A holiday for the mind: finding peace in Bali

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I’m having an interesting experience alone here in Bali. I am staying in a dear little Balinese resort just out of Ubud, relaxing before attending the writers festival in Ubud in a few days. I thought it would be idyllic spending precious time meditating, reading, writing and reflecting but it has also been challenging. Usually my life is so busy there is not a great deal of real reflection time and being here alone has forced me to face a few demons.

My first trip to Bali was over forty years ago. I accompanied my then-husband as tour guide leaders. I marvelled at the beauty of the place and loved my interaction with the group we were ‘leading’ but at night when the door closed and left my husband and I alone, I was confronted with the same old bullying behaviour I experienced at home. He saved all of his charm for the daylight hours. I became the brunt of his volatile temperament but each morning I would greet the group with forced cheerfulness and each day I experienced much delight exploring what was then a peaceful, exquisite place to be.

A very different Bali awaits me now. Still a beautiful place to be but marred by the very tourist industry that keeps it alive. I am saddened by the decay and experienced a nasty fall yesterday while navigating the broken pavement. It was a relief to return to the tranquility of this little ‘resort’.

My reflections continue as I remember that time so long ago when I hadn’t learned to be my authentic self and shaped my behaviour around trying to keep everybody happy. The twenty years with a bully produced three wonderful human beings which I’m proud to call my children and as I reflect I can understand the valuable lessons I learnt from the years with this man and the further lessons I needed to learn when I traded one bully for another.

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Does anyone remember that lovely old poem “The white magnolia tree”? It is full of sometimes excessive sentiment reminiscent of the era in which it was written, but here now alone in Bali, I can really relate to the sentiment it is expressing. Remembering –

 

“…that a heart that breaks can mend itself again

(That it can and must be done.)

And what loyalty can mean

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And how real a word like courage can become.

And that solitude can be rich and gratifying

And quite different from loneliness.

 

There is so little the serious heart requires,

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Friends, faith, a window open to the world.

Pride in work well done,

And the strength to live in a world of war

And still maintain the heart’s own private peace…” Helen Deutch

 

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And as I sit under the palm trees and drink in the beauty of this place I am grateful to be reminded that it is up to me to find my own private peace.

 

Have you felt the same as Lyn before? What have your only been able to reflect on when you are alone and in a tranquil environment? Do you find holidays therapeutic for the mind? Tell us