Inspired bali gratitude web

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March-April-May 2013

The Gratitude Issue






Vasisthasana - Heather Bonker by Cynthia Scriberras

08 12 The Gratitude Issue March. April. May 2013

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General Inquires

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40 44 COVER Cover photo of Eiji Han Shimizu by Suki Zoe




Meredith Lewis


Melinda Chickering


Amit Janco


Sarah Jenness


Rosanna Nicol


Living Food Lab


Inspired Bali


Maureen Gilbert


Sherri Dean and Ari Juniari


Melinda Chickering


Renee Martyna


Jane Carleton

Top Five

Photograph by Steve Mason


WELCOME to our second edition of Inspired Bali. The theme of this issue is Gratitude.


ere we are in Bali, one of the most magical places in the world. You may be reading this on a comfy couch waiting for a spa treatment, rehydrating after a yoga class, or lounging in a hotel, villa, or cafe. You may be a traveller, an expat, or a local. Regardless, we all share a passion for Bali, and are here to explore the abundant opportunities available to us. But how can we take things a little further and ensure we are grateful for all that surrounds us? What happens when we lose perspective and begin to take things for granted? When we only see the negative, and our energy is used up complaining about garbage and traffic? How do we accept the reality of some of the systemic problems Bali faces, and also remain authentically grateful for what we have here? Many of us have more than enough to live a fulfilled life, and yet somehow we often forget to take the time to give thanks. When was the last time you stopped to consider what you're grateful for? How do you express gratitude in your own life? In this issue we've brought together a number of talented artists to explore these questions of gratitude and how it shows up in Bali. From an academic look at scientific research in the field, to one woman's journey to appreciate Kirtan, and for the potential for dreams to transform oneself, we hope these stories inspire our readers. Sit back, get comfortable and give thanks. It's good for you, for your health, for your community and for all of us. This publication would not be possible if it was not for a number of people who have offered their expertise, time and enthusiasm. Firstly, Meredith Lewis for the tremendous honesty, faith and sense of adventure she brings to each and every project she’s involved with. Secondly, our editors. They've set high editorial standards for this magazine, and it shows. Thank you Kelly Damas, Rachel Glitz and Jamie Woodall! You are a dynamic trio who combed through each word, each paragraph, each article ensuring everything was clear, accurate and authentic. Also of note is Arik Bintang, who joined us between his busy schedule as a filmmaker and heroically endured the multiple changes to the design we requested. His patience is to be commended and his talent celebrated. Lastly, this publication would not exist without the drive and desire of the many who have contributed: thank you writers and photographers. Let these pages be a place for you to express, explore and share your passions, ideas and insights. In Gratitude The Inspired Bali Team

Photograph by : Widiastra



n a dimly lit room overlooking the dark Balinese jungle, I sit on a yoga bolster in a crowd of a hundred and watch musicians set up. It’s my first kirtan experi ence and I am entirely unsure of what to expect. A few squeezes of the harmonium bellows later and voices all around me join together for the first mantra. While words are provided at some kirtans, this session is not for beginners, and I have to settle for humming along. Even when a few distinct sounds begin to emerge, my knowledge of Sanskrit is limited to the names of a handful of yoga poses and so my participation is musical mimicry. In the middle of so many singing voices I am brought back to my Canadian family’s singular acknowledgement of its vague Christian roots. Nearly every year we would find a caroling service in town and sing along, always surprised by the rarely heard third verses, always glowing by the end with the spirit of it all. By the time I sit down at my first kirtan here in Bali, it has been almost a decade since those annual caroling forays, but as more chanting voices join in and someone reaches for a harmony, something feels familiar. Kirtan is a form of devotional practice that dates back to the beginnings of Bhakti yoga in 15th century India. The word kirtan means singing, praise or eulogy in Sanskrit, and variations of the call-and-response chanting practice are a central part of Hinduism, Sikhism and some strands of

Buddhism. Generally, an individualmusician or group of musicians chants mantras and provides accompaniment on instruments such as the harmonium, the tablas, hand cymbals and drums. The assembled crowd responds in kind and the mantra is repeated with rhythmic and energetic variations until the chant is brought to a natural conclusion by the kirtankar, or kirtan performer. But kirtan initiates would

argue rightly that this sort of description does little to capture the spirit of kirtan – they would say it says nothing of what raises one’s hands to the sway of the music or brings one back to sing another round of Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu (may all beings everywhere be free and happy). Kirtan music has travelled a long way from the remote Indian Ashram. Bands



Repeat After Me by Meredith Lewis

and singers such as Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, Ragani, Jau Uttal and Wah! play to packed concert halls around the globe. Dave Stringer is a kirtan musician from the US who encountered the practice while working on a film project in an ashram in India. Twenty years later Stringer travels the world as one of the central figures of the American Kirtan or New Bhakti movement in order to share his own style of kirtan. I caught up with him while he was at home in Los Angeles. From the start, Stringer speaks a language I understand. “I’m a reluctant yogi and actually sort of an agnostic,” he tells me within ten minutes of establishing our Skype connection, “it gives me a one eyebrow raised sort of view on this whole movement…I don’t ask people who come to my kirtans to believe in it. I ask them to suspend their disbelief for a long enough time to give it a go and see what happens.” Kirtan is a form of yoga, he explains, “[and] yoga doesn’t ask us to believe in anything. It asks us to practice and examine our experience until we can witness the truth in the book of our own heart.” I have enjoyed the practice of yoga in its various forms for years and I add my own Oms and Shantis before a final devotional Namaste at the end of every class. However, I know I am able to accept the physical aspects of yoga more easily without wondering about which traditions I am misinterpreting. Stringer has a really good point to make here, one that strikes a real chord with me. Stringer argues, “it’s important to point out that neither Kirtan nor yoga are some kind of dusty ethnomusical, logical or spiritual museum piece; they are living traditions which are very much going through an incredible period of creativity right now.”

Moreover, Stringer points out “the Bhaktis had no use for orthodoxy…they saw the expression and form of the divine in every direction they looked.” and that this means that every evolution of kirtan has the potential to express the original vision and spirit of the Bhakti movement. In a short crash course on the socio-political origins of the Bhakti movement, Stringer explains that kirtan is really a folk music movement. “It arose in the streets,” he tells me, “not in the temples.” The original Bhakti movement was a general popularization of knowledge, previously held captive and secret by members of the high priest caste. Music was just the vessel for getting the newly available knowledge out there. “People have accused me, when I have re-imagined this as a rock band, of not being traditional,” Stringer chuckles, “but my response is that you don’t know the tradition. The Bhakti tradition itself was upsetting to people – it really challenged conventional social norms. Lovingly, but a challenge nonetheless. So the tradition is that the singers invent the songs and they do it in such a way that the people are moved to participate. So when you look at it this way, what I am doing is entirely traditional.” In an historical twist that adeptly illustrates how alive the kirtan tradition has always been, it turns out that possibly the most symbolic kirtan instrument, the harmonium, is not ‘traditionally’ Indian. European missionaries brought the instrument to India in the mid-19th century where it quickly became popular and is now central to many genres of Indian music. Suddenly, the line that extends from the church organ accompanying my own culture’s ‘holiday mantras’ to the adapted Indian hand-pumped harmonium played by devotees in every mandir or gurdwara in the world


“I would prefer to say that what we are doing is authentic in the way that it arises. People constantly want everything to fit in some box…and to me it is a waste of our time to get involved with these arguments. The essence of what we’re doing is already pure…the essence of the philosophy is not encumbered by whatever it mixes with. To insist on purity is in some way to insist in a kind of mummification or death of the thing which is really a process, a living thing, and messy. I am personally willing to be alive and messy and see where this is going in a way that feels vital to me in my own voice.” David Stinger

comes beautifully back full-circle to the harmonium played throughout my third kirtan experience. Kirtan first became popular in the west in the sixties, brought back to hippie communities by travellers with experience in Indian ashrams. Stringer chalks some of his success up to being in the right place at the right time – specifically Los Angeles in the decades following that first wave of exposure. After a few kirtan sessions and my chat with Dave Stringer, I feel like I have been able to put aside some of my skepticism; traditions evolve and I understand this is one reincarnation of an ancient practice. I still don’t understand Sanskrit, but I see that in accepting the mantras for what they are instead of trying to deconstruct each phrase, I may be closer to the spirit of kirtan. Stringer goes so far as to encourage me to put aside the question of whether or not kirtan is really a Hindu practice at all. His perspective is that it need not be. He suggests we look at the rituals and ideas in another light: one way of articulating some ideas about spirituality and human existence. “The gods and goddesses are beautiful metaphors in a long human tradition of speaking to the truth of our existence through the invention of stories. In some ways, Stringer theorizes, “a piece of fiction can get us closer to the experiential truth of things than can a recitation of facts”. I realize now the same can be said for the way that many – my spiritually ambiguous family included – have decided to wear the sometimes-uncomfortable yoke of culturally inherited religious tradition. The lyrics of “O Come All Ye Faithful” may as well be a Sanskrit mantra for the extent to which most Christmas carolers analyze the words.

All photographs courtesy of David Stringer

“Maybe what I’m doing,” proposes Stringer, “is repurposing rituals in a way that allows them to continue to be meaningful in modern life even though their source is very old. I don’t think to be modern we have to throw everything out from the past. If the mantras work when we sing them, then they simply work. I don’t need to create something new”. INSPIRED BALI 10

We finish our conversation on a personal note; I ask about the kirtan-filled life that has taken Stringer between Costa Rica, LA and now Jamaica over the course of our month-long correspondence. “I’m grateful that doing something as crazy as chanting mantras has given me a passport to the whole world and has given me a perspective on the world that would be unattainable any other way, ” Stringer tells me, “I’m grateful that I do something that allows me – while acknowledging my demons, doubts and darkness – to transform that energy into something that is brighter and more life affirming…I’m grateful that my sense of wonder is somehow still intact.” Silently, I commit to being able to say the same for myself someday. Meredith Lewis has paddled, sailed and cycled from Alaska to Argentina. After four months of daily routine in Bali, she is getting ready for the next adventure. Most of these days she can be found on the yoga mat.


n a little village near Ubud called Nyuh Kuning, there is a love portal. It is a place where our earthly world sneaks just a bit closer to the realm of the divine, just close enough to foment an irresistible connection. Like two beads of water on a pane of glass that nearly touch but remain distinct, each enclosed in a magical dome of surface tension until a breeze prompts a tiny shift, their edges meld into each other, and the two become one. My daughter was born in this bubble

Through the Love Portal by Melinda Chickering

where Earth and Divinity meet. Our family and thousands of others are eternally grateful for the loving care we received at Yayasan Bumi Sehat. My husband and I were ready for a baby, as ready as we could be. Nothing could quite prepare us, however, for the first sighting of the two blue lines of a positive pregnancy test, not long after we settled in Bali. We had

the same flurry of energy, maternal concern and respect for our role as parents that she meets thousands of Indonesian patients each year. Ibu Robin founded Yayasan Bumi Sehat (YBS) clinic to offer healthy, natural and gentle birthing options for free, primarily to low-income families who otherwise might lack such opportunities. YBS offers the same loving care to foreign families by donation. The premature death of her own sister during childbirth inspired Ibu Robin to attend meticulously to the physical safety of women in her care. Ibu Robin’s personal experiences of giving birth heightened her awareness of birth’s psychological, emotional and spiritual power. Her vision of bringing peace to the world one gentle birth at a time and her tirelessly generous spirit of service would be recognized internationally in 2011 when Ibu Robin was named CNN’s Hero of the Year. Upon our first meeting, Ibu Robin launched into a series of questions about my age, symptoms, sensations, family history, diet and lifestyle. She reached across the table and pulled down my lower eye-lid,

“Wherever and however you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life.” - Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s “Guide to Childbirth” so many questions, the most prominent around one theme: Where and how should we plan to give birth? My husband and I met midwife Ibu Robin Lim for the first time when I was 12 weeks pregnant. This earth mother greeted us with

announcing that I was anemic. She explained that so many pregnant women become ‘anemic’ because their bodies’ blood increase in volume by up to 40 percent during pregnancy, with naturally lower hemoglobin counts. She began filling out a INSPIRED BALI 12

small green card, bi-lingual in English and Bahasa Indonesia, to track data from all of our monthly prenatal visits throughout the pregnancy. It included my number of weeks pregnant, weight, fundal height, condition of my urine sample and blood pressure. In the near future, it would include our baby’s heart rate. Ibu Robin had years of experience serving everyone with respect and love, regardless of their culture, origins, ability to pay or socio-economic status. She had turned breech babies, coaxed newborns to breathe and sewn up tears in the most sensitive areas. She encouraged women to harness their greatest gifts and to celebrate their ability to give birth. She had shed tears of joy as well as sorrow with thousands of families, including those few who had to be transferred to hospitals from her small, simple clinic. The midwives at YBS offered us reassurance throughout our pregnancy, including strong endorsement to trust our own intuition while making our way into the unfamiliar territory of parenthood. We felt that everyone at YBS would give their all to ensure ours would be the most gentle, loving and supported birth possible, even if we faced unanticipated challenges. During our first prenatal visit, Ibu Robin gave us a concise book by Dr. Michel Odent, who supports gentle birth at his clinic near Paris. Dr. Odent writes about how the body, mind and spirit relate to our formative experiences from conception through the first year of life. Fetal development, prenatal and birth experiences and the postpartum period profoundly affect our ability to love and connect with others throughout our lives. Everything about the powerful physiology of emotional experience and the knowingness of our bodies that was represented in this book struck us as deeply true. This nudged us closer to surrender to the ineffable wisdom of nature. I was amazed that in over three decades on Earth, I had never been present for any birth of any kind, nor had I even seen one on video or film. Reading and hearing birth stories offered the most helpful preparation for our birth day. Friends with children had a broad spectrum of personal experiences to share, most of them exhilarating and

positive. This - along with monthly visits to Bumi Sehat confirming the healthy progression of our pregnancy felt reassuring. As the pregnancy continued, we referred with higher regard to our greatest resources within our hearts and leaned into the loving support of community all around us. As our own baby bump grew, we became increasingly sensitive to the power of our choices to not only mitigate possible physical risks but also provide for an emotionally satisfying, conscious experience of birth. We learned that this experience can be gentle, magical and empowering; giving birth need not be manipulated, painful and frightening. We wanted to live through the birth of our baby - in touch with all the love and lessons this experience had to offer. Simply surviving the birth to get on with the rest of our lives would dishonor and disengage from a priceless moment of communion with the spiritual. We sought to embrace this fleeting chance to touch divinity in our forms of human flesh and blood. Our daughter was born in a pool of warm water sprinkled with blossoms and blessed with song. Like most other babies born at Bumi Sehat clinic, she emerged from my body directly into the water. This was our best attempt to lubricate the transition from the womb of constant, complete contact - a human body wrapped around her into the cool, crisp air she would have to learn to breathe. She learned very quickly, screaming her greetings to our ears primed with the anticipation of nine months of pregnancy and about seven hours of labor. I could not have been more relieved to hear her cries, proof that she was indeed breathing our air, already learning to be one of us; each shuddering cry a fresh promise to stay with us rather than retreat to the Land of the Souls. I imagine villagers within earshot were also relieved that her newborn cries would now replace my laboring roars. They must be used to it, living in close proximity to the love portal. Melinda Chickering is writing a memoir about pregnancy and birth.


Guided Meditation: Mindfulness Find a quiet space where you can relax. Sit comfortably. Focus awareness on your breathing while your mind and body settles. As thoughts, images or emotions arise, acknowledge and release them. Whenever you become distracted, bring your awareness gently back to the sensation and rhythm of the breath going in and out. Spend a moment enjoying the experience of coming to rest. Begin guiding your mind towards feelings of Appreciation. Be Grateful for all the wonderful things you experience in life. Begin with concrete images. People, Places, Experiences, Relationships, Sensations, Achievements, Opportunities, Surprises... Rejoice in your good fortune. Be thankful for less tangible blessings in life. Beauty, Faith, Luck, Love, Serendipity, Honesty, Growth, Trust... Experience a sense of thankfulness and appreciation for each of the good things in your life. Focus on as many specific incidents of kindness as you can. Fill your awareness with positive emotion. Rejoice in feeling gratified. Acknowledge the love and laughter surrounding you in life. Take a moment to bring attention to compassion and joy. Hold on to these content, grateful feelings. Make a point to start and end each day in a conscious way by reflecting on something positive and specific you are appreciative of. Cultivate optimism - in yourself and those around you - for mindfulness, for happiness, for hope. Namaste.

Buddhist Mealtime Prayer This food is the gift of the whole universe, Each morsel is a sacrifice of life, May I be worthy to receive it. May the energy in this food, Give me the strength, To transform my unwholesome qualities into wholesome ones. I am grateful for this food, May I realize the Path of Awakening, For the sake of all beings. Namo Amida Buddha.

Photograph by Suki Zoe


Solvitur ambulando. It is solved by walking. ~St. Augustine

ot a day goes by that I don’t feel blessed to have survived a near-fatal accident four years ago with all parts intact. I had fallen through a bridge in Cambodia while cycling, landing on a rocky riverbank ten meters below. Despite suffering a concussion, multiple fractures and open wounds, the prospects for my recovery were good. I was lucky and hopeful.

Ever since I was released from hospital, walking became integral to my rehabilitation schedule, and helped me grapple with lingering stiffness, numbness and pain. From my own personal experience, and from many books, articles and websites, I learned about the healing benefits of walking. And so, with a fervent belief that the mere act of setting one foot in front of the other would help bring my body back to wholeness, I went from crutches to cane, and became a devout walker. Like many people I came to Bali to heal. Two years ago, when I arrived in Ubud – a renowned center for healing – I felt certain that it would be the perfect place to indulge in my passion for walking. I expected to find parks, gardens and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks; and excited at the prospect of exploring the outdoors year-round, drenched in sunshine and warmth. What I found instead were impassable sidewalks with steep inclines, parked cars and motorbikes, gaping holes dangerous to life, limb - and pride. Even walking through rice fields without slipping into mud became a tricky endeavor. These hindrances were more than just an inconvenience. Since I rarely ride on scooters or in cars (due to injuries from my accident), I rely on my feet as my primary mode of transportation more than most people do. I needed to find an obstacle-free path on which I could walk easily and meditatively, with no fear for my safety. I suddenly knew what I was looking for because I’d walked such a path many times before: what I really needed was a labyrinth. In ancient times, the labyrinth was a symbolic rendering of a fortification, or a protective talisman against invaders and evil spirits. In the middle ages, labyrinths were used as substitute sites for pilgrimages, when devotees were unable to undertake travel to other lands. But in the modern era, labyrinths have developed into spiritual walking paths, typically concentric circles, with multiple turning points and with a single entry and exit. Labyrinths of various INSPIRED BALI 16

The Gift of Walking by Amit Janco


sizes can be found around the world, in public parks, private gardens, university campuses, hospitals and places of worship. They are walked for meditation, prayer, contemplation, and healing.* Shortly after I began my search, an unexpected opportunity arose. A meditation retreat center was under construction in Tabanan, and its visionary founder wanted a labyrinth. So I offered to design and install it as a gift to the center and its guests. I also imagined it as a gift to myself; a peaceful sanctuary where I could walk free of the impediments I was facing in Ubud. Our enthusiasm grew as the labyrinth’s design began to take shape. We considered size, direction, placement of trees, shade and seating. In deference to the orientation of

* Unlike a labyrinth, a maze (such as the one in Ubud’s Botanic Gardens) is a puzzle to be solved, a network of hedged paths that lead to multiple dead ends and, ultimately to an exit.

Balinese structures towards Gunung (Mount) Agung, dwelling place of Hindu gods, I resolved to align the single entry and exit point with a view towards this sacred mountain. I was also mindful of placing the labyrinth’s entrance in close proximity to a rock nestled into the ground -a revered relic from an ancient ashram uncovered on the site. Through months of blistering sun, rain and unrelenting winds, and with input from experts and volunteers, our ideas were transformed into reality. I would walk the path at least twice a day, grateful for the wide open space, the grass beneath my bare feet, the surrounding sounds of nature.The labyrinth was nearing completion when I noticed something going awry. Weeds were growing out of control, limestone pieces were sinking underground, and grass around the stones was turning into mounds of burnished rust while spreading in strange and unmanageable ways. In a matter of weeks, the grass showed further signs of decay: wilting and withered with large patches turning into colorless blades of grass, the circuits were barely visible. Moreover, an army of red ants was threatening to overtake the field – and to bite every inch of my skin. I gazed at the albyrinth with a mixture of disappointment and sorrow. Like Ubud’s sidewalks, the path was becoming virtually impassable.


Not only was the labyrinth falling apart - so was my body. Under dirt-covered gardening gloves, sweat-soaked work clothes and midday heat, I was straining. I’d had to resort to boots to keep the ants at bay, and found myself knee-deep in gardening hell when all I had signed up for was to create a labyrinth. My body was aching all over and my efforts were being scuttled by recurring bouts of pain. I briefly considered leaving the project, but was already too deeply involved and invested in seeing it come alive and thrive. Abandoning was the easy way out. Who promised that either journey – healing or building a labyrinth - would be simple and straightforward? If I wasn’t prepared to give up on my body, how could I give up on the labyrinth? I decided to stay on course, but resolved instead to give us both - the labyrinth and myself - a rest. I returned to Tabanan at the end of January, well-rested and with a renewed sense of purpose. It was particularly auspicious because that visit marked four years (almost to the day) since my accident. I meandered down the path to the labyrinth, with a prayer in my heart, hopeful that salvage (and salvation?) was still possible. As I turned the corner and stepped onto the terrace, the wise words of Frank Lloyd Wright sprang to mind: Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. Indeed, signs of rebirth and renewal were everywhere. Freshly laid soil was covered with manure. Tufts of grass, transplanted from healthier mounds, were settling into the ground. Limestone pieces, by then understood to be the culprits in this saga ,were temporarily replaced with bamboo sticks until later, when the grass would be fully grown and new stones would be placed. How do we grow ourselves if not by stripping away temporary setbacks and appreciating the gifts that are disguised within obstacles? Through these unexpected turn of events, the labyrinth revealed itself as a mystery and lesson about life, as well as a vehicle for growth and sustenance. Perhaps this is precisely the path I had to tread in order to truly appreciate and share the gift of walking with others.

If we take steps towards healing – by walking or any other way – without expectation of results, we may discover that nature will support our journey, in mysterious and inexplicable ways. Ultimately every path will lead us precisely where we must go. Read more about labyrinths here: For more information about the labyrinth and retreat center, please visit: Amit’s future plans include creating labyrinths on other islands, in a jungle - and at a rice field (with a small footprint) in an effort to preserve the sawah. When not designing and installing labyrinths, Amit practices Iyengar yoga, meditates for self-healing, writes, photographs daily life in her banjar and practices bahasa Indonesia.

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Endangered Blessing by Sarah Jenness

"Be the change you want to see in the world," spoke the beloved freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi. For years, this sentiment has been glowing away in helvetica at the bottom of my emails and, in a sense, this message describes what brings me here to Bali. Like many of my new friends, I have journeyed in search of my own authenticity. To look within, if you will. As an urban yoga teacher, I spent most of my time helping others relax, meditate and become embodied. Through my own meticulous self-care regimen - mind and body - I was maintaining sanity, but only barely by the end. I made it out, finally realizing my dream of coming to Bali! It hasn’t all been butterflies and frangipanis, but it is a blessing to be in a place that honors Spirit and respects the importance of the inner realms. And yet, as magical as it is here, it is often easy to forget why I came. It's easy to sleep in, to shorten my meditation (just like home). It's easy, on this sacred island, to feel over-sensitive and moody, and the next moment blissful. To be irritated by the little ants incessantly crawling across my sticky skin. Easy to get busy. To get lazy. To get worried.


This morning would be different - I was going to be productive. Laptop in tow, I make my way to begin working over cappuccino, Wi-Fi in the jungle. It is a hot, bright morning in Penestanan Kaja. My short stroll along the moss covered path to Yellow Flower Cafe winds beneath avocado and banana trees: plumeria blossoms waft a sweet scent from below. As the small footpath opens to the serene cave that is Yellow Flower, I see the Balinese owner sitting with members of his family and staff, playing a guitar and singing devotional songs. My timing is perfect. Sweet respite - music, Wi-Fi, caffeine. Another day on the Island of the Gods. There are no customers about and the young women are all dressed beautifully in lace ceremonial clothing, in fuschia and orange, teal and yellow - sashes and sarongs alike. "Upacara hari ini?" I ask, is there a ceremony today? "No ceremony, please join us!" This muscled, bulk of a Balinese man extends his hand to welcome me, with a gentle light in his eyes I have rarely seen. His beautiful newborn baby is watching his every move from a lap nearby, listening to every musical note with intense focus and fatherly love. This child is adored by so many, always surrounded by family and friends, held by abundant loving arms. I sit down on the bright pink sofa nearby and start humming along. Classic Bali moment. As they chant to Ganesh, OM Gum Ganapatayai Namaha, my original plan of busting out my technology flies out the window! I am loving this moment. The devotional songs conclude in a prayer. Heads bow, frangipani blossoms lift to third eyes. Many of the mantras I know from yoga. I close my eyes and listen, whispering along, and feel a stirring in my heart. After my makan pagi and perfect froth are delicately placed before me, the kitchen staff join in to pray around the long table. With hands to hearts, incense burning and offerings coloring the place, prayers lift to the unseen world. There is no doubt of the reality of this invisible realm. This big difference between Western and Balinese cultures is precisely why some visitors feel more at home in Bali than back in their mundane Western origins. Surely, I am blessed to have a vibrant spiritual community back in California, but a reverence for Spirit is not what spins American culture. Back home the spiritual life is private, separate from everyday life. Faith in

money and technology dominates. Here in Bali, there is no question that Gods exist. Spirits must be placated, both the benevolent and the demons, as the little offerings are placed everywhere, everyday. There is no question that each moment is precious, a friend explains. "That’s why we enjoy life and make the most of each moment. We are just temporary visitors in this world; we never know when our time here is up." He smiles as he tells me this, clear about his place in this world, in his temporary visit on earth. The prayer at Yellow Flower continues, formalizing with each mantra. Out comes the holy water, the little hand gestures in perfect synchronicity. I am feeling blessed as I witness in silence, sitting behind my poached eggs and cappuccino. Time stretches out and slows down around us. My breath, sunlight through the lush green view, the soft moist air, and the sounds of the morning jungle. The veil between the worlds is thin. The Gods receive. For the duration of the prayer no customers arrive, no one is on the path, and there are no interruptions. This moment, this wonderful moment! This is why I came to Bali. To be here - in this moment, and this one, and this... When we stop to breathe, listen, and feel what is around us - time slows down. When we communicate with the Divine within and all around us, the time/space continuum shifts. It is truly magical. A typical morning for me is suddenly transformed into a sweet meditation at Yellow Flower Cafe. Once again, I am pulled out of my spinning mind and into this beautiful life that is happening, now. This is one of the many great gifts of Bali, the gifts that draw us here in droves. At a new level, it hits me: how important it is to preserve this place! The Balinese culture creates a virtual container; it holds a space of healing for all who visit here. The sad thing is that our very presence as visitors threatens the Balinese way of life. According to the Ministry of Tourism, nearly three million tourists came to Bali in 2012 and this number is expected to increase each year. Many expats continue moving to the island, creating more garbage, leasing land

and opening businesses. It has happened, it is happening. We just can not get enough of this sacred place and its incredible smiling people. We receive so much here. This change is unstoppable. So how can we, as grateful hearts and respectful visitors, help preserve Bali? How can we be the change we want to see in the world? We all must ask ourselves this question. The answer will be different for each of us because wherever we may roam - we bring our baggage with us! Many of us arrive here ready for a change, in need of healing, open to inspiration. And Bali delivers. We receive, we expand, we transform. So how do we show our gratitude? We do not always give and receive from the same source; the Universe does not necessarily work that way. What is important is that we practice both giving and receiving. As a visitor, traveler, expat, or cultural refugee (now often called spiritual tourist), we must respect and revere Balinese culture, its people and this environment. We must acknowledge that Bali holds incredible space for so much healing to occur. My own contributions have been humble, from Bahasa class to volunteering - I am always discovering new ways to love Bali! I am inspired by all of the positive things happening, and the conscious people I continue to meet here in Bali. Donate, integrate, educate. Whatever you choose, make it personal and from the heart. Let's be the change! What is your gratitude offering? I guarantee your heart will sing from sharing it.

Sarah Jenness is a recently recovered urban yogini, currently residing in the Here and Now of beautiful Ubud.



Gratitude: The Missing Link? by Rosanna Nicol Photograph by David Sullivan


he academic study of happiness has gathered a lot of momentum in the last five years. Bhutan’s Gross Happiness Index is perhaps the most well-known large-scale effort to measure subjective well-being, but Canada has its Index of Well-Being, and the UK is working on its own national happiness measurement. In the wealth of research that now surrounds happiness, gratitude is emerging as a vital missing link. Research is now showing what spiritual and religious practices have long known: it is good to give thanks - good for the body, mind, one’s community, and it’s good for the soul. One pioneer in the research boom is the Greater Good Science Center which has a $3 million grant to expand scientific understanding of gratitude and its role in health, development and social well-being. Researchers are looking into gratitude and its effects on stress, sleep, health, aging, community and resilience, its role in children and youth, ways to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude,” the list goes on. Clearly, gratitude is a topic with great depth and breadth, and there are results already showing how an attitude of gratitude reduces stress hormones in blood, improves sleep, encourages physical activity and is helpful in the face of adversity.

But what is gratitude? Robert Emmons, a leading researcher in the field (and whose work this article is based on) defines it as “a sense of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift, whether the gift be a tangible benefit from a specific other or a moment of peaceful bliss evoked by natural beauty”. It is an emotion or emotional trait, and Emmons calls this trait a tendency towards gratitude, or an “attitude of gratitude.” In this definition there is a distinction between feeling grateful to someone for something and feeling grateful for more abstract things such as life or nature. The first is the gratitude one feels towards specific people for help they have given, specifically help that has been given intentionally. The second is a general sense of appreciation for the positive aspects of life. Both involve feeling like the recipient of unearned benefit, which is in contrast to a victim mentality or a sense of entitlement or deservedness. Emmons suggests that it is actually impossible to simultaneously feel both entitled and grateful, and that gratitude is therefore a way to combat negative emotions. Deepak Chopra agrees that ego and gratitude cannot be held in mind simultaneously; however, when feeling grateful to someone or something, there is an important distinction between gratitude and indebtedness. One study suggests INSPIRED BALI 24

that people who feel grateful to someone are happier and healthier compared to those who feel indebted by the same kindness. Gratitude is a cognitively complex emotion that involves appraising the intent of and cost to the giver and the benefit of the receiver. It is thought to develop between seven and ten years of age. One study of Halloween “trick or treating” found kids under the age of six thanked an adult for giving them candy noticeably less than kids over ten. Another study with children showed that five-year-olds, after being shown a vignette of a new student being picked to join the basketball team by the captain, were equally likely to award the captain a gift regardless of whether it was a kind gesture (intentional) or a team rule (unintentional); however, ten and eleven-year-olds were more likely to give the captain a gift only if the new kid had been intentionally selected. This suggests both the age range of the development of gratitude and the relationship between seeing a benefactor’s act as intentional and feeling grateful. Another study shows that as they age, adolescents become less egocentric and more able to empathize, and the ability to empathize is a strong factor in the development of gratitude. As we begin to realize how helpful an attitude of gratitude can be for health and well-being, the question becomes: where does a tendency of gratitude come from and how can we become more grateful? One final hypothesis about the foundations of gratitude suggests that a tendency towards gratitude has its roots in infancy, but only if envy does not overpower its development. Both envy and enjoyment (thought to be a foundation for gratitude) have their roots in the mother-child bond. Whereas a child who is deprived of physical or emotional nourishment develops envy, a child experiencing adequate love and nourishment develops a capacity for joy. This is a somewhat controversial hypothesis because it lacks empirical support. And, while some consider infancy a plausible stage in the development of

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gratitude, others disagree and suggest that gratitude emerges over time through a child’s interaction with its environment. What is not controversial and is shown in many studies is that we can, at any age, cultivate in ourselves a tendency towards gratitude.

The Benefits of Gratitude In several studies, participants were split into three groups. The members of the first group kept a gratitude journal in which they would write five things each week they were grateful for. Those in the second group recorded five observations, and those in the final group recorded five hassles or frustrations per week. The results showed that within three weeks, the group practicing gratitude benefitted from positive changes in physical and mental health. Emmon’s talks of “practicing gratitude” as training one’s mind to see the positive things. It’s a practice and needs to be cultivated. His studies of over 1,000 people have found physical, psychological and social benefits. They include:

Physical benefits : a stronger immune system, less bothered by

aches and pains, lower blood pressure, greater tendency to exercise and maintain health, better sleep and feeling more refreshed upon waking.

Psychological benefits : higher levels of positive emotions, more alert and awake, increased joy, increased optimism and happiness. Perhaps the most interesting are the social benefits he has found, with people who practice gratitude being more helpful and generous, more forgiving, more outgoing, and feeling less lonely and isolated compared with his other study groups.

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Amazing Relaxation

Emmons and his research group place the main benefits of gratitude in four categories: 1. Grateful people celebrate the present. 2. Gratitude blocks toxic negative emotions. For example, it is impossible to feel grateful and envious at the same time. 3. Grateful people are more stress-resistant. Many studies show that grateful people recover from trauma more easily, perhaps because it gives a perspective from which to perceive events. 4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth. This comes from a sense that someone else is looking out for them, so they must be worth something. Another interesting angle on the benefits of gratitude is the way it challenges dominant psychological patterns. We are often taught to believe that we get what we deserve, or, in other words, if something good happens, we’ve earned it. There is often a self-serving bias in this, that if something goes wrong we blame others (or perhaps we blame ourselves and refuse to forgive ourselves). Gratitude works against this by broadening our perspective to include the people and events that have helped and supported us.

Getting more Grateful

The next question is how to become more grateful, or how to practice gratitude. Luckily there are a number of resources, one of which is the “Ways to Become More Grateful” list that Robert Emmons published on the Greater Good website. Here are a few of the tips: 1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Set aside time, ideally a daily practice, to remind yourself of the gifts and good things you enjoy 2. Remember the Bad. It can be helpful to remember the tough times you’ve had. These can remind you how far you’ve come and encourage gratefulness. 3. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. These are considered by many spiritual traditions to be the most powerful form of prayer. 4. Come to your Senses. Through touch, taste, sight, smell and sound we are reminded what it is to be human, what a gift our bodies are and the miracle it is to be alive.

5. Use Visual Reminders. The two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and lack of mindful awareness, so use visual reminders – other people are often the best reminders. 6. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behaviour increases the likelihood it will be done, so write a gratitude vow: “I will count my blessings every day”. 7. Watch your Language. Grateful people often use the language of gifts, blessings, fortune, abundance, focusing on the good things others have done for them. 8. Go Through the Motions. By going through the motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude or thank you letters. While some argue that scientific research on gratitude is a waste of time, others suggest it is the missing link in discussions about happiness and is well worth researching. As the results come in, it seems that looking closely at gratitude and its influence in our lives is highly fruitful. And as the research around gratitude grows, it will be interesting to keep an eye out for further techniques to nourish gratitude and create environments that stimulate it. The Greater Good research center has some great resources and I highly recommend it for further reading. It is a great way to stay abreast on the latest developments. Greater Good: the Science of a Meaningful Life The following is especially interesting:

Rosanna Nicol is currently traveling through Asia collecting tips on small-scale farming before launching her own garden next summer in Canada. A 2010 Rhodes Scholar fresh out of university, she is grateful for the unstructured days, a body that moves and the chance to look at the research on gratitude! -


Ketut Liyer Photograph by

Heather Bonker INSPIRED BALI 27

Coconut & Gratitude You probably know that the coconut provides juice, meat and oil, packed in its own hygienic, reusable container. You may even be aware that the coconut is rich in protein, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. But did you know World War II and Vietnam War medics used coconut water for emergency blood transfusions, as an IV fluid and to disinfect open wounds? Did you know traditional Ayurveda considers coconut a natural stress buster? Gratitude and praises to the coconut tree! Its upright stance is uplifting in any landscape. Prolifically it flowers, producing at least 100, and sometimes as many as 500 fruits annually, growing and giving for 80 years. The green, young, unripe shell keeps its water naturally cool and sterile. Some refer to the coconut as the Tree of Life for its generosity, providing food as well as coconut timber, harder than oak or fir, that can serve as pillars, joists and trusses. Coconut wood’s distinctive grain patterns give it appeal for furniture and housewares. In Bali, beautiful coconut wood salad servers and cooking utensils are as abundantly available in the local markets as coconut fruits. The Balinese use the coconut husk for barbecue coals and the shells as bowls, dippers and decorative inlay. The coconut is the best of Indonesian fast food; a drink and a meal in a portable bowl. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Our muscles are 75% water, our blood, the transportation system for nutrients, is 82% water, our lungs, processing oxygen, are 90% water and our brains, the control tower, are 76% water. Even our bones are 25% water. All of our cells, tissues and organs require hydration in order to thrive. We are what we eat and we are also what we drink. It’s not just about how much water we drink; hydration is linked to minerals. Coconut water has achieved superfood status due to its natural combination of electrolytes, supplying high levels of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus without the processed sugar and food dyes used in commercially produced sports drinks. Coconut water helps alkalize the body as well as helping the digestive track absorb nutrients. Rather than a transfusion, we prefer an infusion! Although many people enjoy coconut water straight up, fresh out of the shell, those who don’t immediately take to the taste, and even those who do often find infused coconut water a delight. An infusion simply involves opening coconuts, pouring the water into Nam a container (preferably made of glass), inserting a inum alia adicia flavoring agent into the water, and chilling. Take these ideas and run with them! Be creative! Devise your own!

Photograph by Janet Nicol


Infused Coconut Water (for water from 2 coconuts)

Citrus Coconut Water: 1 thin slice each of lime, lemon, orange and grapefruit Cucumber Coconut Water: 3 thin slices of a large cucumber, skin and all Pina Colada Coconut Water: 3-4 slices or thick chunks of peeled pineapple


It is a bit of a mystery as to what exactly we will find when we open a coconut. A young coconut usually has about 2 cups, or 480 mL, of water inside, but how much meat we will discover is hard to predict from the outside. The more immature the coconut, the more gelatinous the meat; the older the coconut the more firm. Coconut meat contains plentiful lauric acid which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial, helping to eliminate parasites and infections. It packs a quick and lasting protein energy boost. Here’s a healthy sweet treat utilizing both coconut water and coconut meat. -

Vanilla Shaved Snow INGREDIENTS :

2 cups, or 480mL, cashews, soaked at least 2 hours (the longer they soak, the creamier they get) 1 cup, or 240 mL, coconut water 1/2 cup, or 120 mL, young coconut flesh 3 vanilla beans, scraped 1/2 cup, or 120 mL, raw honey a pinch of sea salt


Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Scoop into a container and freeze. Once frozen, loosen from container by running warm water over it if necessary. Shave the frozen block with a strong grater or a commercial ice shaver into a (coconut) bowl for a cold treat. Eat immediately! Refreeze leftover block and reuse. It will keep in the freezer indefinitely. Kids just love this.



A healthy fat! Coconut oil is an extraction from the coconut meat. The purest and most nutritious form is cold pressed coconut oil, the same as virgin coconut oil. The oil derived from coconuts is easy to digest and easily burned by the liver without an insulin spike. It helps optimize body weight, making the body leaner by increasing metabolism and stimulating the burning of fat rather than the storing of it. Coconut oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Pure coconut oil makes a great massage oil, with moisturizing properties for the hair and skin. The following recipe utilizes the entire holy trinity of coconut water, meat and oil. It is tasty to the max. Your mouth will be having a party!

Living Coconut Pad Thai Noodles INGREDIENTS :

1 tablespoon, or 15 mL, tamarind paste* 1 1/2 tablespoons, or 22 mL, raw honey 1 1/2 tablespoons, or 22 mL, nama shoyu or soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 1-2 chilies, depending on how heat tolerant you are, stemmed, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons, or 30 mL, coconut oil 1/4 teaspoon, or 1.5 mL, sea salt, or to taste (depending on how salty your soy sauce is)

1/2 Bali pumpkin, peeled (may replace with butternut squash) 1 large daikon radish, peeled 2 young coconuts (somewhat mature with firm flesh) 1 cup, or 240 mL, thinly shredded red cabbage (reserve 12 whole, outer leaves to use as bowls in final presentation, may replace with white cabbage or napa cabbage) 1 1/2 cups, or 350 mL, carrot, finely julienned 1/2 cup, 120 mL, red onion, thinly sliced 1 cup, 240 mL, green apple, finely julienned 1/4 cup, 60 mL, fresh cilantro, chopped

* (Available at the traditional pasar, or market, as well as in grocery stores. Tamarind still on the pod comes in a box and will require seed removal. Best bet is to purchase a block of tamarind paste, but still be on the lookout for seeds in the paste block.)


In a blender, puree the tamarind paste, honey, soy sauce, garlic, chili, olive oil and salt until smooth. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the pumpkin into thin strips resembling noodles to measure 3 cups or 720mL. Repeat process with the daikon to measure 2 1/2 cups or 600mL. Open the coconuts, reserving water for the Almond-Chili Sauce, and remove meat in largest sections possible. Julienne meat to resemble long noodles, measuring about 3 cups. In a mixing bowl, combine squash, daikon and coconut with the cabbage, carrot, onion, apple and cilantro. Add tamarind puree and toss until evenly coated. Using cabbage leaves as bowls, arrange a portion of pad thai in the center and drizzle with Almond-Chili Sauce.

Makes 12 servings.



1/2 cup, or 120 mL, almond butter (use raw almond butter if you can find it or have the tenacity to make your own, or use raw almonds soaked overnight but it won’t be quite as creamy) 1/4 cup, or 60 mL, coconut water 1 1/2 tablespoons, or 22 mL, fresh ginger, peeled and grated 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 1 chili, seeded or whole depending on how spicy you want it (the seeds add fire) 2 tablespoons, or 30 mL, lime juice 2 tablespoons, or 30 mL, raw honey 1 tablespoon, or 15 mL, nama shoyu or soy sauce a pinch of sea salt


Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy, adding more coconut water if necessary. You can also use this sauce as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. Once opened, coconut tends to go bad quickly. This recipe is best within the first two days. It will most likely still be good on day 3, but stretching it beyond that, particularly in a tropical climate like Bali’s, is not advised. So polish off your Pad Thai and drink up your electrolyte loaded coconut water. Cheers! To your health! Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be delicious!

The Living Food Lab is a teaching kitchen serving nutrient-rich, living food to a growing community of global sustainability leaders. We prepare freshly harvested, locally sourced, organically grown, living food meals; promote conscious eating; and educate people of all ages about the power of their food choices. Visit us at The Green School-- recently recognized as the Greenest School on Earth! ( Or, find us on Facebook at /livingfoodlab.

Look for our new location at Hubud in Ubud INSPIRED BALI 31

Interview with

Eiji Han Shimizu

IB: What has been the biggest impact for you personally since the release of your film Happiness? EJ: After 6 years of research and filming, 460 hours of tape (edited down to a 76 minute film), and thousands of conversations on the topic, I have learned a tremendous amount about happiness. For one, I now know that we can implement certain practices within our lives to help cultivate more happiness. It may not come naturally to everyone, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t manifest it for themselves. For example, after observing the Dalai Lama, I noticed that he practices the Tibetan Tonglen Meditation daily. During this practice one consciously breathes in the suffering of others, and breathes out compassion and love towards those individuals, communities or causes that are in distress. Having practiced this same meditation myself with my students, I too have experienced these powerful effects.

IB: I understand you are running Happy Boot Camp Retreats here in Bali which s very exciting. What inspired them? EH: Instead of taking a couple of 3 hour-workshops here and there every few weeks in busy city lives, I thought it would be more beneficial for like-minded and curious happiness seekers to get together at a relaxing and spiritual center like Ubud. Here I can also collaborate with world class yoga teachers, healers and musicians and dine at some of the finest restaurants I felt that it was important to develop a comprehensive retreat that would give people proper time to really integrate the theory and practice of happiness. Three hours is just an introduction. Photography by Suki Zoe


IB:Can you give some specific examples of what you do during these retreats? EH: During our six days together we not only do things that you would expect on most retreats here in Bali (yoga, meditation, spa treatments, and silent time to reflect) but we go deeper and really look at some cutting edge research on the cultivation of happiness and gratitude so that participants understand the scientific research to back up the practices. While filming Happiness, I had the opportunity to learn some empirically proven happiness-enhancing techniques from world experts on psychology, neuroscience, and spirituality. I wanted to share these with students but they require more time than a workshop or a film could provide offers, hence the retreats. I also feel a moral responsibility to help people lead happier lives.

B: Comparing Japan to Bali, what similarities and differences do you see between the two cultures in terms of their relationship to happiness and gratitude?

EJ: In many senses, there are a lot of similarities between Japan and Bali. They are both highly collectivist, and put priority on groups over individuals. I think we both see spirits in many things, especially in nature. While Balinese people seem to have plenty of time to spare to embrace community, family, and spirituality, modern Japanese society does not allow its people to savor all these great things, and expects them to dedicate their lives to a career and work. In my experience I would say that the Balinese are generally happier than the Japanese, and there are possibly a few reasons for this. It could be because they have a very tight, close-knit community and keep up a more traditional life that is lost in contemporary Japan. I think that the upacara (offerings) allows people to come together in a really unique way, different from anything I have seen anywhere else in the world. Eiji Han Shimizu is a media producer from Japan. He divides his time between Ubud and Tokyo. When not inspiring happiness around the globe, he produces a graphic novel series about human rights and is currently launching a meditation app for the Japanese market called "ZENpod".


Rebel with a Cause by Maureen Gilbert Photo by Peter Wall



or over 20 years, I Made Suarnatha has been slowly and quietly ensuring that Bali’s most precious resources are preserved. The fact that you may not have heard of this man is even more remarkable, given the forces he is combating, namely – over-development and tourism and their threats to this island’s cultural and resource sustainability. In 1993, Suarnatha and seven other partners created the Wisnu Foundation, one of Bali’s oldest NGO’s, locally known as Yayasans. The creative spark that launched the NGO was an attempt to find a financially and environmentally viable method to turn waste plastic into something useful. The team participated in the Goethe Institute’s artistic event dubbed Art and the Environment, by constructing a monument out of plastic bricks. This first project gave Suarnatha and his Foundation

a peek into the enormity of the waste problem in Bali.Eager to place greater emphasis on community involvement in tackling these issues, the Foundation devised a small scale, integrated waste management project that was designed in accord with local needs and capacity in Pupuan, Tabanan. The project involved the collection and separation of household waste and the production of compost from organic waste. From there, Suarnatha decided to tackle the Bali tourism beast head-on by establishing four eco-tourism villages on the island, with the goal of giving visitors an authentic Balinese experience without artificial ceremonies that diminish the true depth of the cultural heritage of the people. The four villages are: Dukuh Sibetan, known for its salak or snake fruit; Kiadan Pelaga, which specializes in organic coffee; Tenganan Pegringsingan, an ancient

village dating from the 11th century; and Ceningan Island, which does seaweed cultivation. While not an overwhelming success by capitalist standards, (combined, the villages only attract about 400 visitors a year, and they have generated about Rp 1 billion since their establishment in 2002), they have sustained themselves for ten years - a fact remarkable in its own right. Not satisfied with the enormity of what he has already created, his latest project is in many ways his boldest and most creative yet. Realizing that community and creativity may be two of the most endangered resources on the island, he recently launched Wisnu Open Space - almost ten years since he first dreamed of the idea. Located at Jl. Pengubengan Kauh 94 in Kerobokan, it will ultimately have a coffee rendezvous, a community gallery, a public library, a radio station and a big organic garden, all in one place. Suarnatha’s vision is a venue where inspiring people can interact and communicate with each other. What makes Wisnu Open Space different from other creative hubs is the focus on local resources and sustainability. The radio station, dubbed Radio Rebel Indonesia, will allow local activists and socio-environmental movers and shakers to produce their own radio programs. The library will focus on the main principals of the Foundation by stocking books about coffee, urban farming, youth culture, rock rebellion, environmental revolution and responsible design. The organic farm will supply the coffee rendez-vous. In our western society, focused on instant gratification and quick results, Suarnatha is a beacon for two increasingly scarce human resources: perseverance and patience. His work is a testament to the inspirational results that evolve from proper cultivation of both. To schedule a visit to the eco-villages or find out more about Wisnu Open Space go to or visit Wisnu Open Space’s Facebook page.

Maureen is a true global nomad now making Bali her 8th foreign home. She works as a Natural Therapy Consultant in Ubud. INSPIRED BALI 35

Aci Rah Pengangon co writen by Sherri Dean & Ari Juniari

The Meeting of Masculine and Feminine Energy Celebrated In Desa Kapal, Mengwi in the Badung Province of Bali, Aci Rah Pengangon or Tipat - Bantal War is commemorated every fourth month of the Balinese calendar. One of thousands of sacred ceremonies held in Bali each year, its purpose is to show gratitude to the creator, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi. Aci Rah Pengangon is a means of bringing balance to the universal energy that creates and preserves the continuity of life itself by acknowledging and respecting Mother Earth, or ground, as a sustainer and life-giver for every creature on this planet. A distinguishing feature of this ceremony is the ‘war’ or battle between the villagers, fought on the grounds of the Pura Desa, or central village temple by throwing tipat and bantal, two types of food eaten regularly in Bali. The feminine energy of Mother Earth, Predhana, is represented by tipat, small square parcels of plain rice cooked inside intricately woven young coconut leaves and commonly included in offerings. Purusha, or masculine energy, is symbolized by bantal, a cylindrical rice cake of mixed glutinous (or sticky) rice and shredded coconut that is wrapped in young coconut leaves, then steamed. According to Hindu belief, Parusha and Predhana are the balancing forces in the universe - masculine and feminine, male and female, day and night…the dualistic forces that create life. The tradition of Aci Rah Penganon is known to have originated during the Balinese Saka year 1260 or 1338, when the people of Kapal village were suffering disease and starvation due to a great drought. At that time, the King of Bali ordered his men, led by Ki Kebo Iwa, to restore the temple Khayangan Purusada in Kapal village. Accompanied by Pasek Gelgel, Pasek Tangkas, Pasek Bendesa and Pasek Gaduh, Ki Kebo Iwa journeyed first to the village of Nyanyi to gather the bricks needed to restore the temple before arriving in Kapal, only to find the situation in the village desperate. Upon seeing the state of the crops and the chaos and suffering caused by the drought, Ki Kebo Iwa went into meditation inside Khayangan Purusada to seek a solution from the gods. After a time, he received a Sabdha, or holy whisper from Sang Hyang Shiva Pasupati in answer to his request for assistance with the problem. He was instructed to conduct a ceremony, Aci Rah Pengangon, using tipat and bantal as offerings to symbolize Predhana and Parusha, as the source of the famine was caused by an absence of life

Pertemuan antara Energi Maskulin dan Feminin dirayakan di Desa Kapal, Mengwi Badung, provinsi Bali. Aci Rah Pengangon atau perang Tipat - Bantal, diperingati setiap bulan keempat dalam kalender Bali. Satu dari seribu upacara sakral yang diselenggarakan setiap tahun ini bertujuan untuk menghaturkan rasa terima kasih kepada Sang Pencipta, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi. Aci Rah Pengangon merupakan sarana yang membawa keseimbangan pada energi universal yang menciptakan dan mempertahankan kelangsungan hidup itu sendiri dengan mengakui dan menghormati Ibu Pertiwi, atau tanah, sebagai penopang dan pemberi kehidupan bagi setiap mahluk di planet ini. Hal menarik dari upacara ini adalah ‘perang’ atau pertarungan antara penduduk desa di halaman Pura Desa atau pura desa utama dengan melemparkan tipat dan bantal, dua jenis makanan yang umum dibuat dan dimakan sehari-hari di Bali. Energi feminin dari Ibu Pertiwi, Predhana, diwakili oleh tipat, berbentuk segi empat kecil berisikan nasi putih yang dimasak dalam anyaman daun kelapa muda yang rumit dan biasanya disertakan dalam sesajen. Purusha atau energi maskulin, disimbolkan dengan bantal, kue beras yang berbentuk silinder berisikan campuran beras ketan dan parutan kelapa yang dibungkus dengan anyaman daun kelapa muda, yang kemudian dikukus. Menurut kepercayaan Hindu, Purusha dan Predhana adalah kekuatan penyeimbang alam semesta - maskulin dan feminin, pria dan wanita, siang dan malam... kekuatan dualistik yang menciptakan kehidupan. Tradisi Aci Rah Pengangon diketahui berawal dari Tahun Saka Bali 1260 atau 1338 Masehi, saat penduduk Desa Kapal menderita penyakit dan kelaparan akibat musim kemarau yang panjang. Saat itu, Raja Bali memerintahkan anak buahnya, yang dipimpin oleh Ki Kebo Iwa, untuk merestorasi Pura Kahyangan Purusada di Desa Kapal. Ditemani oleh Pasek Gelgel, Pasek Tangkas, Pasek Bendesa dan Pasek Gaduh, Ki Kebo Iwa pertama berangkat ke Desa Nyanyi untuk mengumpulkan batu bata untuk merestorasi pura. Sebelum sampai di Desa Kapal, beliau menemukan desa dalam keadaan putus asa. Melihat keadaan tanaman dan kekacauan dan penderitaan yang disebabkan oleh kekeringan, Ki Kebo Iwa melakukan meditasi di dalam Kahyangan Purusada untuk mendapatkan petunjuk dari para Dewa. Setelah beberapa waktu, beliau menerima sebuah Sabdha, atau bisikan suci dari Sang Hyang Siwa Pasupati sebagai jawaban atas permohonannya mengatasi masalah. Dia diperintahkan untuk


source in the area. The Sabdha, also contained a command instructing the villagers not to sell tipat because it was the symbol of Predhana, or the feminine, life sustaining energy of Mother Earth. After the ceremony was performed, Kapal village returned to abundance, peace and prosperity, Khayangan Purusada was restored and Ki Kebo Iwa and the Paseks returned to the King’s palace in Batu Anyar (now known as Bedulu in Gianyar province) until Bali was conquered by the Majapahit in Saka year 1265 or 1343. This is one of the many historical stories that includes wisdom and lessons from the past used to give guidance on respect for nature and life and have been maintained and preserved to this day on lontar (sacred scrolls made from lontar palm leaves). Kapal village covers an area of 5,600 square kilometers and accommodates 2,375 families, 60 percent of whom are farmers. To maintain the tradition, the village residents use around 1,187 kilograms of rice and sticky rice and each family cooks approximately 500 grams of rice to make the tipat and bantal necessary for the battle. At the time of the ceremony, the village temple is festively decorated and the entire village turns out for the ‘war’. Thousands of tipat and bantal can be seen around the temple in preparation for the battle. After holding a ceremony and praying in the Pura Puseh, or mother temple in the village, all of the villagers go to the area in front of the temple and divide into two teams – one for the tipat, and one for the bantal. Once they are ready, upon a command from the head of the village they begin to throw the rice cakes into the air in an attempt to get tipat and bantal to collide with each other. Even if you are not a member of the village, you will be offered to join in the fun to throw some tipat or bantal. Sasih Kapat, or the fourth month on the Balinese calendar, falls on October 19 , 2013. The journey to Mengwi, Kapal village is approximately 45 minutes from Ubud and is well worth the visit to experience Aci Rah Pengangon.

'Sherri has lived in Indonesia for over 20 years and is currently an executive yoga mum of three boys. Besides editing, her skills include conflict management, refereeing, emergency medical response, logistics coordinator, driver and cat herder.'

melakukan sebuah upacara, Aci Rah Pengangon, menggunakan tipat dan bantal sebagai sesajen yang melambangkan Predhana dan Purusha, sebagaimana sumber kelaparan tersebut disebabkan tidak adanya sumber kehidupan di daerah itu. Sabdha itu juga berisikan larangan untuk menjual tipat karena tipat adalah simbol dari Predhana, atau energi feminin, energi yang mempertahankan kehidupan Ibu Pertiwi. Setelah upacara dilakukan, Desa Kapal dilimpahi kedamaian dan kemakmuran. Kahyangan Purusada telah direstorasi dan Ki Kebo Iwa dan para Pasek kembali ke kerajaan di Batu Anyar (sekarang dikenal dengan Bedulu di Provinsi Gianyar) sampai Bali ditaklukkan oleh Majapahit pada Tahun Saka 1265 atau 1343 Masehi. Ini adalah salah satu dari sekian banyak kisah sejarah yang mengandung banyak kearifan dan pelajaran dari masa lalu untuk dijadikan pedoman dalam menghormati alam dan kehidupan yang sampai hari ini telah dijaga dan dilestarikan di atas lontar (gulungan suci yang terbuat dari daun lontar yang ditulisi kisah bersejarah dengan menggunakan huruf Sansekerta). Desa Kapal memiliki luas 5,600 kilometer persegi dan berpenduduk 5,600 keluarga, 60 persen adalah petani. Untuk menjaga tradisi, penduduk desa menggunakan sekitar 1,187 kilogram beras dan beras ketan dan setiap keluarga memasak kira-kira 500 gram nasi untuk membuat tipat dan bantal yang digunakan dalam pertarungan. Saat upacara berlangsung, Pura Desa didekorasi dan seluruh penduduk keluar untuk ‘berperang’. Ribuan tipat dan bantal dapat dilihat di sekitar pura dalam persiapan perang. Setelah menyelenggarakan upacara dan persembahyangan di Pura Puseh, atau pura ibu di desa itu, semua penduduk pergi ke area di depan pura yang kemudian dibagi ke dalam dua kelompok - satu kelompok untuk tipat dan satu kelompok untuk bantal. Saat mereka siap dan setelah mendapat perintah dari kepala desa, penduduk desa mulai melemparkan tipat dan bantal ke udara dengan tujuan menumbukkan tipat dan bantal di udara. Jika Anda bukan penduduk Desa Kapal, Anda akan ditawari untuk bergabung dalam kegembiraan melempar beberapa tipat atau bantal. Sasih Kapat atau bulan keempat dalam kalender Bali jatuh pada 19 Oktober tahun ini. Perjalanan ke Desa Kapal, Mengwi memakan waktu kira-kira 45 menit dari Kuta dan upacara Aci Rah Pengangon ini layak untuk dikunjungi. Translated by Yoshida "Ochie" Chandra DeMeulenaere from Cinta Bahasa.


Good Food & Gratitude by Melinda Chickering


hen you sit down to eat, what do you do before the first bite hits your palate? Some people pray, asking divine blessings for their food, giving thanks for the meal and those who share it with them. Some offer their own blessings to the food or breathe in a bountiful waft of aroma, preparing their bodies for the pleasure and nourish ment to come. Some gather together at a harvest table to share food with family and friends while others tend to eat alone, perhaps sitting close to the earth, as is traditional in Balinese culture. Some of us merely sit down and dig in. We may even forget to chew the first few bites as we race to quiet a rumbling stomach or finish the meal and get back to work. If you’re like me, you may have neglected to even sit down before taking the first bite of your most recent meal. A movement to slow down and savor good food, appreciate its role in our lives and foster clearer connections between producers and consumers of food began in Italy in the 1980s. This movement, a reaction to the increasing popularity and prevalence of fast food, became Slow Food, an international grassroots organization with convivia in 150 countries and over 100,000 members worldwide.

Slow Food’s values can be summed up in three words - good, clean and fair. We all know good food tastes good and smells good. It pleases the senses and comprises an important part of our local culture. Clean food is produced and consumed bearing in mind the health and wellbeing of our bodies, our planet and our fellow travelers including animals. Fair food can be accessed by consumers at a reasonable price, with producers benefiting from sustainable prices and conditions. Consumers have such a strong role to play in promoting and preserving good, clean and fair food through their purchasing and eating choices that Slow Food calls consumers “co-producers”. Choosing more locally-sourced over imported food brings fresher food to your table and better prices for both producers and co-producers, while also reducing your food supply’s carbon footprint. Fresher food tastes better and retains more nutrition than processed food, that have taken a long journey from farm to plate. We are blessed in Bali to enjoy a wide variety of high quality local food. The year-long growing season provides bountiful harvests of rice and vegetables, a constant supply of vibrant tropical fruit and deliciously unique nutritional power houses

like cacao and moringa. Local cuisine includes vegetarian delights like urab and succulent traditions like babi guling. To drink, the island hosts some of the world’s most tantalizing Arabica coffee and a copious supply of revitalizing coconuts. We have much to be grateful for! Bali’s culture has centered on agriculture for at least a millennium, but it is now shifting in tandem with economic imperatives. The booming tourism economy heightens demand for land and water, rendering these resources increasingly dear both for Balinese people and visitors. Whether in Bali for a short or long stay, there are many ways you can show your appreciation and play a positive role as a co-producer on the island. Here are a few:

Buy food directly from producers by patronizing farmers markets.

By eliminating the middle men, you get fresher food to your table and higher revenues to food producers. Co-producers may get better prices in some cases, too; at least you know you are investing in fresh food rather than lengthy supply chains and flashy marketing techniques. INSPIRED BALI 38

You can also buy directly at local traditional markets, which pop up daily all around Bali, so long as you get up early in the morning! Trading usually opens in the wee hours before sunrise, and you can not beat the prices so long as you are ready, willing and able to bargain.

Grow your own food.

With plenty of moisture, sunlight and green-thumbed friends to help you, Bali is a great place to learn how to produce your own food. You can pick up seeds or seedlings at a farmers market and follow your instincts or take a permaculture training course with IDEP Foundation (

Dispose of waste responsibly.

What does trash have to do with food? Believe it or not, those tasty morsels from the kitchen did not appear there magically. Food is the edible part of a cycle that includes waste, decomposition, nourished soil and cleansing water, growth of newplants and healthy animals, which then become food again. Waste management is a growing concern in Bali as the island’s population of locals and visitors both continue to boom. Many river ravines and road sides have become unfortunate informal waste dumps. Organic waste that can decompose and return to the earth can be composted. You can learn how to compost from IDEP or Eco Bali ( You arrange to have inorganic solid waste picked up from your house by Eco Bali or from your business by Bali Recycling

Educate yourself about Bali’s food, culture and environment. The subak system of irrigation and farmers’ organization in Bali has been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage. This international recognition for subak, farmers and the Balinese traditional philosophy of Tri Hita Karana may contribute to greater appreciation, both within and outside Bali, for the underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable food culture. Without that appreciation, Bali’s beautiful rice paddy landscapes and delicate coral reef underwater ecosystems, as well as its unique culture, will be in jeopardy. Learn more about the subak system and its pivotal role in Balinese culture by reading either of anthropologist Stephen Lansing’s books A Perfect Order or Priests and Programmers. Another fine read is the recipe-laden memoir of restaurateur Janet De Neefe Fragrant Rice. You can also simply take a walk in almost any part of Bali and learn about the island’s subak system, ceremonies and food culture. Experiential learning around these parts will give you plenty to chew on.


Join Slow Food Bali The local convivium of food lovers who participate in the international Slow Food movement through local events and programs. Even if you are just passing through Bali, you might attend an event and perhaps be inspired to join your local convivium at home. Patronize restaurants that serve good, clean and fair food, such as those participating in Slow Food Bali’s Snail of Approval program. Look for the red snail. If you find a restaurant in Bali that you think deserves the Snail of Approval but does not yet participate, you can nominate it for the Snail of Approval!

Melinda Chickering is a proud member of Slow Food Bali

( and eats about three to six times a day.


Grappling with Gratitude by Renee Martyna





hen I first came to Bali, ‘practicing gratitude’ was the spiritual discipline I probably felt most resistant to; the idea of writing a daily gratitude list reeked of an anesthe tizing self-help culture, or worse, pollyanna-like denial. I scoffed accordingly. I never once considered that I was actually ungrateful. I had all kinds of other adjectives to identify with instead, my favorite and most flattering being that I was a “realist”, who prided herself on being “discerning” and “rigorously honest”. My lack of discernable gratitude was partly due to where I had come from. In the time before Bali became my home (which my husband and I now lovingly refer to as the ‘pre-salad days’) I was an aid worker who spent much of my 10 year career in countries devastated by economic collapse, civil conflict or natural disasters. There was a lot to be cynical about in those years, and like most of my colleagues I wore my world-weary sarcasm like a badge of honor; it showed that I had done my time in the proverbial trenches of a fallen world… and by the way, what are you doing about that from your meditation mat, mister?


You may wonder where, and what, that attitude got me in the end (if it’s not already obvious). And the story is not unusual for those of us who have recently immigrated to the island. By the time I came to Bali I was burnt out; emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted, battling a mind that was obsessively self-critical and nursing a stomach that had been raked over with multiple rounds of anxiety and antibiotics. Many of my relationships-- where they existed with any degree of true intimacy-- were strained. And while my bank account was full (oh yes, those were the financial days too!) my heart… that place that once harbored more than it’s fair share of dreams… felt empty. What was there to be grateful for in that? I could hardly imagine how appreciating the color of the flowers or the taste of a well-ripened mango could turn the tide on a history of hard knocks. But it did, and here’s how. First things first: I stopped letting gratitude-filled people make me feel like being grateful is easy (you know the ones, obsequiously prancing around smelling the sweet air and opining about sunsets) because even the neuro-scientists will tell you genuine gratitude is hard work. Like most people, grand sweeping vistas and financial INSPIRED BALI 40

windfalls will make me happy— no problem there. It’s recognizing the smaller victories in life that proves most challenging; so patience, and the stolid determination never to compare myself to others, has paid off. Here’s another trick: start with something real. If I don’t actually feel grateful, I don’t pretend that I am. If that means that the only thing I am truly grateful for is taking my sweaty bra off at the end of the day, or flipping my pillow around to the cold side, so be it. I doubt I am the first person who began their journey into gratitude with the thought that I survived another day. Lastly, I learned to appreciate the subtle difference between denial (oh dear! I am stuck in a pile of sh*t, let’s play around a bit, it does not smell that bad!) and choosing the most empowering interpretation of the truth (wow, I am stuck in sh*t, but complaining about it won’t do much to change it, so I will save my energy for the shovel and look forward to a shower). I discovered that even the worst situations had something worth appreciating… like friends who believe in me when I can’t, or a random Balinese motorist giving way to my car after I have been stuck in traffic for an hour. With time I became grateful for the tragedies in life too. For me, these moments are still hard-won, and demand a special combination of time, humility, and a willingness to surrender my directorial position in life for a seat in the back row of the film called “How things should turn out

for me”. Accepting a chronic illness as a way to heal my past, for example, is not something I invited into my life, but I can see how it makes me better able to help others, and the dividends for that are priceless. When I can suspend my judgment just long enough to remember that gratitude is coming (eventually!) it gives me the breathing space to be curious instead of self-righteous. That makes me happier, healthier, and a whole lot easier to live with—just ask my kids! I still can’t make sense of civil war or the travesties of modern slavery, but now I know that lamenting them ritualistically does nothing to change them either. Much better, methinks, to focus on the solutions rather than the problems, and preserve my energy and sanity in the process. I recently accepted a 30 day challenge to stop complaining—zero tolerance!-- and am still stuck on day one. But I am counting the fact that I finally realize just how frequently, and uselessly I actually complain, as progress…. And I am grateful for that. Renee Martyna is a recovering aid worker cum global Knowmad married to a serial social entrepreneur. Together they are reinventing their lives and their work in a way that better reflects their values while raising two Third Culture Kids in Ubud, Bali.



Jl. Merthasari Br. Pangubengan Kauh Kerobokan - Bali phone 0361-735828/825

Temple of Dreams Written & Photography by Jane Carleton



lmost every day I am reminded of my real and very rich connection to my inner voice of wisdom because I believe in the importance of listening to my dreams. That is, if I choose to pay attention. I live a life that is infused with magic because I remember I have a dreaming self and I honor and value this part of myself. I take the time to nurture it. The first step is to catch dreams and log them in a journal, then look at them with an eye for the hidden gifts within. I dream of Bali often when I leave the island...

In my dream, I am walking through a jungle, weaving through the emerald foliage and I hear a hauntingly beautiful gamelan playing like a soundtrack in the air around me. I come to a lovely Balinese goddess, who gives me a large round screen that I hold up and look through. As the light streams through the batik orange, brown, and green patterns I see the land and friends of Bali that are so dear to me. I wake with the feeling that I was there, in a sacred Bali that feeds my soul. And far away, in California, I ready myself for my day with the knowledge that I am still connected to her. I had a series of slightly different versions of this dream over the course of several weeks and each time I felt a deep

appreciation for the sense of vitality it brought me. I awoke refreshed because I remembered the special sense of aliveness I feel when I'm in Bali, and each time I had the dream I happily carried this feeling with me during my busy day. Studies show we may wake with a “dream hangover� - a feeling that carries over from the emotions experienced in the dream. If the feeling is pleasant, as in this dream, I can sustain it when I think about the dream and imagine my way back into the scene. If unpleasant, like the feeling of a scary dream, it is possible to move that sensation out of the psyche and body by doing something physical, like shaking it off, spitting it out into the ground, or wiping the feeling off the body. It may sound silly, but it can work if done with intention. I use the first person present tense when I write my dreams and when I tell them to others. With this technique, used almost universally by fellow members of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, I step back into the dream as I write it and more details come through as I see myself move through the dream in my imagination. When I tell a dream to another in this way, I find it helps the listener to

journey through their own imagined version of the dream and to facilitate insight that can then be shared. There is a magic in this; when shared, any dream can provide valuable insight for all parties and dreaming can become a community activity. Balinese cultural researcher Sugi LanĂşs studies temple dreams. He spoke to me of a temple in his village that was built after several of his neighbors had the same dream. They dreamt of meeting a holy man who was without shelter at the base of a sacred tamarind tree that grows in the village. After the dream came to three spiritual leaders the community decided to devote the time and financial resources to build a proper temple there. Now, when young people who leave to work in Denpasar dream of this temple, they feel they are still a part of the village and are comforted with this vision of home. This group temple dream is alive because the dreamers have allowed it to manifest in the waking world. So what happens when we dream? A dream addresses many layers of our integrated Self simultaneously, in different and coordinated ways. Dreaming is infinitely mysterious and creative and in order to better utilize and interpret our dreams it can be helpful to learn about a few different dream theories.

These categories are by no means mutually exclusive; rather, they are like layers and are simultaneously present each time we dream. Physiological The body changes during sleep to facilitate dreaming. Some scientists believe dreaming is nothing more than a random byproduct of brain processes that help facilitate memory formation, but many hold something more is happening. Studies show our imagination can actually change our biology; our body responds to that which we imagine, including dreams. We are embodied consciousness and therefore need the tools of our physical body to do anything, including dream. Sometimes a dream will actually give us insight into the status of our physical health to enable our body to continue to serve us. My goddess dream affected my body in a lovely way. In addition to the unconscious physiological processes that always underlie dreaming, I woke from this dream refreshed, rested, at peace, and happy. My body felt healthy and strong upon waking and the dream did not interrupt a good night's sleep. My emotions were positive and happy. Day Residue These dream elements refer to waking life events. We live in a world of INSPIRED BALI 46

symbols, reflected in specific experiences, images and other sensations that make their way into our conscious awareness as well as our unconscious. Images are predominant in the language of dreams and perceptions from the day that appear in our dreams can carry significance and provide insight. My own dream was rife with familiarity. From the colors of the batiks to the sound of the gamelan, elements of this dream were clearly called on from deeply etched memories. I have seen images of Balinese goddesses and I often admire the beauty of Balinese women dressed for ceremony. I have been in the Balinese jungle. All of these left a lasting impression on me and then later found their way into a dream of a place and a feeling I love. Personal Psychology Dreams provide insight into our psychological state of mind and our life story. Daily challenges, joys, and concerns are regularly processed in dreams. In the language of Freud, when looking at a dream one image or feeling can lead us to associate with another, leading to insights about one’s life. The psychological view is the usual focus in the Western world when dreams are discussed, often in the therapist’s office. When I think about my life from a psychological view, the dream reflects how much I miss Bali when away and that part of me yearns to return. This dream fulfilled my wish to be back in Bali.

If I look at all of the elements of the dream as psychological aspects of myself, I know I have a beautiful, nurturing part of myself that guides me along, and that I can see deeply into things when I allow myself to. I know that during the period I had these recurring dreams I felt a little lost in the “concrete jungle” of my big-city home. I see this dream as a reflection of my search for the right path at this time in my life and the challenge of straddling two lives half a world apart. Archetypal/Collective Unconscious Dreams are also collective. This is the territory of C. G. Jung’s “amplification”, wherein our understanding expands beyond individual lives into the world of living myths, the vast cross-cultural repository of living symbols. We can take our dream images and relate them to the big stories of our shared humanity. In order to interpret my own dream through the lense of archetype and mythology, I look for universal themes and unfamiliar symbols to explore. For example, the wildness of the jungle invokes the story of the hero’s quest and the act of finding one’s path alone in the deep unknown. The screen is a magic implement that will help me find my way, and the gamelan is a siren song enchanting me. The Goddess as she appears in this form is beloved by all who see her. In this way, my dreams connect me to symbols of beauty, wisdom and earth magic and I have dipped into an ubiquitous source of knowing so that I may alchemically transform and grow.


Neo-Shamanic/Indigenous Dreams take us into the realm of the transpersonal and can connect us to living energies other than our own. Balinese beliefs speak of journeying beyond the body when we dream and it is possible in this way to visit with departed loved ones. Psychologist Stephen Aizenstat calls this the realm of “animation”, where the dream world and everything in it is alive, is beyond the constraints of time and space, and the dreamer is having an authentic experience that is every bit as valid as waking life events. I have journeyed across time and space to be in this particular Bali, and I can revisit it any time I choose. I can go anywhere I like when I dream; I am unbound from my five physical senses. I use my dreaming self to explore and make contact with a guide who has come to show me something. The batik is a veil between the waking world and the multiverse and the music is the sound of the cosmos. This is a dream portal ripe for further exploration. The extent to which we interpret our dreams is a journey unto itself. Dream researcher Jeremy Taylor says we can work a single dream for a lifetime and still discover something new. We can unpack our dreams as much or as little as we like.

I take all of the above with a great breath of gratitude, and I intend to further inspire myself by bringing something from the dream into my waking life. Dream researcher Robert Moss says dreams require action and for me this series of dreams is so full of life I want to remember the feeling I had when I awoke. I can return to this beautiful dream place simply with the act of imagining myself there. But there is more that can be done. Perhaps listening to gamelan music will fuel further insights, or a phone call to a friend I saw in the dream will be timely. I may make a model of the batik screen to meditate on. Maybe I’ll even return to Bali for a while. And again, with renewed gratitude, I’ll sleep tonight and see what dreams may come. Jane E Carleton, MA specializes in dreams as an international consultant, educator and workshop leader of creative dreaming techniques, and is a gifted intuitive facilitator of healing and personal transformation. She guides individuals on a fascinating cross-cultural experience

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email Rick : or Taryn : INSPIRED BALI 48

Touching the Earth "The practice of Touching the Earth, also known as bowing deeply or prostrating, helps us return to the earth and to our roots, and to recognize that we are not alone but connected to a whole stream of spiritual and blood ancestors. We touch the earth to let go of the idea that we are separate and to remind us that we are the earth and part of life. "When we touch the earth we become small, with the humility and simplicity of a young child. When we touch the earth we become great, like an ancient tree sending her roots deep into the earth, drinking from the source of all waters. When we touch the earth, we breathe in all the strength and stability of the earth, and breathe out our suffering — our feelings of anger, hatred, fear, inadequacy, and grief " An Excerpt from Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices by Thich Nhat Hanh

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. Cummings INSPIRED BALI 49

Photos from top left 4 & 5 by Heather Bonker 1, 2, 3 & 6 by Suki Zoe


Photos from top left 2 & 5 by Heather Bonker 1, 3, 4 & 6 by Suki Zoe



Top 5

Where to go, eat, give, practice, shop and explore Bali by well known locals in the know

Donna Rossitor For a special dinner, I love La Lucciola in Seminyak - sea view, great food and service and a little glass of bubbles! When I need to get out of Ubud, I head to Turtle Bay Hideaway on Jasri Beach near Candidasa. Right on the beach, it is simple, rustic and charming! Nur at Nur's Massage on Jl Goutama is a weekly essential for weary muscles...

king yoga or drin isn't teaching und fo be n ca When Donna e ga Barn, sh r the chai at the Yo clothes unde lly made yoga ca lo ng ni sig de label Satya

Best salads and juices in Ubud - Alchemy! I'm looking forward to Nyepi next month when peace decends on the Island...

Iyan Yaspriyana Sharing with my fellow Toastmasters an evening of fun and learning (Toastmasters is a group that helps foster great public speakers) Tasting the good variety of food from the great chefs of Bali, (especially in Seminyak and Ubud). Practicing and teaching yoga and meditation in a spiritual environment. I especially like the rituals such as the Agni Hotra. Trekking in the rice fields from the north of Sari Organik and the hills above Ibah

Since 2004 Iy an has lead hu ndreds of medit tion and yoga aretreats for On eWorld Retrea which he owns ts, . When he is no t teaching, Iyan can be found eit her reading or re-designing his own life.

Morning walks on the Sanur beach with our dog Newton!


Suki Zoe Tegenungan Waterfall (south of Ubud). The sun shines through the waterfall from 1-4pm, you can sit in the cave in the middle of a rainbow (not for kids or average grandparents). Bali Spirit Festival: teachers, musicians and dancers come from all over the world to this gathering right on our doorstep! Chocolate. Incredible organic cacao grows all over Indonesia – take a tour of Big Tree Farms, and The Bali Chocolate Factory. Gaia Ceramics: A tranquil studio in Ubud where you can develop you skills in throwing clay. Ride a scooter! Rent a bike and explore Bali. Traffic flows here like a dance!

Suki Zoe is cu rrently enjoyin g time betwee projects. Whe n n not writing or taking photographs, sh e can be found riding her Scoopy into th e sunset.

Arik Bintang Camping in Trunyan Village on Lake Batur. Although only accessible by boat it‛s well worth the trek. Drinking as much F.R.E.A.K coffee as possible. Look for it all over the island to fuel your day.

d designer ographer an maker, phot years to Arik is a film who moved to Bali four ts a ing on projec rk wo from Jakart t no n und h air. Whe he can be fo e) in breath fres az ag m ng this dogs or (like designi sia, patting li in ound Indone ion around Ba traveling ar ct re di ar ul partic cruising in no his jeep.

Visiting Lempuyang Temple, which has a magical ambience not found anywhere else on the island. . Drinking juice or es buah at Moena Fresh. Listening to live music at Lezat.


Top 5

Where to go, eat, give, practice, shop and explore Bali by well known locals in the know

Emmet Nicol Robins Playing pool at The Melting Pot in Ubud. Eating pizza at Sticky Fingers in Echo Beach Hanging out on, near, beside or in the Ubud soccer field, at night. Blowing off some steam at Paintball Bali in Jimbaran. School, e 9 at Green tending grad ng movies, hi tc wa e When not at tim ds his spare ies. Emmet spen watching mov ies and also ov m ng hi tc wa

Listening to live music at Coffee and Copper.

Widi Artini Saya senang melakukan rutinitas saya sebagai ibu, menyiapkan sarapan dan antar jemput anak ke sekolah. Kebun Binatang salah satu pilihan untuk dikunjungi saat anak anak libur sekolah. Pantai adalah tempat menarik untuk menjelaskan kepada anak-anak tentang pentingnya kebersihan lingkungan. Toko Buku, tempat yg cukup rutin saya kunjungi dengan anak-anak. Tabanan, kampung halaman saya, saya selalu membawa anak2 saya pulang kampung agar mereka tidak melupakan bagian dalam hidup mereka.

Widi beke rja sebaga i villa Saat tidak menginspira manager di Canggu. si untuk m penggunaan engurangi plastik, W idi beruba h menjadi wanita Bali pekerja.


Expressing Gratitude in Bali


ere are some suggestions of things you can do from the small and simple to the grand and epic. Remember: gratitude can come from your heart, your wallet, your time or your talents... so be inventive as you give thanks. Globally (Island Wide) “ What can I offer to Bali during my time here?”

Shop with reusable bags and refuse plastic ones. Tell the shopkeeper that you prefer not to accept plastic bags.

Say this: Saya tidak mau tas plastik. Don’t purchase any drinks in plastic bottles in stores or restuarants. Fill a water bottle and be mindful when ordering in restaurants.

Say this: Saya tidak mau minum pakai botol, saya mau pakai gelas.

Visit Green School in Sibang. Donate to their scholarship fund to help foster a new generation of Balinese citizens who will become green leaders in their local communities.

A not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of island.

An anti-poverty, not-for-profit organization working with rural communities.

Friends of Asia has set up a comprehensive network of volunteers destination in Bali that can connect you in no time!

An orphanage set up to provide educational opportunities for the poor children of Bali who otherwise would be able unable to attend school. Locally (where you rest your head) “What can I do at my hotel or home to give thanks for all that is done for me?”

Learn to speak the language and become more than a spectator and consumer. There are dozens of schools around the island with hourly, weekly or monthly classes in bahasa Indonesian. Speak up! Express your thanks directly when enjoying a spa treatment; bypass the front desk and give a tip directly to the person who gave you the treatment. This ensures it goes directly to the therapist and you can use this opportunity to strike up a conversation with them. Get to know the staff that is working hard where you are staying. Accept an invitation to a ceremony and sit through the whole thing. If you feel so inspired, offer to contribute to their children’s education, buy them (or their kids) a good scooter helmet or a push bike, or ask them what they might need. The possibilities are endless. Have you ever absentmindedly stepped on one of the small offering baskets you see all over your hotel or villa? These are called ‘canang sari’s’ and are the Balinese way of giving thanks for the richness of life. Sit down one afternoon and try your hand at making one. Be patient while trying to weave those tiny little pieces together, and perhaps you will appreciate them more. Be a grateful guest. Treat each day on this island as an opportunity

Non profit organisation campaigning to promote plastic waste prevention in Bali. INSPIRED BALIBALI 55 13 INSPIRED

Photograph by Amit Janco & Neal Harrison