In the South East Asia here I was beneath the thatched roof in an open air villa smiling and honoring my beautiful life. I was in Bali. Finally I made my way to this part of the world that has always intrigued me even before I got so immersed into the spiritual teachings. With an intimate views of the Uluwatu cliffs I was breathing in Bali in all its glory. ~I am so lucky ~ like a mantra these words circled my thoughts. I felt gratification for the path I chose and for everything I've accomplished to be here, gratitude washed over me and a relief as any tension from my long flight has melted away with each sip of my organic elixir. There is so much I loved about Bali as it is an amazing island with rich culture, architectural treasures dating back to 10th century and so much more; it's a true paradise.
I loved its lush landscapes, mystical temples, beautiful faces of locals in their many customs and traditions. I was purposely staying away from revealing clothing, keeping my voice and appearance low key. I learnt not to sit with my legs crossed as this is considered a sign of secrecy and mistrust. I followed many traditions and learnt much of the Balinese way of life but I write about few that stood out to me on my adventure.
First is to mention that Balinese observe two authentic calendars: wuku and saka used to determine the dates of national holidays. One of the main celebrations according to the saka calendar is Nyepi. Also known as Balinese New Year celebration. On this day 28th of March an entire island shuts down: no air travel, no road travel, no interaction or entertaining of any kind.
Balinese Hinduism called Agama Hindu Dharm, mixes aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism and animism which is a belief that souls can be found in all things living. To honour this notion every corner, every store or establishment is embellished by its traditional offering called Canang Sari. Every day this beautiful arrangement is made for daily life blessings symbolizing the world & universe: micro and micro cosmos. Each part of Canang Sari is carefully crafted and each has its purpose and meaning. Starting with the coconut leaf, in four squares with slight slit on each side is a symbol of the Universe. Beautiful fresh flowers are arranged on all four sides representing North, South, West and East adorned with Pandan Leaf with the slit in the middle symbolizing five manifestations of the Hindu Gods who guard us from all the directions in life. The Porosan is placed beneath the flowers as a symbol of Atman, human being the Self, the soul, the true self of an individual.
Balinese use only four first names that is recycled with each child: first being Wayan, second Made, third is Nyoman and fourth Ketut. Commonly they marry at 27 or 28 years of age and have many children following the naming principle of each child regardless of its biologically assigned gender. They typically lived together until marriage when girls move on to their spouse's homes each built around a family temple.
Now, while we talking about temples, here's three I loved the most from my trip: If you climb to the crater of Kintamani you will see majestic Lake Batur. Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is nestled here. Connecting the island’s North and South, this picturesque temple was built in the 17th century in worship of the main trinity Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva also built to worship the lake and river goddess Dewi Danu. Regarded as one of the most beautiful temples in Bali, stands Pura Taman Ayun. Peaceful, unique and quiet settings of this temple will sure to leave you impressed. Directly translated as a "beautiful garden" I've spent most of my time reflecting and admiring the grounds.
Leaving the best for last, Pura Tirta Empul was of large significance to my personal journey. Water temple with powers to purify was high on my list of temples to see. Holy mountain springs believed to have magical powers this large crystal pool was full of devotees all immersed in its magical waters for melukat, self-cleansing practice, each shower cleansing and warding off different spirits.
So much can be said for many ancient practices and temples but not to forget pristine beaches such as Padang Padang beach, Dreamland beach, Balangan beach all glistening white or cream coloured sand, surfers paradise, warm azure waters.......One of the busiest beaches on the island is the Kuta beach. The atmosphere is relaxed but the locals offering some form of entertainment are all over the beach. It's known to be party beach littered with nightclubs, restaurant and hostels.
Center for traditional crafts and dance is town of Ubud. Busy streets bustling with motorcycles and pedestrians and locals selling their crafts in long streets lined with beautifully crafted colorful silks caftans, scarfs and many figurines and items made of red, ebony and sandalwood good and evil representing souvenirs and carnival masks. I found inspiration in everything and everyone from vivid green rice paddy terraces, to beautiful women arranging and blessing Canang Saris, to colorful Ubud streets, countless temples, mischievous monkeys, warm ocean breeze, aromatic foods like lawar, sate lilith.....as I enjoy my Luwak coffee I stay indebted to this beautiful island for my new found inner peace and stillness. Hands to heart.....Namaste.
Every day I look for ways to sustainably change my own reflection in order to contribute to rise in consciousness throughout the world. Many of us are questioning outdated standards of society and choosing to live more mindfully from a place of love and compassion. Send me note if you feel the same.