After last week Sunday’s Motorbike Exploration day, I dreamt I was riding a scooter and I felt safe and free and happy. And because we spoke about how dreams were very important to Balinese people and most messages came to the priests via dreams, the next day I booked a second scooter lesson to give the thing I hated so much another try. By the end of the session, a new friend and I decided we’d rent a scooter and share it for the remainder of the trip. Since then I rode around the neighbourhood in which I’m staying, and did a round trip from Ubud to Canggu. I should probably mention most of Bali’s roads do not have traffic lights. I should also probably mention that the first 55-minute long journey was at night.
It was such a rush!
The transition from scared shitless to confident to cautious to uncertain to self-doubt to trust was amazing and I’m not sure how riding a scooter on an Indonesian road in the middle of the night to go to a party on the beach teaches you how to trust yourself and those around you, but it sure as hell did. I had to trust that I would not fall off the bike, that the people overtaking me knew what they were doing and I was not bothering them or in their way, and that when I had to turn right on a T intersection with no traffic light to assist me, tell myself, ” You got this!” Because what I did learn is that from the moment you doubt your abilities, doubt yourself, your body gives you away, your knees start to wobble and when your knees wobble, the scooter wobbles and instead of driving in a straight line, you’re now struggling to balance and remember what is gas and brakes and which button turns on the indicator. But whenever I whispered to myself words of maybe false ripe confidence, my body was alert, my shoulders relaxed, and the ride so steady.
I never in life would’ve expected riding a scooter in Bali to teach me how to trust myself. But it did and continues to every time I ride it. And I haven’t fallen yet.
A not-so-quick recap of the past 10 days!
Wednesday (12): Lunch+Learn
In this week’s session we talked about our life’s goals and did a worksheet to figure out where we needed to do more work. It was a stressful exercise I did not enjoy because it reminded me of all the things I wasn’t doing. It was also the first time I really thought about back home since I got here and I wasn’t ready to pop my Bali bubble just yet. Later on I went to a workshop entitled How to Love and Be Loved at Outpost Ubud. It honestly wasn’t as revelatory as I expected but I learnt a couple things about myself which will come in handy in the future.
Thursday (13): Sound Healing
I went to the Pyramids of Chi with a smaller group of fellow Unsettlers for a sound healing session. A little under 2 hours in a 21st century man-made pyramid (The Sun Pyramid to be precise), laying on a bed with an eye mask filled with volcanic sand made by children in a local school for the deaf, listening to various instrumental sounds and feeling their vibrations, combined with some very specific natural scents. To say it was a surreal experience is an understatement, but I will say this, my recently regular menstrual cycle was off by a week (probably due to travel and stress), however Aunt Flow arrived after the session. The rest of the day was spent in isolation.
Friday (14): Rain!
Our Friday trip go cancelled due to rain. And a weekend trip I was not going to also got cancelled because the ports were closed… due to rain. So naturally we borrowed a projector and watched Eat Pray Love…in Bali. Yes. I know. I know.
(I would like to mention that some folks had never seen it before.)
Saturday (15): Mala Making
I organised a mini mala making workshop at the villa and 2 souls joined me on a 2 hour journey. I call it a journey because I never thought making a beaded necklace could be so taxing, stressful, emotional and life altering. A mala is a string of beads used for meditation, a rosary for meditating if you will allow me the analogy. There are 108 beads on a mala: 1 representing oneness, 0 representing never-ending, and 8 representing infinity. In addition to the sandalwood beads we got to choose 22 crystals that represented something for us individually. The part of the workshop took the longest: choosing our crystals. We each put so much thought and intention into each selection. Then we started beading and designing our mala, which was fun and fine until we arrived to the knots. There’s a knot in between each bead (not crystal) on a mala. That’s roughly 86 knots. The technique was not easy for any of us and we struggled with the 12 we had to make (our lovely workshop instructor made the majority of our knots for us, thankfully!) Those knots taught us patience, but they also made us bond with our unique malas in a way the crystals didn’t. It now meant something a bit more to us and it was ours.
Sunday (16): Sunday Funday!
The sun came out and a group of 5 set out at 7am to go DDI (down the islands). Lol. I mean to Nusa Penida. We booked a tour, organised transport and were off. We quickly learnt that ferries mean different things in different countries as we hoped onto our fast boat by wading through water on a beach. this boat resembled a glass bottom boat in size and structure, but had regular ferry seating. It was rough, it was wet, it was quite nauseating for folks like me who suffer from motion sickness but our adventure had only just begun. Our first stop was to Tembeling Natural Pool and Forest and involved a ride on the back of a motorbike down a dirt track towards the steep steps we then had to climb down to reach the beautiful sites. I was exhausted! The other 2 stops luckily were a lot more relaxing and we ended the day with another boat adventure due to high tide. We couldn’t get off the boat. Obviously we eventually did (30 minutes later). When I finally got back to the villa that day, I then hoped on my scooter and drove to Canggu to meet some gals for a night of partying at Old Man’s!
Monday (17): Canggu!
I overnighted at Canggu, had a wonderful breakfast and worked at Outpost’s Canggu location all day before heading back to Ubud for a full moon party. I left the party after the cacao ceremony. Exhausted and uninspired by the muchness of it all.
Tuesday (18): Werk!
Due to my “impure state” I missed the temple visit that day so I spent the day at Outpost Ubud working. Two of my fellow Unsettlers hosted a website workshop that evening and then we headed over to the villa for a rescheduled Family Night Dinner hosted by the lovely Halah Banna who cooked us Lebanese food. It was orgasmic, truly!
Wednesday (19): Beach!
One of our flock unfortunately has to leave us before the end of the month, so on Wednesday we tried to co-ordinate a day for her by the beach. We went to a beach/pool club called Potato Head in the morning and then celebrated life a bit later at La Plancha with magic sunsets and good times. Although the day ended with a HUGE bill and a lot of confusion about who ordered what, it was truly a day of good intentions.
Thursday (20): Ikigai
I started the morning by going to a poetry workshop hosted by Sabrina. It was great! Even though I missed the first one, I got to write a haiku and start a poem on choice. It felt great to write again. Our Lunch and Learn got pushed to today due to Wednesday’s beach day and we talked about purpose and ikigai. It was a really great session I enjoyed way more than the previous one. Later on that day while randomly walking into a bookstore, I found a book entitled: Ikigai (gasp!) and spent the evening learning more about this Okinawan way of life. I highly suggest reading it!
Friday (20): After Mount Batur, I tended to my wounds, did some work and went to a farewell dinner for one of our dear ones who had to return to motherhood and wife duties a bit sooner than planned. We dined at Dumbo, I went by scooter 🙂 but we were all so tired from the hike that it was a short stay.
More soon! 🖤