Sometimes we find ourselves drawn to things or places. For me, it was Iceland 7 years ago (and those of you who know me will tell you that I’m not a cold weather person). For the past few years, it’s been Bali. Even though we may not be able to explain the reasons for our attraction to these things or places, we need to listen to them: they are there to tell us something. So, I. Just. Had. To. Go.
It’s been a few weeks since I returned home but the richness of nature and the kindness of people continue to live inside me. For a week, the humming of birds and buzzing of life replaced the noise coming from the roads and my TV at home. But above all, the people of Bali have left a great impression on me.
1. Kindness rules
Everywhere we went, we were greeted with kindness. People paused to strike up a conversation with us about our day, our yoga class or our plans. They were fully present in the conversation. It cracked me up when I saw this sign outside of a – what seemed to be – a coffee shop: “We have Wi-Fi so you don’t have to talk to each other.” #EpicFail.Kindness rules. Click To Tweet
2. “Present” is the only tense
Every day on my way to yoga, I observed the gentleman who was on koi pond duty. It was a big pond. He had the same routine day in and day out. I was mesmerized by the gentle smile on his face as he was clearing the debris for the fish. He fully immersed himself in the task at hand and found joy in the “now”.
3. Rituals ground us
From daily offerings in front of businesses, homes and temples to statues and umbrellas mounted on trees, there’s no denying of the island’s deep religious and spiritual roots. They are everywhere to worship the gods and to keep the bad spirits away. You can’t walk the streets of Bali without passing by these little baskets of offerings made of palm leaves and filled with flowers and incense. They are a very visible part of daily life that help cultivate hope, faith and love.
4. Gratitude makes everyone happy
“Stop the car!”, yelled my fellow cab rider and friend as we spotted some darling clothes from the taxi in the window of a small shop. Thankfully, our driver was able to pull over without causing any traffic glitches on the jam-packed street. I entered the shop with the pretty dresses. For a second, I wasn’t sure if the owner was tearing up or laughing when I crossed the threshold. “You’re my first customer”, she uttered as she put her hands together in joy. It was close to 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I ended up buying a dress and a few minutes later, so did my friend. I will never forget that lady’s gratitude, excitement and joy our purchases brought her. I had never seen anything like this. She gave thanks to the gods and kept saying that her offerings worked. She believed that we had just changed her luck. I certainly hope so! Her happiness made me happy. I was beaming when I left her shop.
In our world, we take many things for granted. We’re constantly going, doing and thinking. We owe it to ourselves to step away from the hussle and bussle to slow down and reconnect with the richness and beauty we can find in the simple things. And bring them into our daily lives. Raw, genuine and unscripted.
Enjoy some images from Bali. #BaliDreams
About the title image: “Welkam” is exactly how the people of Bali made us feel. I took this photo in front of one of the shops.