Oh, hello again! It has been a good chunk of time since I have written here. Almost three weeks, to be exact.
Where have I been and what have I been up to?
Well, I have been soaking up every experience I can while we are living here in Bali, and I let this blog fall to the back burner. A lot has happened since my last post.
We moved from Canggu to Ubud. We went on a waterfall hike through the jungle and through rice fields. I crashed the scooter with Lauren on the back of me (luckily nobody else was involved and we are both OK). We got caught in the rain A LOT. Our friend, Carlos, turned 29. Three new people joined us on The Remote Experience. We rode ATV's through the jungle. We watched from the other side of the world as a new president of the United States was elected. We learned to cook traditional Balinese dishes. We visited the Sacred Monkey Forest and fended off the monkey-thieves. I hiked to the highest peak on the island. We engaged and interacted with the local people at every turn. We visited a healer. And in between all of this we have been working and exercising every single day.
Life here in Ubud is much different. While there are still plenty of tourists, less of them actually stay here in Ubud than in Canggu. In Canggu, there was quite the nightlife scene. It seemed as though every night there was something going on SOMEWHERE around town. Here it is much more quiet.
Before arriving, I heard that Ubud is the 'spiritual mecca' of the island. Between the high concentration of temples and yoga studios, I feel that it is an accurate description. Not to mention the local people here, who are mostly devout Hindus. They are kind, patient, and charming. Every encounter I was greeted with a smile.
Ubud quickly grew on me because of all of the beautiful people and culture everywhere we went.
If I had to choose only three of the experiences that I had, they would be the following:
1) Taking a cooking class.
The cooking class that we took was called the K'dong ding cooking school. It was located several minutes outside of Ubud, in their family's complex. I say complex because this place was massive. They had 4 generations of family, around 42 people, living on this property. Nyoman (the name given to the 3rd born of the family in Balinese tradition) picked us all up at our villa and shuttled us to his home. He was happy to tell us all about his culture and answer any and all questions we had.
Upon arriving at their complex, he showed us around the property. It had everything that anyone could possibly need. A little farm with a cow and chickens, different buildings for his brothers' families, his parents, and grandparents, their family temple where they held ceremonies, and the place where they all gathered to talk about anything and everything. My favorite insight that he shared with us regarded problems. Everyone has their problems. But, in his opinion, all of our problems are too big for our little heads. If we don't talk about them with our family or friends, then they will never get resolved and those problems will drive us crazy eventually. That really struck a cord with me.
Our culture is one that promotes suppressing feelings. Their culture is just the opposite. Talk about your feelings so that they don't destroy your peace of mind. I loved hearing that, and it couldn't have come at a better time because earlier that day we just watched helplessly as the new president of the United States was elected. Almost everyone felt disheartened and down about the election results, so visiting Nyoman and his family came at the perfect time.
Not to mention we made and ate some pretty delicious food that night!
2) Meeting my new friend, Muhmar Rowi.
That very same night that we went to the cooking class, I was unable to sleep. There was a lot on my mind and I was restless. I had to get out of the room, so I left and went for a ride on the scooter while Lauren was asleep.
I didn't have any plan or any place in mind when I left. It was about 11:30 PM and the town was pretty much shut down. There weren't many lights on or people driving on the road. I was driving for maybe 30 minutes when I passed by a man painting next to the road. The light from his studio behind him illuminated the canvas he was working on. I stopped, turned around, and pulled up next to him. He looked a bit confused as I shut off the scooter and dismounted. I asked if I could look at his art and he happily stopped what he was doing to walk me around his studio and show me some of his pieces.
Once I saw all of his paintings there, he invited me across the street to his HOME to show me more of his work.
Here I was, middle of the night, a complete stranger to this man, when he invited me into his HOME and offered to make me coffee while he shared the rest of his art with me. I was warmed by his hospitality and friendliness. He is such a genuine person doing what he loves to do, and I am/was incredibly moved by our encounter. He's someone I won't soon forget, and I am grateful for having met him and seen his beautiful art.
3) Visiting a Healer.
On our second to last day on the island, we decided to tag along to go and visit a healer. It had been on Lauren's list of things she absolutely had to do, so when we heard one of our fellow remotes was going the next day, we jumped on the opportunity to tag along.
We were picked up by our guide, Gede, who gave us a little background on the healer and what to expect.
We learned that this man, the healer (who's name I cannot remember), is 92 years old, and has been practicing healing for over 40 years! It is in his genetics. Not just anybody could be a healer. His father was a healer, and so was his father's father, and so on.
When we arrived at his home, there were already about 5 people ahead of us in line. We got to observe in awe as this elderly man took a moment to read the person he was healing. They sat at his feet with their back against his knees and he ran his hands over their head, face, and shoulders. Some people winced in pain when he touched certain spots, while others seemed relatively unbothered. Apparently this cursory reading told the healer a lot that he needed to know about the person- from their physical health, to their mental and spiritual health.
He then has them lay down on a bamboo mat and proceeds to trace over their bodies with a wooden stick. After not long he began poking the stick around each to of the left foot. Each place represents a different part of our bodies. One toe tells him how healthy the blood is, another tells him about the kidneys, and another about the lungs, and so on and so forth. Some people were writhing in pain when he touched the stick to the right toes, and just like before, some were just fine. After standing at their feet and saying a prayer/giving a blessing he was back at it with the stick. To all of our surprise there seemed to be no more pain when he touched the stick to the problem toes.
I watched as he healed several strangers and a few of my friends.
I was nervous to learn what he noticed in me. In fact, I was actually scared that he was going to give me some bad news.
I was pleasantly surprised when he felt my face, head, and lymph nodes, and said something along the lines of, "You are so healthy! Why are you here? What do you want?"
I was caught off guard by this.
Surely there was something wrong with me! At least that is what I was telling myself.
He had me lay down on the mat and proceeded to prod my toes with his stick. I noted just a slight discomfort at one part of my toe that he was poking at. Not pain, just discomfort.
He then told me that I have a healthy body, but I still worry a too much. He told me to listen to my heart, not my mind, because my mind has a way of turning things negative.
This was exactly what I needed to hear, and he knew it.
I find it interesting how deep down, we all really know what is wrong or right with ourselves, but for some reason we seek outside opinion. It is almost as if we don't trust our intuition enough. As though we value the opinion of others more than our own.
This realization was a great reminder for me to stop being so concerned with what others may think, and to be more concerned with how I feel about myself and my relationship with myself.
It's really important to cultivate a strong relationship with the self, to listen to your heart rather than your mind, and to be OK with feeling every range of emotion this human experience has to offer.
And that brings me back to the title of this post- "What to do when you 'just aren't feeling it.'"
This past month in Ubud I had let myself slip into this sort of funk of "just not feeling it." I wasn't feeling creative or inspiring. So I just told myself, "No big deal, write something when you are 'feeling it.'"
But that time didn't really ever come.
I still have a hard time articulating my thoughts in a cohesive, captivating, and concise way. But that is OK. Sometimes, when you aren't feeling it, you just have to sit down and do it.
Don't get this confused with forcing something. Rather, realize that conditions will hardly ever be perfect for whatever it is that you are trying to do- whatever risk you are trying to take, or art you are trying to create. Sometimes you just have to put in the hard work when you don't feel like it. Taking action is a beautiful thing.
I believe that the saying is, "You don't have to be perfect to start, but you have to start to be perfect."
While I believe that perfection is attainable in every moment of our lives, through practicing contentment, I do not believe that the societal definition of perfection is out there. Nothing is ever going to be exactly what you want it to be, but you just have to put one foot in front of the other, and take action.
So that is what I am doing here.
I am taking action.
Getting back to this blog.
Getting back to doing what I said I was going to do, because I said I was going to do it.
The most important commitments you can keep are the ones to yourself.
And if you are still reading at this point, I fucking love you. and I genuinely mean that.
Here are the videos that I've been working on :)
Week 1 in Ubud:
Week 4- The Thanksgiving edition
Again, much love to you.
As always, my door is always open to all. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Or just want someone to talk to-- I am always here!