For anything to begin we need to honour the ending first
This is an interview in the series Women around the world, a mosaic of feminine impressions and inspiration in times of Corona.
The interview was held in English by Cécile Masson author and leadership coach
Burcu is an executive coach, coaching executives and their teams on inclusive leadership. She facilitates transformational programs and is a faculty member of the international feminine leadership program Coming Into Your Own (CIYO). She is also the mother of two children.
She feels deeply connected to nature and is saddened by the fact that many have lost that connection. She strengthened that connection again by working with Native American women, learning their Shamanic practices, and knowledge about the medicine wheel. She has become a guide and is certified to share to share this indigenous wisdom. In Anatolia they also process this knowledge but lost it somewhere especially in terms of feminine power. Rebuilding that connection with and for women with earth is in her heart just now.
Covid-19 has affected her personally in different ways at different stages. At the very beginning it was a personal concern about her son who lives in UK and she could not get him back to Turkey in time. She used all her skills not to create stories in her mind as she realised that her psychological state affected negatively her daughter who was with her.
Then she found peace in women circles and especially in the CIYO alumnae gatherings.
Navigating through these times where fear, anger, grief are present she started reading the book ‘Dancing with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes together with women.
They shared their experiences of Cvid-19 by interpreting the book.
She shared her own morning practices in various groups of men and women twice a week. This practice is a love song that they sing to their relatives and ancestor lineage but also plants, animals, and other humans. It created a different atmosphere. It was not connecting so much with each other but connecting with their ancestor’s spirits. Despite the fact that it is a Native American practice it felt very Anatolian, so Turkish. Also without being in nature, she felt they were connecting to nature, which is a great tool to strengthen their centeredness.
So that first period was like a retreat to nurture body and spirit.
However month ago she lost her father. Before the pandemic he was an elderly man of 80 + years with a young spirit. Yet the Turkish government banned people above 65 to go out and be in nature and exercise. Some people went out anyway, but her parents were obedient to the rules imposed. Her father lost the appetite for life, stopped moving and doing his exercises and got a first heart attack. His grandson came back from London to be with the family yet had to undergo some COVID-19 tests. On Father’s day they went to see him but it was too late to meet him in person. After a short recovery he had passed away.
For anything to begin we need to honour the ending first. That can be a human life, a project, a part of yourself that you want to leave behind when it does not serve you anymore. This particular ending was very tough.
Yet now she knows better what treasure means. Friendship, sisterhood, how precious a woman’s circle can be. All gatherings were banned, weddings, funerals, any activities that involved people were banned. In Islam you take the person to the mosque and with the people you go with the Imam to the funeral place. How precious it is even though you do not speak, people just hold the energy. So the passing away of her father was very lonely. And in rituals when you really understand their meaning you find peace. Some women and men created a virtual grief circle to hold her in her sorrow creating a space of beauty with poetry, artwork, sharing in dialogue their own stories. The gift was recorded and she could share it with her mother.
Before crying was difficult for her. She was a tough woman, strong and to cry was a sign of weakness. Many women apologise for crying.
The power of tears, the power of vulnerability is mighty and she learned to appreciate it in the circles of the CIYO as well. She discovered the power of feeling, the power of connecting and experiences it as strength.
We deal with the bias of surprising emotions and sensing. Yet again from the Native American wisdom there is a beautiful saying. They compare feelings to sacred plants.
In both cases if you use them in a correct way they heal you, the emotions and the plants. Yet if you don’t use them correctly they poison you. In them resides power and danger and what it means is that to use them correctly is to notice the feeling, and to understand the information behind it. Your perspective triggers your feeling. So ask yourself if there is another way of looking at it. If you cannot find it maybe you should express what your interpretation is. That way you start managing your feeling, not controlling or suppressing them but manage them.
In many executives coaching people come and ask how they can learn and control their feeling. That is not possible. You can understand them, manage them and then it becomes a power. There are no negative or positive feelings, they are just feelings. But the danger is that they can create negative behaviour or reaction. Negativity does not come from the feeling but it can manage you rather than the other way round. Certainly when it is suppressed rather than expressed.
Burcu believes that men and women in the corporate world, or in government need to understand and manage the power of our emotions and intuitions. Especially in a world where technology and Artificial Intelligence informed by human IQ replicates the human analytical skills. So to stay and differentiate myself, stay human means to relate to my innate abilities like feelings and intuition. We lost our trust it that source of information.
Burcu suggests asking yourself on regular intervals throughout the day: “how do I feel, what is the feeling behind my reaction, and go through the feeling rather than suppressing it. By traversing the feeling you can leave it behind you. Otherwise it might become a hurdle, a poison and a danger.”