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I first visited Bali ten years ago, where its charm, humidity and prayer tantalised my senses and I melted into her embrace and all that she provided. I knew then that I would be back and when I did her impact would be felt strongly throughout my whole being.

Ten years later when I heard about the Bali Spirit Festival and possible work opening up that side, I thought I would step into the deep end (this is something I tend to do) and see what would manifest itself on this magical Hindu island nestled in Indonesia where their dedication to prayer and devotion permeates the very fabric of your being.

I recall a friends words ‘ Bali leaves no prisoners’ these words echoed with me as I landed on the island and a familiar feeling of being home was reunited within.

As I boarded the plane, I knew that something very magical was about to unfold and be told to me and all that I had to do was stay open and receive the messages and meetings that would present themselves.

The humidity kissed my skin as I stepped out the plane. Her smell and familiarity all came rushing back to me. Here I was ten years later, a little older, and little wiser. I took the opportunity to ask my partner Thor, whom I have been seeing for a year to come and do this trip with me. Our long distance relationship has meant that we have not had quality time getting to know each other as we both have children and live on opposite end of the ocean. So when he said he could make it- another deep layer of intimacy and depth was added to this unfolding adventure.

I recall a friends words ‘ Bali leaves no prisoners’ these words echoed with me as I landed on the island and a familiar feeling of being home was reunited within.

We made our way late at night into the heart of Ubud where we had found a secluded place just behind monkey forest and bedded our tired bodies close together for a much needed rest and deep slumber. That first morning we were greeted with the rumble and shake up of my first earth quake which set the tone for the all that was to happen within the following weeks. It feels difficult to narrow down or even give words to it, as it’s mostly wrapped up in a strong feeling of deep resonance within. Bali is the rhythm of flow, each moment weaves itself together, each meeting sparks a fabulous string of pearls, conversations and connections. No one is ever in a hurry. Taxi and scooter drivers happily wait at street corners for you while you have your lunch or meet with people to show you the sites. Their smiles and service to all exceeded all expectations.

Bali strips you open and allows for a deep sense of surrender. It is all that you can do when faced with the ability to flow.

Ubud has grown so much in these past years, and I can hardly believe it. It feels like it has turned into the Spiritual Centre for this new wave and time we find ourselves in. As with anything, and particularly with Bali, it comes with the double-edged sword, the light and dark. This can been seen in all, the god and monsters, prayer and pollution, heat and rain, new buildings and decay, decomposing offerings and fresh cracked coconuts. Bali is one big juxtaposition and I think its that which makes it so special and why it creeps into so many people’s hearts.

I had the wonderful privilege of attending the Bali Spirit Festival where I was able to see some of my most beloved musicians play and sing their songs of prayer, peace and devotion. Where I was able to dance and unravel, weep and laugh and connect with some very special and wonderful souls.

Our Bali trip allowed us to witness Nyepi Day. It is the New Year celebration unlike anywhere else on the planet. Bali’s celebrates the Saka New Year as the Bali Day of Silence, an ultimately quietest day of the year, when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by a set of local rules, which brings all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads all over Bali are empty of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their homes. The whole of Bali shuts down even the airport shuts itself down for this special day of silence and prayer.

After the silence we decided to climb the tallest volcano in Bali called Mount Agung. We set off at 12pm and climbed throughout the night and reached the summit at 7am that morning to watch the sunrise. This in itself was an incredible right of passage, We were lead up the mountain by two inexperienced guides so Thor being the Man and god of thunder that he is, lead myself and my three closest girlfriends to point of no return and back again. It felt like we stepped into a scene from Lord of the Rings.

Bali, you have given me so many precious moments. They sit deep within my beating heart, move through me like liquid gold. Bali, you inspire me to be a better person.

Bali strips you open and allows for a deep sense of surrender. It is all that you can do when faced with the ability to flow. You can either push up against its edges and feel confronted and at times stuck or you can surrender to the current and allow yourself to be taken on its course of possibility and magic.

Bali ended with a very serendipitous closing. Ten years previously when I had first travelled to Bali I walked through this little door with a Buddha sitting on the top and I had the feeling I would come back to this place called Meditasi – Amed on the northern coast of Bali. This name has stayed with me all these years and towards the end of our time in Bali, Thor and I decided we needed some time away from people, festivals and work so I found my way back through the red door years later and we had the most incredible stay. The space opened up so much magic, we were able to sleep outside next to the ocean and the sound of the waves our backdrop of the best music score to unwind the body, mind and spirit.

It also turned out this little gem of a home stay, was the place that Elizabeth Gilbert used to come to while she was writing Eat, Pray, Love and it felt only fitting that here I was ten years later with my book and feeling like I had come full circle in my journey of Love, creativity and walking this road less travelled.

Bali, you have given me so many precious moments that will never be captured in words. They sit deep within my beating heart, where moments and lessons move through me like liquid gold.

Bali, you inspire me to be a better person, you inspire me to want to become plastic free in my life, You inspire me to make each moment of the day a time for pray and devotion, You inspire me to be barefoot and eat from mother earth. You inspire me to be aware of my carbon footprint in a way that I haven’t felt as deeply as I do know. Bali, you inspire me to want to consume less and be more present to the small mundane moments that life has to offer. You inspire to want to live closer to nature and tread gentle on the forest floor, as there is so much detail to explore.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]