It hit me the first day in Ubud (my first stop in Bali, Indonesia) somewhere between downward dog and cobra pose, quitting my job and putting on a backpack was not going to give me freedom. Peace is created from within and quieting my mind will be a difficult task.
To be honest, I was a little disheartened to have this realization sink in. I am an “achiever” and enjoy the feeling of accomplishing things. The last year and half has been focused on cashing in that one way ticket to Indonesia. I felt proud on my last day at work and when I landed in Bali. I had really done it! I felt like I had accomplished so much and concentrated my efforts in making my dream become a reality. But the truth is, nothing is ever really done…getting here was just the first step.
I left 10 days ago and already so much “stuff” has come up for me. Its crazy what happens when you remove life’s distractions, do a ridiculous amount of yoga, sit under a Banyan tree (see image left), go see a spiritual healer, and travel with three other women focused on self growth. I am starting to comprehend that the journey of the self never really ends. We will never be perfect or finished. Although logically I know this, it is a hard concept for me to feel and know on a deeper level. If you think about it in Western culture we certainly don’t live our lives that way. Everything we do has a goal or end game, e.g. working to…get promoted, make $x, buy a house, get engaged, get married. We set arbitrary goals for ourselves to feel purposeful and to create a reality of starts and ends. Now more than ever, because I am not working, engaging in a daily routine, and have completely removed myself from my “normal” environment, I feel closer to comprehending this reality of things never being finished. In being in this space, I am realizing that I have some anxiety around who I might become, some fear of abandonment and being alone, and have placed pressure on myself for what this blog will be. Acknowledging these feelings and uncertainty makes me feel freer and allows me to let it go of these thoughts. I will do my best to observe my thoughts without judgement. I will try my best to embrace the internal struggle because I know although counter-intuitive, it will give me peace.
I will leave you with something I have observed here in Bali that has moved me. Most folks here in Bali are Hindu (although Indonesia is primarily Muslim) and as part of their Hindu traditions they put out daily offerings to both the gods and demons. At first I didn’t know what the offerings were for and assumed they were for their gods. When I asked a local to tell me about them, I was surprised to hear that there was a daily offering made to the “evil spirits.” I asked him why? He told me that is was important to acknowledge the evil spirits and to honor both the good and the bad – this is the only way to have a balanced life. I am sure I am butchering the larger meaning (I do not pretend to be an expert in Balinese culture and invite those who know more to comment), but from this exchange I took away a beautiful message. We cannot run away from the bad or the uncomfortable. We cannot pretend like its not there. We must embrace the struggle as it is necessary to enjoy and partake in the good. I will try and take this mantra with me as I face this uncertain journey and work to overcome the difficult thoughts ahead.