I’m so relaxed I’m in a state I call island relaxed. Not every island, only ones like Hawaii and Bali. That kind of relaxed where putting things into bags seems difficult and the hardest decision I need to make is whether to get six dollar budget massages every day, or fifteen dollar luxury massages every two-and-a-half days. I mean, no wonder Elizabeth Gilbert found herself here. Though, apparently not that part of herself that was into women.
I really came to Bali to come to Bali, whatever that means. I had been here twenty years prior and it has always stuck with me, whatever it is. And so, I came hoping to find something, not knowing, what that something is.
I’m in Ubud now and was at the post office yesterday, mailing out my souvenirs purchased in Laos, already regretting what I had passed in purchasing.
I grabbed a number and waited in line. Sitting in front of me was a white woman, with feathers braided in her hair. It says a lot, weaving your dreams into your hair and wearing it on top of your head. She counted along with the electronic display and got excited when it seemed to start moving quickly.
“This never happens,” she said, “I thought I’d be here for an hour.”
I asked where she was from. “Ashland, Oregon,” she replied. In the short space between numbers 202 and 214, she told me how she moved out here ten years ago with her now ex-husband because the rent got too expensive in Oregon. She was at the post office to pay her bills and worried about making ends meet, struggling to work as a photographer. But, she felt hopeful because her outreach recently on Facebook had yielded a few inquiries.
“I’m divorced now,” she said, “and should’ve done so twenty-six years ago.”
As she was readying to go up to the window, I told her of how me and a ex-co-worker discussed how certain places seem to represent certain experiences. Paris, love (or heart-ache in my case), and Bali, self-discovery.
I don’t think it’s all Eat, Pray, Love. It may have been Bowie, who slipped this into the Western collective consciousness. I told her I’ve been thinking about this and asking why, Bali? What is it about this place that causes that?
After she paid her electric bill, and just before my number was called (214, she was quick), she came over. Stuffing her bills into her purse, she said, “I can tell you why. I can tell you why that happens. There are two major energy fields, crossing each other here.”
And perhaps because she saw my skepticism, she quickly continued and explained “these two energy fields create a confluence, a field, of purification. Here, all your stuff comes up. There is nowhere else for it go.”
I thanked her, not wanting to believe or disbelieve her, focused on seeing whether it was my turn yet. We said goodbye and then of course, the electricity went out.
My number was next.
I wonder, what came up twenty years ago, for me? What rose to the surface and maybe didn’t have a chance to fully materialize?
I’ve had dreams here, dreams of things I need to know, that I tell myself, oh, I’m on a boat and this person’s here. Dreams of dragging my baggage to the next location (easily explained by having to switch guest houses) and them having no vacancy (which oddly, turned out to be true). Dreams of turmoil and turbulence, but also, of knowing. Recognition.
And in waking and walking, I wonder, what is down there, deep inside of me?