Well, the start of New year has been busy this side of the world:) … and unexpectedly disconnected from the rest of the world. Did not expect that New Zealand is soooo wifi unfriendly, almost the same as in case of dogs that are not allowed anywhere and just seldom welcomed on a leash in some spots. My last few hours before I shall again disconnect from the civilisation. This time for MA-URI training. Yup, finally it starts! The reason for all the travels and changes and choices!!! Am so excited! The time before was enough to see all of the most wanted spots on the North island. Tried to list in my head what has happened and where I have been so far and have to admit I failed… :) Too much of gipsy like travels from one spot to the other every other night, numerous treks, dives, climbs, walks, hikes… New Zealand is impossible to describe. For the first time in my life I lack of words… For me it is simply enormous SPACE. No matter where I am - in a bay of islands, at the ocean coastline, on top of the mountain, in the centre of volcano crater, under water, on the road, in the valley or a bush…. it always feels like being in this endless SPACE. Everything is big here, all seams endless… like your own being and look at everything you see…. may it be the tranquil blue waters of the ocean, the deep sky with numerous clouds, rain storm, mist or fog, a beach that starches so long that you see neither end of it, sand dunes that are as steep as five store apartment house, kauri trees that outgrow all your imagined estimations of how big a tree can bee. All I did, all places I went, all people I met only expended the feeling of eternity in this land… It definitely is a new beginning in me, a new land to see, a new life to experience. Every moment being majestic in its simplicity. There is so much FREEDOM in me that is generated by the SPACE of this land and the strong spirit of maori people. Here I was yesterday packed in my small rental car, suddenly lost and seeing no ends to match on my map of my estimated location, passing off road mountain valley road, none to see for half of a day, no water, no food, some petrol, just many dollars in my pockets that I could suggest to the cows and sheep, no humans to see or smell… and yet I simply felt so in PLACE driving through that wilderness and valleys and being sure that eventually that unmarked road shall lead me to my final destination - the giant kauri trees that I was so desperate to see. And guess what - it did! Stood there literally at their feet and cried as they were so majestic. And felt so small, many human lives are not enough to reach the size of their spirit. Cried as realised one more time that the end destination is not the only thing that matters, the road we choose to take to reach it is equally important. Mine was truly breathtaking all this time, not only today… with unexpected highs and lows that led me to this moment. To a feeling that am ready to face it all what expects me in the coming month in any given way and form…
So it is! Steam and smell - two first welcome signs to this land of volcanic thermic activities with beautiful lakes of unimaginable colour, green valleys, endless bushes and walk trails… My first steps in the Land of the White Long Cloud or as locals call it Aerotera are meant to be here!
Almost 20 hour long journey, comprised of a long taxi ride, two flights and a bus route, is finally over, managed to sleep of my jet lag in something like 12 hours… :) and jumped straight into my trek shoes for a 3 hour long mountain path trek amid the so called bush:) Well, just for a small clarification, that equals to a forest over here:))) In our understanding bush is something like big grass but forget that here:) Bush is big, tall, green, impossible to cross, dense and full of sounds!!! Enormous energy of our lovely planet! Trees that are impossible to hug and measure in height! In Rotorua everything is big - blue is deep blue, trees and deep green, mud holes are dark brown, thermic steam is hot hot and so strong that even the canalisation system, streets, pavements, gardens are steaming:))) Quite a strange feeling to walk on a steaming pavement but quite liked it! Felt good to be entirely alone in that bush, lost in the greenery of a different sort, amid tall trees of unknown kind and surrounded by strange bird sounds, to watch the bubbling pods and waters in the city centre under sign "walk only on the path, thermic area (Rotorua is stuffed with t:hess signs on your every step).
A good walk up to contemplate on the passing year… it seamed that every step I made up there remembered me of every moment of the passing 2013… So many memories, so much to remember with love and tenderness, so much joy and inner discoveries and above all changes…. it was a good year indeed. Definitely a year to remember! A year of love and creation, a year of conscious choices and challenges and never ending divine gifts…! Yup, life is definitely good:) Bye bye 2013 - am ready to welcome the coming 2014! And to do that just in my home stay garden next to a streaming spring under the dark sky full of stars was something I never did before! Meditating and dancing MA-URI in there in compete silence that was disturbed only by night songs of local birds was indescribable. Only the tall hundred year old trees in Allaine's wonderful garden are my witnesses:))) Felt the coming 2014 on my skin! They promised to be exceptional:) Ready to jump into them straight ahead! :)
There is nothing you cannot be, there is nothing you cannot do, there is nothing you cannot have.
Those are the gifts I found in myself at Bali. The knowing that I can be, do, and have whatever I can imagine is so strong in me. All we have to do is not fear and love instead. And there is so much to love starting from ourselves… Nature is such a good example for it here in Bali. Every raindrop loves every leave, every ocean wave loves the corals beneath its surface and the orchestra of frogs pays its tribute to the rain swimming pools in the fields… Christmas here was full of nature miracles - have never before seen such a sky at night - half completely clear with stars, half covered with rain clouds, with the rising moon from the ocean and a strong lightening far on the horizon… Was sitting in a completely abandoned dark beach and seizing the moment with every cell of my body… No white snowflakes yet complete harmony in me and around me… The paradise around me allowed to realise that the real paradise starts within me…
The last few days of countdown in here before I start a new page of my travel were full of thrill and going beyond my own limits… That for me was a class in FREE DIVING. Well, what can I say… if you ever get a chance to try it, just go ahead… go and experience yourself in the deep ocean waters… with 50 meters or so depth underneath, whitish water and the beauty of the breaking sunlight in it… There are no more corals that amaze you and no play of small shining fishes that distract your sight…. just you, water and the rope that takes you deep under the water surface…. ah, and yes, your breath… How far can you go? How long can you be in there in your comfort zone? What are your limits and how does your body react to your deep water play with it…? An experience that takes you beyond into life meditation… :) No wonder free diving goes along with yoga and meditation.
If you ever decide to try it in Bali just head to Amed and look for Apneista (www.apneista.com)… that is a true yoga in the deep ocean waters and much more - super healthy food cafe, evening yoga classes next to the breaking waves… a place and people with unique life style and philosophy… Loved those two day no matter how exhausting it was for my body:)
Leaving Bali with new realisation that you can be all what you want even in your body as it is not a limit to go beyond… with a deeper connection to the nature of our beautiful planet and a touch of Balinese smiling spirit… Was great. Am not saying goodbye… you never know:)
Travelling makes an interesting influence on your routines… You do not have them anymore. You hardly feel traditional festivals too. That happened to me with Christmas spirit. Might have lost it somewhere in the rice paddy fields or under the palm…
and yet, miracles do happy, especially on Christmas Eve:) So here I was yesterday wrapped in never ending monsoon rain storm that went on for entire day… cosily lying on a comfortable soft floor seater in this yoga restaurant place, sipping fresh watermelon juice with mint, overlooking the wild sea and going through their tinny library just in the middle of the cafe… and then my Christmas gift came straight into my hands - a book. A book my hearth was searching for since I left India. A spiritual book on Love and Life and Faith and Connection with God… A book that reflected so deeply in me that I could not let it go out of my hands and that built in me Christmas joy in a single moment… Woke up with an enormous wanting to share with Christmas awaiting spirit with entire Universe!
I may not have white snowflakes around me nor my beloved family seated next to me on a festive table but the WHITE Christmas spirit is in and around me. A lot of people think white is the absence of colour. It is not. It is the inclusion of all colours. The same like Love is the inclusion of all emotions in Life. A total sum of everything in Life. That is Jesus message to us. That is Christmas spirit!
Life is about creation. Love is about creation of all possible experiences. So may this Christmas be filled with love without end in your hearths as that is never ending creation by how we choose to live! Create the most magnificent joyful day ever for yourself and your loved ones! Love you, hug you all, you are in my hearth no matter how far I am… Merry Christmas to you all!
Amed is a paradise if you do not want rain in Bali monsoon season. As the moment you make your move out of this lovely stretch, you face pouring rain wall:) And by saying rain wall I do mean a wall of water drops in front of you:))) Such was Mount Batur today for me… The secret wish to climb at least this peak for a sunrise collapsed after 5 minute talk with the guide. Even in the dry season the trip os bait of sadistic-masohistic as you have to leave hotel my midnight what means that you reach the mountain at around 2 a.m. at night and climb for 4 hours with a torch so that you reach the peak for the sunrise… Now I have rain as an excuse instead of being simply lazy and unwilling to torture myself, even though everyone tells the sun rise view is stunning. Well, as local people say, - next time:) The misty peak of the mountain was stunning enough for me this time. Was sipping my coffee on the terrace of one of the warungs (restaurants) and enjoying my rainy view and the clearing sky… Poor driver, that was the moment I spotted a stretch of black lava from the last volcano eruption and a road winding across the area… the driver was shocked to hear I want to drive there:))) Poor guy was trying to tell me there is no road, but my eyes did not believe him, so we landed going down to the volcanic rain in search of that mysterious road which appeared to be an off-road for trucks that carry lava:))) well, despite that we drove as close as possible to the region making a cross through local villages, lava tomato fields, chilli plantations and God knows what sort of plant fields… View was stunning! Especially the realisation that the vegetable gardens in Bali are located right on top of lava soil in Bali! Simply beautiful to watch red ripe tomatoes next to a lava stone:)
Unforgetable day! The road winding through mountain valleys, rain storms and sunny moments, coffee plantation with the most expensive coffee in the world and a farm of the animals that shit those coffee beans, saffron tea (did not even know that you can make tea of it), first time for fruits I have never seen before in my life, even a sleeping mouse as a pet in front of the spice shop:))) Was to lazy to catch the moment as it started to piss while hanging upside down, but that was hilarious! Have never been so close nose-to-nose with a sleeping mouse:)
Yet, the highlight in Bali for me are rice paddy field terraces… and that was the gem of today:) A treat for me from my guide:))) as the place he drove me to was simply stunning! A huge mountain surrounded rice terrace far from main roads and close to trekking spots, an hour and a half simply to reach its other edge (that is a very very big terrace)… With a rain coat on and feet soaked in rain water, left alone as the guide did not have umbrella, here I was wandering on the top of those terraces and balancing my feet on the edge of the open mountain water system for the paddy fields… completely by myself - and that was the best part! One hour of solitude in this greenery and rain storm energy… I felt as if I am every rain drop and every growing rice crop - completely connected with the place all I could think of at that moment was "Thank you, God, for the gift of life"… as life is all we need to be alive and feel life in others… Touched by the eternity of that moment am lying with my laptop on the sea terrace of my restaurant and typing these letters to the rhythm of sea waves in complete darkness outside… feeling blissful and ready to say goodnight to this wonderful day:)
I wish so much you would see the spot where I am right now with my laptop… somewhere in the middle on my way to the top of the Holly Mountain Lempuyang with the most sacred Temple for Balinese people - Pura Lempuyang. Trapped in a rain cloud that suddenly bursted into pouring rain, sitting in a half ruined small temple with an imaginable panorama of the Mount Agung in front of me, unfortunately covered in heavy rain mist… I am so brilliant to have my laptop with me! It feels unreal to write in here with heavy rain pouring in the distance of 10 cm from my nose:) Well, what the hell… might take a short break after all:) No way I shall make it to the top today… it is a 4 hours stair climb up to the top temple on the peak of the mountain, it is afternoon and the rain started, all the people are coming down, I am alone here… The temple people downstairs begged me not to go up to the top temple as the way to it is packed with aggressive monkeys who in the last few days bit 15 tourists, most of them beeing sick now, two people broke their legs on the slippery stairs too … Have to admit these talks only tempted me to choose that way and a good stick along with unconditional love for monkeys in my hearth… Took 10 minutes on the crossroad to the up and middle temple. Chose the last out of simple reason - am LAZY! Come on - 2 more hours after already one hour up in sweat and rain is simply too much for a lady like me! Did not sin lately, have to reason so suffer for my mistakes that hard:))) Decided to search for local spirits and gods in the midway:) am happy and content in my solitude in this discovered half ruined temple… just trees, jungle sounds and hidden valley around and beneath me! Much better as I could have expected!!! A good platform for MA-URI dance and meditation, which was unimaginably powerful in the stormy rain and blessed by God as the moment I opened my eyes the top of the Mount Agung appeared in front of me as if the clouds spread for me to see it… Isn't that a sign of God that am sitting just in the most perfect place in this mountain? :)
My rest day on a bike turned to be hard work for my "bumcheecks"… hahaha:) It is quite a torture to sit for two hours on a scooter on a mountain road! However, what a delight for my eyes and spirit! If you ever come to Amed in Bali make sure that you take the panoramic road towards Seraya that twingles along the coast and discloses all its valleys, bays, mountain terraces, rice paddy fields, local villages… I was so thrilled to discover that a few km from my beach there is nothing left of the luxury Bali for tourists - no villas, no spa and seaside resorts, just pure original local villages and the untouched beauty of Bali. I would not be surprised if that is the most picturesque road in Bali. A way full of mountain springs with bathing children in them and their white souped waters from laundry, a road of culture with water palaces and minor village temples and of course the gem of Bali at it's end - the Holy Mountain. Spirits are present in every moment of daily life of every Balinese. Every day numerous times offerings are being given to spirits that guard the family house. Every house has at least one shrine where rice and flower offering are left for the Gods at every possible occasion. Even in the shops and tourist restaurants you are expected to leave your shoes outside and there was an offering to Gods right in the middle of the dance floor yesterday at the disco bar (had to be careful not to step on it in my salsa). Every time you come back to your hotel cottage you find new flower offerings left on your entrance. No big pujas as in India, just numerous daily offerings and small rituals… And even though Bali is a hindu island in the islamic Indonesia I often have a feeling that indigenous believes rule this island of beauty. Right here right now on this mountain this feeling penetrates to the core of my soul…
Few more moments to contemplate in here in the silence and then I shall pull my raincoat out and make my way down the slippery stones to the footprints of this adorable mountain. More rice paddy field terraces awaiting for me and another water palace… A day of Balinese culture on the back of a bike:) … and then some cool beer or whine in the seafront restaurant back in my village with my feet dipped into the refreshing ocean waters… can't wait! And just made my mind - am coming back to this mountain. Have to make to the top even if that means fight with furious monkeys:) … yet preferably not in the rain so that I can enjoy the majestic panorama of the Agung!