The tide was coming in at a gradual pace as we laid in the black sand looking up at the sky illuminated with stars.
Attending a silent retreat in rural Bali was the perfect way to spend my final days in Indonesia and to reflect on the last three months spent on the island. I came to the retreat looking for silence and rest, and went away with an entirely new understanding of food, community, and alternative ways of living.
Have you ever looked deeply into someone’s eyes for a matter of minutes, without breaking the gaze? It’s a peculiar experiment that’s only piqued my interest in the past year, but these past two weeks have been the first time I’ve tried such a thing over and over again, and with fascinating results.
Immersing myself fully in the yoga and meditation lifestyle that Ubud offers started as a mere curiosity for me, but has now evolved into a full-blown appreciation for the effects that it has on my mind, body, and soul. The inner-cynic in me that scoffed at things as being too ‘new-agey’ has silenced amidst the intoxicating inner-results that the practice offers.
“Watch for snakes!” the taxi driver shouted from the comfort of his driver’s seat. “What?!” I yelled back through the heavy downpour of rain. “Snakes! I saw a big one in the water. Be careful with your feet.” He noticed I was wading through the water barefoot since my shoes were in my hand.
On saying goodbye...
There’s this metal toy slinky that’s been in my possession for about 3 years now. When I started working at the bank back in 2011, there was a highly disgruntled worker who had been doing the same repetitive desk job for about ten years.
Bali is a place more in tune with nature than any other I’ve been to. Coming from a big city where trees are cut down, concrete is poured in place of grass, and glass condo towers multiply as the months pass -- being in Bali allows me to change how I view nature, and also how I view physical spaces and structures.
Oh, how much more you’ll appreciate the things you have as soon as you don’t have them anymore! Bali is hot. Very hot. The humidity makes the air thick and our clothes heavy. Sweat is dripping everywhere from everyone all the time. The heat does more than make me hot- it also drains my energy and productivity. So how can I spin this experience into a positive?
Arriving at the small fishing village in Bali where I'm volunteering has led to endless observations and revelations. The amount of new stimuli in my life these days is astounding. Already I’m adjusting to chickens walking at my feet as I eat dinner, cats coming through the windows as I sleep, and geckos scaling the walls wherever I go. These things aren’t unusual; rather they are just a way of life here in the village, which I’m quickly adjusting to.