Sanur

Home sweet home.

First day in Bali and I feel uplifted and back home.

The sun is shining, the locals are smiling, the spring is back in my step, and my soul is uplifted.

Crazy how one piece of the world can make you feel at peace within your own.

I am in Sanur, south east Bali. A village which mirrors the community in Ubud, the place that connected myself with my self, and situated against the beautiful Bali Sea.

A community that supports peace, unity, happiness and love, and a fellowship in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) which supports the exact same. I have made some fantastic friends with one in particular, Alice. Alice runs The Lighthouse; a holistic rehabilitation centre in Bali which weaves in well-being and spiritual healing alongside a successful course in detoxing and therapy. We met during my first visit to Bali and have kept in contact ever since.

The toolbox

“I am ready”. These are the words that I have been repeating over in my mind over the last few weeks; my final week in Jaipur; my week returning back in Kuala Lumpur, and these first few days back in Bali. What I was ready for exactly, I was still to realise, but I knew that I was ready to feel calmness, security, clarity, and most importantly, focus.

I was ready to take a pause from all the travelling. To empty out my tool box filled with all these fantastic instruments, gadgets and apparatus which I’ve collected over the months and stand back and reflect.

I’m not talking about the countless keyrings, receipts, and tourist trinkets which I’ve collected over the months, but rather the tools that I’ve accumulated that have helped me to build, support, and modify my way of thinking; my way if living.

It is said that tools were created in order to accomplish tasks that the human body could not. Sometimes we overlook the mind and its capabilities in comparison to the body. There are times where the human body may not be the solution to fixing something. The solution may be something less physical; the soul. Or perhaps, the solution may be something or someone much bigger than ourselves.

I was ready to find opportunities where I would be able to utilise these utensils which I have accumulated. An opportunity where I could continue grow and hopefully blossom, whilst allowing my roots to feel grounded and settled.

Control

Upon reflection, I have noticed that I’ve never really felt settled. Whether it is career, decisions, plans or myself. I’m always on the look for the next chapter of my life before finishing the previous. I wouldn’t say that it was due to impatience, but more about worry. Worrying about what I was going to do next, and how to get there. Worried about what was around the corner. Worried about ‘failure’ if my life wasn’t planned down to the last detail.

Perhaps it is a control thing. My mum told me how I would always plan everything down to the last detail from a young age because I had to; that I took on the responsibility of sorting things out for myself because others didn’t. I have always seen myself as a controlling character that chose to do this. I had never looked at it from that point of view before.

So I have always been accountable for my decisions, and therefore accountable and responsible for the repercussions that often followed with these. Seeing these repercussions as your own failings from a young age was very hard; it birthed ‘doubt’. It also helped develop two beautiful traits many of us suffer with and often like to call ‘self-hate’ and ‘insecurity’.

Many of my choices in life where disapproved of from my Dad, and questioned by my mum. My mother and father are amazing people. Rather than pointing the finger, I am merely pointing out the interesting notion of nature vs. nuture. Just like our genes, our thought processes and beliefs are often fed down the family tree. We were all vulnerable at once, and still can be from time to time. Is it possible that we can learn from our children as well as our parents? I think so. We never stop growing. I am proud to say that my family continue to grow as individuals, and together.

Growing

If you plant a tree in a pot it is limited to that size; and although more than capable, it will not grow beyond the size that it has been given to grow. Same with a goldfish and its fishbowl…apparently! Our surroundings, and often our thinking, limit our own growth.

With this fear of failure, I would plan my day to day life down to the second; something I almost always failed at keeping whilst drinking, leading to further self-resentment. Once sober, I continued this; almost always leading to burning myself out. I felt that it helped me to feel in control, and it helped me to capture opportunities. I did not realise that I was in fact, planting myself in a limiting pot. By planning EVERYTHING, I was leaving no room for opportunities that may have been offered by someone other than me, SOMETHING other than me.

Since letting go like Made initially told me to do, I have found that opportunities have found their way to me rather than frantically chasing them. By being grateful for what I have, I have been blessed with more. By letting go of the fear for the unknown, I’ve been shown the way. Every day I wake up with gratitude and belief. Belief that it isn’t just me that has to control everything in my life; that there is something or someone other than ourselves that is here to help if we let it, and gratitude for realising this.

The tools

So back to the tools. The tools I’ve collected whilst on my travels.

I opened up my toolbox and took some time to reflect.

• Love: self-love, self-worth, self-belief.

• Differences: love for others. For differences between myself and others, and seeing beauty in that. Religion has played a significant part throughout my journey; interacting with people who are of a different faith, different cultural backgrounds, and contrasting opinions on life. In fact, religion has played a significant part by proving its insignificance when it comes to two people enjoying one another’s company. I have noticed that religion is something which often divides people when used as a weapon, whereas spirituality is something which draws people together when used as a instrument.

• Understanding: A better understanding of peace, meditation, listening (inwards and outwards).

• My voice: being proud of it and valuing it.

• My insecurities: seeing them as wounds as opposed to flaws. Wounds that just need to be taking care of due to incidents over time. Wounds that will heal if nurtured.

• Equality: seeing the differences between importance and respect. No one is more important than the other. We are all equal. However, respect is the richest currency out there. To live a life real of success and abundance is a life where you are respected, and pay others with respect. Current affairs adhere to this with some of the leaders of OUR world. They may have been given a title of importance, but in the eyes of the people, their value is somewhat different; respect.

I am yet to read the manuals for some of these tools. I’m in no way a certified mechanic of ‘self’, but I feel so grateful in realising that it is not just me, my physical self, that is responsible and expected to sort everything out. That in fact, if we open ourselves up and take a look inside, we have a selection of tools to support a selection of situations in order to help modify, fix, build and support our lives. We just need a hand in taking some of these tools out of their packaging and being guided through the manuals.

So, I am ready. I have stopped worrying about where I am headed, and have accepted that there are some things that are out of my control. I can’t control everything, and you know what, it feels great to not have to carry that responsibility for once. What I can control however, is how I feel, think and respond to the NOW; something that I have struggled so much with during my life.

360 degrees

As soon as I eased off the reins, I have found that my life has been somewhat steered and led by itself; or something else.

I am living in Bali. I am here, and I am working with people who are overcoming addiction to alcohol. I am living a life where I am helping others to overcome the very thing which was killing me. I am utilising the tools which I have accumulated over the last 17 months, and using them to help others find theirs. Like I said, I am no mechanic, but rather an apprentice of life, who is so grateful to have the opportunity to support others in seeing a life without alcohol, and the beauty that awaits them.

My time here will also be spent working on outreach programs for people living, and some suffering, with HIV and AIDS. For years I have suffered with the stigma and emotional turmoil of this illness. Another thing that has somewhat stunted my growth in areas such as self-love, affection, confidence and peace. Since sharing my story of living with HIV, I have recieved an overwhelming amount of support from family, friends and even readers who reached out. By sharing my story, I had to value my voice and believe in myself. The response was uncertain, but I chose to let go and let flow. The respect and love that flowed through the words of others was something that has changed my life forever.

I get to take this support that has allowed me to grow, and use it to help others grow themselves. Thank you.

Hope

I noticed a tree yesterday. The bark was grey and the leaves were somewhat mottled with mould and decay. When I touched the bark, it crumbled. It appeared to be dead; somewhat poisoned by the soil. That wasn’t what surprised me. What surprised me were beautiful pink buds that were still blossoming from the decaying branches. It still had beauty. Somehow it was still evolving from within, no matter how ruined it may have appeared. There is hope for us all. Hope allows us to overcome everything and defy the things that we believe stop us from growing.

Now

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next month, next year. None of us do. What I do know is that time is precious. That is obvious. We have such statements engraved in plaques, on sides of mugs, on keyrings, on clothing. But do we look at this statement in a way that we are supposed to? Do we look at this in panic? A limited time on earth in which we must acquire the career, the house, the spouse and the 2.4 family portrait? Something which many of don’t always succeed in and therefore view ourselves as failures. Or do we look at this as an opportunity? A limited time on earth in which we have the means to live how we want and achieve what we want in order to feel happiness beyond expectations and limitations? I’m guilty of both, but I hope to fully commit to the latter. I hope we all eventually do.

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