Rice fields in Ubud

Watching The Rice Grow-What I Learned In Bali

No matter how far you may travel, you will always return to the place inside of you.

I am not sure that you will really get to read these words. I am pretty sure that I am living on the edge of a dream. The edge of my dream. The dream that I have dreamed my whole life which ended here. Either that, or I have actually died and have truly found Heaven.

House in Ubud

I am in the middle of a stillness.  A stillness so deep and so profound that, yes, I actually can see the rice grow.  I am living in my dream house.  A house with no walls.  No walls, so I am actually part of the world again.  I ache a little as I realize how I have shut the world out.  It wasn’t my fault, you know.

From the instant I arrived on this earth, I have lived in boxes.  Boxes to live in.  Boxes to get from there to here and here to there.  Boxes constructed so carefully so that I never knew the sound of the night.  The prayer of a night where fireflies glow in the living room, geckos cackle on the ceiling, and animals unknown celebrate life.  Rain gently patters its sweet song while in the distance the sound of chimes, Tibetan prayer bowls and other instruments play the song the world has forgotten.

My spirit knows this noise.  My spirit know this noise because my spirit was this noise until it was silenced.  It was silenced by obligation, by fear, by being told to be quiet, to settle down, talk quieter.  It was taught to shrink back, to be invisible, to not draw too much attention, to be a lady.  But I will no longer sit this one out.  Always wanting not just to dance this dance but to be this dance.  Somehow, I forgot not just the words but the sound of the tune along the way.

Joglo bathroom

In my bathroom with no ceiling, I was going to take a bath by moonlight but instead I showered by starlight. This was because a family of frogs claimed my bathtub first.  As I delighted with their intrusion (really, their intrusion?  How about my own?) I watched them for so long that the sound of their ribbits started tickling the roof of my mouth.

Here I feel like I am releasing something.  I am letting the old self, the old carefully constructed me go. The one who thought she knew what peace was, what stillness was,watches from the corner of her eye as the owner of the house who has lived in this village for nine years, nine years, snaps a picture as she takes a walk to her own bungalow across the rice.  How beautiful to still be delighted with a place after staying in one place for so long.

The old self barely had time for an unplanned conversation.  The new self takes time to just breathe. Just breathe and listen as the stillness keeps singing the sound of the ache and the healing of the world.  The rain washes upon the dance of the night as the light slowly begins to bring in a sun-stained morning, and finally, I know what it means to dance.

Val with a coconut