Ad Infinitum Travels
Bali, September, 2016
Arrived back in Bali to the best gift ever... a box full of fluffy bantam chicks, 9 of them. So cute. Our flock has hatched.
Please, please, please, let most of them be female, otherwise we will have to rename the property "Sanctuary Sleepless in the Rice Fields".
Joyfully back to my Bali world. So many things have changed, grown, been chopped down. Here nature behaves like she's on steroids all the time.
Durga, (latest house), moving along, but we've had to do a complete re-plan, (which we are used to). The bed didn't fit any which way, so we did our usual 15 minute, tape-measure, architectural, engineering re-think... and glory be, only one wall needs to come down, the closet was surrendered, and now the floor plan is completely different. Jagi just smiles, then does his magic, and as usual everything is bound to turn out better than we even imagined.
Selamat Hari Raya Kuningan: another magical day in this place of joy and gratitude.
After a night of the full moon, (to say nothing of the eclipse) beaming down like a beacon, I wake up to the gamelan and chanting drifting in across the fields and jungle, Another day rich with ceremony and gratitude... minus all dogma and judgements.
Bali and its engagement and honouring of all life, seen and unseen, is ever a place that inspires you to believe, without having to label or define that belief, nor separate it out or exclude it from anything.
Nobody was ever as happy about a bathtub's arrival as me. The staff just carried this outrageously heavy terrazzo tub through the fields. It's a long story but when we bought it the access was shorter and easier.
The Balinese simply don't know the meaning of the word, "can't".
We are in a part of Bali where women of a certain age still go bare-breasted when it's really hot, or even when the inclination simply hits them. No-one here bats an eyelid, but it is already taboo for the younger generations, and some young women are now embarrassed by their elders, in more urban areas, doing the same. Such a liberation to lose, and you've got to wonder when the 1st woman of the 1st generation decided it was not acceptable. I'm guessing it was something to do with the mass arrival of "us".
It would seem more like the crumpling of wings, as opposed to when a million plus of them start beating and causing those marvellous butterfly effects.
Grrrrrrrrringly irritated. Just had the 2nd notice for an exorbitant toll charge, plus late fees, for spots I did not even see on my drive up to Seattle earlier this year. They've now cost me more than I even paid for petrol on the whole trip. And I would have been happy to pay if I'd seen or been aware of where I was supposed to stop. I think I'm becoming de-westernised and oblivious/ blind to all the little sneaky traps that are set up all over the place.
"Luxury"... just had a guest question this word in relationship to my Balinese family's rental property that I help manage. We can easily get stuck in measuring terms by our "culture of origin" experience, but if we are out in the world at large we need to broaden our view and recognise that luxury in the 3rd world has to be measured in relationship to how the people there actually live. Sorry be to harsh, but if you have to have 1,500 count Egyptian cotton sheets then maybe you need to stay home, check into the the most generic 5-star hotel around... or you could go to Egypt?
Anyway, it sent me on a "luxury" search, and a lovely find of the following article. Brava to "EveryGirl", whoever she be:
"Luxury, in its new context (and in the very truest form of its vogue over the centuries) is the enjoyment of the best in life: the experience of beauty, knowledge, and humanity at their deepest and most inspiring. It is the sweetness of life. Luxury could be a sunset, a song, a moment of peace and satisfaction, a perfect cup of tea, a wonderful book or a poignant photograph in a local art gallery. From this perspective, luxury is any jolt of beauty or wonder that reminds us to love the life we’re living, and to not simply live it, but to devour it gleefully and scoop up any crumbs that are left over–to not let a second of this fantastic existence go to waste."
And on another note
"It is not the first time Hawking has warned about the prospect of hostile aliens. Launching the Breakthrough Listen project, which will scan the nearest million stars for signs of life, last year he suggested that any civilisation reading our messages could be billions of years ahead of humans. “If so they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria,” he said."
(we'd have to for sure stash our politicians away somewhere, or they might consider us worse than bacteria.)
I know I'm in hipper than hip, Ubud when drinking things called Purple Haze and Mango Dragonfruit through bamboo straws, and eating White Tiger Salads. I was enticed to the "big city" by my dear friend Wendy who is visiting from Singapore.
Our pool is now officially saltwater. Finally. All mermaids and mermen invited to make a splash.
Watching children run around barefoot, free and safe and wild, proudly holding onto their homemade kites and fishing poles, can make you wonder at the actual cost of affluence.
14 days and counting. Can I have some kitchen cabinets? said I. Two days later there they were. Bali: where you sometimes think something will never get done, and the very next moment your head is spinning at the speed of change.
Just found a calf in our kitchen... who else can say that happened to them today?
Life in Bali
Birth of a bathroom. I can't even imagine one that isn't also a garden with the sky as the ceiling, anymore.
This reminds me of when I 1st came to Bali 12 years ago, and I noticed that in the bungalow next to mine was a woman about my age, with another woman much older. One day I got talking to the younger of the two, she was Australian, and living with her mother who was suffering from advanced Alzheimers. She had brought her to Bali, because for a fraction of the cost of care in her own country, (which she simply couldn't afford), she had around the clock, one on one, attentive, loving care for her, (the Balinese deeply respect their elderly, and consider kindness towards them, and their care, to be an integral and uncumbersome part of life). She also had some freedom to travel and enjoy her life, while having the comfort of knowing that her mother was truly cared for.
I'm in Bali because I love the life, the land, and the people. I also cannot imagine a better place to grow old in, come what may. The comfort of living in a place where age is by no means a handicap or a negative is gold.
At the 11th hour, all is done, about 3 hours before the guest, (who is a much beloved friend), moves in.
Amazing proof positive of the power of a deadline.
100 cheers for the crew.
What a day, and it included the final arrival of the last of 7 of the cutest, thumb-sized bantam chicks in the world.
Never again another chicken sandwich for me after the privilege of observing these gorgeous, elegant, regal creatures.
I already have a reputation as a tree-hugging, plastic loathing eccentric, so adding chicken-panderer to the list is minor.
I am always so touched by how the Balinese will humour (me) without judgement or even a speck of cynicism. They epitomise "live and let live" of the simplest highest order.
I fly back to the USA on Nov 8th, Election Day, (completely unplanned). Wondering what kind of country I will set foot on this time? One thing I know is that I will be praying the whole way.
2 more sleeps to America... and I'm once more back in that divinely paradoxical no-woman's land, (suitcase full of coconut oil and vanilla in hand), that is slap dab in between leaving my beloved Paradise, (wistfully), but about to be reunited with the best girl friends anyone could ever, (joyfully), hope for.
Watching this space from afar, we changed all plans as I was walking up the pathway to leave. A full grown coconut tree incorporated into each bathroom is the new plan.
Appreciating all the "food for thought" being shared. Every bit of it casts just a little more light, (some flickering, some glaring), on this complex, bewildering and often scary crossroads we seem to be standing at.
Back in Southern California beach mode... and in the very best of company.
I've said it before, and I'll no doubt say it again, but the greatest, steadiest, deepest and truest loves of my life have been my friends. Passionate, intense, romantic love is wonderful, and heady, and delicious, and not to be missed for sure. However, at the end of the day, friends own the beating heart in this particular body, because they have always been my rocks.
$695 fine for NOT having health insurance in the USA, and of course I don't have it, because I'm rarely here. I literally don't remember the last I went to a doctor in this country, plus I save a fortune and more going to Bangkok for check-ups. I'm sure this penalty makes sense to someone, only not this someone.
My passport, (after less then 5 years), had not one single space left in it. I arrived in the US on November 8th, and 1st thing on the the 9th I posted it to Durham, England, to be renewed. I was quite worried as they offer no expedited service, and I have a flight back to Bali on December 21st.
And today I got it back! My brand spanking new British passport: having winged its way from California to the North of England and back again in 9 days.
Efficiency is such a treat, (and always a surprise).
Surprise, surprise, Wander-Woman can't do it all. After this realisation, I have decided to take a few months sabbatical from chart readings to focus on finishing the building project, and preparing for the many workshops coming up, (plus some much looked forward to travels).
Apologies to my wonderful clients, but I do have great people to refer you to. Also, this Aquarian believes experiencing different astrologers to be a very good and healthy thing
I will be back. Astrology remains a great love, but like all worthwhile passions she deserves a lot of attention, and that's more band width than I have right now.
Since arriving back in the USA at such a strange and frightening time, as we all know, Trump won. I keep waking up with a heavy heart, then I remember the rest of the world, and how privileged and fortunate we are, and how our bubble really needed to burst. Those strange birds we are partly responsible for hatching and freeing, and then trying to ignore in corners of our own country and foreign lands we feel justified in controlling, would of course come home to roost one day. That day is here.
More than ever it feels like a time to be with friends, allies, and those looking for solutions and understanding, and kindness and joy wherever it can be found, rather than blaming and screeching and making each other feel even worse. I don't have anything figured out, and I don't think anyone else does either, and I particularly distrust those who are positive that they do. I only want friends who believe in ideas and possibilities, disagreeing with grace, and who enjoy laughing.
there aren't many moods so bad that a walk through the oak trees and bunny rabbits won't help, a lot.
Brisk California silver dawn,
Lone heron flying across a sliver of moon,
What happened in America since I was last here? I already know my almond milk and herbal tea is gluten-free, you don't need to label it so starkly. Does the entire population now have celiac disease?
Happiest news... my daughter's expecting a cub. May baby on the way.
I have no idea why I sometimes forget that the most head clearing, grounding thing in the whole world is a long brisk solo walk through beauty. I think I might need a discreet but unmissable tattoo somewhere on my being that says WALK.
Only just starting to understand that some things are going to take almost an entire lifetime to unfold. And there is exactly zero chance of pushing the river. It will go exactly at the pace it chooses to go. Feeling completely humbled.
We need to start seeing that everything Trump does is calculated. Our amazement at his idiocy is blinding us to how manipulative he actually is.
It took a total of nine days to get my UK passport renewed. Just went in to get my US green card renewed and was informed it will take nine months to get the thing.
My father, so unknown to me, but perhaps the most powerful force in my life.
Suddenly he is back, sadly not in physical form, but his family are now here, and they are kind and generous and open. They found me through Facebook.
A couple of solid false assumptions, (someone else's idea of harmless untruths), that have sustained/deluded/hindered me in life have already been blown up and dissolved into a puff of nothingness.
I feel as though I am standing at the threshold of a small hidden dark back room in the library of my life.
For my astro friends... I have a 21 degree Aries Moon in the 4th, natally exactly opposite Neptune and trine Pluto. Uranus is so unmistakably here.
Spent last evening with a great old friend, sharing memories (and a little red wine). She told a tale of my kids in their car seats, and how I insisted on keeping them sitting almost bolt upright, so they would learn to sleep comfortably when travelling. I remember always making noise around them when they slept so they wouldn't be light sleepers, and that actually did work. However I don't remember my car seat theory, but it does sound like something I would do. Yikes.
Step it up, boys. Every day that dangerous man gets closer to the White House. With even Fox News acknowledging the corruption, there feels like a little more hope that he might not ever make it through the door.
A broken heart is an open heart.
“No people ever recognise their dictator in advance, he never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will. When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.” - Dorothy Thompson
Indian visa in hand. How far they've come, (organisationally). It used to be such a silly expensive hassle, and now it's easy as can be. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but 3 hours of battling with the computer certainly beats sending that precious passport off into the wild unknown and then having it returned just hours before the flight, (which happened more than once).
The travel bug is gnawing again.
Dec 19 - Bali
Jan 13 - Goa
Jan 29 - Hampi
Feb 5 - Kerala
Feb 12 - Sri Lanka
Mar 10 - Maine
April 17 - UK
May 23 - Bali
My favourite kind of start to another year.
last few wanders through the California vineyards... for about a year or so.
This is what sent our thin-skinned narcissist of a President Elect into a twitter tail-spin over-riding all concerns about anything else going on in the world.
A journey of 9000 miles starts with the first bus.
Sitting in quite grey and dreary Shanghai, for the second time that I've had 13 hours plus just hanging out in the airport, (that's super cheap tickets for you). Plus without Facebook Google YouTube and many other distractions, all are restricted here in China, and my usual way of getting around it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe they're getting stricter or maybe I am losing my VPN touch.
Next stop Bali.
Bali, December, 2016
I returned to find the next phase of building well on its way. 2 new little casitas, named our after our favourite 2 living Nepalese goddesses, Anita and Sunita.
Seeing what we can do with these bathrooms, a coconut tree in each is a good start. Trees rule around here, they were here 1st.
And finally my favourite soulful falling apart gate is up... it just got better from laying around in the elements.
One of my best friends, and her family were delivered a few hours ago, and are slumbering close by. Then tonight my daughter and her husband arrive, plus various other friends.
So here I sit at 5 am, listening to the jungle wake up, and I just impulsively ate half a (dark and exotic designer type) chocolate bar.
Now I just have to busy myself until everyone wakes up and the fun begins.
Wired and Happy.
A 64 year old kid on the day before Xmas morning.
Glorious day on Nusa Lembongan, cruising the island on scooters. Lunch at Dream Beach, then onto Mushroom Beach.
I had been to this island before, it is only about 2 hours door to door from my home, but somehow I'd forgotten it is one of those places where the beauty just refuses to quit. Mind you, that's a bit like the rest of Bali.
There could be no better place to ring in the New Year with beloved friends.
For all of us may it be a New Year full of good health and healing, new experiences, optimism, awe and strength, kindness and generosity, laughter and friendship.