I discovered this back in my archive of writings from 2014 – the very first Nyepi day I would spend in Bali. It would not be my last.
I had just (literally, just) walked away from the most intense, captivating relationship of my life – finally hearing my innermost truth, standing back up after losing myself for so long.
Nyepi is a Balinese holiday to mark the New Year – it is preceded by a raucous celebration of “ooga ooga” monsters (the Balinese spend months creating them, only to burn them at midnight after the epic parade!)
The day of Nyepi, the island goes completely silent. It is illegal to leave your home compound – you must stay at home, preferably in silence – in my later years there, the internet was even shut down all across the island.
This was my first Nyepi, but it would not be my last. Bali… she would call me back, year after year, to experience her deep wisdom, triggers, healing, and transformation.
March, 2014 – Ubud, Bali.
I woke up this morning in Bali to the sounds of frogs croaking, roosters crowing, and a waterfall flowing gently outside. The morning is brimming with life, and yet shrouded by a deep sense of silence- a silence that will last the entire day.
The night before, the Balinese paraded gigantic, fierce monsters all around town, then burned them to destroy the evil spirits for the New Year. It’s beautifully symbolic, and achingly appropriate. I joined the hoards of people shouting, singing, photographing the spectacle, climbing on top of each other to celebrate the end of the darkness before spending the next day meditating in the peace of light.
I turn over in bed, wanting to sleep a bit more and then wake naturally…to glide back into peace and hold off the day I must face. But it’s time. Today is Nyupi, day of silence in Bali. I must by law remain in my homestay, eating only food I’ve stored, using this time for meditation and reflection, yoga and reading. But I know that for me, this day is more than that.
Because there are no mistakes.
It’s all happened: the wild, whirling chaos, the impossible brightness, the synchronicities, the unbearable darkness, the spinning and forgetting, the fleeting forevers, the flying, the running, the love and anger and fear and despair and joy. Launching into the unknown with heart wide open, throwing the dazzling shards up into the air and squeezing my eyes tight as they fall where they will, laughing, crying, flying through the glittering, magical mess and onward toward whatever’s to come.
I know I’ll think of him today. I’ll see him when I close my eyes, feel the pain of my heart squeezing as I tried to survive those final days. I know I’ll remember shaking in bed, running through the rain, banging on the door. I know it will be with me here today.
My voyage, all 1217 days of it, has led me here to this garden bungalow in Ubud, where yogis come to dwell in paradise and vegan gluten free is the norm and where Elizabath Gilbert learned to “love” and where I must finally face the greatest battle of my hero’s journey.
I don’t know where I’m going. Not next month, not next week… not even tomorrow.
I don’t know what I’ll be doing there.
Or who I’ll be with.
But I know I’m here.