To create a new and exciting bubble of life, one has to break out of their old one so they can see more clearly. Old grids and expectations pull one back from moving forwards with their new and invigorating self. Don’t be afraid of stepping out completely so you can look within deeply.
* Art by: Eugenia Loli *
When i came to Ubud, i knew that i was going to do a lot of work on myself. This trip wasn’t going to be a holiday (in the sense where i lie by the pool and do nothing). It’s a trip for me to step out of the city i’m constantly working in, because i felt i wasn’t learning anymore and i needed to get out of familiar grid, so i could reevaluate a lot of aspects in my life.
I came with the intention to reconnect with myself, clear out all the space just for me – so i could look within to get to know who i am – the present me. I knew i wanted to devote my time to read, study, work, hoop, do yoga, move, meditate, and give myself the freedom to be truly me, because i felt like i was falling into a category of what others perceive me to be, also by my own mind and making. And i needed to be free.
So far it’s been great… the grid and energy in Ubud has given me so many lessons.
Every minute and hour here has be devoted to doing SOMETHING, and by the end of the night i’m exhausted and fast asleep by midnight and rise at 7:30am on the dot without an alarm clock (except Sat night, when i drank whiskey and hooped till 3am!). I wanted to observe my natural body clock without the distractions i usually have around me in KL, and then bring all these new habits back with me.
Things i’ve been learning:
Read and learn what excites me.
I’ve been reading and studying a book on epigenetics (Supergenes by Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi and Deepak Chopra) because i actually love science a lot, but wasn’t giving myself enough permission to delve deeply into it, having self-doubt that it was too geeky or i was being pretentious by reading it then talking about it. I now recognise those negative emotions as coming from a place of fear, of what other people think. So i’m slowly dispelling and ridding myself of those notions because they do not serve me. Doing it, taking notes, absorbing the information and thinking has been giving me immense self-satisfaction. Also been observing how long i can focus on it for before i start getting tired and turn to another task, so i know how much time to allocate for it in the future.
I feel that everything is tying together… the info i’m picking up from the book contributes to my growing beliefs on making changes in my life that will benefit me in the long run; and also seed bits that remind me of an issue someone else is going through by whatsapping it to them (caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, or predisposition to stress and anxiety due to psychological implications after birth for males). I find it so fascinating that there are proven theories on molecular memory, and how our choices today actually take shape on the generation after us, and after them! Unless they change themselves too, by strong will.
Recognise my strengths and own them.
Also learning what my roles in life are. In cities when people ask what you do, one usually replies with the industry or designation they carry i.e. “I’m in PR” or “I’m a manger at a xxx company.” Here in Ubud, you’ll get a bit of a ‘huh’ response and i’ve learnt via the people who’ve been put in my path, to relate what you do to your targeted or main roles in life. I’m embracing the fact that i’m a writer, a teacher, and a healer. (Tho i do think, everyone is all these roles… everyone has the capacity to teach and heal the people around them and themselves; and i believe that everyone is an artist, whether it’s writing, singing, drawing, painting, dancing, etc. It’s about giving themselves the allowance to discover and invest time and energy to grow it.)
I haven’t been practicing healing for a while… maybe because i did not have the capacity to as i was in need of healing myself. I’ve only done some healing on really close friends when they ask, and Baby asked me to jampi her shoulder a few months ago and i never got to it. I’m sorry babe, when i come back i’m stronger to do so! I was reminded of it again cos of this occurrence that happened a couple of days ago. I was in a cute warung i really like, and this older Scottish man noticed my ring and we started talking. An hour later, he was telling me about his broken heart and pouring himself out to me; and i ended up giving him a long hug in the rain when we said goodbye. He wanted to spend more time talking to me but i was getting tired and excused myself to retreat as to continue healing myself.
Reconnecting with humans and animals and nature.
I’m recalling how to connect with other living things on a deeper level. In the city, we are accustomed to a fleeting look in the eye, a smile and a firm handshake. Here, i was brought back to looking deep into someone’s eyes when you first meet them for a long time (10-30 seconds?), and really getting to know each other on a soul level. When i first got here, i would look a stranger in the eye for 5 seconds then avert my gaze cos i was shy or just… forgot how to! I started remembering again cos it seems everyone does it here, so i’m getting a lot of practice XD
During my 10-minute walk to yoga, i would walk past many chickens and dogs and locals, all whom i’d greet in my head or out loud: “Hello chicken!” “Hello cute dog!” “Apa khabar!”. I felt bad about eating chicken for a whole day, then when it rained the next day and i didn’t see any chickens at all, i forgot all about it and had chicken curry for lunch -_-
The people of Bali respect all living creatures around them, and this was so greatly exemplified when i was in a cafe and saw a bird flying in. The owner Seri told me that a family of birds live in the ceiling, “We have two other families living here. One birds, and another, lizards. The lizards come out in the morning and sit on the rock, then go back inside.” She even named them, it was so cute, and a great reminder that this planet is all our home… we shouldn’t be selfish with our space just because we’re the mightier race.
Being healthy on a daily basis.
Oh i’ve been working on this one for years in KL, and i slip every now and then. I eat unhealthy meals cos i might be too tired to get something last minute, or i skip workouts cos of work and meetings. Here, everyone is pretty damn fit cos they move and eat good clean food every day. It’s a lifestyle, not a chore. I was reminded of how to prioritize putting aside time for moving my body and putting good things into my system.
This also ties back to the book i’m reading, how the food we eat creates methyl markers on our genes, slowly mutating them as they adapt and multiply. Every meal we eat is like contributing to this point system which ultimately results in us either living longer healthier lives, or succumbing to disease based on our predisposed percentage of acquiring them (cancers, Alzheimer’s) depending on our individual genetic system.
Pushing my boundaries on flow.
I’ve been spending more time than usual hooping, drawing and dancing; and with each practice discovered something new about my abilities. For instance, the first leaf i drew was alright, but its lines were hard and basically, i was trying too hard. Then the more leaves i drew and the more i concentrated, it gradually dissipated into not really concentrating but a natural state of flow which resulted in a much more beautiful drawing! I learnt that i was trying to be in control too much, which stopped the flow. Trying to create within the confines of my own making, prevented me from creating better.
I allow myself to hoop when i feel like taking a break from work, so i am constantly moving either my mind or my body. After the ecstatic dance session, i took some new learnings from that night (on how to move with more authenticity and openness with conscious breath) and implemented it into my hoop dance, which helped it so much better! Also, got over my shyness with hooping. Am accepting that every hooper has a diff style, and i must embrace my own. I always felt like i wasn’t good enough, and wouldn’t even allow Cammy to take a video of me 2 weeks ago cos i thought it would suck. Something switched last night, and i took a video of myself for the first time and posted it. The whiskey probably aided in that haha.
Being in touch with my intuition and emotions.
Since my first night in Bali this trip (which started 21st June), i’ve had vivid dreams like this one where i had long drawn-out conversations with over 20 people of all ages i don’t know, and remember all their faces and what we talked about when i woke up. Every morning i felt like a piece of me was being put back into place like a jigsaw. Strangely, since coming to Ubud, those dreams have stopped, but on my first night here i dreamt i had a long mohawk which i would toss around like an excited goldfish. The next day IRL, i went for my first yoga sess and our teacher had a short mohawk! I almost burst out laughing to myself in class when it reminded me of my goldfish hair flip moment.
Due to more time spent alone, i’m experiencing more silence which allows for my inner voice to speak out more strongly. In the city and when i’m surrounded with so many voices and energies, i find it hard to decipher which voice in me is the one i should listen to… read: the God version of me, or my intuition. I woke up one morning having a strong inclination to msg a friend to check on them to ask if they were okay. I added “pls don’t think i’m crazy” and they said “no, your instincts are on point.”
Also had an interesting moment in a massage room when my eyes were closed and i was lying on my back, and i saw a blue-ish being in my mind’s eye and felt it was Lord Ganesha. I quickly went into embrace mode, and just lay there enjoying every second of love and calmness i felt emanating down onto me… and a little embarrassed to admit that i cried a little just cos!
Take the lesson out of every experience.
Been learning how to flip my experiences and emotions to the positive end of the stick. For instance, my first night in Ubud was a disaster, but i can look back at it now and laugh and give thanks for it. When i checked in to the airbnb i booked, i was horrified and almost started crying (wait, i did cry a little). It looked nothing like the pictures, and there were more than ten things i couldn’t stand about the place (bathroom was disgusting + black + flooding + looked haunted, the pool was under renovation and depressing, the pillowcases smelt, the ceilings were so thin i could hear everything, the room smelt a little moldy, there was no barrier at the staircase and i was so afraid clumsy me would trip and break a limb, the yoga place was much further than described). I went online and researched further to find out some places in Bali do things like that – put up fake pix or descriptions to con unsuspecting tourists. It was already at night when i’d checked in, and i didn’t want to drag my bags out in the middle of the night so i just put up with it, telling myself how some people have no homes or roofs over their heads. That night, i heard the couple living above me complaining about their room too, then arguing, then having sex until 4:30am -_- I was so awake cos they were so loud! And instead of lying in bed getting mad and bitching about how horrible this whole thing was, decided to make the most out of my alertness and surfed online for spiritual stuff, which i shared with Lexie cos we were talking about something related to it.
Anyway, the lesson i’m taking out of this was – what am i learning from this experience?
First, i blamed myself, and then i blamed my subconscious attracting it cos obviously i had to learn something from it, then i realised i was doing a lot of blaming, and once acknowledged the existence of blame, it shifted to a more positive note of how it was just part of my experience and to take whatever i could out of it.
I walked around to look for a new place to stay the next day, which was a room facing a garden, with a nice pool behind me, canceled my reservation with the first dilapidated place, apologized to the owners saying it was too dirty and i couldn’t take it, and promptly moved. Stayed there for 4 nights, before moving to Penestanan for a different vibe and to explore another yoga centre and restaurants.
The place i’m staying in now has beautiful giant statues of Ganesha and a bidadari on both sides of my room, somewhat protecting and playing outside. The room is bigger and airier with a comfortable sitting room i can work in too next to it, and has a lighter feel to it overall. I feel like i’ve graduated in Ubud!
Slow down with an open heart.
I’m a fast walker, and i’m still running on city speed. Even when i go on island holidays, my walking pace is still like what i picked up in London, and i get told to slow down to island mode.
Over here, i noticed a couple of occasions when i walked too fast and missed out on some human opportunities: like past a little girl admiring my hoop and i wish i didn’t walk so fast past her family’s shop, then i might have stayed to play and hoop for her for 5-10 minutes; or walking away before bargaining proper for a car ride, which in retrospect would have been a better decision to continue.
So i started being more conscious of taking my time when i step out for meals or yoga – to observe my surroundings, not dismiss the people around me so carelessly and hold a space for things to happen. I ended up creating random special friendships and laughing a lot, something i needed (cos laughing to myself all the time is prollie not very healthy…)
That’s all i got for now! And i’ve been here for 6 days (i think, one loses track in Bali), with 5 more days in Ubud to go… I feel like i’m taking an express course in life here.