I turned off my phone before I went to sleep last night just to see how long I could actually sleep, without an alarm. I went to sleep right at midnight, after a beautiful skype session with Kellen and his kids. I was teaching them some Indonesian sayings and we were all blowing kisses back and forth. After that I slept soundly for an entire 11 hours! I arose naturally this morning around 11AM, to the sounds of little kids screaming joyously by the pool. Noise? On Nyepi? Hmmm...I could tell this was going to be an interesting day.
The sun was shining so naturally I wanted to go to the pool. Luckily, there are three pools at Ananda. I went to the one I like the most (the lovely infinity pool) but there was an entire family of Japanese tourists there being super loud, not just the kids. The adults were all talking to each other, and actually encouraging the little kids to yell and scream all they wanted. I found myself slightly offended. I went up to the Dad and said “Do you all know this is an International Day of Silence? It would be nice if you could at least lower your voices a little. I understand you have small children and that’s one thing, but could you ask the adults in your group to not speak as much and so loudly?” The woman replied with “We are trying”, as she continued to chat with another lady. Even after my request, they all got even louder. I decided to just go to another pool. The man couldn’t understand why I wanted to leave and was even shouting at me as I left. I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why people wouldn’t want to at least somewhat honor this day. I suppose I am just very into fully experiencing the cultural ways. I also suppose being a tourist myself at a hotel with a bunch of other tourists who can’t leave the property is an equally powerful part of my experience.
At the other pool there were still a whole bunch of people talking. I didn’t bother to ask anyone to shut up even though I wanted to. It was a practice to have compassion and to not judge. This is a Balinese Holiday, and these people are not Balinese and just because I think it’s awesome to observe a day in silence doesn’t mean any other Westerner does. I just wish people would be more respectful of those of us who were actually looking forward to a day of total silence. But you know, that’s what I get for having expectations. So, I turned inward and just absorbed the sunshine and swam laps for a good long while. It’s hard to hear people talking while under water. I rested in the sun and before I knew it everyone had left the pool and I was actually alone and not in hearing range of another humans voice. That was a special moment. I slipped in and out of sleep, hearing only the sweet hum of insects and the breeze in the trees. A moment of bliss indeed.
After I realized I was getting a bit burned, I headed to the lotus pond for some meditation. I sat observing the lotuses, the seeds, and the fallen petals in the pond. This place has been such a solace for me every morning and evening the entire time I have been here at Ananda. Today I asked the pond if I could take a piece of it with me, to plant in Austin. She gave me seven seeds. They rest on my altar, and I will plant them in a handmade lotus pond when the time is right. Whether they grow or not, at least I have a little bit of Bali with me in my home soil.
After my time with the lotuses I felt the call of the hoop. I made my way to the wantalon to get in a solid and solitary hoop practice. There were already quite a few hoopers already in there, hooping silently and with focus. This ended up being my favorite hoop jam yet! It was inspiring to see everyone working on their own stuff, not just techniques we have learned over the last couple of weeks. I felt like everyone was really riding the wave and honoring the silence. I got super sweaty and tired after a few hours of solid practice and decided to beat the mosquitoes back to my room. I took a shower and began to write. Bailey came in and said a few words that I am glad she said. She invited me to the rice patty to watch the stars and the fireflies. Of course, I said “yes”.
This was literally the highlight of my Nyepi experience. I found myself in deep gratitude and prayer as I witnessed more stars tonight than I have seen in the 15 days I have been on this island. The stars were so bright, as well as the green and yellow fireflies that blinked by the thousands. The beauty compounded upon itself as the lightening flashed in the distance. With all of this brilliant light in the night, my prayer was simple. A reflection of the present moment. “Great Spirit, let me truly be a bright light in the night. Let my soul serve as a beacon for those who wish to know you, find a clear path to you. May my light be an inspiration, a guide and a service to all who see it. Amen. Aho.” As I watched the fireflies light up the darkness, and the stars speckle the sky, with the lightening periodically pulsing, I felt at One with the forces that be. This is becoming more and more regular, these feelings of being At One With the Universe. On the same page. Speaking the same language. I have always felt relatively tapped in, but once I started hoop dancing, the shapes starting to show me a truth free of story, dogma or creed. Since then, my path has been a clear display of the magic the universe offers, each moment so special that I find myself continually in childlike wonder. Tonight was one of those moment, one of those precious moments, where I recognized that the ‘specialness’ of the day was hiding in the darkness as light. The bugs, the beauty, the brilliance all came together to help me remember who I am more clearly. The stark contrast of light in the darkness always helps to remind me. White Light. We are all White Light. I just happened to make it my name, so that I forget less frequently.
This Nyepi New Years Day has been a blessing. There will always be sounds when it’s meant to be quiet, and always be light in the night. We live in a world of duality, and for this I am grateful. We learn through contrast, and our wisdom is greater from it. I feel like today was as beautiful as it could have been, and I feel beyond blessed to be here in Bali during this most auspicious time in history. Thank you, as always, for coming along with me on my journey. I look forward to taking you deeper, as the days to come reveal the magic that has been cultivating and culminating.
One in the Circle,
Shellie White Light