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On My Way to Ubud

Aug 18, 2021

I went to Ubud today.

For those of you who haven’t been to Bali, Ubud is a community in central Bali known for spiritual practices, yoga, and all things healthy and good.

I’ve been living in Bali for a long time and we used to have a jewelry workshop in Ubud so I made the trip almost every day. It’s about an hour ride on the motorbike.

I used to love the ride there. I had certain small roads that I would take that meandered through the ricefields and the flower patches, passing a river of holy water, and through many small communities and markets. I found such calm in the trip, noticing the smells and feeling the sun beating down. But mostly I remember feeling freedom. I felt free yet at the same time completely connected to what was going on. I made these daily trips for almost a year.

Then life carried on and our workshop moved from Ubud and now I rarely make the trip. And if I do, I take the car. It’s cooler, more comfortable, and I can listen to podcasts along the way. My new obsession.

But today, I chose to take the motorbike. I felt a bit uneasy even though I have made the trip a hundred times. I started to drive and the feeling was just different. Today, instead of freedom, I felt exposed. When you drive on a motorbike, everything feels close to you. The people on the sides of the street, the smells from the markets, and even the air on your face, there is a feeling of closeness to everything.  But instead of feeling connected, I felt threatened.

And then, I started to wonder. How did that happen? How did I go from a feeling of freedom years ago and end up in a place of discomfort doing the same thing.

I tried to breathe deeply into this profound feeling of discomfort. Leaning into it. My breathe slowly calmed and I started noticing and seeing things more clearly. I slowly started to feel more connected to the people on the streets and a part of their daily lives. I suddenly started to feel like I was living in the culture again and experiencing it. I started to smell the smells and feel the hot, sweaty heat and the air blowing on my face. I began to appreciate the drive again and how it made me feel.

I arrived in Ubud to meet a friend for lunch. My hands were vibrating from the constant vibration of the motorbike, my butt hurt from the long ride, sweat was pouring from my legs and face, I felt sweaty and dirty but for some reason, I felt like celebrating. I went from discomfort back to freedom in one bike ride. I felt relaxed and happy and free. So along with my vegan, gluten free lunch, I had a celebratory glass of wine.

I hope you can find something in your day that surprises you. Be curious and breathe through it. Maybe on the other end is a celebratory glass of wine.

Celebrate the small intentional actions that lead you in the direction of where you want to go.

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