"She didn't care much for things,
instead, her heart yearned to see new places,
and to meet new people;
she craved new experiences that inspired her
to become greater in spirit,
and to live as freely,
as her heart loved"
Bali is an island I have visited many times over the last decade. The first few times I visited was for pleasure, to meet friends from Australia. It was too easy from Singapore. The more I visited the more I fell in love - especially with Ubud. The first time I visited alone was in November 2015, to sort out my heart and my head and I stayed in a gorgeous little hotel close to central Ubud. A friend of my son’s had mentioned some time before that I must visit Tirta Empul - the Holy Spring Temple. I’m glad he did!
Armed with my journals, paints, incense and mala I headed off. The driver who came to pick me up that fateful day was a beautiful Balinese man named Arga - it was a fortuitous meeting and we have become firm friends. He is a trusted confident and an incredible healer himself.
Tirta Empul is located close to the town of Tampaksiring in the village of Manukaya. The village is a 30- minute drive to the north of Ubud. Founded in 926 A.D. Tirta Empul is one of the largest and busiest temples in Indonesia, dedicated to the Hindu God of water - Vishnu. The temple is divided into three sections: Jaba Pura - front yard, Jaba Tengah - central yard and Jeroan - inner yard. Jaba Tengah contains 2 pools with 30 showers.
Arga and I meditated before he explained what to do in the temple. The water was freezing that day, and as I worked my way through each of the fountains, dramatic shifts were occurring and there was profound healing taking place. I finished in the last fountain and made my way to the steps. My legs were so incredibly heavy I needed Arga to help me walk. I felt spent and exhausted and as I sat with him he did some more healing, helping me bring up what needed to be brought into my conscious awareness. He also said as I had come up from the water a snake had come up with me! I thought he may have seen a spiritual snake but no it was a very real snake – black with a red head!
Snakes represent the Kundalini, which I talk about at length in my blog. This year it was the spider – which was perfect for what I was integrating…(not sure this needs to be here.). I didn’t leave the hotel for the next three days. I painted, meditated, slept and had beautiful rose-filled baths outside under the soft gaze of the moon.
The first time I visited the temple it had bought up a lot for me and I would consciously work on these energies steadily for the next few years. This particular journey has sparked my next book – Surrender – something that has bought me back to wholeness and been a catalyst for huge spiritual growth.
Fast forward to 2018 and this visit to the temple was extra special. This time I was honouring a man who entered my life and who brought me so much growth and healing. It was time to thank him and close the circle I had opened in 2013. With a grateful heart and conscious awareness of the energy I was integrating, I made my way through the spring. That wasn’t the only reason I was there. I was there to honour the divine union of my husband and I on the 23rd anniversary of our wedding. As it was a Sunday we had to get to the temple extra early. We left the hotel at 7.30am to beat the rush. We arrived at the perfect time. People were just gathering and there were no queues. I feel so blessed to have been able to share most of this lifetime with Jules. He is understanding, patient, supportive and loving and our union manages to get stronger and stronger. I wanted to give thanks for this and bless the road ahead.
I was also there to honour a best friend whose recent diagnosis with cancer has rocked us to the core. My husband’s best friend, the best man at our wedding, and godfather to one of our children, he is beyond loved by the entire family. As shocking as the news was it was also time to send blessings and love to him and his
family and his journey ahead.
Just as a snake had accompanied me on my first trip to this beautiful temple, a spider joined us on this occasion. For me the appearance of the spider, again at the very end of my journey through the spring, was heaven sent. Part of my visit was to integrate the energies of the Divine Goddess and all her beautiful creative energy. The spider represents feminine energy and creativity. As the weaver of the web, the spider is symbolic of creation. Each strand of the spider’s web connects to another, weaving its destiny. The spider is sent to kick start our creativity. She also appears as a messenger of the goddess to encourage you to connect with your divine feminine energy within yourself - which is exactly what I was integrating in the temple - a lovely affirmation.
Tirta Empul is a remarkable experience and one I would highly recommend if visiting this beautiful Island of the Gods – Bali.
A couple of days later we met my beautiful friend Kevin, who we had met two years earlier on our wedding anniversary. We were looking at potential retreat sites. At Kevin’s suggestion we had stayed at Bagus Jati – a health and wellness retreat about 40 minutes from Ubud. It was a spectacular resort, nestled among towering palms. It was quiet and private and with daily meditation and yoga classes., a beautiful place to be. We had lunch at a new restaurant in Ubud, The Golden Monkey, which was delicious. We then went in search of mala beads for our friend. We found the perfect shop, one that we could make our own mala. This made them a lot more special and personal. The gorgeous lady who ran the shop – Linda - made our mala beads a priority as she knew we were flying out in under two hours.
Malas are Buddhist prayer beads, used to keep count while reciting a mantra. I have used a mala during meditation for the last few years. I had the mala blessed for my friend with courage and loving kindness - it is my hope that he will find comfort in the beads as the days progress.
Life is precious.
Give thanks and be grateful for each and every day, and make sure you factor in time to explore this vast and beautiful planet.
Give thanks to Gaia for holding the space for you to experience life in human form.
Love, laugh, travel and grow.
Let the world be your playground.