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Beautiful Bali

I am not sure yet why I have been so blessed, why I have found myself in this beautiful country, why I have made such close connections with the people here, and why I feel as I do for this divine place, but I do and I am.

It is a place that has changed my life every time I have visited and I have a feeling that this visit will be the most profound of them all.

Many of you have heard me speak of this beautiful place, although Bali is beautiful, it is the people that I mostly speak of. They are truly the kindest and most spiritual human beings I have come across throughout my life.

I am here now only a few days and am acclimating to the time change, awaiting the arrival of our yoga retreat group! I am excited to once again share the experience of these beautiful people and land with them. I am regularly humbled when I come here for many reasons, but mostly because the rest of the world makes us more callous than perhaps we are aware of. I am no exception.

I made these plans to arrive here and organize the arrival of my yoga peeps and relax and acclimate to the time change. What I didn't expect was to see the devastation of what the past 2 and a half years have done to this country. We have survived covid, and many have even thrived. We have had to make adjustments and work on zoom or from our homes and many sadly have lost their lives and work as well. This is devastating but somehow many of us made it work. I naively did not realize that Bali has had its borders shut off from the rest of the world for almost this entire time, with its main source of income being tourism.

I am in tears and ashamed thinking of my arrogance. I thought we were just booking another yoga retreat, and we are here to enjoy ourselves as yogis, when these people have suffered a great loss! It is so apparent as I walk around familiar neighborhoods. The bustling small neighborhood has abandoned buildings and the restaurants that were still open were empty of any patrons. Kate, a woman that came early to Bali with me, had stepped into one of the many clothing stores one afternoon and the woman there said she was the first person that had come in all day. I know these may not seem like great struggles and perhaps you may be thinking that the entire world has suffered, and this is true, but I hadn't seen it here before. I am curious to explore what else may have happened in the years I have been away.

I came here to share the beauty of Bali and specifically the Balinese people with Yogis and Yoginis from home, and once again I am humbled and realize that this trip may be about something completely different than I had thought.

The first night I was here I was sitting having dinner with Kate. A man that I had not ever met before came to my table, he was the manager of the kitchen. I thought he was just saying hello, as is the nature of these beautiful people, but he came over to say thank you to me for coming and bringing people to this resort. He said that he had not worked for over two years and because of this group coming here, he once again was called to come to this place and earn money for his family. Kate and I were on the verge of tears as he continued to thank us for being there. This turned out to be a common theme.

While I was in my room, sitting on my deck writing this blog, the man that had been helping out at the pool with towels and getting us set up, was walking by. His name is Wayan, this name is common, it is given to the firstborn of many families. He stopped and asked how much longer we were staying, and when the rest of the group would arrive. I told him only until Wednesday. He said that Wednesday was his last day here and that he would be going back home to the mountains where he lived. I said, Oh, did you get another job then? He said no, he was only asked to come to work for these 6 days, while we were here, that he had not worked for 2 and a half years. He said there has been no work. He thanked me for coming and providing him and his family with money to live on for many months to come. I immediately felt shame for not tipping him more for his diligent help and kindness throughout the days. You see I am accustomed to figuring out what 20% would be and tipping accordingly. Many of you would agree that that would be very generous, but to truly understand my shame you must understand what the price of living is here. Generally speaking, they make about $500 US a year, and here I am thinking what 20% would be. His purpose in speaking to me was not to procure more money from me, he was truly showing me his gratitude for our visit.

On the way from lunch that same day, the General Manager saw me for the first time, a lovely man named Krisna. I remembered him from years past because of his jovial face and beautiful smile. He shook my hand and said he had been looking for me to thank me for bringing people back to this resort. Once again he expressed that our visit here ensured that they would be able to turn on the electricity for a few more months, again with tears in his eyes as well as mine he bowed in front of me and then I to him.

The thank you’s and the tears of gratitude continue daily. I realize that perhaps I came here for more than a yoga retreat, and for more than to bring some financial help to these local people, which clearly have been in need, but perhaps it is for me to see more clearly to feel more deeply, to humble myself and to learn from these most spiritual beings once again.

They are thanking me, but it is I that should bow to them and ask for forgiveness for my arrogance and thank them for all that they teach me.

I watch the people that have so far joined me here, and I have watched them cry and tear up a few times a day because they cannot believe the kindness that so naturally flows from everyone here. There is no violence, there are no arguments, the children play and laugh and the parents do as well. We can not find violence anywhere except perhaps within us, within our own callus minds and hearts, while we arrive for a yoga retreat in Bali.

Last night I was with Aryathi, the resort Manager and someone that I consider my friend, while we were speaking she excused herself and ran over to a couple that was getting ready to leave. She held their hands and bowed deeply in front of them and then came back to where we were sitting. She said, “ I apologize for running off but you see those two people have been here for the last two weeks and it is always so very hard to say goodbye”. She had tears in her eyes and was so saddened to see them go.

This was a perfect example of Ishvara Pranidhana, the ability to see God within all beings. This is what Aryathi does, she loves deeply and sees the goodness in all beings.

I left holding back my tears and was also inspired to dedicate myself to this beautiful practice.

I organized a yoga retreat to Bali, and I let people know I was coming here, many decided to pack their bags and join me for this yogic adventure, and now I am seeing that the Universe may have had other plans for us. Perhaps we are about to experience the magic this island and these Balinese people have to offer because that is what they do, they offer and give and thank us for coming here so that they can give us more of themselves and of their love.

I am not sure yet why I have been so blessed, why I have found myself in this beautiful country, why I have made such close connections with the people here, and why I feel as I do for this divine place, but I do and I am.

I can't wait for what comes next!


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Berta, thank you for sharing this. I believe it will open the hearts of all who read your message. Many Blessings to all of you as well as to all of the people in Bali. Enjoy this journey. Love, Jill

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Thank you so much Jill❤️ Everyones reactions have been so beautiful and heart felt.

So many blessings for us all🙏

miss you!

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