Archive for the ‘Softer Side of Annie’ Category

Several months have passed since my last blog entry. It’s difficult to chronicle all the amazing things about my life in Bali. Yes, I’m still in Bali! People ask me how long I’ve been here and get a knowing smile when I tell them I originally came for one month and am still here five months later. Ex-pats relate their own story of coming for vacation and remain for decades. But no! – I protest, I’m moving to Vietnam. I’m just on vacation.

As the months pass and every day is filled with joy, wonder and blessings; I decide not to resist the ranks and to move to Bali. Vietnam is a part of my heart, my mother’s home country and a vibrant, dynamic place. I can always move to Vietnam later, open a yoga studio and adopt a child. Some of my friends have joked for years that I’m like an M & M. Hard on the outside, but sweet on the inside. Bali softens my soul and brings out the gooey, chocolaty parts of me. Since making this decision last week, I wake up with a new sense of awe, feel like I’m floating in a dream.

The most difficult part of leaving the United States, was leaving behind my community in Seattle. I’ve lived in dozens of places in five different states. Seattle was the first place I really settled down, and had a loving community of hundreds of friends and family. I knew I’d want to create a community in Vietnam. And here in Ubud, Bali, I’ve found a sweet community. Nestled in the neighborhood of Penestenan, amidst rice paddy fields and foot paths. No noise from cars or motorbikes, just the rushing sound of water from rice field irrigation, constant crowing of roosters, and falling asleep to a cacophony of crickets and frogs. Morning yoga under a majestic Banyan tree.

Every day, I witness the daily devotion of the Balinese. Offerings to the gods pepper doorways and streets. I’ve been privileged to participate in ceremonies that include blessings, chanting, dancing, sitting meditation, walking meditation and fire. Being raised Catholic and shunning religion in my teens, I’ve had a negative attitude towards prayer. I viewed it as making deals with God. If I prayed hard enough and he gave me what I wanted, then I would promise him the moon and the sky. Thinking I was bad or wrong if my prayers didn’t come true. Now, I’m learning how to pray. Chanting and offering flowers from my heart. Feeling gratitude for all my blessings. Praying for my family and friends. It’s bringing out the softer side of me.

Bali is a deeply healing place, and every day I get stronger and brighter. I’m discovering muscles in new places and am in awe of my body these days. Falling deeply in love with myself, and even embracing my pot belly!





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