I was asked by the Pilates Studio, Studio BE Pilates, I belong to and share my work with to write about my upcoming trip. I felt called to share with you, my friends as part of an unfolding story.
I am leaving for a retreat in Bali tomorrow. People ask if I am excited. I am excited but that’s not the feeling I feel the most the in my skin.
I get moments of giddy, of thrill, of anticipation but what I actually feel consistently is a deeper, softer, quieter feeling. My son said, “Content.” I think he might be on to something there. It’s a “still” feeling. What I feel the most is “Right” or maybe “True.”
I feel like its exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. Called in a way that it makes complete sense to leave my children and this place I call home, for two weeks to travel to a remote island almost half way around the world at the anniversary of my mother’s death to be immersed in ritual, ceremony, spirituality, beauty and to indulge in an experience of connection, healing, relaxation, and exploration not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.
These last five years I have been navigating big losses, deep grief, my heart has been broken over and over. I need this trip in a spiritual way.
I am trying to remember exactly what day it was the first call came. I am not sure that it really matters but I like to look for the signs and the patterns that lead up to big noticeable moments. I was at the bank. There is this delightfully sweet teller that has been there for as long as I have been banking there. While doing our usual transactions we always chat a little. She knows about my divorce, she knows about the ending of my catering business, she has an intimate knowledge of my financial situations and because of that she knows when things feel good, secure, tight or rocky. She tells me she has just returned from Bali.
“You need to go there.” She says but not like she says this to every customer that steps up to the window.
More like it is just for me to hear. I feel the truth of it in my body for a moment. A “she’s right” feeling. Struck for a moment. I think do need to go to there.
Somehow, she can see that I am broken in places and in need of healing. She writes down information for me. She says, “I will help you.”
I hear it again from my very dear friend. Not too long after that interaction at the bank. “You should go there,” she says. I am struck again.
We read a lot of books together. She’s just finished reading The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker. It is set in Ubud. A village in Bali. I’d read it this time last year and called her while I was reading it and said “you must read this.”
I’d heard about the book one Friday while having coffee with the weekly Rosary prayer group I go to with my children. Actually, I “over-heard” about it. What I heard from across the room was “it’s a story about how true love prevails.”
I stopped the conversation I was in immediately and moved closer to where that came from and asked, “what is it called?” It’s well known I have an affinity for love stories, stories rich with meaning. I left Rosary group and immediately went home to download the book. I download the book when I get home, I end up buying the paperback and dog earring and highlighting like I do when a book speaks to my soul. I read it intimately. I couldn’t put it down. I had to put a “do not disturb” sign around my neck until I was finished. I wrote how I relished every word. I recommended it over and over. It is a deeply touching story of unconditional love. It’s unexpected, rich and deeply moving.
That story and its sequel, A Well Tempered Heart, become my comfort food while I spend the last days of my mom’s life with her. My mom and I had a great love of books and reading in common. We bonded over books. Our universe had shrunk to the size of a hospital bed in a condo in FL. While she rested, I read and the books spoke to me of maternal, paternal and romantic love.
When I heard “go to Bali” for a third time, I made the decision to create the trip. I had to go. I had just experienced two simultaneous losses, my father’s unexpected death three months after my mother’s and the loss of a relationship I held very dear.
Now I had a friend who felt called to travel too. She was with me as I traveled last year to be with my mom. She endured an eternal car ride to Florida and back with our kids in tow. Her friendship powered me up for what to come in the days that followed.
While chatting one night in the late summer she told me that Bali was on her “bucket list,” what I heard was “go to Bali.”
I believe a bucket list is a “heart call” list. It is the way of life, the moments, the experiences your soul desires to have or healing it needs. Some people think those kinds of dreams are out of the realm of possibility but truly they are not when you set the intention to live out your bucket list and create your life around that which can fulfill those promises to yourself. It takes effort, commitment and the ability to get out of your own way and go do those things your heart calls you to do. Be the way your heart and soul call you to be.
And so it began, the preparations to travel to Bali, to answer the call of my heart. To visit a place that speaks of spirit, ritual, ceremony, love, beauty, adventure, cleansing and healing. I feel a call to go see, to be in, to be with the Balinese culture and to share what I feel while I am there.
I feel compelled to let you know that its possible to follow your heart calls wherever they may be, your soul whispers what ever they may be. To really get quiet and listen to the path you are being drawn to, led to, then do what you have to do to move along on your path. To leave behind what needs to be left behind to experience and explore. To find the parts of yourself that may only be found in far off places or off beaten paths and bring back the beauty, the truth, the story of you, the story of your heart and share it with others so that they can see the possibilities too.
I feel a sense of purpose for this trip. I am still at the beginning of the path I am devoting my heart to but it’s all coming together in a way that feels almost effortless, soft, with ease, not with the intensity of the last 5 years. And that is the feeling I’ve been feeling. It’s a much softer place.
You can join me on the journey if you’d like. I will likely be sharing on Instagram moments of what I have begun to call “My Magical Mystery Tour”
To all of you, lovers and friends, may you heed your heart calls and soul whispers and move towards that which you are drawn to whether it’s a far away place or the creek behind your house, to a love, a friendship or connection you feel called make, to a change, a step forward or shift in being. May you move forward with faith in your heart.
Peace Lovers and Friends,
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.