Saturday, May 14, 2016

Auspicious Signs (or Where the Magic Hides and the Mystery Begins)

When the quirky Balinese medicine man whacked the side of my left arm really hard in the middle of my palm reading, I took it as an auspicious sign. Because this is my life--following these auspicious signs and omens on the coattails of miracles. He was a bit hard to understand and generally tells everyone the same thing anyway, but to be hit? This was for me. This was my omen. This was my firefly.

Nearly 10 years ago, back when I was living in Santa Cruz, I came upon a serial documentary in the library called Ring of Fire about these two brothers back in the early 1970s who took 10 years to explore the Indonesian archipelago and document their discoveries--they hit up all the major islands by boat and let curiosity guide their way. They met a medicine man who could set fire to paper with the energy in his hands, visited villages thriving on creating art, they befriended cannibals, and wandered the jungles searching for nomdic tribes and birds of paradise and komodo dragons. I was mesmerized, and I knew that one day I would go to this magical and mysterious place as well.

My plan for Indonesia round one was to tether myself to Ubud Village on the island of Bali for 6 weeks, explore slowly, and let magic unfold as I had back in South India. Inspired by the Ring of Fire brothers, I was going to get swept up in the mystery, I was going to follow magic.

In the past two months since I've left Arambol, I've moved every two weeks, and I've kept busy--not wanting to lose an opportunity to get everything I could out of where I was in two weeks time while still attempting to relax into each environment. That needed to change, but I had inadvertently brought that energy to Bali and I exhausted myself immediately.

Upon arriving in Ubud, sitting in stillness and slowing down did not look promising--there were volcanoes to trek, yoga classes to take, jungles and rice fields to explore, group meetup activities to happen, and let's not forget about the coast and all those beaches! This is Indonesia 2016, not 1972. It has been discovered and developed, and it wants you to know this.

I was not letting stillness and curiosity guide me. I was, as Gurmukh had told us back in Rishikesh, caught in the washing machine. The whack from the medicine man was a reminder of my intention for this year--to move slow, to not try to do everything, especially within my first week of arriving somewhere I was going to be living for the next 6 weeks. It was also a reminder of my Rishikesh lesson--to sit in stillness.

It took me a good week or so to slow down and adjust to living in this bustling little tropical jungle town, to find the hidden sleepy streets and desolate rice fields and oasis coves tucked behind the busy surface. Ubud can be a stimulation overload, but if you hone in on the stillness, you'll be led to the right spots at the right times and the entire town shape-shifts to something altogether sublime and unreal. This is where the mystery begins. This is where magic hides.

Do you tend to get caught up in life and forget to slow down and be still? What do you do to bring yourself back to that point of stillness where you can slow down? What happens when you do? What mysteries are unveiled? 


Letitia Vaughan said...

Love your posts! I live vicariously! Thank you!

Jennifer Walters said...

I was learning qi gong when I was there - probably helped a LOT in not getting swished around in the washing machine. The south of the island is even crazier than Ubud. So glad you are over there right now <3

Sarah Seymour said...

Thank you! I'm grateful to be able to live a life you and others can live vicariously :)

Sarah Seymour said...

I know! Ubud is super nice and lush and pretty, but definitely far busier and more developed than I anticipated!

I went to the south yesterday to visit some of the beaches. Canggu wasn't bad. Driving through Seminyak/Legion/Kuta was the biggest cluster-fuck of people ever and way over developed. It was actually pretty sad to see. I didn't even attempt to go to the beaches. Padang Paddang and Bingin beaches were nice despite the 500 stairs you have to walk down to get to them, but what you have to drive through to get there was worse...yikes. Bingin was actually really nice; I'd definitely spend more time there :) I'm going to check out the north coast next month and the east coast later this summer too!

I'm definitely settling in here, finally! Taking some yoga classes and not trying to do everything helps for sure :)

Thanks for the link to the Yoga Barn--it's the only studio I've found so far that offers Kundalini classes! And I like that they offer more than yoga--they offer some sort of free talk or community class almost every evening.

I'm really glad I'm here too :) And thank you for reading and keeping in touch!