It’s been almost 3 years to the day that I moved to Bali so its been a reflective time for me recently. Today I am grateful for these lessons that Bali has taught me along the way.
There are many more than I can commit to paper, but here are 5 of the biggies that have held the most impact so far.
1. To enjoy the moment and slow down – the Balinese believe that life is a celebration and that each moment should be lived to its fullest whether that moment is simply sitting on a step whiling away the hours with a friend or being productive doing many things. Irrespective of how it’s spent, to live is to be present. Since moving to Bali my pace has slowed down substantially, I have been island – ised – I guess you could say. Rather than rushing in a waking sleep from one thing to the next, not experiencing any thing too deeply, I do less, better and have more energy and a better experience as a consequence.
2. To not sweat the small stuff – I don’t think I have ever had the pleasure of living amongst such a joyful, laughter filled race before. A smile is never far from their lips and laughter is the most common currency here. Its not that they don’t have problems or avoid them but they choose to look at them in a different way and not hold onto them preferring to make light and turn them into a positive.
3. To focus on what you can control and forget the rest. – One of my dear Balinese friends explained how they view life being a balance between what we can and cannot control and the art of being able to tell the difference between the too and letting go of the rest. ‘Jen, you must learn to live comfortably between effort and surrender and find ease and freedom within this.’ Freedom is not overcoming what you think stands in your way; it is acceptance that these obstacles and lessons are part of your way and are there to teach us.
4. To value your tribe – the Balinese have an innate sense of family that extends far further than their immediate one. I have lost count of the number of ceremonies there are which act like the glue to connect the Balinese to each other. This draw to celebration and community means they are never alone, never without support and are part of something far bigger than them alone. Community doesn’t need to be the family to which you have come from but more a collection of friends you meet along the way and then investing time and love in building these relationships to create your own tribe.
5. To be grateful – The Balinese by western standards don’t have a lot yet they have so much more. A daily ritual for them is paying gratitude to the gods which can be witnessed every day many times when you can see right across Bali people placing offerings to the gods at home made alters paying gratitude as they do this. To appreciate the great people and things in your life is a choice and its easy for this to slip us by unnoticed until we no longer have it. It reminds me to be grateful for what you have before its not there, who loves you, and who cares for you, the little things that make you smile and bring joy to your life. You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they’re no longer there. By looking at what you have, you end up with so much more.
I have always felt lucky to be living in Bali. When people ask me what it is about my lifestyle that I love the most – I reflect on the endless sunshine, beaches, water sports, healthy food, wonderful friends, wellbeing pursuits but really its first and foremostly these big hearted, compassionate, humble Balinese that are my teachers and graciously allow me and others to share their special island living amongst them. For this I am most grateful.
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