Monday, December 28, 2015

When things don't look like you think they should

My week in Ungasan. . . Jockeying for sanity in Bali. My wish is to extol exotic delights and share the magic of discovery and experience to you. The reality has proven otherwise so I am forced to share my discomfort. I've been slow to acclimate to the new chaos. As my new friend Troy says everything here is "semwa balik." All is flipped. I'm south of the equator 8°. Sure, we drive on the other side of the road and toilets flush counterclockwise but it's more than that. The system of organization and law is that there is no system. At least the way we understand it in the west. Chaos is the ruling order and while we organize in linear fashion in the States, here it could be described as spherical. The deal is I got dropped into a really sweet and free place to stay but this really sweet place centered on the hill in the middle of the peninsula. Where all the roads come together... The traffic is mad. Like an angry nest of hornets and a razors edge. Not only that but it turns out the beautiful villa that I'm staying in is built under a lively tree that happens to host bad spirits. Jacob has been told by the local spiritual leader that the tree should be cut down. At the time I didn't think it was the tree but in reflecting back on my time there I do believe the influence is real.

After my first week of frontline training I decided I was finally at a place where I could take off on the motorbike by myself and head to the beach. I have a rack on the side of my bike and strapped on the board. Ready to ride. Easy enough head down to the beach and paddle out. No problem. 
Spun out and annoyed by my feeble sense of direction- I've resorted to google maps to get me places. Just pop the headphones in and I have a hands free homing device. It's amazing that every time I venture out its a completely different world that reveals itself.  If you can't see the forest for the trees there seems to be a thick variety of trees here! 
I made it to the beach- I've spent some time surfing in many different places and while the surf was blown out I thought I could at least paddle out and tune up my stroke, maybe catch a wave or two. Instead I got caught in between. Purgatory would be a euphemism. A current between two breaking wave areas that I was hoping could carry me outside where I could traverse over to catch my ride. I quickly became nothing more than a sliced carrot in a boiling stew. Paddling...Paddling...Paddling. Going nowhere. Was it my imagination or was the coast receding? I swear there were one or two other surfers out here? Where are they?  Paddling. Paddle. Paddle! The sun on the horizon. Hmmm. Nothing like the sunset surf in California that I always loved. This is feeling like a really bad idea.This tiny dancer is not happy to get swept out into the Indian Ocean at nightfall alone. Oh god. My desperation to surf is not working out so well. The panic starts to set in. Calling out for Ma, the divine mother, I quickly recognize my fear is draining my resources. Intuitively I direct my fear towards calming my mind and breath. Relaxing, I allow my view to expand. I began to harness my energy beyond the paddle stroke and actually will my energetic body towards the edge of this impasse. It felt like an absolute miracle of love when a wave gushed up and came towards me. Pointing my board and digging two deep strokes the wave rose up under me like a magic carpet. I hopped up and got a short ride before it dissolved back into the mystery from which it arose. A few more came with just enough force to begin pushing me back toward shore and away from the Bali demon jaws of which I was just held. The relief feels like waking up from a nightmare or finally cutting loose the bag of bowling balls anchored off my leash. Relief with a capital R. Clearly the surf in southern Bali during the rainy season is not for the light weight Colorado surfer that I've become. I kissed the ground when I made it back to the beach. Maybe it's time to see what else Bali has to offer. 


  1. Frightening, glad you're safe. 🙏😘

    1. take care of yourself on your journey Kristin! weird how sometimes we have to travel so far to learn our limits. Sending love.

  2. Oh dear! Glad you made it safely back to shore.