TMAC Blog

Expanding our hearts and bridging our worlds…musings on my recent trip home to Iran

It was 1973 when, at nine years old, I closed the door to my Iranian life when my mother moved my two sisters and me to America seeking a better life for our young family.

Iran 1However, with my daughter off to college, I recently made the decision to go back to my birth country after 45 years away. I wanted to reconnect with my ancient roots, and to discover with my own eyes the culture, art, people and landscape of the country, as well as to witness whether or not the distortions and negative portrayal of Iran by Western media and our politicians were true.

Iran 6

After a lifetime outside my culture, of course, I had trepidation – would these people welcome me, would I feel like a tourist or simply slide back in to my ancestral routine? Would I recognize my country?
I’m happy to say that all of my fears were put to rest and I enjoyed every moment of my twenty seven days traveling through Iran with a private local guide and in the company of my American friend, Robert.
iran10We covered over 4,000 kilometers and visited the most amazing, ancient cities such as Shiraz, known for its warm, hospitable culture, its lush gardens and the great poet Hafiz. We also visited Isfahan, a real jewel of Iran, so much so it was considered “the Paris of the Middle East in the 17th Century.”We visited Tabriz, where some of the best Persian carpets are still crafted. We also spent time with the Nomads and visited ancient mountain villages, similar to the more well-traveled cities of Cappadocia in Turkey, but far more interesting, and while not over run by tour buses, we were still in the company of Germans, Italians and many Americans also touring the countryside.
Of course, I could describe the beauty of the land, the breathtaking architecture, and the exquisitely exotic yet familiar tastes I experienced; however, I will sum up the trip this way: deep, rich, delicious, warm, beautiful and inviting.

Iran 7The culture, art, history, food, and people, all filled with sweet colorful spices, magic, mystery, geometric shapes, twists and turns, some bumps along the way, and gestures of hospitality and caring from every stranger we met, including the Mullah on our last day in Shiraz who embraced my American Buddy, Robert, shedding tears and saying over and over “I love you! Please forgive us for our governments not getting along. The People of Iran love America.”

In fact, contrary to what we hear in the Western media. there was no shortage of love and peace. There were no guns, no violence, not a single stressful moment …well, except the squatting toilets. And sadly, the Caspian sea, famous for it’s caviar, looked ecologically damaged.
Iran 9Of course, as a Westerner, my travel companion, Robert can tell you the challenges he faced. The challenges were the result of overwhelming stimulation – with so much to see and experience and very little time to absorb it all. Being on the go, we visited almost one hundred museums, ancient sites and temples,which can overwhelm even the most avid traveler.
Yes, the people are a bit stressed because of the sanctions, but somehow they managed to stay kind, hospitable and gracious. A great lesson for all of us here in the States.
Here are some things you may not know about Iran ~
  • Iran 5It’s a highly educated culture. I came to learn that 80% of women under 40 years old are college educated, while here in America, that rate is 55%.
  • For those who love polo, did you know Polo was first played in Persia as early as the 6th century bc to the 1st century ad. Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units, usually the Persian king’s guard or other elite troops.
  • Those of you who love long baths should know about
    the ancient Hamams, fed by ancient underground canals.
  • We also visted Persepol. This image was taken during a gift ceremony. Some of you may know that the declaration of the human rights charter at the U.N. Headquarters in N.Y City was originally created by Persian King Cyrus the great.
***
I am already homesick for Iran and am so grateful I had the opportunity to reconnect to my ancient roots, especially my Zoroastrian family and our roots in Yazd, an ancient city south of Iran, close to Shiraz.

Iran 8

I also appreciated my culture’s appreciation of its elders who are fully integrated and an important part of the fabric of the Persian culture – often accompanied by family and friends. The elderly there are  full of charisma, grace, a love of life and are well-versed in poetry and art, teaching the younger generations the importance of our culture.
I was not born Muslim in Iran, and the majority of the population are Shiites, and I can tell you they made me feel at home in the most genuine and caring way. The kindness and graciousness of the Persian people touched me deeply. Robert, in complete overwhelm, was brought to tears almost daily by the kindness of the people whom we met.
Even the art had a huge impact on us. To my fellow American artists, Iran was a visual feast, and I highly recommend you tour the vast collection of works from the many museums and galleries.
My travel companion, Robert, is a celebrated artist and I am looking forward to putting together a slide show presentation to show our friends soon.
Iran 2If you have any questions, or want to explore taking a trip to Iran, I would be happy to put you in touch with my travel agent, Sima Hishemifar, founder of Spiritual Harmony Journey with whom we worked and to whom I am in deep appreciation. Also a deep thanks to Pouyan, our guide, who drove us through the 4000 kilometers of cities, villages and countryside, smiling and lovingly taking great care of us at every turn.
Happy Holidays and all the best in creating a unique Vision of Prosperity that is right for you in 2016!

  • Posted by  Koorosh Ostowari
  • Money Anxiety Cure
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Koorosh Ostowari
About the Author

Author Koorosh Ostowari has successfully bridged the gap between spiritual and material worlds. He has operated a profitable real estate business in San Francisco for the past 25 years and is trained as a Spirit Rock Meditation Center Dharma Leader, is a certified somatic therapist, and offers spiritual and communications classes to men and women in the Northern California prison system. His new book, The Money Anxiety Cure: A Path To Financial Wellbeing, offers tools to help those struggling with financial anxiety achieve a new, personally meaningful vision of prosperity. Koorosh is dedicated to the practice of cultivating mindfulness, alleviating anxiety, and helping his clients and students maintain balance and achieve financial wellbeing.

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Koorosh Ostowari

Author Koorosh Ostowari has successfully bridged the gap between spiritual and material worlds. He has operated a profitable real estate business in San Francisco for the past 25 years and is trained as a Spirit Rock Meditation Center Dharma Leader, is a certified somatic therapist, and offers spiritual and communications classes to men and women in the Northern California prison system.
His new book, The Money Anxiety Cure: A Path To Financial Wellbeing, offers tools to help those struggling with financial anxiety achieve a new, personally meaningful vision of prosperity.

Koorosh is dedicated to the practice of cultivating mindfulness, alleviating anxiety, and helping his clients and students maintain balance and achieve financial wellbeing.
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