Bali, Me and my Buffaloes

Bali, Me and my Buffaloes

The buffaloes I speak of are metaphorical buffaloes from which I gathered this concept from Donna Lancaster in her book, The Bridge (I highly recommend this book as an assistance to self-healing).

In this book, Donna explains how most animals within the animal kingdom will run away from the storm that’s coming across the savannah. This is a natural reaction for them. However the storm is coming, and it will hit at some point, so the race away from it seems futile and actually prolongs the stress response it produces. Buffaloes are different. These creatures will in fact head into the storm and face it head-on, thus bracing against the uncomfortable but powering through knowing that this is likely the best way to shorten the stress response and get through to the other side…. where there is calm and sunshine.

I had to embrace a few ‘buffaloes’ before and during my Bali trip and this is the theme for this blog.

Once my trip to Bali had all been confirmed (if you are not sure what this looked like then please refer to my previous blog about my 39th Year & gastro – it will make sense when you read it) excitement and the prospect of a solo trip lasting approximately 15hrs and then staying in the beautiful township of Ubud for 10 days sounded like utter bliss. But then came the self-doubt. Why me? Why on earth had they asked me to join this experienced faculty? Did I deserve this? What if I can’t do it? And so the thoughts spiral went…

One of my biggest challenges to overcome was travelling by myself.

I have travelled overseas before but always with others and so this broached new territory and I could feel my nervous system begin to frazzle with the thought of ‘what if?’ Another level to this was my hearing. I have always travelled with my Hearing dog before “aka my husband Simon” but this time it would just be me. Just me.

This forced me to open a door to my number one vulnerability; my disability. I know I have come leaps and bounds with regard to this and many people will not realise that I am partially deaf but this was forcing me to be totally open, vulnerable, and transparent about it. Once I got my ‘Buffalo’ on and faced this head-on (thank you Meegan Care, Coach-Wonder) I realised that if I just leaned into this and made provisions, everything would be ok.

I let my accommodation know that security was important to me as I would be staying alone without being able to hear in case of an alarm. I also helped myself out by booking a Lounge at my transfer airport so that I could sit in comfort and see the board right in front of me in case there were any last-minute changes at the gate.

Done! That wasn’t so scary after all.

Once I got to Bali, I managed to bring my Empowered Business person self to the front and she helped me navigate all the extra little bits that were making me nervous and eventually with sweet relief found my driver Panjur who was sent to meet me at the Airport.

The course itself went really well and although I was nervous on my first day, I soon sunk into a comfortable space (ironically this was the easiest part of my trip as I am familiar with this role as a Teacher) and the week passed without issue.

Then came the Temple visit.

On my last full day in Bali, Chocolako had arranged for us all to attend a local Balinese Temple.

It was officially Mother’s Day in NZ and I had woken that day with a sense of longing and missing my babies whom I had left behind. I could feel my emotions sitting quite close to the surface and had some sense of knowing that this was going to be a big day for me. We were led by a wonderful Balinese friend of Chocolako’s to make an offering that we could then hand over at the Temple.

This was such a poignant part of the process and I really enjoyed the experience and reasonings behind why these offerings are made. My offering had my literal blood, sweat, and tears in it. Trying to ‘sew’ with a bamboo stick was pushing my boundaries of competence and I may have stabbed myself a couple of times in the process. Needless to say, I would not give in and use the stapler! We then loaded up into the bus and headed to our destination.

The Upgrade.

A brief back story on why I call the upgrade and I appreciate how crazy it sounds so just follow along.

Each morning of the Yoga Training began the same way every day. 30 mins of noble silence which included journalling, then 30 mins mindfulness, 45 mins yoga movement, and then 30 mins meditation. Every day during the noble silence I would ask the same question “Why am I here?” and various answers came through either through images during meditation or the Oracle cards that I pulled.

One of the first ones was Rest & Restoration. Well, that is pretty accurate for any mother on the planet. The second was Rebirth describing the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Again, pretty accurate. The last one was Past Life Present Power; basically an opportunity to upgrade to integrate previous lives into my existing one. Okayyyyyyyy….. not sure really what this was leaning to but trusted and followed the path. So I was in Bali for an Upgrade of some description, cue The Temple Visit.

I will lean back on my journal entry for the rest of the description as it is the most real-lived experience.

“We were blessed by the priest as we chanted in prayer. Tears ran down my face as I could feel his words within my body. I had a distinct image of Simon & the girls being left by the gate as if to say ‘This is something you have to do on your own’ Recognising that this was hard but also necessary and then all of a sudden I felt like I was being welcomed and no longer on my own. I was being welcomed by a group of wise women and this was my inauguration.

Holy shit.

We were guided into the water and shown how to respectfully approach each waterfall as we moved through the temple. This involved cupping the water into our hands 3 times and then running it over our heads. We then submerged in the water at the end. Lotus flowers drifted onto the surface as they blew from nearby trees as if they were confetti and landed all around us.

We then headed to the first waterfall to the right which, with some assistance of hands due to slippy rocks, we made it in there. It was quite dark and the acoustics of the crashing water echoed throughout the cave. The only real light was the hole where the water appeared from at the roof of the cave. I had the hand of a friend and guided her into the pool as she was feeling most uneasy on her feet and worried about the depths of the water. We found a seat on the edge of the waterfall, our faces wet with the splashes from the fall itself, and took in the moment.

The silence was soon pierced by the sounds of screams. A primal sound ricocheted off the walls of the cave and I was terrified. This sound itself was very triggering for me and to be so close to it was so overwhelming, as woman after woman took turns to sit under the water and let out all their angst, pain and have what could only be described as a visceral release. I could feel that it was the sound of release of pain as opposed to being inflicted but at that moment my body and my brain didn’t know any difference.

And then came the tears. Big, fat, ugly crying tears as the sound of rage filled the cave and I imagined the rage flowing through me as if it was the water falling from the rocks.

I was so grateful to have the water splashed on our faces as it covered the tears well but as I wiped them away in a futile process, I really leaned into the discomfort of letting them flow. This was healing on some weird level. I believe these were tears of grief. Letting go of the person I was before I came to Bali and in a sudden realization of this is why I was here on Mother’s Day with this group of incredible women from all around the globe.

This was the gift.

This was my upgrade invitation but it scared the shit out of me and felt really uncomfortable. I wasn’t ready and my friend was wanting to leave and so we retreated to the safety and sanctuary of silence again and I continued on our passage through the waterfall temple.

We then headed towards a cave shaped like a womb (No, I am not kidding this was legit like a womb that you had to almost assist your way through). We offered thanks and prayer, and we then felt our way past the huge stone statue of an Elephant and made our way to the other side of the womb cave. Here there was another waterfall, but this felt majestic as it powered through from the top of the rocks almost like coming from the sky into the cave. It felt so much more spacious and supportive.

I stood in awe as each woman made their way to the middle of the waterfall and placed their hands on the stony mantle that lay there as the water fell over them. Again, the screams came but this time I wasn’t scared and I knew this was the time. I waited until the second to last and most of the women had left by then, which suited me just fine!

I then took my turn; it was now or never.

My heart was beating so hard in my chest that I thought it might pop out as I waded through the water with my sarong trailing behind me and I took my place under the waterfall. I placed my hands on the cold stone in front of me and took a big breath in and Let. It. All. Out. I have no idea what it sounded like but I know that it felt incredible in that moment.

I did it. I was so proud of myself as I had conquered another ‘Buffalo’ moment and proud to be the person whom I was meant to be. She is sure, confident, and together. She is also led by a power bigger than her and she is supported by a whole tribe of wise women whom she is now a part of.

My last image as we walked back to the main temple area is as if all the parts of myself (if you have heard of Internal Family Systems then this will make more sense and if not then take a look as it is an interesting theory of integrating different versions of ourselves. I call it my 7 dwarfs of me) were now integrated into ME. Me as a whole as opposed to a sum of parts.

I am blessed.
I am sacred.
I am loved.
I am held.
I embrace the Divine Feminine energy and all she has to teach me.”

So that was my Bali trip; buffaloes and all.

My sister called it my Spiritual Awakening, others would call it a bloody, good time but in essence, that was my experience.

I am so, so grateful for the opportunity of Bali but also recognize that it didn’t come easily and I had to do ‘the work’ to get there. It was super uncomfortable, tenuous, and mostly fucking inconvenient but this is what they call Growth. It is evolution. It is uncomfortable and I think if we can be more like Buffaloes and face it head-on, lean into that discomfort, and trust that there are opportunities on the other side then it will all be worth it.

If you would like support with your healing journey and are interested in how I can help, then get in touch.

Namaste, my friends.

E x