My life in Bali. Taking An Adult Time Out
Bali is beautiful right now, I am sitting in an open air cafe eating nasi campus, looking out over rice fields & I am only two minutes by scooter from home. The windy season means hundreds of kites in the sky, this year it seems like 1000's as the number of kites is directly proportionate to the high levels of unemployment due to covid. We are all looking forward to the big daddy of kite flying competitions in Sanur, fingers crossed that covid grants us a pass so that we can view this spectacularly colourful event.
This last two weeks when covid magically disappeared & virus experts transmuted to experts on racism, have been stressfull. I dont know a lot & I certainly dont have answers but I am open to learning & processing what I learn. How did "they" the powerful people who had locked us in our houses for 2 months or more go from being so concerned with our respiratory systems to spraying people with pepper spray? Which literally forces people to bend forward coughing uncontrollably making it difficult to breathe or speak. That maths just didn't add up.
So confused, deeply saddened & I felt lonely, naive and angry. I listened to stories & heard the words of my friends from around the world. I cried. I even witnessed racism here in Bali. I thought of my dad who didn't have a relationship with his dad because of his skin colour, accent & for fear of being ostracised by his friends. I wondered what my Grandfather dealt with along his migration journey from India to Australia? I thought about hugs.
In order to process some of the above I called a time out & decided to put myself on a 3 day retreat. Not a yoga jail kind of retreat or an Eat Pray Love come to Bali find your vagina style retreat all though god dam it... I did kind of end up there. It was a DIY selection of experiences aimed at a deeper connection to the self & reconnection with other live in the flesh humans. As it turned out I was not the only person at these events experiencing these feelings and we were all missing human connection & hugs
As June rolled around the clickety clack of the covid coaster turned into background noise as life in yoga centric activities began popping back into my feed, letting me know studios were reopening as they began sharing their covid modified schedules. So with hungry eyes I began to put a schedule together, in amongst asana I wanted to sit in spaces that I hadn't fully explored before & weave that into a mini cross rice terrace adventure.
Getting to the Gu early Saturday morning for a pre vinyasa coffee I made it to the led primary series with @melissaandsade Level 2 Astanga teacher #goals who leads our collective practice in Sanskrit at @samadibali . This practice is tough & there is no end to the learning journey & the lessening of resistance in the body as you peel back layers trying to figure out how to soften & build strength all at once. I am in my 3rd year of this practice usually 3 times a week in and amongst my other practice & learning & I love how I feel exhausted, sweaty & relieved... relieved its over lol & relieved of some of the tension & stress that I was carrying as I made may way through my first Sun Salutation has left my mind and my body.
I sat for a while after class & meditation with a coconut water and ponder the business of astanga, It definitely connected me to me & through the practice of asana, but its still pretty lonesome task. Just you & your breath, not in a bad way....finding the grass roots of this connection is what enables you create better connected relationships & shared experiences with other humans off the mat.
Breakfast Bollywood Eggs how could I resist! if you follow my instagram @adventuresofkitcat you can see most of my non yoga related & foodie snaps & experiences.....except the ones where I sneak back & eventually have to remind myself that donuts(or whatever) are a "sometimes food"
Workshop time! I love Hindu mythology & how it can wrap around our on mat yoga experiences, boy is it extensive & man can it be confusing!! Hindu Goddesses were definitely an area that I have wanted to deepen my knowledge peel back the layers & learn to relate them to our human experience, physical movement & story telling in practice. This beautiful workshop run by @lola_malaika at Samadi in Canggu took us on a journey of connection to the self with stories & energies of Hindu Goddesses connecting them to our chakras with sound and movement. There were moments when I got lost in the movement & this was exactly what I needed even when I wasn't sure of what I was doing this was an exploration of stepping outside your comfort zone & every other woman in that room did too.
Naturally I still had some reserve energy so I expended that at a vinyasa class with @chris.walker.official. Chris took some time to share his journey & experience with us. I am not going to recite his experiences in my words. Go to his gram & listen to his stories & insights this is the learning we all need to do, to undo the patterning we don't even know we live with. Bed, there is nothing left but for me to sleep.
Up for coffee, I am excited & nervous cause I am doing my first long trip by myself. can you think back to when you first learned tp drive & went on your first weekend away?? It was like reliving that experience but with no overnight bag...this is minimalist travel.
My morning home practice was no where near as hardcore as the day before. I love being in collective practice where someone else holds the space for me directing my movements. But I also like home practice where I can do what I want when I want to do it. Its like my body puts in a request list as I move from shape to shape... not always traditional but an exploration of connection to self & a long savasana with no teacher talk, followed by meditation.
Then it was toothbrush deodorant 1 x clean undies, yoga pants, top & mat a flannelette shirt... you don't want to get sunburned or heatstroke or even wind burn riding your scooter... face masks are super handy for protecting you from getting a sunburned nose!
Off I ride, Google Map Siri & I took a little time to build mutual trust.. she did gift me with a few wooly directions that seemed to be reversed within seconds of my performing them... but then I realised she was a little slower than me due to the re triangulation of the data signals... so technical lol
As I turned off the main road straw hats replaced helmets and sickles replaced cell phones.
Sideman is stunning its a Shangrila of rice terraces, marigolds & chilis everything growing abundantly in the volcanic rich soils soundtracked by birdsong, Families bathing in the water channels, rice drying on the roadside... life is slower. This is why you need to travel to places like this, because life gets simpler & whats important to you in the GU is of zero importance here. I was stopped outside a small village by men wearing marks as chin slings they asked for my hands & promptly sprayed them with sanitiser before letting me continue on my way.
I sat for a while listening to the sounds of my surrounds how different & peaceful they were. How happy I was I have wanted to do this ride for a long time. It seems so strange that I have been able to do this in so many other countries yet I seem to have always been in Bali with an agenda of either yoga or complete rest. It was a moment & a feeling I will hold on to. Renewed, I continued my drive to Ubud the kites seemed bigger & brighter, I felt so good, I felt proud of me!!
Confession; I got to Ubud & went straight to my fav donut shop I inhaled a donut & saved the other two for later. It was awesome & I gave zero fucks.
So the initial plan was to go to a full moon ceremony cause that Strawberry Moon was simply mind blowing!! But yes me messy-ed up the dates (obviously distracted by the moon) & landed at a Manifestation Cacao Ceremony @pyramidsofchi run by @balicacaoceremony I have never been to a cacao ceremony so I was all in. As we arrived in the space we were greeted by one of THE most spectacular floral mandalas ever surrounded by soft light of candles, I felt transported ... to the 70's & was waiting for ABBA's Fernando to come on(it didn't) But this circles of people from all over Bali were singing releasing tears & drinking cacao, sharing experiences leading to letting go of what we don't want to make room for what we do... this was right up my life in yoga alley. I wanted to connect in with my authentic teaching voice so that I could share my truth - letting go of limiting beliefs that I felt i was still holding on to & also to find a partner a lover a best friend & experience sharer. I put this on my manifest list. At the end of the ceremony we were asked to draw a card for
around the mandala.... My card read. "Share your voice, come out of the cave, persecution, expression" more tears, way too late dinner of oh so good pumpkin soup & riding through the back hills of Ubud to get to bed.
I may have been in bed but I certainly didn't sleep... cacao, lordy be, had me buzzing like there was no tomorrow. no amount of water was seemly going to give me rom the cacao buzz or from the trips to the loo. So thereI was buzzing & the only thing that seemed to make sense was the Green Tara Mantra "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha" a Buddhist mantra to relieve spiritual & emotional suffering & connect you into the hearts space & your joyous try nature.
Intermittent chanting of The Green Tara soaked up six hours of attempted sleep it until the sun eventually came up & I deemed it reasonable to get up & go get a coffee??? A ritual that may not have served me at 7.30am in my post cacao haze.
My perfectly imperfect personal retreat coincided with the opening of @radiantlyalive one of may favourite practice places in Bali. It was such a joy to walk in there & connect with other beautiful yogi humans ...most of us were teachers in our various chosen yoga spaces & specialisations there were hugs & stories & laughter, there was community!!! This practice was strong, grounded and deeply respectful and it was loved, the energy was almost visible as we all brought the uniqueness of our practices into the collective consciousness. I will never forget how that class felt, that vibration remains inside me days later as I write the words.
As I was riding home with a few extra adventure kilometres generously added by "Google Maps Siri" my detour included a surprise mandatory Polisi checkpoint as I was entering Denpasar. My temperature tested, I passed & was allowed to jalan jalan on my way, 15m down the road I was photographed as I was sprayed with sanitiser by guys in hi vis onesies
I had nothing but happy giggles I love Bali.
Made it home before the laundry shut & was hoping to sleep like a baby in my clean sheets, how ever the cacao had other plans & had given me a fabulously cracking headache which I thought a bit of self pleasure in the samadhi of orgasm would help and it did for about 38 seconds, until my cacao hangover returned so I caved & took a panadol & made a mental note not do drink so much yummy yummy warm cacao next time & then slept like a baby in my crisp clean sheets.