I am not sure why I decided to do a yoga class at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning in Bali, especially the day after the mountain hike and being up at 5:00 a.m. the day prior. It was a spontaneous decision, and I was glad about it. Although it was supposed to be a group class, I was the only one who showed up. When the instructor found out that I couldn’t do a lotus pose, he made me feel bad so it wasn’t a happy beginning. Then, I got a bit angry that I couldn’t understand his English that well because I didn’t want to concentrate that hard. My calves and thighs were sore from the waterfall hike and the mountain hike, and because the poses took SO long to hold, I wasn’t really enjoying it. The best part was the Savasana. LOL. The instructor gently played the gong, and while lying there with my eyes closed, it was a beautiful experience. I believe he was slowly circling around my body with the gong, and while lying there it felt like the gong was ginormous in size. (Upon opening my eyes I was surprised at how small the instrument was). Then when he was done playing, I saw a vision while still lying there with my eyes closed. I saw the Buddha, bright red, glowing on what felt like my forehead. Somehow it felt like it was my third eye. Anyway, I don’t know what to make of this experience. When I came down to the breakfast area upon finishing my yoga, one of the hotel guests said that I was glowing. The gong experience was so beautiful, and “seeing” the bright red Buddha made me feel so very special somehow.
After breakfast and a shower, Margy and I went on an art and culture tour. Our first stop was shopping for the beautiful Batik, a special cloth dyeing process famous in Indonesia, and we had so much fun! I bought a blue sarong, a yellow dress (I have NEVER bought anything yellow in my life), and some souvenirs for others. Then on our way to the wood carving show room we stopped for some fresh coconut water. The wood carving artwork is everywhere in Bali. You see them all along the roads when driving, and it was amazing to see SO many gorgeous hand carved pieces being treated like displays at a garage sale. Because the show room turned out to be too hot for us to stay for long, we decided it was time for lunch. It was a very hot, sunny day as we sat outdoors under a covered cafe. I ordered an icy cold beer which was unusual for me. I don’t drink beer. And just like from the day before, I am drinking things that I don’t usually drink. There’s something about Bali…
The next day, Sunday, I went to the Tirta Empul temple, a Hindu water temple famous for its holy spring water. Although it was just cloudy upon driving there, when we arrived it was pouring so hard that we stayed in the car for awhile hoping the rain would pass. When it did not, my guide and driver asked if I wanted to head back. Since we were already there, and I really didn’t see another window of opportunity to return back, I suggested we just go in. Although we each had our own umbrellas, the very large pools of water on the ground along with the torrential downpour drenched us immediately. When we got to the temple part, everyone was seeking shelter from the rain under the roof waiting for the rain to pass. But the rain wouldn’t stop. At all. So I went toward the holy spring to purify myself. It is amazing how our perspective might change after the fact. While my amazing guide was helping me with the ritual of the purification process, I only now realize HOW amazing he truly was to me. While holding his umbrella in the harsh rain, he kindly took out my beautiful offering basket of flowers from the plastic bag, gently placed it on the ground, and proceeded to light the incense. As the matchbox was wet, it took several tries to light the incense. He then asked me to pray for all the wishes of my life. And boy, did I pray. As I was no longer under an umbrella getting ready to go into the pool, I prayed so hard that I must have cried, only I couldn’t tell because the copious rain and my tears merged into one. I was soaking wet by this time, and it seemed silly to go into the pool at this point. Thinking that the water was only waist deep, I was surprised to find that after I stepped in, I embarrassingly and loudly splashed deep inside the pool. When I came up for air, I was told by my guide (who wasn’t bathing with me) to go to each spout to make or think about my wish and douse my head under each. I could also drink the holy water, he said. The cool water was deliciously seductive to my taste and my senses. To completely bathe in the purity and at the same time taste the perfect water was an experience that is indescribable in words. As I bathed in the luxury of holy purity, I felt completely clean and whole as if all my imperfections (inner and outer) were washed away. As I emerged out of the water, I felt reborn again, and my skin and spirit felt like a baby’s.
By the time we drove back to the hotel, the weather was clear, of course. I guess it was a blessing because the hotel I was staying at was having a party by the pool with traditional Balinese dancers, music, and food. I was eager to wear my new white Balinese lace dress to the party. Although I was barefoot instead of wearing high heels, without any makeup at all, and without a blow dryer to my hair, I felt beautiful. Maybe it was the holy spring water. After tasting the delicious food, listening to beautiful music, and seeing the young Balinese dancers, we witnessed the most gorgeous sky above us. There was a beautiful rainbow, and everyone stopped to look up. Then, just a few minutes later, we all witnessed the most stunning sunset. The sky was purple, orange, and pink all at once, and it reminded me of the spectacular sunset I witnessed in Amsterdam a few months ago. The glow in the sky was simply gorgeous. Then it was back to watching the dancers, only this time they lured the guests of the hotel to take turns dancing. Pretty soon after my turn at dancing I decided to go to bed since I had another full day ahead. The next day would take me to the rice terraces of Jatiluwih, a UNESCO site. I have seen the gorgeous pictures of the rice terraces for many years, and I couldn’t wait to finally take my own personal photo of its beauty. It was so easy to fall asleep when I felt so very blessed.