Bali Diary 5: Connecting Meaningfully

Another week started with our Tribe meetings where I committed to continue working on first draft of my book and come up with online courses for Scholar Strategy (SS). Of late, I know that I can do more justice with SS but have always felt a resistance within towards doing videos, which is, of course, stupid. From the students feedbacks, I know that they are benefitting a lot with what we are offering and online course is a means to reach out to many more students than I personally can. As always, Tribe came to rescue. I did a brainstorming session with Ash, Fiona, Colleen and Laura and asked for help! From that came out some concrete ideas on what exactly should I focus and immediate next steps. It was magical. As a solo working entrepreneur, sometimes it becomes difficult to strategize and focus. Tribewanted has been an amazing help on that. Colleen gave me a challenge of creating a video this week which I accepted and executed successfully.

One thing I am noticing is ever since I have started putting myself out there, approaching people, I am already feeling people reaching out to me, opening up to me. There’s another game that Colleen made us play as a part of her Emotional Intelligence session – we all had to come up with 3 qualities that we value and want to be associated with us. And then, define a tagline for our ‘games’. I came up with – wise, empathetic and genuine. I am calling my game – ‘Creating my Magic’ which is tad bit inspired from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic that I am currently reading. Now, you need to ask yourself whenever you take any action and make a decision – does it adhere to these qualities? Does it take you further along in your game or not? This will make you do things that you truly value and stay away from hopeless pursuits. Weirdly, all of us started noticing how we were actually being associated with these qualities. For e.g. Someone actually called me ‘genuine’ the other day casually in a conversation and this person has no knowledge about my exercise with Colleen. Ash witnessed it too when someone called her inspiring the other day. This stuff is powerful! Try it sometime.

Goya Resort Bali
Goya Resort Bali

I caught up my first Tribewanted group lunch this Thursday at the gorgeous Goya Resort. It is located with the pool and restaurant view of the jungle. While we grabbed some chilled drinks and delicious falafel wraps, we took a moment to acknowledge the good stuff we have been up to and appreciate everyone’s efforts in their own journeys.

Now, let me come to the real stuff. As I talked to more people, sharing my problems and statuses, Amber told me that she can help me with online courses. And then, she actually sat down with me and gave me ton of useful advice and help me structure things. For me, that is more valuable than any paid advice. It made me realize that we are probably surrounded by incredible people all the time, we just don’t take time to ask for help or talk to them. It, of course, works both ways. Take some, pass it on, give back – engage, connect with people for god’s sake. I have been so bad at this stuff that it is a whole new world to me. But the ride is starting beautifully. I encourage you to let go of your tiny voices that hold you back. Connect in meaningful ways – not with an intention of getting something back. Put your problems out there, let the universe come back to you with solutions. I got plenty of great advice from Amber and Derek this week. So thankful to them! You can do this too even if you are an introvert. Good intentions and energies are not a prerogative of extroverts you know. Just be receptive 🙂

Tribewanted Bali
Tribewanted Bali

PS. No wonder I love Amber so much. She has an awesome blog called Climb Out of the Cubicle where she tells her story of leaving a boring government job to travel the world.

  

Bali Diary 4: Eat and Meet

Saturday morning, we decided to go take a walk around the famous paddy fields of Ubud and there is a comfortable trek called Campuhan Ride walk for the same. So, I joined Chantal, Colleen, Derek, Julie and Andrew at 9 am in the Starbucks which is located in the beautiful Saraswati temple area. As I was clicking pictures of the beautiful lotus pond, I bumped into Tulasi, a great Indian origin but now in Holland girl who makes films! She is soon joining BBC as a trainee and was traveling solo too. So, we clicked pics for each other and got chatting. She ended up joining us for the walk. That is what I love about meeting people randomly on road.

Pura Saraswati Temple, Ubud
Pura Saraswati Temple, Ubud

The ridge walk was fun although we were quite sweaty by the time we ended up at Karsa Cafe which is a great restaurant cum spa located in between the rice fields. We grabbed our cute hut and ordered pancakes, coconut waters blah blah. We badly needed replenishment. Apart from the food being delicious and we ravenous, we ended up talking random stuff – tinder, spirituality, game of thrones, why one should go vegetarian as we heard chicken screams in the background etc., for more than an hour. It was time to head back and get a good shower. I have heard nice things about Campuhan Spa and that goes into my to do list.

Starting the Campuhan Ridge Walk
Starting the Campuhan Ridge Walk
Campuhan Ride walk
Campuhan Ride walk
Campuhan Ridge walk
Campuhan Ridge walk

Saturday night, I joined Colleen at Eric’s party. So, one good thing about working from hubud is getting invited to a lot of events and parties even if you don’t know someone directly. Eric’s house was beautiful and I met more interesting people there (shout out to Gabriel, the serial entrepreneur who has lived and worked even from Alaska!, Prof Rachael who is gathering some material on digital nomads and might interview me) and celebrated Mose’s bday party too. Sunday was more chilled but Colleen graciously invited me to tea at her place. Looking at her place makes me hopeful about life. This is the kind of place humans should live and not those rathole apartments in the cities. There were flooded rice fields in front and jungle at the side. Her cottage is more beautiful than many resorts I have seen. She told me that she follows minimalism and owns very few things. I hear you Colleen, I totally do. Her swimming pool is out of this world! I am so happy for her.

Beautiful places to live in Ubud
Beautiful places to live in Ubud

Anyway, I do also meet the cute Emily at the tea. Somehow the conversation veers to cuddle parties (yeah apparently that’s a thing!), visa extension in Bali, polyamory and topics that I would probably never hear of in India. But at the end of day, one thing is universal – relationships and one’s eternal longing for love. What I am amazed at how fluid people are here. Everyone is going in and out of places, more living in the moment and laughing.

Oh, and I also discovered that I really like Kafe Ubud which is quite close from my room. I love sitting on a low table there and writing. I have spent many a lunches/dinners there writing the book. One day, I ordered the Asian Curry noodles and was delighted when a maggi like dish came up. Yes, it was delicious! I am liking the Balinese food, there are lot of veggie options.

Balinese food
Balinese food
  

Bali Diary 3: Local Rituals

Are we not always on a journey? It can be external too, but internal it always is. Where it leads is something time will tell.

I started this past week by reinforcing my love for my work. A business that I have nurtured from nothing to a respectable size. A book that is a part of my creative instincts. Monday morning, the Tribewanted group met and we set our focus goals for the week. I like this kind of accountability exercise in which we set out what we intend to do and then share our progress after a week. It makes you feel accountable towards your goals. Better for people with no bosses or deadlines. On Tuesday morning, we did an hour of power in which we decided one goal for that hour and did it right there. It was quite productive and we ended up by celebrating with a little dance and shout outs on the Happy song. Colleen, our coordinator is quite fun that ways. In between, I kept doing my writeathons too. And we had this great skillshare session by a British woman who runs the highly successful blog on Russian Art and Culture, which I totally loved!

Skillshare at Hubud
Skillshare at Hubud

Being productive is always such a nice feeling and I am happy the way Hubud’s environment has helped me break some lulls in my work. And I made more friends, enjoying good dinners around. It is fun seeing so many people working on sales funnels, online courses etc. I am sure I can pick some intelligence from them.

Thursday, I heard that a group is going to the water temple and I decided to join them! I even convinced Jay to join us since it was his last day before he headed back to Australia. However, after meeting the group next morning, we discovered that it is not any temple but we are going to meet a water priestess. What?? Ok, so I was confounded. But as I have decided to accept new adventures on my way, I thought why not! (Poor Jay but I thought he was okay with it in the end too). Ok, so off we went in a cab. First stop was to buy a sarong since you need to cover up before meeting a priestess. Then, we reached the priestess’s place which was a typical Balinese compound with a temple and some humble looking houses.

We did not have much clue what to expect and had only heard vague experiences from a friend. It is a form of therapy with water. Let me give you a little background, Balinese people are mostly Hindu and are big on ceremonies and rituals. But nothing like what we do in India. The language, idols and traditions are different. I had never heard of water healing, apparently there are other forms of healing too such as sound healing etc. We made our offerings and waited a long while before she came out. Then she told us that she will be praying on top of a platform and we can all meditate in the verandah below it. It was while meditating here that I realized how I have ended up here without any plans. May be this is where I belong at this moment.

After 30-45 mins of praying, she told us that the therapy will begin. We were made to stand below her seat and then the holy water pouring started. Mind you, it is not sprinkling, it is literally drowning you in pails of water. Being a non-swimmer, I was left gasping for breath. So, she chants and then drowns you in loops. She also says that you should let go of all your inner feelings, make noises or stamp your feet if you feel like. The idea is to cleanse one out of all their emotional residues. Now, it could have been a great thing for me if effective but I was more focused on catching my breaths than really thinking about any other emotions. I like the idea though, it can be a good thing to let it flow out and believe that you have released the unwanted negativities.

IMG_7985
Melukat – Water purification

I wish we were told more context in the beginning. Later, I found out that it is called Melukat and can be used to ‘release what does not serve you anymore’. Colleen told me that she loves doing it sometimes. She also told me that the priestess we went to is the youngest priestess in Bali, Ida Resi Alit – 28 years old. She went unconscious once and upon coming back, she could recite mantras she never knew before and was more knowledgeable than senior priests (see more here).

Weekend was fun, more on it in next post. Stay tuned, send your love 🙂

  

Bali Diary 2: Surprising Myself

After the melancholy of first few days, I wanted to break the pattern. You might ask what’s the pattern. Well, pattern is a behavior we typically indulge in without realizing that we are. We stick to few colors, have a belief of what we can and cannot do and so on. I was going to force myself to go out and try out new adventures, something I normally would never do. This chaos to my pattern, I felt, would confuse my system and help me get out of the melancholy. So, in my first meeting with Tribewanted coordinator Colleen, I told her I want to do something over the weekend and not just work. She suggested I tag along with her to the ecstatic dance party at a private villa just outside Ubud. I was like what’s that? She told me it’s a form of dance where you just dance whatever you feel like and not care who is watching. The DJ is different from clubs and people just enjoy themselves. And there is no alcohol. So, it doesn’t turn into a drunken revelry. Now, that’s something to break my pattern I thought! I have two left feet and I have never heard of ecstatic dancing before. So, I told her I’m in!

It was Friday night and Hubudians were going for the social hour at No Mas. I had met Jim, a fellow MBA from USA (Kellogg) who (surprise surprise) was himself trying to finish a book. We decided to go to the social hour where the only vegetarian dish I found was bean tacos. The terrace bar was full of Hubudians and I bumped into some Dutch folks. I could feel like a community building already.

Biking in Bali
Biking in Bali

Next day, first thing was to rent a bike so that I feel independent to go whenever and wherever I want. Got a cute Vespa looking two wheeler called Scoopy! Renting a bike is an essential Balinese experience and while everyone knows that you are not allowed to drive without an international driving license, everyone does keep driving without an international license. I negotiated to get a rental for 600,000 IDR for 25 days which seemed pretty reasonable. The petrol is dirt cheap – 6000 IDR for a Litre i.e. Rs 31!

Bridges-Ubud
View from Bridges, Ubud

Later on Saturday, I met Colleen, Ash, Elliott and Nynke and we caught up on chilled drinks in a restaurant called Bridges which is situated gorgeously over the river. The jungle hung right in front of our seats. Afterwards, we headed to this exotic villa in Kaliki in a cab for our ecstatic dance night. I must say I envy the owner of that villa – it was like a mansion in between the rice fields designed in a manner I have only seen on travel channel and movies. There were open air pools, jacuzzis, marble staircases leading to cute terraces and what not.

Villa Party at Keliki
Villa Party at Keliki

The music was trance and night starry. Between 7-9 pm, we danced, dipped our feet in the pool, roamed around and let the music soak in. It is totally not my kind of thing and yet I ended up relaxing and enjoying it. We grabbed a quick dinner at Kafe Ubud and called it a night. We talked about Brexit (since most of my fellow members are Brits), my tattoo, how people perceive these parties, what does law of attraction mean etc etc. And again, I usually am the reserved one on the table but I decided to talk more. To my surprise, I enjoyed that too!

Keliki2

For the first time, I felt good on a morning. Hello Sunday! Combined with the jet lag effect and the fact that I am a late sleeper even in India, my sleep cycle has been messed up. I feel lethargic till the afternoon here and my day usually didn’t start before 2pm. I grabbed a timely breakfast on Sunday, caught a little nap and decided to work rest of the day. So, I headed to Hubud. Jim and I had decided to do a writeathon to kick that resistance within us that was making us stuck. We started 50 min timer and just started writing. I removed the dust from Ruby Chappals, caught up on an unfinished chapter and the keyboard started clicking. First spurt of 50 min went well, we took a break of 15 min. I brewed some coffee and sat down for next 50 min sprint. I did write around 2000 words in total which is great given how badly I have been stuck on finishing this book. After a productive chat with Jim on some other ideas, I felt like treating myself for a nice dinner which I grabbed at Cafe Wayan and Bakery. It was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed the asian seating in garden. I have been trying to try out as many new dishes I can and avoid Indian food. Let’s see how long does that last! Finally, I am retiring to bed now on a happy note. I know the lows and melancholy will come again, but I am hoping to keep them as much at bay as possible. As always, do send me your good thoughts.

Tribewanted Gang
Tribewanted Gang
  

Bali Diary 1: Initial Hiccups

SwastiastuEngken kabare?
[Hello, how are you? from Bali!]

I find myself opening the Eat Pray Love and I move directly to the Bali part. As soon as I read how Elizabeth Gilbert landed in Ubud for 30 days, I smile. Because this is where I have arrived. And weirdly enough, there are so many overlaps with Gilbert’s story and mine that I feel like chasing Gilbert on her trip to destiny. I do realize that it is nothing to be chased but that I have to attract my own destiny. Yet, I am a fan of Gilbert and her lovely essays and talks. Not so much of Eat Pray Love but that’s okay. May be the book is mocking at me right now.

Anyway, I landed in Bali in a pretty hollowed out state. I had a lot to figure out and make the most of my time on an alien land. Going out of India after a hiatus of 4 years, I confess I felt a bit vulnerable and lonely. But it was a solo trip after all and I wanted to face whatever demons were lurking inside. However, to keep a balance, I had joined the Tribewanted group, which is a community of remotely working entrepreneurs in Ubud. I felt it would give me a community feeling and a social in as soon as I arrived. My stay was already figured out through AirBnB. So, all I had to do was show up.

My bedroom in Ubud
My bedroom in Ubud

The hardest part of solo trips are when your mind tends to brood over and remembers the happy past moments which are gone. I found myself brooding whenever I woke up or was alone in the room. It becomes difficult to come out of these, so one has to really try and keep a watch on any negative thoughts. This is the time when your friend circle matters. Staying in touch with family and friends helped me stay calm. Because ultimately you are in a beautiful place and new moments are out there waiting for you. This is where it turned a blessing that I had joined Hubud, the co-working space, and the Tribewanted community.

Hubud has an awesome vibe and is located overlooking the beautiful paddy fields. It is well designed and makes you want to be happy. I decided to spend most of my time there and make friends. This step is crucial in not letting your solo trip get too solo if you know what I mean. You enjoy your solitude when you are feeling peaceful from within. But loneliness is not fun. So, give yourself time to be able to transition from feeling lonely to enjoying the solitude.

It has been only 3 days in Ubud so far and seems much longer. Bali is beautiful and cheap. My homestay and room is very pretty. As I am settling in and starting to feel comfortable, I am hoping to really dig in and get a flavor of ton of things that Bali has to offer. Stay tuned for more updates. Send me your love and blessings 🙂

Breakfast place view
Breakfast place view