Bali, a spiritual journey I will never forget
It’s going be a long post. If you can, please read it to the end, thank you. If, among the enormity of the words written here, you find something you like then my two days of writing are not wasted.
This is not a typical tourist guide about Bali. It is rather a collection of my own thoughts and experiences while traveling across this wonderful island. If my description can be as a guide to someone, I will be more then happy.
It’s my birthday today. A good time to remind myself our beautiful and spiritual journey to Bali. Happy birthday to me.
When we plan our winter trips with my husband, we always do them in February-March, around my birthday. We do it mainly for one reason and this reason it’s not my birthday. Winter in Oslo is in its full bloom in February – March, however spring can be felt in the air. When we go somewhere far, for longer then a week, it’s like coming back to spring. It feels like we shorten the winter in Oslo. These winter expeditions have become a tradition for both of us. Last year, at this time, we were in southern Europe. A few years ago, we were in the Maldives, where the hotel staff baked a birthday cake for me. Meanwhile there was a winter trip to Lofoten and about 8 years ago, we were in New Zealand. On my birthday we were flying back home.
This time it was Bali we wanted to explore. I have been thinking about Bali already some years back but at that time I didn’t feel this place, energetically. My first infatuation with Bali came with the book “Eat, Pray, Live” – Elizabeth Gilbert. Have you read it? A beautiful book about a young woman who is also a writer. She makes difficult decision about divorcing her husband and decides to leave work for a year to be able to do something only for herself. So she spends the first four months of her “freedom” in Rome, where she studies Italian language and eats italian dishes – EAT. The next 4 months she stays in India, where she meditates – PRAY. The last four months she lives in Bali, where she takes lessons from Ketut Liar, a well-known healer in the region. In Bali, she meets a wonderful man and falls in love – LOVE. I read this book regularly on an annual basis. Every time I read it, I understand something new.
I started with checking our accommodation where I stumbled upon Nau Villa Ubud, a fantastic place in the middle of the rice fields. Later we booked our flight with qatarairways. I can’t explain why but Bali wasn’t just the place for me, Bali was suppose to be the experience. And it really was.
I spent my entire Christmas thinking about Bali. I was so excited and with that energy I was running through the internet searching for places to visit and spas to go to. I couldn’t believe that I will be going to there, with my husband. Bali, the place I have wanted to visit since always. Just thinking about Bali gave me happiness and peace.
We booked our trip before Christmas. I have not been as happy about anything for a long time as I was about this upcoming trip. I waited impatiently for the end of February to come. It’s hard for me to explain why Bali has been so important to me. I felt something very special towards this island. Now when I think about it, I think there is something there, some good energy. I am like a barometer of good energy, I can sense it very quickly.
Immediately after landing in Denpasar, I felt like home. At the airport, a driver – Wayan, was waiting for us. Wayan turned out to also be our guide on this wonderful island. Wayan played very important role in our stay on Bali but first things first.
We arrive in Bali
After one major setback with delayed flight, when we were forced to stop in Doha, at 16.30 local time, we finally landed in Bali. It doesn’t get dark there until 18-19 o’clock. That made me happy because we could spend our first moments on this island admiring the surroundings. I like to land in an unfamiliar place during the day just for the reason mentioned above.
Our hotel was located 50 km away north from the airport, towards the rice terraces and the volcanoes. In Oslo, distance of 50 km takes max. 45 minutes to drive. In Bali, however, it took us almost 2 hours. I understood fast that our plans to move quickly from south to north, east and west to see as much as possible were ruined because of this reason. The new plan was to concentrate mainly on the area we were at – Ubud and the surroundings.
Nau Villa Ubud, our accommodation, played huge role in my excitement. I told my husband before we booked our trip, if we go to Bali we have to stay at Nau Villa Ubud. That place was absolutely breathtaking when I looked at the photos online. The reality exceeded by far our expectations.
Nau Villa Ubud is a very special place. This place is definitely meant for practices like yoga, meditation, praying, relaxation.
“Nau” in Indonesian language means “happy”. When I was looking for accommodation, I came across this unique place, it ‘spoke’ to me in some magical language. Among the rice fields, near the palm forest, I saw the two of us absorbing the beauty and the peace of this location. I was not mistaken. When we entered our villa for the first time, we were both stunned. The pictures that I saw online don’t show the real spirit of this place. In reality Nau Villa Ubud is phenomenal.
Nau Villa is a hotel but not a typical hotel. There are no rooms, only villas. Look at my photos. I won’t write anything more, pictures speak thousand words. This place is unique, ideal for meditation, prayer and relax.
What is interesting, when booking accommodation, our reference point is always the ocean. We just want to be close to the water. This time we wanted to be far from the ocean and as it turned out later, it was a very good decision. Firstly, among the rice fields, located at the altitude of 800-900 m above sea level, in the evenings the temperature drops making the nights not steamy so one can actually rest from the hot day. Secondly, there are fewer mosquitoes in the higher altitudes and most importantly, there is no malaria, which occurs in lowland areas. That’s what Wayan told us.
Left alone in villa no 9, we immediately changed into swimsuits (although the place is so private that one can swim naked and walk around naked) and jumped into the pool. It was late. The sky was full of blinking stars. I could easily see the Orion constellations, airplanes flying to Denpasar and luminous flying dragonflies. My husband swam towards me and we both looked at the night sky, telling ourselves how lucky we are that we can travel and be in such beautiful places as Nau Villa and Bali.
The bathroom is designed to be outside. It’s actually under the roof, except for the shower, but still outside. Shower cabin is a natural part of the bathroom space. It is made of stones on which mosses and ferns grow happily. “The floor” is also made of smaller pebbles and two big, flat stones. Pure serenity.
My first night at Nau. First I had a swim in the pool, so I had a shower in the most beautiful shower cabin there is. While showering I looked up at the sky and I saw stars. I’ve never experienced anything like that, looking at the night sky while having shower. There are tiny lanterns around the villa, which can be turned off, so it’s generally quite dark around. Admiring the night sky here is therefore easy and very pleasant.
The sound of the jungle was loud and very clear. We fell asleep happy until jet lag woke us up 3 hours later. For the next two days, jet lag was unfortunately our nightmare.
Our trip to Bali coincided with my personal development, the changes in me that I have welcomed with open arms which brought much peace and clarity into my life. For that I have to thank classical homeopathy and prof. George Vithoulkas. But step by step.
Something has changed in me that first evening at the villa. Actually, something started changing before, but the new environment and the new place made me more aware of these changes. Some of you who saw my videos on instastory know what I’m talking about: deep self-acceptance and self-love. My body has changed significantly, something I had a huge problem with and was very unhappy about. I couldn’t accept myself. There was also dissatisfaction with my appearance, my voice, my face, generally speaking, with everything. All this negativity crushed me. I think I have even got a hunch on my back because of that.
However, for some time now something inside my soul has begun to change. Some beautiful process of self-acceptance began to manifest itself. Talking about it has never been my strong side. Until now.
I have been training regularly with Ewa Chodakowska for over a year now. For those who doesn’t know Ewa Chodakowska. She is a polish fitness guru. I love her exercises and her positive approach to life. My body, however, does not change even though I give 100%. Diet or not, my body still remains the same. Despite all of that I do exercise because I love to be active and be in good shape.
On her social media, Ewa often uploads photos of women who got slimmer due to her exercise techniques. Usually these pictures come with some kind of descriptions: people thank Ewa because they regained confidence due to weight loss. At the beginning I didn’t pay attention to these descriptions. Later I understood: do I really have to wait until I lose 20 kg to regain my confidence? I don’t want my body to be the factor which defines whether I am happy or not, whether I am confident or not. I know that my kilos will disappear someday. However, my self-confidence will not depend on the kilograms my skeleton carries. My confidence is inside of me, lives in my soul and is independent of the external conditions.
About 9 months ago I started treatment with the best classical homeopath in the world, prof. George Vithoulkas. I applied to be his patient because I was in physical pain. Everyone who tried or try homeopathy know that one must be patient, that the changes do not come immediately, although they can, that the cure may take even several years. My physical problems are evolving, they are not gone yet but I can already see some improvement. The most important thing in this treatment is how much I am being cured emotionally. As if I was free from and above all my traumas. This is a beautiful process that is happening in me. To be able to observe it with an open mind, is valuable.
Bali was the first place where I realized that. Places where a person realizes such internal changes are never forgotten. That is why Bali will always have a special place in my heart. As I mentioned earlier, there is some beautiful positive energy in Bali that releases something good in humans. I recommend it!
People in Bali
On the way from the airport, my husband and I flooded Wayen, our guide and our driver with thousand questions. And he bravely answered all of them. The conversation was interesting, because from the very beginning we talked about energies, astrology, reincarnation, religion and spirituality, but we also touched the topic like politics, health, travel, etc. There are very few people we can talk to about such things. But these topics interest us, both me and my husband.
Bali is unique. On the one hand, a very developed place with ATMs on every corner, high speed internet, paying with credit card is no problem whatsoever. On the other hand a very traditional place. The technological development however hasn’t taking over the traditional believes. I admire that. I wish we had the same principles in the western world as the balinese people have. The unique and deep connection with ancestors that they have and cherish, priceless. Have you seen the movie ‘Avatar’ by Steven Spielberg? The connection Navi have with their ancestors through Eywa, is beyond the metaphysical. Old and new, hand in hand, admirable. I hope it will stay like that forever. It is pity tho that it is so different in the west. If someone in the west goes to a shaman, a homeopath, an expert in Chinese medicine or an astrologer, he or she is considered to be an idiot, a stunted. You have no idea how many times I have been cold names because I choose to heal myself with homeopathy. Sometimes people don’t say anything when I tell them I use homeopathy but I can see some kind of contempt in their eyes. It doesn’t offend me. On the contrary, I feel sorry for people who don’t understand homeopathy and think in those therms. It is not my life purpose to convince people to do what I do. I fight so people can make their own decisions, with their own brains.
After arriving in Denpasar I quickly noticed that every balinese person we met, literally every single person, was smiling to us. They seem to be genuinely happy. Kind, respectful towards humans and animals, calm and happy, my short observation of the people on the island. You know that they smile with their eyes? Someone said that ‘eyes are the mirror of the soul’. They must have very content souls. I think they eyes show their inner peace and trust they have in the process that everything in life runs its course, where it should, at the pace it should.
One day Wayan invited us to his village and his home. He picked us up in his car at the hotel. A car was parked on the street as usual. There are no sidewalks or parkings along the streets so people basically park on the street. Wayan had to pass by this car. However, at the same time, an old man was walking passed the same car. He was walking slowly. Looking at this whole situation, I thought, “move, man, go a little faster.” But Wayan didn’t rush him, he didn’t hunk at him. He calmly and patiently waited for the man to pass the car, so he passed the car. Wayan with the patience and respect for another man, beautiful and very moving experience.
Another time, Wayan was talking about his life, about his mom, his father who died two years ago. I don’t remember the whole conversation but I remember we were also talking about traveling, and how expensive traveling is these days. I remember saying to Wayan: “maybe when you get a bit richer – you will have more money then you will come to Norway to visit us”. Wayan smiled and answered calmly with kindness: “I am rich already, I don’t need anything more”.
Earlier conversations with Wayan confirm how balanced he is. He loves his mother, his island. There is no sick ambition to be rich. Now he is a driver who owns a car. Wayan use to be a farmer, a carpenter. Who will he be tomorrow? Only time will tell. After waking up Wayan meditates every day, in his home temple. Often he doesn’t eat breakfast. He eats one meal a day. He smiles with his eyes, he is happy, he is kind. He treats every human being and every animal with respect.
Wayan told us that 60-80% of people who come from the United States to Bali, come because they want to learn yoga and meditation. I am not surprised because Bali attracts such people.
This is not a typical tourist place. These positive, good shamanic energies are so strong here, they attract people with similar energies. In the West, people who are interested in metaphysical things, as I mentioned earlier, are called names. In Bali, it is natural. Nobody laughs at anyone. Here, people are approached with respect. And the more open you are, the better.
During the transfer from the airport to our hotel, we asked Wayan, if he knows a healer, a shaman who can tell us about our life by looking at our palms. Yes, Wayan knows someone. It turned out that this someone is the son of the well known healer from the book “Eat, Pray, Love”, Ketut Liar. The son is also Ketut Liar, named after his dad.
At the end of one day, Wayan took us to see Ketut. I was quite tired after long day but also very excited to meet a balinese healer. We parked on the street and went into Ketut’s house. When I say ‘house’ I mean courtyard. Houses in Bali are more like courtyards. They have fences that look like walls. Balinese courtyards are different than in Poland or in Norway, they are built-up with many, all purpose buildings. They are all beautifully decorated. Bali is famous for its wooden and stone ornaments, which you can buy at every corner. It’s their national heritage. The courtyard is vibrant. There are ornaments and small bridges, small streams, many plants and of corse birds, many birds. Although Ketut’s house is located right by the main street, inside the yard it’s nothing but peace and quiet. Once we entered the gate, few people greeted us, one of them was Ketut, the shaman.
After paying the service fee, I went to Ketut to hear him out. Ketut took my left hand. What an interesting soul that man is. He was smiling and repeating constantly one thing “you happy, you healthy”. Ketut told me a few important things. For the time he gave me, I will be grateful forever. Then went my husband.
At the end, we laid our hands on our faces, as the Balinese people do, we nodded and said thank you.
Wayan was driving us around for 3 days. He was showing us the most beautiful places. As I mentioned earlier, our plan was to see some phenomenal spots, however due to long distances, we gave up on seeing many of them. However, the ecological coffee and cocoa farm and a Hindu temple, which are very many in Bali, have been on our “must to see” list. Wayan took us therefore to the Temple of Tirta Empul. In such temples, besides praying or meditation, one can go through the ritual of purification from water. Small gifts are brought like tiny bamboo baskets with flowers, left in front of the ‘altar’.
The temples in Bali are closely related to water. They are often built on water springs. The whole water and irrigation system in Bali is closely related to the temples, of which water for watering rice terraces is collected from.
In Bali the gifts are brought for both, the gods – the good and to the devil – the bad. They ask the devil, not to interrupt, not to disturb. I accept that here on Earth every day we face ‘the good and the evil’, such duality on our planet. Black – white, good – bad, old – young, up – down, etc.
In the temples there are special places where water flows from some statues into a small pool. Many people came under such mini-waterfalls and by doing so, they cleanse themselves, their bodies and their minds. It looked beautiful and very tempting, especially on a hot day.
Wayan promised that the next day he would take us to a place where we could go through a similar ritual. It will not take place in a temple, but rather under a natural waterfall. Such rituals can be done by everyone, not only a resident of Bali, also foreigners.
So it happened. Wayan prepared the offerings, one for each of us. On the way, we borrowed ‘sarong’, scarves, which we have tied around our bodies from the waist down. Both men and women do it. We went deep down into the valley. Wayan explained to us, showing people who were standing under the waterfall and were cleansing themselves, what this ritual is about. He told us to pay attention to the water that falls from the waterfall on humans and wash their bodies. The water was white. Wayan explained that not everyone who does the ritual, have white water. People who do this ritual more often, have transparent water. Indeed, after some people, water was transparent. Very interesting. We made offerings before the ‘altar’, changed and went to the stream. Day was hot, so the entrance to the cold stream was refreshing. Wayan gave us one jasmine flower and added that when we come under the waterfall, we should let go of this flower, which symbolizes, like the white turbid water, the departure of something old, unnecessary, a purification.
I wanted to go first. I couldn’t wait any longer. Everything look tempting and I wanted to go and do it. However, when I approached the waterfall and felt its strength on my body (I have not put my head under it yet), especially my chest, I was terrified. This tiny waterfall was so damn strong that I just panicked. I tried a few more times but I couldn’t do it. I was to scared. So my husband went in front of me, Wayan followed him, and then two more people. And I stood there like an idiot. I couldn’t believe that once again, my fears would stop me from doing something beautiful. I understood very quickly that the only problem I had, the only thing I was scared of was the fact that I wouldn’t be able to breath while being under water. I had to find some breathing technique which will allow me to put my head under the waterfall. What if I just hold my breath for a few seconds? I thought. I didn’t think long, I put my head under the waterfall. I made it! I couldn’t believe it. I overcame my fear. The water was refreshing, strong, I felt wonderful. Oyvind and Wayan told me that my water was white. Then I turned my back to the waterfall and did the same. Then I turned ahead and again put my head under the waterfall. I didn’t want to leave this place. I repeated everything one more time. In my mind I saw all my fears, uncertainties, regrets as white water washing away my body and my mind and flowing into the creek to be connected with Mother Earth. I then asked God to take all my fears and turn them into something beautiful and good for me.
I was so proud of myself because I faced my fears. What a beautiful experience that was.
Many hotels in Bali, from what I heard, offer cooking classes. So does our hotel. In Oslo, I can buy many ‘orient’ vegetables and spices which is amazing. But I didn’t know how to use them and what to do with them. The cooking course turned out to be very helpful in that respect. We had the opportunity to learn how to cook some Balinese meals. Fantastic experience.
To sum up. We spent 7 days in Bali. Which is definitely too short. Definitely. Already on the second day we regretted that we couldn’t stay longer.
For me, Bali was a beautiful, spiritual-emotional journey. Now I’m in Oslo filled up with beautiful memories that nobody will ever take away from me because they are forever part of my soul. From the soul perspective, in Bali I have experienced something very unique, something that doesn’t exist in the western world. That is why we sometimes have to fly thousands of kilometers. But it is totally worth it.
If anyone has questions or any comments, please write to me. I promise I will answer everyone.