A Balinese understanding

BuddhaThis morning I rose with the sun and practiced yoga in a bikini, frangipani falling on my mat. Afterwards I plunged into a shaded pool and devoured three passion fruit.

With no grand plan for the start of my day, the beauty of Bali simply offered up a perfect beginning.

Yes, this Indonesian hideaway really knows how to bring out our best, at the same time continually reminding us to quit navel gazing and breathe in that something bigger.

Ground yourself

Shoes are taken off before going inside – homes, guest houses, cafes, restaurants, even shops. Feel the earth. Find your root. And show some respect to the place you’re entering.

Masters of language

Need a lift somewhere? Take a ‘taksi’. In trouble? Watch out for the ‘polis’. Speeding? You’ll be asked to ‘hati hati’, beautifully translating as ‘heart heart’. That’s right – feel the love, pop a smile on and enjoy the ride.

Massage the whole

There’s no such thing as a ‘back, neck and shoulder’ massage, or a stand alone ‘foot’ rub in Bali. Every time a masseur puts their healing hands on you, the whole body is given its due. Here you’ll find a true understanding of how this, that and the other connect, and the imbalance that’s showing up in you.

Be solid

Bamboo stairways, wooden platforms, oak aged worktops. A teak bowl, this very stool, salt and pepper pots. The balancing beauty of timber is everywhere. It receives me when I plant my toes on the floor in the morning, and settles me when I stumble.

Whistle and smile

Most nights I see people working on the streets, occasionally fixing the road, frequently making ceremonial offerings. They’re never solitary. Work is a cheerful invitation for their friends – come lend a hand, enjoy our community, shoot the breeze. Work is social time.

Rich elegance

The average Balinese has very little money, but they certainly know about style. A well cut shirt, tailored trousers, or figure hugging dress, invariably holding a fit and colour that suits its owner perfectly. It’s not unusual to see a bride heading to her ceremony on the back of a baby blue scooter, their effortless way of life whispering an inherent knowing of what looks darn fine.

Pure nourishment

Do you have an insatiable curiosity for the favourite snack items of different nations, or is it just me? From pickled egg to chocolate bar, pasty to cigarette, very few hunger fixes actually nourish. In Bali, on the other hand, a quick snack is a considered one, eaten slowly, with the hands. Be it a coconut, bowl of rice or bunch of bananas – hold it, feel it. The hungry connect with their food.

Always protected

Everywhere I go, he’s looking out for me. There’s a Buddha on my bedside table, by the door of my accommodation, in the corner of this cafe, on the patio outside. He reminds me I’m never alone. And should I lose sight of a Buddha for a split second, this might happen once every ten days, I’m guaranteed a heartfelt Balinese smile as recompense.


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A playful story seeker, Pip helps businesses communicate better.