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It’s week three already! I knew going into this trip a month seems like it’s a long time, and it is in some senses, but time really does fly! In the past week I have enjoyed some solitude, a lot of reading, more site seeing, and Nyepi.

Nyepi is a Balinese Hindu tradition (see week 2’s blog). The practicing locals celebrated in large ceremonies within their villages all last week and led up to the village parades Friday evening. Based on what the locals told us, we thought everyone would end up at the beach, so we went prepared, or so we thought, for it that day. What we found out when we got there is every place shuts down, if not for the whole day, then early so they have time to get to their village’s parade. What they do in these parades is very different than an American parade. They build these very large statues called “Ogoh-ogoh” which are mythological beings, mostly demons, in their religion, out of styrofoam. They’re huge and so detailed! They hand make some other decorations with bamboo and then dance in the streets as they carry them through their village. We were told we could see the closest one to us at about 7pm, so after dinner we watched the sunset on the beach and then walked up to where it was located. When we got there we realized we had just missed it! Such a bummer!! But we were able to see the tail end of one on the way back to the villa.

Saturday was the actual day of Nyepi and Day of Silence. We knew this ahead of time so we were prepared to stay in all day, use quiet voices if we spoke, and use it as a day of introspection. Which we did. It was great, everything was so quiet! And a beautiful, clear day to lounge around the pool reading. Just after the sun set and it got dark, we turned our bedroom lights on. Then heard a loud knock on our gate door. We each thought at first it was the other and thought, “what are they doing out there, it’s silent day!” But when we looked out and saw a flashlight by our gate, we got a little frightened. After saying “hello?” a couple of times the voice scolded us and said to turn off our lights. OOPS. We didn’t know you couldn’t have bright lights on. Of course it makes total sense now. The good thing about this, is no one in Bali was allowed to, which made the stars that much more vibrant. We sat outside gazing at the stars for at least an hour and a half. The sky seems so much closer here than it does at home. It was such a beautiful night. And a great way to end a day of introspection. To gaze at the sky and settle in its Divine energy. It was so powerful for me to look up and feel connected to this giant universe while there are so many questions unanswered. I read in a book, that same day actually, that you can’t read about God to understand Him, you have to experience Him (Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer). I think this can be applied in so many ways in life, but I felt it particularly appropriate that evening while admiring this world we live in, to experience Divine energy all around as well as within myself.

Shortly after Nyepi, I said out loud I really miss my cat, Reesee, and the comfort of my own home. Not that I’m not grateful to be here, because I very much so am, I am just such a homebody that I longed for my comfort: Reesee, my bed, my shower, my kitchen, etc. I love it here and am so enjoying my time here, but I’m human and its natural to miss things/animals we depend on. Well, as soon as I said that, I felt like the Universe was like “I’ll show her!” I woke up the next morning and went into the bathroom where a HUGE spider crawled out from the toilet paper dispenser. I am deathly afraid of spiders. I’m cringing just thinking about it! Complete panic is not the way you want to start your day. Later the plumbing wasn’t working properly and of the temples we visited didn’t have running water in the “bathrooms”. I stopped and thought, okay Universe, I get it. Please don’t push my fears any more. But isn’t that why I am here? To test my limits so I can really understand why fears and insecurities are just mind tricks, and not from my heart’s Self Energy- my spirit. I get it, I handled it, I just pray I don’t have to experience that (or anything similar) again! 😉

We also visited GitGit Waterfall this week which is beautiful! There’s something to be said about being in the jungle, surrounded by trees and water and wildlife. It’s so blissful. We saw a group of people propelling down the waterfall and I said, “next time, I’m doing more research so I can do that!” It looked like so much fun! Then we visited Pura Ulun Danu, a temple that sits on top of a volcanic lake in the mountains, near GitGit. It was just as breathtaking as the others. It was still decorated for Nyepi, but even if it wasn’t, the detail in the architecture is amazing. As it is in all of the temples and temple inspired buildings here. What’s more, it was hand crafted and built so many, many years ago and it’s still standing. People are still worshipping there. I’ve noticed they are so devoted to their religion and spirituality that they don’t care about “first world problems” and many of the things we take for granted in the US, like shower curtains. They’ve got their spiritual devotion and that’s what’s important. It’s pretty inspiring to witness.

This trip has been very transformational for me. But in a way that I don’t feel different from myself. I actually feel more like myself. I have been able to unplug from routine life and distractions, faced many of my fears and met my edge in many ways that have encouraged me to settle more into Self Energy and get out of the mind game. This practice has become more deeply rooted in my life so I feel confident it can, and I can, progress as I proceed in my journey. But it is a practice. Like everything else, I expect to have some ebb and flow – that’s life!

I am entering the final week of my trip here and we are finishing out our time in Bali in the mountains of Ubud on Monday. Next week holds big reminders and anniversaries for me, I am glad I will be in nature for it. And in the heart of the majority of yoga studios in Bali!

With love from Bali,
Ashley