Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On the Island of Fire and Rain

When I first arrived on Bali, it rained every afternoon. I'm not talking a drizzle or steady shower. I'm talking torrential rains that might break your umbrella. A solid deluge for a consistent hour or so.

The air would be sticky warm, the sky blue, the clouds big and billowy, and then without much warning, thunder would rumble, darkness would descend, and the sky would open and proceed to purge. And then as suddenly as it started, it would stop--and back to business as usual being blue and billowy and sunny.


Never mind these sudden purges of water--let's not forget that the entire Indonesian archipelago not only contains the largest chain of active volcanoes in the entire world (Bali alone has 3), but the most devastating eruptions in recorded history.

Water from the top, fire bubbling below--you never know what might happen on any given day. This is living life on the edge. I think I overheard someone say this in a cafe.


With all this purging, it's no wonder I was challenged so much here in Ubud these past 2 months--the water floating the buried junk to the surface, the fire exploding outward. Needless to say, I faced a few things head on that I thought were behind me, that I hadn't thought about since I left Santa Cruz-- allergies surfaced, anger surfaced, resistance surfaced, triggers surfaced.

Free drinking water was scarce, I really disliked the only Kundalini yoga class offered in town, my watch broke, doing anything took more effort than it should have--these were just minor annoyances in the larger scheme of things, but they added to what was happening below the surface.

This was not my Indian paradise, this was not my surreal Nepal. This was life on an island of fire and rain--a superficial surreal paradise with ulterior motives. I wanted to leave within the first week I was here. I wanted to run to Bingin Beach or Amed or maybe another island altogether and stay as far away from this crowded, landlocked town full of intense energy as possible.


Instead, I chose to stay. Amidst all the challenges, I sought out those things about Ubud that I loved and I embraced them. I found solace in many other yoga classes and dance classes at an amazing little studio. I took long walks through the rice fields to the outer edges of town. I suffered through the allergies, I studied the anger, I pushed through the resistances, I sat with the triggers. I escaped to the beach a few times, but I always came back.


I have not doubted a moment that this is where I was suppose to be, to flush the residual junk buried in me. Is it gone? Who knows. But for now, I feel nothing but incredibly blessed and full of gratitude for having experienced everything I have in this town and on this island as I pack up and move forward.


Do you have a tendency to sit with what is uncomfortable or do you avoid it? How do you deal with those things that surface you thought you dealt with long ago?

I have absolutely loved my time here and got to do and see some amazing things--this island  just offered up its magic in a different kind of way. As Lawrence Blair (of Ring of Fire fame!) once stated in an interview later in life: I go on excursions often. There is no way I can live here on Bali full time--I would go absolutely mad.

Goodbye for now Bali! I'm looking forward to all the unexpected surprises and magic awaiting me in Cambodia.

12 comments:

  1. Great Post!!! Your description of your surroundings, your senses, your feelings is incredible!!!! Blessings to You, Sarah! Sending along Big Hugs from Santa Cruz, Robin =) <3

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you are still reading and enjoy following along in my adventures :)

      Blessings to you too! Keep in touch!

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  2. This idea that some external place--some OTHER place--is supposed to be "paradise" can really mess with our minds! I love the way you handled this...and that you saw it as an opportunity to purge.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, all the places I've been so far have absolutely blown me away with how opposite they actually are to what I'd always heard about them.

      It's part of the magic of traveling--really seeing for yourself what these places are like and what each environment can bring out in you. And what they've brought out in me I've found to be equally surprising!

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  3. Sounds like the Big Island! What's funny is Bali was such a nice refuge for me in the middle of my B.I. experience. I still am baffled that I stayed in that intensity for two whole years. If I could go back and do it over, I wish I could have had a lot more self compassion. Nice to know you can relate to my experience :)

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    1. I know! I totally thought about you and all the things you told me about living on Hawaii while I was writing this :)

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  4. I wonder if we have the same memory of how our lived collided. I had heard so much about you from grandmother. Then I saw you, was it at the 6th grade lunch table? I believe I said something like, "Hey, I know your grandmother! You're Sarah!" And sat down? You know how memories get fuzzy as you get older. You were my best friend for years and have held a special place in my heart since through whatever distance. So far as songs and memories? I grinned when I read that one. I have traveled for work most of my adult life. Songs transport me. They take me back and let me revisit different versions of me at different time points and perspectives. They are reflective. They are soul inspiring. Books are the same. I listen to so many audio books as I drive. When I relisten to a book or read a new title in a favorite series, I am transported and again lost in time. So many memories. So many lives. So many indistinct blurred boundaries amongst reality and the fantasy worlds into which my soul delved.

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    1. Why is this here? This is supposed to be on your other page. How is it that I make my living customizing medical software and training folks how to use it, but I can't manage to get a blog post to behave properly. I won't even start about Pinterest today. Anyway... Since I have no idea if this post actually made it to the intended page, I will leave it alone. Feel free to delete it if it is redundant. LOL

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    2. I do remember that! So long ago, but yes, you did come up and talk to me during lunch 6th grade year. Was it the first day of school? It was my first year there--new town, new school--you had transferred from another school as well, I think.

      The internet and social media has done wonders with keeping in contact with people I otherwise might have lost touch with. So rare to still talk and communicate with someone I met in middle school!

      Always keep in touch :)

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  5. Fire and Rain. Such intense elements. "Opposite" in nature yet both capable of stirring such intense reactions. The universe has a way of putting you in places and situations that force you to act; to sit in your resurfacing emotions and deal with them. I recently went to see a new naturopath. He was able to help me with many of my issues, but my lower back pain just wouldn't release. After several visits, he told me that he thought my pain was emotional in nature, because it really should have resolved with his treatments. He wanted to try Hakomi. When he told me to start talking, I had no idea where to start. I have had a lot of trauma in my past, but I thought I had dealed with all of it. But I talked as he held the various release points on my body and I was amazed that certain topics, which I thought I had dealt with, actually caused me to twitch. After my second session, I asked him what he thought. He said, yes, you have something buried very deep. I can feel the energy. It swirls and starts to release but it is being blocked. Now I should mention that my back started feeling better after my first session. I know I still have a lot of resurfacing to come before but I can't describe my amazement. Body. Mind. Spirit. It's unnerving how an imbalance in one causes the others to shift to accommodate it. What you can't mentally or spiritually process is manifested physically. Purging is definitely therapeutic. Sometimes you are only capable of purging so much, until life presents you with a different experience. I'm so happy you found an opportunity to purge as crazy as that sounds.

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    1. I meant to come back to the water. One of the meditations/visualizations I use is water. Water has the ability to be so many things. It can be gentle and relaxing or violent and destructive. It can also be highly cleansing. It sounds like it's exerted many of its affects on you while in Bali. (affect not effect intentional :)

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    2. "The universe has a way of putting you in places and situations that force you to act..."

      So true! I have a tendency to freeze up and not act at all when I'm in tough situations which only leads to depression. I am so grateful that I have been forced to act so many times in my life--of course, when it gets to this point, it's never very pleasant (outright hellish, usually), but once I get to the other side--magic! I've also learned that as long as I do act something good will come of it--there is no bad or wrong decision--the Universe is good at course correcting as well :)

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