Dusk over the Indian Ocean.
It takes my breath away in a picture. It's obvious why I had to return so quickly to Bali. As the plane to carry me there lifted off the ground I set three intentions for the trip: to continue the spiritual (energetic/psychic) activation that began on my first visit to Bali, to perform and participate in making music, and to learn more about love and partnership - and clearly to bask in the bliss that is the demanded-presence and endless breathtaking beauty of this volcanic paradise.
The spiritual activation continued immediately when a group of beautiful strangers joined me at my breakfast table on my 3rd day back. We caught up on who we were and why were were in Bali, and after hearing my story one of them suggested I attend a class on shamanic meditation. My whole body instantly zinged just hearing the title, so I knew I would be going, even though it started the next day. Of course there was a space for me despite my last minute enrollment in this interesting class on how to connect to divine source through methods used by shamans and tribesmen all over the world. To my delight the class was heavily focused on nature. There is such a power in the plant and animal and mineral kingdoms, and we used methods of visualizing, listening, and merging to achieve blissful meditative states, and even to answer questions for ourselves and partners. I surprised myself on one activity where we didn't know our partner's question but had to divine the answer. ?!? It worked like magic and my partner's answer for me was just as accurate and insightful. I never dreamed anything like this was real, nor that I would be able to do it. Also I watched the teacher bend a fork one day, with his mind. I think this is another story for another blog - just know I have seen it happen. Really. Not a magic trick, but for real. Energy bending forks. More on this perhaps soon... I also met my animal spirit guide. This was one of the most marvelous meditations I have ever had in my life. Whatever it means, I feel that powerful animal now, anytime I think of him. I won't write what animal it is over this vast and infinite web, it feels like some of the sacredness may leak out in too many directions. Please ask me in person if you're interested.
During my first week back in Bali I went to a sound healing event. When the director found out I was a musician he asked if I wanted to play. I said YES, remembering my intention for music, but I didn't know what a sound healing event was! A little nervous, I went with the flow and by the end it became a magical experience of sound and beauty. The director loved it and asked me to work with him more. He happened to be, I was informed, the top producer in Bali, and before I knew it I was sitting in on writing sessions, attending rehearsals, and made a member of his band which was to play closing night at the Bali Spirit Festival. I couldn't believe the synchronicity of it all, and the amazing musicians I had the privilege of working with in the process. Geniuses (!!), and true channelers of the spirit of music. I learned so much from everyone. Our performance was EPIC at the Bali Spirit Fest, and what a fun and amazing crowd! Thousands were dancing and pulsing in the energy of the earthy beats coming off our stage. See photos I added to the website here. For extra credit bonus on the music intention, I even got to play a set of original songs on the daytime stage during the festival. What kind of coincidences had to take place in order for this perfect experience to line itself up - meeting the best producer on the island the first week in town, AND having the opportunity to perform in Bali's largest international festival?! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!
What I expected to learn about love was along the lines of relationships, but what the beautiful island kept giving me over and over were lessons in unconditional love. I've always assumed I knew what this meant, but I was made clear on this universal truth: you cannot love another person unconditionally until you love yourself unconditionally. Judgment of yourself, "should-ing" yourself, yelling at yourself for mistakes, and pushing yourself too hard are all examples of not treating yourself with unconditional love. Even saying things like "I have to get better at _____", or "I need to learn _____", confirm to yourself that you are not ok as you are right now, or that something needs to happen in order for you to deserve love. But this is so funny if you think of it - it's like a device our minds have to keep us unhappy in the present moment because if we think like this then always we will only be happy one day in the future, never right now. The truth is we are perfect as we are right now! One of the hardest things for me to actually absorb is the idea that I don't have to do anything, be anything, or achieve anything to deserve unconditional love - because I am unconditional love. The vibration of human life is unconditional love. So I tested it out. In treating myself with and as unconditional love, suddenly, easily, I felt an immense love and true acceptance for the world and all the people around me. I had so much less judgment on others because I had lessened the judgment on myself. As a perfectionist on most everything, this experience has been invaluable to me. Plus it feels really good to wholly give into the idea that I am love - everything is love. If this concept is too abstract I understand because I have spent time in that confusion too, but I think being open to the possibility that it could be like this allowed me to finally experience seeing and feeling how it can be true.
In summary, Bali has affected my life. I will never be the same. I have tools and skills and friends and experiences that will be with me forever now. The author, Gay Hendricks, teaches a mantra that says well what I truly feel after returning from Bali, so I'll leave you with it:
"I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same."
Bowing in gratitude and unconditional love, to the island who taught me so much,