“Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand.”
This is a guest post by retreat leader Jodi Knauer
A thin Balinese woman, probably in her eighties, introduced herself with a huge welcoming smile and told us to call her Peanut. Wispy clouds covered most of the majestic mountain tops where she stood with several hiking sticks, one for herself and several for the group. After an early morning pickup and a windy drive into the mountains, we were preparing to start the Muntigunung trek in northeastern Bali. Peanut was ready to share this uniquely Bali experience with us, and we were excited to begin.
The mixed group of Americans and Kiwis sported hiking shoes, but Peanut’s footwear consisted of flip flops. She and her mountain village had lived with minimal possessions and no real opportunities for gainful employment for much of her life. A major challenge was that for decades, they had no easy access to fresh water. She and other village women hiked five or more miles up and down steep, sometimes treacherous ravines to get fresh water for drinking, cooking and bathing every day. For years, women from these villages begged on the streets of Ubud to collect spare change just to afford the basics, often with their babies in their laps. That began to change in 1995 when a Swiss tourist recognized their plight and developed a program to create sustainable work as well as access to fresh water through a system of local water catchments and cisterns. This village and others are finally beginning to thrive by producing hand woven hammocks, harvesting cashews, and weaving baskets that are sold to high-end hotels in Bali.
Peanut and the group hiked the miles the women of her village had to endure over many lifetimes. Halfway into the hike, Peanut slipped off the trail and fell. The group drew a collective gasp, bracing for an injury, but once she dusted herself off we were relieved to find that the only real damage was one of her flip flops. Despite the fall (and loss of her marginal footwear), Peanut surprised us by keeping up a fast pace throughout the rest of the hike. I thought to myself, I hope I can still bounce back and hike like that in my eighties! What a tough cookie.
Like Peanut, I also took a spill while wearing flip flops just a few days prior while walking the steps of an ancient water palace. I had severely twisted my ankle. Unlike Peanut, I was only able to bounce back after an acupuncture treatment and a session with a fantastic traditional Balinese Healer. Despite that fall, I was still able to hike throughout the rest of my trip and enjoy the amazing views, culture, and vast spirituality of the island.
We all fall at times. This is the cycle of life. It is how we teach ourselves to rise up and move forward. We must be open to vulnerability and allow others to help us along the way.
This incredible retreat will not only explore the richness of daily vinyasa and therapeutic assists, yin yoga, chanting and meditation in a spiritual land, but will also take you on a deeper journey of self discovery. You will experience a healing ceremony in a sacred temple, nourish your cells with local healthy food, hike the charity trek described above, be awakened to the medicinal art of acupuncture and receive a therapeutic massage while listening to the sound of waves breaking on the shore. The retreat will culminate with a beach bonfire celebrating the full moon.
Mikaku and his team at Floating Leaf are first class. From the moment you arrive at their Eco-Resort you feel like family. You will have ample time for relaxation, and if you would like to explore beyond what is already part of our itinerary, Floating Leaf will make knowledgeable recommendations and can arrange for a driver to take you to white sandy beaches to snorkel, surf, experience the water palaces, or tour the city of Ubud and beyond.
This is your chance to burn away the emotional rubbish, open your heart to what is possible, and see a clear path ahead. Leave awakened and open to the possibilities of your life journey.
Unleash your spiritual warrior. Bali awaits! Click here to join us.