacivad Bey’s voice trails off, he looks up to the heavens, as if receiving an interstitial telegram from far on some other side. Finally, he looks up, and tells me this:

Rumi says this – and this you must meditate on – “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

And so I have been, and I will be, and I have faith that the way will become clear, even if all I hear from the majority of the puppets is surrendering to Saturday snoring.

This entry was posted in Turkish Art, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Hacivad Bey consults Rumi on the topic of work

  1. Rosamond says:

    I am going to try the ice cube on my orchid :-). P.s I love Rumi

  2. winnie says:

    My office had orchids delivered every month, and we were instructed to lay ice cubes on top of the moss as well. It works like a charm. I enjoyed reading your post, and agree with Rumi.

  3. Alan says:

    Super Sufism! Inerspatial Su(r)fi(ing) – Rumi With A View! You are ‘blessed’ in many different ways and there are many different ways to many different destinations before the terminus. Be happy 🙂

  4. Pingback: Of east and west, work and rest in a Turkish-American marriage | Slowly-by-Slowly

  5. E. says:

    Thanks, Alan, for the comment. It really help to read your comment today actually. I think I have felt so stuck in what I’m doing currently, but I’m not sure if I want to keep doing it or not and I forgot that there might be other things to do. With my life that is. And then when I read your comment I thought about all of the things you have done in your life, and how inspiring that is. So thank you so much for that.

  6. E. says:

    Thank you so much for visiting slowly by slowly – and I’m so glad to hear that the ice cube method worked for you too. I thought Esma was crazy, but my orchids are pretty happy. Good luck with your kids!

  7. E. says:

    The ice cubes really really works, as he will see from the other comments here. Yes Rumi is amazing isn’t he? We are lucky to have found him. I never knew of him growing up in a Christian church. I hope you’re well.

  8. Nancy says:

    Beautiful! Really, a lovely post. And Rumi is the best of spiritual companions for your now . . .

  9. E. says:

    Thank you so much for this link – it is SO lovely – and for the benefit of others – I am posting the poem here:


    These shriveled seeds we plant,
    corn kernel, dried bean,
    poke into loosened soil,
    cover over with measured fingertips

    These T-shirts we fold into
    perfect white squares

    These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
    This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

    This bed whose covers I straighten
    smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
    and nothing hangs out

    This envelope I address
    so the name balances like a cloud
    in the center of sky

    This page I type and retype
    This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
    This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
    like flags we share, a country so close
    no one needs to name it

    The days are nouns: touch them
    The hands are churches that worship the world

    ~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

    (The Words Under the Words)

  10. E. says:

    Thank you so much, Nancy, for honoring me with the word “beautiful.” That is a true honor coming from a writer such as you.

  11. carinaragno says:

    most welcome cara 🙂
    thank you

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