The thrilling adventures of a tall, blonde Canadian!

Posts tagged ‘Travel’

Homeward Bound

I really hated having to pack today. Usually after being away this long I am more than ready to go home. But even after almost 3 weeks in Bali I felt I could have stayed at least another month. It is a special place indeed.
I will miss the crazy vehicles with their incredibly strange cargo, the chickens which everyone seems to have, the amazingly fragrant flowers that drop from the trees when you need one for your hair, the temples every few blocks, the offerings and incense at the doorways of the houses, businesses and banks, the endless miles of stores and shops, the sky filled with kites that fly for hours, the carts of strange looking food at every corner, and of course most of all the people. The incredibly generous and loving people.
I will not miss the roosters which comment loudly throughout the day, and the trash-that ever present sea of plastic that clogs the streets, waters and even the beautiful rice fields of this magical place.
I will be forever grateful for this trip which has eased my turbulent mind and helped heal my heart. I feel happy, grateful and lighter than I have in years.
I will definitely be back.


Meanwhile, back in Ubud

Went to the Puri Lukisang museum yesterday which houses an incredible collection of Balinese art. The building is also stunning and the gardens were gorgeous.
Wandered around the shops for a bit and had delicious raw natural smoothies and ice cream at Soma cafe. All organic raw and delicious.
My friend Aine joined us and introduced us to Johnny the owner, a lovely Balinese man- are there any other kind?
We were chatting about different things and I happened to mention that my wrist was still hurting from the bike fall 2 weeks ago and he got a book out and showed me an article on this healer here and said I should go see him.
The other gals went to do some shopping and I jumped on the back of Johnny’s bike and he took me to the healer. He told me on the way that this guy could fix anything in the body-broken bones etc and that his gift had been handed down through generations in his family.
This lovely man saw me right away. He dabbed some goo on my wrist – a couple of different kinds-and started working his magic. There was some pain involved but not as bad as I was expecting. After about 15 minutes or so, he had fixed it! It felt like he had put things back where they were supposed to go. He said if I have any pain to come back in 5 days.
Today it is a little sore- which is not surprising since he was rubbing the hell out of my wrist but I really think its fixed! I am again blown away by these healers here.
Aine and I had a fabulous dinner at Riyoshi – a beautiful Japanese restaurant.
Had a funny dream that Oprah was in. I should explain that for decades my dreams always include celebrity guest stars. It’s quite entertaining. I stopped dreaming for the last couple of years but they are certainly back with a vengeance now. I had Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone in my dream a few nights ago. Wish I had the time to describe all my dreams, but that would be another blog!
But I had an incredible dream this morning. I felt a tremendous energy coming from above me. It took hold of me, slamming into my body and my head like being sucked into a vortex. I levitated off my bed and I started spinning around about 2 feet above my bed and then started flying around the room. This lasted for what seemed to be about 10 minutes. It felt real and not like I was dreaming and was in this exact room I am staying in.
When I came too I was in a Nepalese village in a high walled fortress that looked down onto a village far below. Ken was there with another man. They were picking out a knit hat for me to wear. A maroon one with ear flaps that was locally made.
I realized that they had drugged me- that was my flying around my room-and I had been kidnapped!
I saw a woman security guard ushering some children down a hallway and I tried to cry out to her that I had been kidnapped. ken and the man looked at each other but they didn’t try to stop me.
I got next to her and said I had been kidnapped and to please help me.
She did not look at me and was ignoring me while she was locking a door or a locker. The kids might have gone through that door.
I kept pleading with her to please help me, that I had been kidnapped and she finally looked at me with love and compassion and said there was nothing she could do for me. The dream ended.
Wild!! It’s never a dull moment here whether I’m awake or asleep!!

Melukats and Dreams

Made performed another Melukat at the hotel on the ocean that was even more beautiful than the first one because of the gorgeous setting in the gardens.
And later we did another completely different kind of ceremony where he went into a trance, became a naga, and “attacked” whatever we were holding in our bodies and he “ate” it out of us.
This was a rather freaky experience and I was glad that I wasn’t the first one he jumped on. It didn’t hurt or anything but was strange to have a snarling little holy man jump on top of you and “eat” out your demons!
He said afterwards that he hoped my sadness was leaving me. I did feel better and I hoped the same thing too.
Now the dream…
On our last day at the ocean I had a massage by a wonderful masseuse named Tonno. During the entire massage, I could not stop thinking about my soon to be ex husband. In fact the entire time I have been here in Bali, I have been thinking about him. I want/need to stop thinking about him and this is why I am here, to move on from him and on with my life, but during the massage I just couldn’t stop thinking about him and the loss, regret, remorse, shame, sadness-you name it. All the mistakes I made, all the deeds and behaviors I regretted. Like an endless loop in my head. I felt like I was going crazy.
After Tonno left, I broke down and sobbed for about 20 minutes. I prayed to God to please help me stop thinking these thoughts, to stop obsessing, to help me move on.
That night I had a dream.
It started with this couple who used to own a local restaurant in Topanga had bought it back again and the whole community was really happy about it.
And then in the next part, My ex and I were together and we were deliriously happy and in love and it was like when we were first together, but even better. We were like little kids, joyous, playful, loving. I haven’t felt this kind of joy in over a decade. Ecstasy is the word that best fits.
A few other random things happened but at the end of the dream, he is holding my face in his hands, he is high above me, his eyes are closed and I am receiving incredible love from him.
When I woke up I was deliriously happy.
It felt like I connected to him on a soul level. One of the leaders here interprets dreams and she says it isn’t him but is the divine and that is the connection that I am seeking/experiencing.
Whatever it is, it definitely shifted something and my anxiety level lessened the next day.
I realize too that the massage was physically bringing things up-all part of the healing.
We are at a beautiful place in the country now and had another healer/channeler give us a reading. She channels Durga (google it!) and when it was my turn, she went into her trance and then started sobbing. She kept saying, “Sad! Sad! Sad!” and pounding her heart.
She asked if I was getting a divorce. She cried and held me and I cried too. She said I needed inner strength and she pounded my chest, trying to give me this inner strength. She said to not be afraid to get help from my friends and family, that I am not alone.
She said the thoughts in my head are like an endless loop (!!!) and I am thinking them because I am freer here to think of them and I don’t have the distractions that I do at home.
I was blown away by how accurate she was. Not only for me but all of us.
This was a couple of days ago and I actually feel much stronger now. The thoughts have greatly subsided and I am not anxious anymore. I feel completely different than I did last week. Amazing!!
I have had dreams every night here and they are wild with many scenes and scenarios and they go on and on. What a trip!! Wish I had time to describe them. They are epic!
Had a final Melukat today with Made and -again -it was beautiful. I feel transformed, enlightened, happy.
This trip was called “A return to essence”- Ken is thinking of changing the name to “You will get wet”!

Monkey business

Bali is home to many monkeys and it is thrilling to see these playful creatures for the first time. They are everywhere in some places, like our squirrels.
Haniman is the ancient monkey God-google it- and is a very present presence here in Bali.
One of the nights we were at the ocean we went to 3 different temples and had 5 ceremonies.
The first temple was Pabian which was on the ocean and is the temple that honors Kwan Yin- it’s the temple of compassion. We were with our healer Ibu and about 30 members of her community for a transformational Melukat by the water. I cannot describe the beauty of this ceremony with all of these beautiful people singing and supporting and loving. Magical!
We went to the temple after for a ceremony and my unasked question I had when I first saw some people with long sticks was answered when they banged them on the ground or on the poles that hold up the shade structures to scare off the monkeys from stealing and eating our offerings!
The second temple was Pulaki Pendanda- the temple of energy-Shakti -enlightenment.
While I was praying for enlightenment, a monkey from high up on one of the aforementioned shade structures threw something off and it rolled up to my offering tray. I opened my eyes and picked up a worn, green marble- and I thanked the powers that be for this talisman!
The last temple was the temple of abundance-Melantung- very beautiful and the most ornate. We did 2 ceremonies here. One in a very small part of the temple in which Ibu went into her trance like state and the ancient ancestor came through. One of the men went into a trance and started snorting like a pig and was wandering on all fours and clung to Ibu’s leg.
Something you don’t see every day- unless you’re here of course!
We had another ceremony in the big temple. These ceremonies involve sitting cross legged for about 1/2 an hour on the stone floor, being doused with holy water by the priest or Ibu, praying with empty hands, hands with flowers, offerings, flowers and then empty hands again, more holy water and then rice placed on your forehead, temples, and neck.
I have never had so much water dumped on my head in my life. Forget about doing your hair or putting on makeup here!
After we danced. Everyone closes their eyes and goes into a trance-like state, swaying to strange dissonant and then beautiful music- from an iPad. They call it the dance of the angels and when I open my eyes to peek it is so beautiful to see us all moved by spirit.
Several of these women and men go into states of ecstasy, some fall to the ground, some shake, some have strange guttural sounds come out. To bring them out of it- you guessed it- more holy water to the head.
As ancient as this all is, when it is over you see people making and getting phone calls and kids playing games on their cell phones! Too funny. And the monkeys come running and sliding down the poles to eat up all the rice that has fallen off our heads.
I will write next about my dreams which are coming fast and furious. And, like all things in Bali, they are magical.

At the ocean

I forgot to mention the coffee plantation we visited on the first day during the bike tour. It was in a particularly lush and tropical area and we walked through a forest of coffee, cocoa and vanilla “trees”. Im not sure if they were trees but they seemed to be so thats what I’m calling them!
They showed us how to tell the difference between new plants and ones that were ready to harvest.
One of the more interesting types of coffee they had was from a coffee bean that had been eaten by a nocturnal animal called a Lumkat (have to check the name), then shat out and the beans were collected and cleaned, then roasted and made into coffee! I kid you not! I did not sample that one thank you. It’s actually more expensive than the regular coffee.
I did try their coconut latte, ginseng, chocolate and regular coffees which were all pretty fantastic. We had about 8 different kinds to sample and I cannot remember them all.
I can’t really remember what we did on our last day in Ibud! The days are all running into one another and we are experiencing so much.
We are now at the ocean on the beautiful northern shore of Bali. The weather is perfect and the water is too. And of course the beautiful Balinese people’s smiles and spirits continue to bless us.
We had another lovely Melukat water ceremony with Made last night. His devotion to service is inspirational. He hoped that my sadness is leaving. I am amazed that he can know these things even though I am very happy here with this group and in this place. It’s not completely gone but I know that time will help with this healing and again I feel so blessed to be here to help with the transition.
It’s all about ritual and ceremony here in Bali and taking time and honoring the ancestors and spirits and celebrating moon cycles with deep gratitude for it all. Such a completely different way to live than in the Western world. Our healer Ibu told us to bring back this joy to the Western world when we return.
As I lie here on this beautiful beach I am so grateful to not know what’s happening in the world, to not know what day or date it is and to just be.
Sat Nam, So Hum, Namaste!

“You look different!”

I have heard this from several people today. They look at me and they stop and they stare and they cannot stop looking at me and saying how completely different I look.
It’s true. I do look different. I feel different. I am different.
I am becoming myself again. I am shedding the energies that no longer serve me. It is absolutely fantastic!! I haven’t felt this alive in years.
Today my friend Aine and I had breakfast at Clear Cafe then met 2 friends of hers at Bridges. Christine is a clothing designer among other things and Heather is a hairdresser. Loved these women!
Then met my group and we had lunch at Tatmuk. Really good Gado Gado -a traditional Indonesian dish with veggies, tofu and peanut sauce.
Our afternoon was spent visiting a lovely high priestess/healer named Resi who blessed us with yet another Melukat water ceremony, followed by a beautiful meditation.
On to the sacred cave of Goa Gadjah, the cave that seats Siva and Ganesh which dates back to the 11th century. We made offerings to the 3 lingams and let go of the energies that no longer serve us, then made offerings to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and bringer of new energies. We completed this ceremony by walking down the steps to where the Godesses spout holy water from chalices held at their heart chakras and blessed ourselves with the holy water there. This site had apparently been buried by earthquakes for decades and was only unearthed around 1954 Ken thought. It was a beautiful place and a huge tree soared above us all.
An amazing thing happened here. One of us started singing while she sat at the bottom of the steps near the pool and it was beautiful hearing this sound echoing off the stone walls. After a few minutes she started crying. I mean really gut wrenching sobbing. After a few minutes, one of the keepers of this temple came down to her. I, and others, thought he was going to kick us all out -which I think they surely would have done in America-because it was so late. But instead he held out his hands for her and took her into the pool of water and they waded over to one of the goddesses spouting water. She was anointed with this water and after a few minutes her sobs turned into laughter-joyous, grateful laughter. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. He brought her back to the steps and thanked us all for being there and told us he hoped we would come back again. I am continually blown away by the love and generosity of the Balinese.
Later I went out with Aine and Christina for a bite to eat, a martini and then to Ozibar, a dance bar which is apparently owned by the Japanese mafia. There was a great band playing and I wound up singing a few songs with them and dancing our butts off. Too much fun.
Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Holy Shift!

And I thought yesterday was amazing. I feel like I’ve been here for a month!
I will have to do a Cliff Notes version of events as this blog is taking up the very little free time I have available!
We went to an amazing healer today named Made. I can’t give too much info on these healers as our guide Ken does not want what happened to the Eat Pray Love healers to happen to these beautiful people. We all had to sign a waiver saying we would not divulge too much information about them and I am glad because these are very special people indeed.
OK- my reading-which was a combination of him reading our names, hands, chakras, and finally we placed our feet on his and he got a past life reading as well. Fascinating.
From 1-5 years old I did not get enough love, attention and nurturing from my parents. I could have told him that one!
From 30-35 was also very challenging because my husband did not pay attention to me or give me the love that I deserve and it is the same pattern now. I could have told him that too and am now realizing this guy is the real deal.
The potential for this to happen again could come between 60-65 and this all stems from the lack of love from 1-5.
I have had 4 lifetimes that he can see and the first 3 were all very spiritual. I got off track again this time because of the early lack of nurturing.
In one lifetime I was a very handsome and pure priest. I had lots of women offer themselves to me but I always said no.
I chose to come here this time as a beautiful woman, remembering what it was like to be a handsome man and I wanted to experience the other side of that. Which, quite frankly, explains a lot!! If my family had been nurturing I would have been on track spiritually.
Catherine, by the way means “pure”.
I have a lot of money that comes into my life and goes through again-a waste of resources. Well-yeah.
I have 8 major life challenges this time ’round and I have been through 4 of them. No one else in the group had more than 4 and this quite frankly freaked me out and made me really sad. I started to cry because I cannot imagine going through 4 more challenging things. This current challenge (the end of my marriage) has been so all consuming and painful. But he said he could work through this in the upcoming ocean ceremony and not to worry. Easier said than done. But he said he can balance me.
My crown, third eye, throat and heart chakras were not open-completely closed. My stomach was open a bit, my sexual a bit more and my root chakra was wide open. Thank God something was!!
Again this was very different from the rest of the group which were more open.
He said its time to let go of my old story, to shed the old skin and to move on. It’s perfect I am here with the opportunity to change the patterns and let go and move on. Everything is in alignment for me to be here.
All this makes perfect sense to me and is what I have known.
I asked if I should stay in my house as this has been a question I have had for a very long time. He looked at his numbers he wrote down for me, did his head shaking, eye blinking thing, hit the page and said I was supposed to move to Asia!!!! That there is nothing left for me in North America or Europe.
This , not surprisingly, surprised the hell out of me and I asked him “what about my daughters?”
He asked how old they were and when I told him he said to wait til they get through college.
Either Thailand, Bali, Singapore, but definitely not an Arab country.
I am supposed to make journeys to Asia as this will be healing for me.
I have felt for a long time about leaving the continent- of course I was thinking Italy or France but Asia?? Are you kidding me?! Shocking to me as you can imagine!!!
I am supposed to lead a spiritual life (I have also known this and have been putting this off rather well for a few decades!) and this has to be my priority.
He could not see my aura. I was the only one out of 11 of us that he could not see.
He then performed a Maluket water cleansing ceremony on each of us. We sat on a stool in front of a huge pot of water with a ton of the most gorgeous flowers in them- I had 11 different kinds- and he ladled the water and the beautiful flowers onto our heads while he chanted. It felt wonderful-peaceful and beautiful. I loved it.
There were some more blessings, annointings with sacred water and finally he tied red, white and blue string around our wrists.
He made me stay when we were done to check my chakras again which he does with these cool silver divining rods and this time they were all fully opened. I have to say I felt really fantastic and more balanced then I have in ages.
He said my aura was a bright shining gold. This made me really happy of course.
It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, not only for myself but watching him do the readings for the other women as well. He is a remarkable man.
Everyone was different and the readings resonated truthfully with each one.
I look forward to our ocean ceremony, whatever that is, when we head there in a few days.
Stay tuned!!!

Full Moon Transformation

Oh my where to begin!
We started our day by traveling to the 1000 year old site of Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring. It’s a very sacred site with spring waters that flow into 2 large pools from about 20 ancient chalices.
Today is especially powerful, not only because of the full moon, but because it marks the birth, death and enlightenment of the Buddha. About 10,000 people bathed in these waters today and it was absolutely magical to do so with the beautiful Balinese people.
Hundreds of us waded in the waist deep pool in our sarongs in a long snaking line for about 30 minutes to get to the sacred waters where we let go of old relationships, patterns and energies in our life that no longer serve us and invited new ones in. It was incredibly powerful and beautiful.
The people bring offerings of flowers and incense, and the colors of all these gorgeous flowers floating around us, the butterflies flying about and the koi swimming among us was surreal.
We had a lovely lunch and then went to our first healer- a beautiful woman named Ibu.
We danced and then she went into a trance and had to be helped to sit down where she transformed into an old woman who was a combination of all the ancient ancestors in Bali. It was incredible.
We each had a turn kneeling before her, she held our hands and touched our faces and had some things to say to each of us as this cackling old woman.
When she got to me she said some very specific things- knew exactly what was going on with me. She said it was why I came to Bali and I could leave all my sadness here and it’s not as important as it seemed. She took a long time with me and it was an amazing experience for which I am truly grateful for.
After dancing some more we were blessed by her two at a time. Most of us fell to the ground for a bit and some went into trances.
A couple of gals had strange gutteral sounds shrieking from them. It was wild. She brought them back by flinging water onto them.
Then we went to the temple and said some prayers there. When we finished about 50 bats started swooping all around us overhead- it was so cool and I happen to love bats. They are one of my power animals.
The moon was coming up and you could see the eclipse. I mean could it get any more perfect?
As if that wasn’t enough we went to see a performance of the Kecak Fire dancers.
This is performed by about 50 men and boys and is basically a good versus evil tale involving a strange “cak cak cak cak” chanting with about 7 different rhythmical combinations and the throwing about of fire. Literally great balls of fire being flung and kicked about the stage. Incredible. And a fitting ending to this very powerful day.
My wrist is almost completely healed and I think its remarkable how quickly that happened.
Definitely something in the water!

New friends

Another beautiful day. Met a wonderful new friend Aine who is a chef, yoga teacher, shiatsu masseuse and author of 3 books. A friend introduced us online. She has been here since January teaching yoga. She picked me up on her motor bike and we had breakfast at a wonderful macrobiotic restaurant called Down to Earth.
Did some shopping, went to the clinic to make sure my right wrist wasn’t broken ( it’s not thank God -just incredibly sore) then had a glass of wine at Bridges, a lovely restaurant over looking a beautiful gorge with a rushing river about 100 feet below.
There is so much water here- it’s the opposite of California. There are beautiful rice paddies everywhere. I look out at one from my room. I love seeing the villagers performing all the various tasks involved in rice making. I will never take this staple for granted again.
I love all the temples here. Each village has three. There seem to be many more in Ubud.
Every family compound has one too. They are used for meditation, for honoring ancestors and for different ceremonies. All the relatives in a family live together in these compounds which are a group of rooms inside stone walls. Very beautiful.
The people here makes offerings every morning to various Deities and they are usually flowers and incense on a banana leaf that they place in front of houses, businesses etc. They are just left there until, they naturally disintegrate- which usually happens by getting run over by the ever present traffic.
Tomorrow we head to a 1000 year old site where we will take part in our first sacred bathing ceremony. That’s when this journey of transformation, awakening and raising consciousness truly begins!

Getting to know Bali, getting to know about Bali

It started out so beautifully- day 1. I stepped onto my balcony and saw several swallows dancing over the rice fields, scooping up the local bug population. To my left I saw hundreds of bees pollinating a tree. They were huge- long and black with a pink/orangish “tail”. Wow that sounds so wrong!
Had an incredibly large breakfast, got picked up by the bike tour people, drove to an amazing view of a volcano -and had another breakfast!
We finally rode our bikes for many miles through the beautiful villages and rice paddies where tourists rarely go. The local little children would come running out of whatever compound they were in and waved and sang ” Hello!” their faces beaming with delight. I have never seen such beautiful happy kids.
The rice fields are stunning and the people working them are all so happy and hard working. We learned all about making rice. White rice is harvested 3 times a year, the brown 2,
It was all going so well, until I grabbed my front brake too hard and the bike stopped but I did not. I sailed over it and landed hard on both hands, -spraining both wrists! Oh boy did it hurt. I couldn’t change gears after awhile so I had to pack it in.
We were taken to the bike owners compound where we were served a fantastic lunch. I iced my wrists which were becoming increasingly painful.
Went swimming after we got back to hotel. Nice pool!
Met up with Janaki and Dennyse and headed out to the Jazz cafe where they had a live band that did not play jazz! They were more of an R & B/rock group with a Balinese Janis Joplin wannabe lead singer who made extremely painful faces while singing. God bless her.
Dennyse mentioned I was a singer and so after 3 watered down martinis (damn that Islamist government!) I wound up singing At Last. The band didn’t quite know how to play the bridge section, but the joy of having 3 martinis was that I just kept singing and didn’t really care that they weren’t exactly with me. The audience loved it and begged for more. I wisely left them that way.
My wrists are sore, my thighs are bruised and I won’t be doing a downward dog for awhile.
Can’t wait for day 2!!!!