(Following the steps of Elizabeth Gilbert from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ in Bali)
I truly love to start a new year. We make a stop from our busy lives to spend time with family, to get together with the people we love, to share food, drinks, and happiness. It is the moment to make promises, to us and to others. It is a precious time to commit with our projects and vision for the future. At this time of the year we make plans to make our dreams come true.
But beyond that, it is a time for introspection. We review what we have done in the past, our achievements and our mistakes. We put our souls in the mirror and face our fears and doubts. It is the moment to search for balance, the balance between our busy lives and our emotional selves. This is the moment to make a stop on the way and be silent, because only through silence we will find what we are looking for.
My spiritual search started many years ago, but this search, if I have to confess, has been based on books. Maybe you could think that there are better ways to find the spiritual you, but books are my comfort zone, my friends, the ones I can trust with my life because they explain all the theories, they teach me practices and they give me options.
Five years ago I found the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ looking for new entertainment in a library in Bogotá. That was the year 2010 and I never thought that it would be in my heart for so long. What I loved about it was the familiar feeling with everything she was going through. It was not a book that tells you what to do, how to act or what to think but rather the story of a normal girl trying to get rid of her emotional baggage in order to find her inner peace. In my opinion, one of the most difficult things to achieve in life. The book was the confirmation of my own fears and also my own desires. Little did I know, that this random book was going to lead me to Bali following Elizabeth Gilbert’s steps in the search of balance…
Australia is not far away from Bali, only 6 hours by plane. Whoever lives in this country will agree that it is one of our closest destinations. And this is why we decided to go there. The moment we made our decision I took my book and thought about Ketut Liyer, the traditional healer from Ubud that helped Elizabeth Gilbert to find the perfect balance between body, mind and spirit. I had to find him!
We took a plane in the middle of the night. We arrived in Kuta which seemed to me chaotic but appealing at the same time. But Kuta was of not interest to me, I wanted to go to Ubud, the place where it all started for Elizabeth Gilbert, so we headed off. We called a cab and a nice guy showed up. His name was Ketut, the first child of his family, who was married to another Ketut, and had a little boy named Ketut. Elizabeth Gilbert describes in the book the three questions that every Balinese will ask you and she was right. His three questions were: Where are you coming from? Where are you going? And, are you married? With the book in my hands I explained to my husband that his intention was only to place us in the world, to know that we are safe because we have a family, as this is the only thing that is truly important for the Balinese people. If they loose the family they will loose the balance between their spiritual and their material life and the idea of this happening is unbearable for them. After two hours of a nice conversation with our taxi driver, we arrived in this beautiful, magic and peaceful land. ‘The most spiritual town in the world’
As soon as I arrived in Ubud I realised that it was everything Elizabeth Gilbert described and even more. It was surrounded by rice fields everywhere, buddhist temples, rivers and volcanoes. Its people was beautiful and nice. Women walked on the streets with colourful dresses and in their hair always a Plumeria, the beautiful white and yellow flower of Bali.
We found a little house inside a hotel, right in the middle of the rice fields. Outside there was a big garden with flowers in every colour and a beautiful pool. The people who worked at the hotel made me feel like I was at home, always smiling and being so happy. Elizabeth Gilbert was right when she confirmed that ‘you could stay asleep in this narcotic lands forever’!
I didn’t want to leave the hotel, but I was focused on finding Ketut Liyer. After enjoying the pool for a couple of hours, we took a taxi to the town centre, to see if someone could help us out. It was nothing difficult to find him. Our taxi driver knew exactly where he lived. When I said I wanted to see him, our taxi driver, named Wayan, started laughing. He said that Ketut Liyer made fun of the tourists, as he said exactly the same to everyone, but he could take us to other ‘wise men’ who could really read our future. My answer was no. I wanted to meet him anyway!
To be continued…