I came to Bali a month ago ready to embark on a spiritual journey and figure out my next steps in life. I thought a month in a spiritual place would bring peace, enlightenment and immense joy. Bali offered everything I asked for, but there were lessons I was not prepared to encounter on this journey and I am leaving Bali with some bumps and bruises but a smile on my face.
I didn't know that spiritual journeys included tears and heartache. As I look back, I can see that the pain and discomfort was part of the growth and change. I had to let things go that I didn't know I was holding onto and deal with new hardships that arrived almost as soon as I began this journey. I think the timing was perfect as I was in a place where I could focus on growth and healing.
There were four very distinct lessons I learned here...
1) Stillness: Staying in a small town among rice fields provided ample time to be still. I found meditation and prayer came much easier without the distractions I can provide myself at home. In stillness, I was able to listen to intuition and seek direction and discernment. I found comfort in the silence and solitude. My mind was able to shut down and peace began to bud.
2) Grace: This journey showed me that lovely things can blossom out of pain and hurt. The water lily is a symbol for grace and it grows out of the mud into a beautiful bloom. Without grace, I would drown in the messes and mistakes I have made. Grace is proof that the universe has greater plans for me and provides lessons and strength just when I need them. That thought alone blows my mind and fills me with gratitude.
3) Offering: I watched women place offerings in reverence every day on alters all over town. They spend time creating beautiful, colorful gifts daily. This encouraged me to offer something each day to show my gratitude and intention. I am beginning each day with an intention and offering gratitude and seeing a difference in my outlook. This practice is my offering.
4) Bravery: This is a theme that keeps coming up for me this year. In Bali, I faced my greatest fear time and again and now I barely flinch when I see rodents. I had to bargain and negotiate with a language barrier often and even demand our passage on a boat, which we had to ride on top of at full speed. I forged paths, dealt with scary truths and let go. Bravery frees my mind from fears I held onto and creates a new spaciousness for courage.
I am grateful to have had this experience, even with all the discomforts. I was told that in order to grow, one must experience pain followed by joy. I appreciate the patience and friendship Penny provided as I went through some difficult transitions. Our friendship is stronger and now we have even more epic memories to share.
My hope is to return home next week equipped with the lessons I learned here and practice them daily. Intentions are powerful and it is amazing what they can manifest. My journey in Bali is proof that by setting an intention, results follow, even if they don't take the planned path. Let go, be fluid, ask for guidance and the answers will appear.