on the island of Bali, Indonesia.
I reluctantly left the ashram today.
I went in for the hug with everyone there... some were warm and welcoming and some were super awkward... but i felt so much love for all of them, i had to hug them Amma style.
I walked out the ashram doors and climbed aboard the "shuttle bus" - an old volkswagon vanagan style van- sticky stick shift smelly thing that was SO loud... oh my god, it was so loud.
my surfboard bag was squeezed in and pretty much smashed against the back of the driver's head.
back to the "real world" of horn honking and playing chicken with oncoming drivers along the hair pin turns the weave through the rice patties and coconut groves.
I'm not sure why they even bother painting lines on the roads here.
I closed my eyes and relaxed my neck, my jaw, and the muscles around my eyes as I had been doing during every puja at the ashram... fully sinking into the moment and drinking it all in with my inhales.
I was now drinking in diesel fumes and my body was bouncing and dancing with the jerking motions of the van as sweat beaded on my face and the backs of my knees.
"we change to big bus in ubud!" the driver cranked his neck around the surf board bag and called back to me over the roar of his little van.
I opened one eye and nodded.
I was the only passenger so I felt comfortable sitting crossed legged and letting myself relax on the back seat. I had a moment of realizing that this heavy, honey-like peace I had been able to find in meditation at the ashram was accessible to be even now as we bobbed and swerved across this island.
I started to reflect on the past week (which ofcourse feels like a lifetime)...
last week I was in Balian (directly west on the opposite coast of bali) at jenny's house.
I was doing my usual "surf" routine of sitting on a board and avoiding waves... and then my friend Russell came to Indonesia, post India and Nepal trek with a mission to surf for a month.
I of course wanted to help him escape from kuta chaos and jen said it would be fine for him to come up to Balian for the night...
immediately I was infected with his super motivated kid from west LA world traveller with a goal kinda attitude and got right on board with him... literally.
i refused to take no for an answer.
i bought the surf board I had been renting for about 70 dollars and 2 kisses... because I liked it.... it was a total ghetto hooptie I could trash and not feel bad about and most importantly because I was proving to myself that if I wanted something I should go get it...
and I really wanted to kill my weird self-imposed fears of surfing once and for all.
in fact, russell and I decided to hire Jenny to take us on a four day surf trip around Bali.
we came back to seminyak first and spent the night with yuko.
Jen met us in the moring in a car she rented and we headed south to "The Bukit"...
we started the surf trip a-la-girls(andboy)on-board at Dreamland beach...
a crazy chaotic tourist beach that made my skin crawl... but there were no waves to climb aboard...
so we decided to get in the water anyways and just charge it out of there - paddling all the way around the the next surf break which is called Balangan.
We paddled for what seemed like an hour - past all these beautiful cliff-sides and through garbage-y waters which broke my heart and finally around a point, arriving and falling directly in to the lineup at Balangan.
The waves were perfect and the people were rad-i-culous...
i had so much fun making friends out at that point break, and found myself actually catching waves, and getting fully worked at one point - hitting my head on the reef and recognizing that although it's scary, it's not THAT bad... there are much worse things in life then getting trapped between white water fury and the jagged reef.
well, i mean - that certainly makes it sound dramatic... but in the grand scheme of life - i would say its about a 4 on the shitty scale.
not the bad.
I finally felt like my stupid fears were lifting.
I especially had fun bantering in the water and then afterwards at the pondok bar with a witty australian dude that i just might keep in touch with.
that night our friend gina who had stayed at togat nusa last month, came and met us for the night! we went out to dinner and drank wine and laughed. she had gone on yuko's charter boat "the budgidari" after she left the island... ironically i had come to yuko's house in seminyak.
that night we all slept in the little shacks on balangan beach...
I felt like i was belongin' at balangan.
the next morning the waves were double the size, so not by fear but rather by intelligence i stayed closer to shore riding a smaller wave instead of the big one that was barreling out where i had been the day before.
After lunch we headed to another break further south called "Bingin" where Russell got eaten by the reef and we got some killer Gado-Gado (my new favorite food)...
As the sun started setting we went over to Uluwatu and climbed through the caves, ending up on the very top at a restaurant that looked all the way from Ulus to Balangan and drank Margaritas as a band played and surfers cruised around smiling and dancing.
We found our way back to Balangan and passed out early...
The next morning we headed East and North to a break up near the Ashram that i was going to, called Jasri. It is a right breaking wave which is pretty rare in Indonesia it seems. There was very little swell but we had a good time regardless sitting in the water making up funny jokes about rainbow barrel beam eyesight and a bunch of other inside jokes that only Jenny and Russell would get.
I wish i had a camera in the water, because it was so beautiful looking at the coconut trees all lines up against the water with giant Mount Agung in the background... it seems no wonder that it is such a sacred mountain to the Balanese.
That night we slept in the most beautiful villa in Seraya near Candidasa and i felt i had been there before and seriously want to rent it for a year... it felt like the most familiar, beautiful, peaceful place that i could see myself having yoga retreats or something from. It sat right on the water and was just everything i could ever want in a house.
I gave Jenny and Russell a yoga class at sunset and then we went to Vincent's (a Van Gough inspired restaurant) in Candidasa...
the next morning i checked into the Ashram... and that is another story... or rather ten more stories... i have a feeling i will come back to the Ashram stories time and time again in the future blogs...
All i can say about it right now is that time ceased to exist... i didn't need an alarm to wake up at 4:30am for the 5am sunrise puja... i can honestly say i am not sure i have ever been so peaceful and heavy with calm, weighted, grounded energy.
What is with me right now that i will share is this: (part of malam puja)
"THINKING ABOUT SENSE OBJECTS WILL ATTACH YOU TO SENSE OBJECTS...
GROW ATTACHED AND YOU BECOME ADDICTED...
THWART YOUR ADDICTION AND IT TURNS TO ANGER...
BE ANGRY AND YOU CONFUSE THE MIND...
CONFUSE THE MIND, YOU FORGET THE LESSON OF EXPERIENCE...
FORGET EXPERIENCE, YOU LOSE DISCRIMINATION...
LOSE DISCRIMINATION AND YOU MISS LIFE'S ONLY PURPOSE."
ya... marinate on that one guys.
don't you worry - i will share much about that ashRAM RAM RAM adventure.
one week, that seemed like a month... culminating in this moment - riding on an old huge shuttle bus (ya - we changed to big bus in ubud alright)... just a gigantic monster of a hooptie bus falling apart at the hinges - bouncing and bobbing along the Bali highway...
I giggle to myself as i take in this moment.
My mother would be cracking up. In fact, she WILL crack up when i tell her the story, painting the picture of this moment, that could be in an episode of I Love Lucy.
Everyone's luggage is falling and crashing all over the place as the driver slams the stick shift into gear.
I can see his reflection, his apathetic looking face through the giant rear-view mirror that i am fairly sure he doesn't even know exists, since he seems to have no interest in glancing in it...
He is continually yawning and chain-smoking clove cigarettes, seemingly oblivious to the chaos of the toppling bags and surf boards and people yelling in various languages.
His driver's hand radio is clicking and babbling to his uninterested ears.
He makes a wide, careless turn onto a tiny country dirt road and immediately i start laughing and shaking my head.
i mean- look at this bus - look at that road... there is no way.
he charges on down the road.
i mean - shit... what if another car comes?
as SOON as that thought entered my head, an equally huge Petramina fuel truck comes flying around the bend.
now, i am not kidding when i say that our truck takes up the ENTIRE road... and we are facing a truck that also takes up it's side of this square off. We are shoulder-to-shoulder one way.
Without even batting an eye, our driver yawns and starts turning his giant wheel to the left, smashing the wheels and windows against the rice patty on the side of the street as the Petramina truck does the same.
Now, I didn't SEE our truck actually eat the Alice & Wonderland cake, but I assure you we must have.
Each truck took turns inching past one another - the drivers with their heads hung out the window watching the miracle as they all but scrape by one another, but neither driver even saying a word - unimpressed with the amazing feat of spacial awareness that just took place.
All of a sudden we are free and continue to bob along the road... back to playing chicken with oncoming motorbikes.
It made me think...
Indonesians cut EVERYTHING so close to the wire... it really takes an enormous amount of trust to just GO.
As Americans we leave SO much space... so much buffer padding room, but say we are broke, we say we are late, we say we are out, and there is no room (when in reality there totally is)...
All there is is space.
Think about the room you are sitting in right now. Look around at the ratio of stuff to space... look at the space between your fingers and toes... and then the space around your body and above your head, in front and in back and on all sides of you...
Yet... we don't see the space somehow.
Indonesians say "you'll be alright... just do it... there is room."
They sleep 6 people in one bedroom
They arrive at the airport for a flight 15 minutes before taking off...
They play chicken while driving and seem to just nip by one another, but in reality, there is plenty of space.
We ARE alright.
I am learning this.
I am learning to trust.