I feel so blessed to live in this sacred place. I am re-connecting with the power of ceremony and ritual in ways I have never known were possible. This video was taken a few days ago during our excursion to Besakih, the Mother Temple of Bali. I feel so fortunate to have been embraced and welcomed with such love.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Life on the island has definitely not been tropical paradise for me! I have been chewed up, spit out, and left to pick up the pieces that remained of my life. I have also begun the most magnificent journey back to myself. Here in Bali is where I found what I thought I had lost forever.
Just like the lotus flower, emerging out of the mud below, my inner Light has finally been given room to come out and shine. This process hasn't been easy. There have been painful moments of deep despair as the layers have lifted, one by one. As difficult as it might be, I am so grateful for every bit of it.
As the "liver of the world," Bali has this way of inviting us to filter out what is no longer serving us and allow what is authentic and true to remain. I believe this is why so many of us are pulled here. Deep healing takes place on this land. I have seen many life transformations occur, my own included!
I often ponder just what it is about this place that encourages all of this healing and transformation. What I keep coming back to is this: everything is acknowledged here - the dark as well as the light. There is no running from the things that we most fear. The rituals of the Balinese people respect even the shadow sides of life. The rhythms of spirit and nature intertwine with the rhythms of daily life. There is a flow that is embraced.
We can actually sink deep into our souls here.
I didn't always view it this way. For quite some time, I wondered why the heck I was still supposed to be here. All I wanted to do was run far from this place, in search of what was familiar. Something kept stopping me. Now I know why.
I couldn't have done the deep inner work anywhere else. It would have been too easy to fall into old patterns of denial and habit. I would have been way too comfortable with the foundation I had created, not realizing that I needed the existing foundation to crumble away so that a new one could be constructed. It is here where I am able to nurture these newly planted seeds and allow them to grow and blossom.
Bali has given me the greatest gift. She has shown me who I really am.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
|My friend, Putu, with Dhanvantari, the Hindu God of Healing|
As a healing practitioner, I am fascinated by Bali's healing traditions (also known as Bali Usadha). I've been living on this little island for four years now and haven't even scratched the surface of this topic. Little by little, I am exploring the methods and practices used by Balinese healers. Some are familiar and some are so far from anything I have ever experienced before. It's definitely inviting me to expand my own ingrained beliefs!
It's not always easy to find traditional healers. Many are tucked away in their villages, only available to the local community. Some accept visits by foreigners, however, may not openly share some of the more mystical or magical components of their practices. I have learned to use my intuition in the process of choosing a healer.
My first visit to a "Balian" (traditional Balinese healer) was shortly after arriving on the island. A friend of mine said I must go see this man. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. When I arrived, he seemed to know what I was there for, even before I said a word. During my treatment, I watched as he gathered flowers, shaved sandalwood, and put the mixture in his mouth to chew on for a bit. He told me to close my eyes and before I realized what was taking place, he had spit the concoction onto my temples and forehead. :) I must say that I didn't mind this at all. There was something very nurturing about this man that gave me a sense of peace. I left there feeling clearer and less disturbed by constant mind chatter. I've visited him several times, each time experiencing something a bit different.
I recall another experience with a healer who uses a more western approach (by diagnosing disease) in combination with practices that he developed on his own. This experience was one that I would only do once! It felt more like a torture session than a healing treatment. When he said his motto was "no pain, no gain," I knew I was probably in for something beyond what I am comfortable with. Two hours later, I left there with huge bruises all over my body, some taking more than two weeks to heal. I was told that these were all the toxins leaving and this is a good thing. Perhaps that is true. I just don't think I would go that route again! Maybe a 7-day cleanse is more my cup of tea. :)
My absolute favorite healer simply uses Divine energy to heal. He doesn't see the need to diagnose or focus on problems (although he is very aware where they may be). He simply connects with Divine Love (my words) and allows the healing energy to flow where it needs to, trusting that it is removing all of the blocks and bringing the body, mind, emotions, and soul back into beautiful harmony. And that is exactly what happens. He then offers suggestions for keeping things flowing, including herbal medicine, natural foods, meditation practices, and mantras.
For the Balinese, seeking out Balians is not something that is openly talked about. Many healers prefer not to use the term "healer" or "Balian." They prefer to simply be known as someone who helps people who are not well. Probably because there are some who use their supernatural connections for harm rather than good. Black magic is what we may refer to it as. I have seen several cases of this and witnessed the removal of the "spells" (again, my own wording) as well. It's quite an ordeal. I'll leave it at that!
Traditional Balinese healing almost always has a deep spiritual component. Karma has a lot to do with it all. Rarely is illness looked at from a purely physical viewpoint. There is an underlying component linked to the unseen world. For the Balinese, the unseen world is as real and alive as the seen. So of course healing will incorporate the spirit world. Mantras, chants, offerings to the gods, ceremonies, and rituals of all sorts are often used. It can feel very magical at times. I have personally seen things happen that cannot be explained by logic.
My journey into Bali Usadha has only touched the outer layers. I hope to learn much more about this ancient wisdom. In no way do I pretend to understand it. What I share is only what comes through my personal filters. It is something to be respected and viewed with an open mind and heart.
This sacred island is experiencing the less-than-desirable effects of tourism at such a rapid pace now. It is so important for all of us to remember to tread lightly here. The roots of Balinese culture deserve to be respected and preserved. I can only hope that I will be able to do my part. It is an honor to be welcomed here.
The words written here are only my personal thoughts and experiences, and in no way represent the viewpoints of the Balinese.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Every time I leave an Agni Hotra fire ceremony, I feel completely renewed. There's something purely magical about this ceremony. The more I surrender, the freer I become. Last night, as we welcomed in the full moon, I allowed myself to let go of so many things that have been getting in my way. This powerful ceremony has come into my life when I really need it most.
Bali has a way of providing us with what we need... even if we don't think we're ready. :) For this, I am grateful.
I recently wrote a post HERE that describes my personal experience of Agni Hotra.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
This place that I call "home" has been one of bittersweet experiences. For nearly a decade, I have lived on foreign land, trying the best I can to belong. There have been times of great struggle, nearly leaving me battered beyond repair. There have also been times of immense joy as I realize my true purpose on this planet.
Bali has taken me in, thrown me out, invited me to the deepest depths of despair, and lifted me back up again, to heights I never could have imagined before. She doesn't give me any room for false perceptions. Like a mirror to my own Soul, this island has shown me who I really am, even when I have wanted to run in the other direction out of fear.
I have decided to dedicate a space just for my life in Bali. This will certainly evolve naturally over time, just as my sacred space, Inner Bliss, has. There will be photos, stories, and all sorts of things related to this mystical place. I won't try and plan it all out in advance. It will be a journey, just as all of life is.
I invite you to join me.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Om