It’s easy to post pics of the rare moments when our lives look like this…..deck, pool, ocean. It was a pretty sweet moment. Actually, a sweet two days. I was in Amed, on the north east coast of Bali. I spent a good deal of time right there, by the pool, doing very little, reading at most. When I wasn’t there, I was most likely to be found in the hammock on my balcony, overlooking the ocean.
While we all love a vacation that looks like this – who wouldn’t – this pool & beach-side mini-break was loved like no other. And it wasn’t the luxury or beauty.
As you may know, I’m currently in Ubud, in the mountains of Bali, where I’ve come after seeing a picture of myself here, in a visioning exercise I was taking a group of course attendees through, last September. While I saw myself in tropical place, living a different life, I knew immediately it was Bali, and that it was right. It physically felt perfect. Relaxed, happy, restful, fulfilled.
But I had never been to Bali.
And this is the interesting thing about listening to your body as your guide. There’s a lot you’re going to feel like you “know” without really knowing why or how you know it.
And six or so months later, the opportunity came to be here for two months, and I knew it should be Ubud. Ubud is known as the “arts” hub of Bali, but I came here because it’s also the hub of ex-pat entrepreneurs who run online businesses. And that was where I wanted to be.
Since being here, I keep hearing how people have come here and fallen in love with being in Ubud. I hear how Ubud has such a great vibe, it has everything they’re looking for, it’s cheap and it’s got good internet and it’s full of what everyone describes as “their tribe”.
I, however, have not yet caught the “Ubud is the best” bug. I have caught a few other bugs, but I’ll spare you the details of that…..
Ubud is also a mecca for those on a new age spiritual seeking path. Yoga classes are everywhere, alternative health modalities feature heavily, organic, raw, vegan – all here in abundance. Westerners is balinese dress or looking like ghandi or jesus.
This, also, is not my tribe. In fact, it’s starting to make me roll my eyes a bit, which I don’t like. But here’s why I’m struggling with my judgement….
This past weekend, I took a mini-break from the dirt and noise and traffic and busyness of Ubud. I went three hours drive north, to Amed. And I sat by a pool, by an ocean, as in the photo, above.
And it has changed everything.
I came to Ubud to find a tribe I’d been lead to believe lives here. And it may still be here, maybe I’ve just not discovered it yet. But since being here, I’ve been pummelled by one thing after another that seem intent on knocking me down. I was sick for about two weeks before giving in and seeing a Dr. I deliberately chose accommodation with westerners living onsite so I had people around, to talk to and to ask for help. But on arrival, they informed me they had moved out. I’ve been alone in the compound often (when their old residence isn’t rented to someone). I do not like this at all. I had also asked the landlords if their villa had problems with spiders, rats, snakes etc. No, they assured me. But I’ve had two types of large spiders, and a rat, right there in my kitchen as I cooked dinner.
Ubud has felt like a battle, just to get to the starting line each day. Maybe it sounds like a precious little white girl who’s had someone there to rescue her from such things her whole life, but none the less – Ubud has been one fear-inducing event after another. And on top of that, getting sicker and sicker, having to do all that, inevitable, effort-filled finding out how to get around, how to get food, how to get anything I need. It’s been exhausting. And I hoped to rest here.
So when the opportunity came for a cheap trip to Amed, to see a different part of the island, I took it! I knew nothing about the place, very little about the accommodation nor what I would do there. Someone I knew was heading up there, and his brother in law owned a villa there. So I said yes.
Three hours drive and a lot of internal questioning, such as “hmmm….what if the villa is full of rodents and spiders, what if it’s remote and I’m alone there, what if it’s horrible?” I arrived at Balila Eco Resort. And fell in love.
The Bali Ocean stretched out before me, the pool shimmered beside me. And something inside me relaxed. Something went “Ahhhh……finally. Yes.”
I sat waiting for check-in time, as I was early, looking at the sea and not looking away.
I lay by the pool and felt warm and relaxed and safe and at ease.
I swung in the hammock and listened to the waves crashing on the shore beneath me. For hours. I’ve never done that before. Just rested. And felt ease.
It makes me want to cry. It felt so good. I considered staying longer. I wondered how I could make this happen…..something of my soul sunk itself deep into the sand beneath my feet. I thought about all the beaches I’ve ever rested on – in the USA, in Europe and of course, the many in Australia. All those moments of deep connection jumped out of my memory and called to me “This, Naomi, this is what you need. This is where your spirit comes to feed and restore.”
In the end I chose to return to Ubud, as per the scheduled time. I was sad, part of me didn’t want to leave. But I knew it was ok. I had learned from Balila when I needed to learn. Balila showed me how my spirit knows what it needs. It knows what I should do.
So I wrote a work place for the next two weeks in Ubud, before I take another mini-break – a three day trip to a resort in Kuta. And then I will return to Ubud with a work plan for another week, before I take yet another mini-break to Gili Air. Each of these will involve beach gazing, lying around, doing nothing. Sleeping. Reading.
And I returned to Ubud. Got up the next morning, had breakfast at a raw/vegan/organic place, where those adorned with the signs and symbols of spirituality go, to eat, and be seen. And it occurred to me that all these things we “put on”, all these spiritual practices and choices we take on, they miss the point if they are adopted to obtain spirituality.
In contrast, I had spent the last two day living in my spirit, as it sucked deep joy from the very earth on which I stood. My whole body aligned with that spirit and the journey toward wholeness, health and happiness became a little clearer before me. And it has nothing to do with anything anyone said it would. Nothing to do with finding “my entrepreneurial tribe”, nothing to do with being in the same place, doing the same things, all the other people are, nothing to do with wearing the right clothes, burning the right incense, doing the right yoga class or eating the right foods.
Now, don’t miss-hear me. Eating right, doing yoga, dressing to suit me and finding a “tribe” are all GREAT things. They matter. But they don’t CREATE spirituality. They don’t bring spiritual connection within yourself.
If you don’t have your personal connection to your spirit right, you’ll never find the right tribe, yoga class, food, clothing and path. Being “spiritual” is living from your spirit. And I know which I would prefer!