Blessed by Bali

As I sit here in Mexico sipping Bali coffee and munching on Vegemite toast (having been up since 3AM due to jet lag), my time in Bali almost seems like a dream.

Bali retreatA beautiful, blissful dream.

I’ve hesitated to write about the retreat due to not having anything other than hyperbole to describe my experience.

Magical. Life changing. Blissful. Abundant.

And yet, it is all true.

It was all that, and more.

So much more.

Nothing could have prepared me for having my heart blown open by 18 courageous, unique, loving, amazing women who came together for the retreat.

Or the mind opening, intimate moments we experienced during meditation classes.

Or watching the sunrise from a small wooden fishing boat with one of my oldest, dearest friends as a pod of twenty dolphins cascaded past our gaping mouths.

Bali dolphins

Bali fisherman

bali boat tour

Or looking into the eyes of my mother during a ‘seeing’ exercise and being filled with her maternal love.

Or riding in local bemos to a secret temple in the mountains to participate in a ceremony with a young local priest from the village.

Bali ceremony

The evening before the retreat I told myself, “Just get everyone there and then you can relax,” as I added ticks next to my checklist of names.

We met at a modern hotel in Seminyak which was new, reasonably priced and convenient. Dinner was accompanied by a fire twirling, rather raunchy Balinese dancer and pumping doof doof music.

I logged onto Facebook and received a message from my Mum’s friend (and intended room mate) that she wasn’t let on the flight due to her passport having less than six months’ validity (let that be a lesson to us all). I was completely heart broken for her. I sent out a prayer that she would be guided to the best solution.

In the early hours of the next morning, I lay awake in bed having an ego attack about why the hell I thought I could pull this thing off. Ego attacks never really make sense, but it went something like, Who do you think you are, getting these women to fly across the globe to spend a week meditating with you? Don’t you remember all the terrible things you have done in your life and all the mistakes you have made?

The Gayatri mantra had began to play in the nearby village and was drifting across rice fields through my hotel window. I poured out of bed like a slinky onto the cool tiles. The antithesis of ego is reality, and in that moment, the hard floor beneath me and my beating heart were the only real things I could hold on to.

With both hands on my chest, I allowed my heartbeat to drown out my negative thoughts.

I reflected on all the amazing women from five different countries I’d met that night. ‘But look at the beauty it has created,’ was the message which arose within me. I let the tears flow down my cheeks at the realization of this truth which has permeated my entire journey.

And the retreat sure was beautiful.

Bali offering

Every, single soul who joined was an integral part of the experience.

New friendships were formed, old friendships were deepened. Most important were the friendships cultivated with our inner selves.

Bali ladies

Bali retreat friendship

All the women experienced shifts in the way they saw themselves.

I experienced a powerful moment of self-forgiveness, delivered by Divine Love.

And then, there was dancing.

And laughing. LOTS of laughing. And paddle boarding and snorkeling and cooking classes and playing with local kids.

bali local kids

There was also the superb eating, which was our main activity of the day and the topic upon which most conversations were based.

There were a few pesky mosquito bites and a bit of sunburn (welcome to the tropics!).

There maaaaay have been reports of a toothpaste eating rat, but I’m not willing to confirm that one (I’ll leave that to you, Kristine ūüėČ )

There was definitely full-moon night swimming and whirl-pooling which concluded with one beautiful lady declaring it ‘the best night of her life!’

Many of us concurred.

For me, it was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve been blessed with, thanks to the group, the peaceful and secluded location, the gentle, kind, staff of the resort and of course, our amazing teacher, Gisela von Keiser-Grenkowitz, who yet again blew me away with her presence, wisdom and radiance.

Sarah Somewhere Bali retreatI learned so much.

Most of all, I learned that I am on the right path and always have been; that the periods of pain and confusion make the joy and clarity so much more meaningful and that this journey is taking me exactly where I am meant to go with the people I’m meant to go with.

Bali retreat girls

bali retreat temple

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Thank you Courtney, Kelly, Penny, Mum, Amyris, Annette, Lauren, Kristine, Celia, Jayne, Tara, Irene, Leigh, Rosan, Jennifer, Isabelle, Bisa, Gisela and all the staff of the Bali Mandala for an amazing experience.

And thank you to my wonderful community of friends and readers for your warm wishes and blessings during my trip. I truly appreciate you all.

Om Shanti….

Comments

Blessed by Bali — 23 Comments

  1. I’m thrilled to hear it was all you hoped for and more. I was there with you in spirit! Best wishes for continuing along this path you have found yourself on in the continuing search to your true self. XOXO
    Rhonda recently posted..Finding BalanceMy Profile

  2. I am pretty sure I say this after every post, but it honestly has been such a privilege to be a part of your journey and watch as you have evolved over the years. I am sure you can think of a hundred reasons why you weren’t qualified to run this retreat and a dozen people who would have been better suited to do so, but I personally can’t think of anyone better to have done it. I knew it would be a success, but it sounds like it was even better and prompted more healing, wholeness, and transformation than any of you could have imagined. I am both envious (that I didn’t get to attend) and excited (because I know the next one will be even better and that I WILL attend it!), and most of all, so proud of you!!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..When 2 Become 1: Lessons Learned Traveling Solo in CaliforniaMy Profile

  3. Thank you Sarah for all your work and allowing me to join you on this beautiful journey. I loved every moment a truly serene and peaceful time which has not left me yet. Amazing memories of Mandala and such beautiful people I hope to meet everyone again. (Maybe next year).

  4. Namaste, my dear friend. I so understand those voices as I try to fill my own retreat. Even though it’s our second time, doubt still seeps in. But as you beautifully wrote, all the struggles, the lows, they all amount to our journey as human beings. It’s imperfect.

    And what a journey Bali was! As you know, Leigh and I are considering this spot and I’m sold!

    Beautiful, but it’s really the smiles emitting from these women (and you) that sparkles. I’m so damn happy it was a life-altering experience, that you left energized.

    I’m lucky you’re my friend and I’m grateful to spend more time with you in Playa! <3
    Jeannie Mark recently posted..Tired of Being Nomadic…Tired of TravelMy Profile

  5. What a beautiful experience!! Love the pictures, and I am in love with the picture of that offering – the colours, so vibrant. The world is a truly beautiful place.

    It’s said that you don’t need to be in a certain place to be spiritual – that happiness comes from within. But it’s certainly a lot easier to find it when surrounded by such overt beauty, as in Bali. And it’s easy to be cynical about Bali, and I certainly was once upon a time. But I’m converted – it is just as beautiful as it is hyped up to be <3
    Tim UrbanDuniya recently posted..UrbanLegends: Andy loves Almaty!My Profile

  6. I think there is something aMazing and cosmic that occurs when women get together to grow and learn and encourage, rather than compete or gossip. We are so very beautiful and powerful… If only we would let ourselves see that. I loved reading this and seeing the pictures. Bali is truly magical. I want to go back soon and soak in some BaliBlessings. Thank you for being transparent with your fears – I learn from you every time you share. I will never, ever forget your words to me two years ago, “If you feel afraid, you can just stand up.” You are making this world better just by being your authentic self.
    Keep going…
    Holly recently posted..World Suicide Prevention Day ‚Äď September 10My Profile

  7. Sarah, I am beyond happy for you that the retreat was all you hoped it would be! As you have said many times, all you have to do is show up. You did this, and so did all of the women who travelled to Bali to be with you. You all showed up, and then the magic happened.

    You are truly on the right path and I know the future will bring you many more retreats that will be life-changing for the women who come to join you on them. xx
    Karyn Jane recently posted..Back To Hanging Rock (And Straws Lane!)My Profile