After six months in Bali I’m back now in the Netherlands, with so much inspiration. I am back to reconnect with my roots, to the land and with the people. From my feeling leaving Bali is definitely not for ever. But all I really know is that there is some inspiration and music I brought with me to share here.
This feels like the right time to write something about my experiences. So many things happen within half a year and it’s of course not possible to summarize everything I’ve seen. But what I can say to cover a substantial part of this journey is that living in Ubud was like coming home. It brought me back to who I am. And there is one story in particular that I would love to tell you:
Around a year ago, in October, suddenly this idea came to me that I wanted to go to Bali. It didn’t make any sense to me at all, I knew next to nothing about this island, so what would I do there? The only connection I had to Bali, is that I played some gamelan during my studies and that Elizabeth Gilberts’ ‘Eat, pray, love’ is one of my favorite books. Usually when I travel I am called by the music of the place I go to and I didn’t feel this strong calling from the gamelan music yet. So I kept this Bali-idea secret and did some hidden research on what else I could find on this island. Once I had seen pictures of the nature and when I had discovered that cacao trees are growing in Bali I felt that I actually wanted to make it happen to go there. I trusted that there would be a reason for me to come to the island and that this reason would be unraveled over time.
Then one evening last winter, I was dancing at Odessa, a boat in Amsterdam. After the dance people where having some chats and suddenly I heard somebody behind me saying the word ‘Bali’. I just turned around and asked: ‘Wait, did you say Bali?’. We started talking together, she told me about her experience living in Bali last year, we met up some weeks later and from there we decided that we would travel to Bali together. She asked me spontaneously to fly two weeks earlier than we planned and I agreed. Once we got on the plane, everybody started to ask if we are sisters and until today people even ask if we are twins.
We arrived in Ubud at the 16th of March. This is the day that the schools in The Netherlands closed because of corona. We just got into Bali before the borders closed. Gina is the name of my sister and she introduced me to Ubud. We lived together for four months, sharing experiences, food, stories and dance. By following my curiosity and excitement, even though it didn’t make any sense in the first place, so much magic happened and I met a very dear soul sister.
From here I will go into some bits and pieces, sharing both some impressions and my inner world and some tangible experiences and projects.
Sketch when my pillow in The Hague brings me back to the river in Ubud:
To see this humbling example of the local Balinese people, practicing rituals of gratitude every day. Being so warm, so kind, so loving, so generous, so thankful. Seeing and experiencing such a different life to everything I’ve seen before. Meeting so many likeminded people. Different and unique people, both locals and members of the expat community that is big here in Ubud. Witnessing so much magic on a daily base, with all the synchronicities that happen all the time. Coming back with new inspiration, more grounded in who I am. Ubud brought me closer to myself, I met my family. The projects I could there do just flowed from one to the other. Everything just went so effortlessly, so easy. And there is so much love and light. It’s like a paradise. I hope to spread some of this inspiration here. Different ways of being, that attract different realities. We have the power to shape our own reality, even when thoughts of uncertainty that are a result of conditioning, society, or traumas, from our past or even from our family, are blocking us. We have the ability to witness these thoughts and move on, choose to nourish a different thought and manifest it into reality.
Reflecting on some projects:
The collaboration with Arash Bezadi. He is a piano player and composer, originally from Iran, an amazing musician. We played songs, created a series of videos and organized a concert with cacao to celebrate the full moon. We played songs from around the world, dedicated to different people. Songs that have a very special meaning both for him and for me.
After a while I started teaching vocals to some people and from there I organized group singing classes. People would come to the garden of Pondok Nini, a beautiful place I was living. And we sang together, different songs. We meditated and we shared our experiences with our voices, with the songs. People that look at singing in such a holistic way, naturally, without so much education on it. People from all parts the world, having such different perspectives, yet similar perspectives.
I was meeting people through dance, one of them being Dharani. We met during the first week of my travels and had an instant connection. We created a story together, about looking at the moon from different places around the world and being connected to each other in this way. We worked on this project for the whole six months that I was in Bali. During this time, we became closer. We traveled together and wrote a play together. After I had a motorbike accident she visited me almost every day, working both on our IN THE MOON – project and this new project to write a music theatre play that we would perform with participants of a singing course I would teach. She came with some orange juice, we talked about the projects, we talked about life, I rested and we wrote the play. And then we gathered with the participants of the course four days and we rehearsed the songs and the play. I was teaching to people that were my friends and family. It was so beautiful because we created this piece as a community. I love each and every one of those participants so much and it’s such a beautiful feeling.
And finally, Dharani and I finished our IN THE MOON project, around the time I left to the Netherlands.
I met amazing teachers on my way. With one of them, Eva Aourah, I started the practice of yoga Nada. Sayuri Tanaka was my teacher for a raw-food course intensive training, that I did together with Gina and our dear friend Nicolas. Jackson Mullane reminded me of the power of sharing music and stories. Janur Yasa uses strategy and creativity to create changes that shape a greener world with more equality between different people. I interviewed all these four people for my new project, ‘Puma-talks’, a series of video-interviews with people that inspire me.
Traveling around the island, I got to know the nature of Bali in a deeper way. And it started talking to me more. I was seeing so many butterflies and dragonflies. Connecting with more local people, interacting with them effortlessly and feeling so much respect for them. I loose my words when I loose myself in these memories. Cacao… The waterfalls… as canções que você me ensinou… você está no meu coração, sempre. The sound of the river, the sea, the laughter, the dances and the joy. The expansion I still feel of each moment I’ve experienced.
I didn’t know why I wanted to go to Bali. But now I know that it was calling me because it is one of my homes. And it was such a reminder to be there.
Dear reader, trust your intuition. Follow your curiosity and excitement. When the events in the world scare you, remember that you are never alone. Know that we are creating space, changing our perspective. The chaos that you witness is just a transition.
Blessings and warmth,