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Beautiful Bali: Part 1

It’s been a few days since I returned home from what was one of the most profound trips over the sea in my 29 years on this earth.  I’m still trying to hold onto the warmth of the Balinese sunshine and the feeling of freedom, self-discovery and the awesomeness of being part of a group of Goddesses.  This could quite possibly be a very long blog post in which case it might be divided into a series of posts.  Please bear with me, but hopefully it’s all worth the read.

When I phoned my Dad in November last year to tell him that I would be spending ten days on a Yoga holiday in Bali he responded as any normal supportive father would (I suppose);

“Ok Lei.  You must do what makes you happy, but what are you going for?  Are you going to do a bit of soul searching?”

My answer (although at the time I didn’t know how true it would ring);

“Haha!  Yes Dad, I suppose I am going to do a bit of soul searching, but mostly, I just need a holiday and a change of scenery.”

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I had been wanting to go on this trip for nearly two years.  I’d written “Yoga in Bali” on my kitchen blackboard in 2013 and had never rubbed it off.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, being a self-employed PT and Pilates teacher in the first few years of business, but I knew I was going to do Yoga in Bali.

No, I am not a Yogi.  I don’t even attend regular Yoga classes.  I’ve done Yoga, but I’m definitely no pro nor am I particularly spiritual (or am I?)… But Yoga in Bali spoke to my soul… so Yoga in Bali it was going to be!

I was roughly R10 000 short of being able to settle the final payment in April 2015 when my accountant emailed me to say I would be receiving a pleasant present from the Taxman.  Mind boggled and bowing down to the universe and all its wonder, I settled my final payment.  Sh*t just got real.

Now, let me put my emotional and physical state into some sort of perspective leading up to this pilgrimage over the sea (yes, I used the word pilgrimage).  Hmmm… picture a fuzzy haired, red eyed, clogged up, inflamed, achy, panicked, highly strung, control freak to the max, pessimistic, overly-emotional, tearful, unsure and demotivated lump of a human.  Not sure if that’s even close to what I felt like pre-Bali but it paints a picture of sorts.

Basically, I was a functioning wreck who desperately needed to press the restart button!

Sometimes I wonder if having a normal job and earning a regular salary would work better for my personality type but this journey proved that I am in the right place in my life and a “normal” job would absolutely NOT work for my personality type!  Lol.  What was I thinking?!

I need to quickly mention, before we get to Bali, that I am not a very good traveller.  I like my space, my stuff and my own bed.  I am also fiercely independent so I have NO idea why I was attracted to travelling with a group of women I barely knew, but hey, the universe works in strange ways.

It’s time to travel and I have barely slept a wink.  The night before my flight I toss and turn questioning everything that’s happening in my life.  Going backwards and forwards between options, possibilities, solutions, eventually working myself into such a panic that I feel it rising up into my throat.  (Did I mention that I had been suffering from mini panic attacks for a few months?)

I need this holiday more than I can comprehend and so, I arrive at the airport at 7am and try to prepare myself for the 14hour journey ahead… completely sleep deprived and on edge.  Trying with all my might to be friendly, alert and excited I meet some of the women I’m to spend most of my time with (we are picking someone up in Johannesburg and the other two are already in Bali).  Good grief I need sleep!

The journey was pleasant considering it was a 14hour journey.  We arrived in Denpasar, Bali to the smiling faces and sun kissed bodies of our Yoga teacher, Sharni and her Yoga Angel, Bianca.  Immediately I look at these women and think to myself “Will I EVER radiate this energy and look as physically healthy as these women!?” I immediately pledge that I will be leaving Bali with a tan like Bianca’s (which, by the way proved extremely difficult, because she lives on a boat in Fiji and is a Yoga and SUP instructor!  Like, really?  Really!?).

We have arrived on the day of Galungan, the Balinese holiday of Prosperity and the day the ancestral spirits visit the earth.  The streets are lined with huge bamboo poles called Penjor which are elaborately decorated and quite beautiful.  We are told by our guide that it is a blessing to arrive in Bali on this special day.  Whether this is a clever quip for us tourists, I’m not quite sure but I do feel overwhelmingly blessed to be in this place and quickly learn the Balinese believe in Karma, so perhaps he in is fact not lying.  Blessed indeed it turns out.

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The Penjor that line the streets during Galungan.

The heat and the sunshine is a welcome treat.  The hotel has a massive swimming pool and I don’t hesitate to don my bikini and jump straight in.  Stuff it.  I talk myself out of being body conscious on this holiday.  I’m not perfect and I’m going to try really hard to let go of negative thought patterns and self-sabotage.  This is MY holiday.  I will wear Brazilian bottoms if I want to!  A few minutes later my soul sister arrives!  I feel almost immediately at home seeing her familiar frame and confident but cool walk.

Tarryn has been my friend and sister for many years.  We grew up in the dance studio together, lived together, fought like sisters with each other and experienced many, many heartaches together.  Some caused by boys… but most were self-inflicted.

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Sisters reunited!

She has come from Australia, her home for nearly 10 years now.  Within the first 10 minutes we are asked the inevitable “Are you two sisters?”  We look at each other and throw our heads back in laughter.  A moment I always look forward to with her when we are in the company of others.  It happens without fail, every time.  She might as well be my blood sister.  She understands my soul.  The palm reader we see a few days later even confirms we have Karma together.  We have met in a past life.

Bali is beautiful.  It’s that simple.  It is simply beautiful.  Even in its hot, sweaty, dusty, dirty poverty, it is beautiful.  The Balinese people are friendly with big beautiful smiles.  The daily baskets of blessings lining the streets are beautiful, even after the birds and stray dogs have picked them apart.  Even the bustle of the busy main street in Ubud is beautiful and unexpected.  All conventions of beauty leave my mind as I soak in this wonderful place and begin to question how I got to be here.  So blessed to be here in beautiful Bali.

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Part 2 coming soon…

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