There’s something quite magnetic about Bali. From the moment you step off the plane and are hit with that sweet combination of incense, balinese ciggies, petrol and sweat to the dizzying humidity and heat. You’re pulled into her magnetism, and it’s hard to ever want to let go.
Mantra: Flow, don’t force
One thing you learn quite quickly is that beyond Indonesia’s beautiful beaches, lush jungles, deep spirituality and friendly people, is that she’s ruled entirely by Mother Nature. No other place in the world have I been that is so intrinsically connected to the flow of nature. And by that I mean, you quite literally can’t make too many plans because Mother Nature most likely has an entirely different agenda.
Our first visit to Indonesia was in 2015. We couldn’t even fly directly into Lombok from Singapore because Mount Rinjani, their very active volcano, was going off, covering the sky in a shroud of smoke. So instead we were diverted to Jakarta for one night, then flew Jakarta to Denpasar and 2 days later took a boat to the Gili Islands. We missed our days on Gili T, and had to go straight to Gili Air. During our time there in the Gilis, we were underwater diving when an earthquake shook the ocean floor. In situations like that, you realise just how small you are and how little control you really have.
Flow with Bali
Fast forward three years – we land in Bali, planning to spend 1 night in Kuta before heading to Nusa Lembongan for a week of luxury. Unbeknownst to us, the swell off Bali was so big that they hadn’t been running ferries to the islands for a week, and didn’t plan on running ferries for another week! Those plans had to be scrapped pretty quickly. We thought maybe we’d head up to Amed, a diver’s haven in East Bali, but we heard the active volcano nearby was making it hard for tourists to get in and out of the exclusion zone. Mama Bali was not going to make this one easy!
We finally decided, in the very late hours of our first night, to land ourselves in Canggu for the week – a cute surf village north of the main tourist area. I’ve always wanted to visit here. Friends have boasted of the delicious healthy food, great yoga and relaxed vibe, so we thought this could be the perfect spot to hole up for the next 6 days.
And it was exactly where we needed be. We actually forgot about how many random errands we needed to run before going to the Gilis, and Canggu had all of the necessary stores and markets we needed. I ran into a friend I met online 3 years ago in the Canggu market and got to hang with her for the first time in real life. I experienced the absolute divine beauty that is The Practice yoga studio, and we both got to surf, relax by the beach and recalibrate before heading off to the smaller islands.
One morning when I ran into my friend again, she had asked if we felt the big earthquake that morning that rocked Lonbok (where we are flying to in 2 days time.) Neither of us had felt it! This was just another massive reminder that we are not in control and we need to surrender into the flow of Mother Nature. To trust that every moment is the right moment, the only moment. To trust that the universe has our back and the more we try to control the environment we’re in, the more the environment will remind us of her power.
Be here now
I truly believe this lesson needed to be learned early on in our travels. These setbacks would have been the “end of the world” to me last time we traveled Asia. I probably would have thrown a fit for days and lamented over the fact that we weren’t lounging in our gorgeous villa on Nusa Lembongan. The commitment to my practice and my ever-growing faith in the universe has honestly transformed the way I view “difficult” situations. After all, there’s no other option, no other situation. The only thing that is true is this present moment. So we can either suffer by focusing on what could have or should have been; or we can enjoy the beautiful present moment given to us. And I gotta say, writing on our balcony with a coconut and some watermelon, hearing the prayers from the nearby temple, and the ocean breeze against my skin… It’s a pretty good moment to be in 🙂
We’ll be leaving this little slice of paradise soon to head to the Gilis. We originally planned to take the ferry, but as the story goes, the swell is still too big and we had to book flights to Lombok and then take a boat from Lombok to the Gilis.
Our saving grace through all of this has been a handful of really amazing people – Made, our driver; Carmen, Sam’s friend from High School, and the friendliest faces across Canggu in the shape of Warung owners, guesthouse staff and more.
The more we let go and flow with the rhythms of Mother Nature, the more present and in alignment we are to our own true nature.