A BUDDHIST IN BALI
In 2012 I made a conscious decision to go into my 30s spiritually. So I started to practice Buddhism. Eventually, Buddhism would become my mental sanctuary. My twenties started off interesting and independent. Being independent in New York City is a mission in itself. I made a promise to go into my 30s with clarity and mental stability. I started that journey at 26 and made it my goal to find myself before I crossed the thirties bridge.
I started to plan my trip in my mid 20s, telling anyone who would listen, about my plans. The journey started with many friends agreeing to join. As time went by people joined the idea and people left the idea. My life went through many changes but one thing was for sure, I was going to Bali for my 30th birthday. Even if this meant taking the journey by myself.
After years of planning, I faced going on this trip alone. Many people had reasons as to why they couldn’t join. Everything from finances to fear of flying. So here I was, in my lonesome. However, I took this as a sign from the universe. It was a sign to focus on myself and my individual journey.
Many people in the world have dreams of grandeur. These dreams are often shattered by fear and plain old excuses. I couldn’t be one of those people. I needed this trip. NO, like needed this trip badly. I was reaching a mental point where I needed a detox. I had lost a group of friends, I was over trying to find love in New York, I was tired of working my job. I needed a detox.
One day, I decided that I was doing this. I was flying to Bali alone and would visit maybe Thailand and Vietnam as well. When I spoke of going alone, my co workers thought I was stalk crazy. So that day I decided to get the opinion of my closest friends and family. I called my closest friend Kay Ingram and asked her what did she think of a single black female going to another country alone. I was prepared for her to give me the lecture that I have received all day, the lecture of fear, the lecture of finances and the lecture of me not following my dreams. But to my surprised, her response would change my life and the outcome of my trip.
Her response was “I don’t think it’s a bad idea, I am actually going to Bali and Japan myself in September”. Wow! I was inspired. If she can go by herself, I knew I could. She had been a mentor and sister to me since I was 19 and I trusted her opinion.
We left the conversation at that. So here we were both about to travel 15 hours away. Then it dawned on me……we are both …. going ….to Bali…. alone. Like a light bulb that goes off, we instantly reached out to each other. Why not go together?
“Let it be written, and so let it be done” That was it, we were going together. So we started planning. It was all a dream, until the day we purchased our first one-way ticket to Bali. It still was unreal, until five ticket purchases later. We were doing this. Through hell and high waters, we were doing this. Through me working 50 hour weeks and eating bare minimums. We were doing THIS! It was done.
Secretly, it still was unreal, until I got off the plane in Taiwan and saw a room for Buddhist to chant. And I opened the door and Buddha sat there. Buddha spoke to me in this moment. It was his sign. My spiritual journey was about to begin on that day. I knew my whole mindset and life perspective would change. (I’m actually tearing up as I write this).
I knew this was meant to be. I knew that Buddha made me text Kay that day. He knew that Kay would be my anchor to keep me grounded and focused on going to this trip. Kay would be the person the remind me to purchase my tickets. Kay would be the person to make this trip real. In all reality, I’m pretty sure, fear would have set in and this trip would’ve been canceled if I decided to go by myself.
And so 20 hours later we arrived in Bali. The culture, the people, the smell in the air. All spoke to me. I felt this trip would liberate me. Bali showed me how little we needed to be happy. I deleted all of my social media apps, said goodbye to my friends and family and detoxed. For the next two weeks, I would travel to Bali, Singapore and India.
Each country I would have a revelation about myself. Each night in bed, I would lay with my sister having deep conversations about life. Receiving her perspective and challenging my own. I learned a lot on this trip, mainly personal revelations about life and how precious it is. I learned how to be happy and appreciate what I have. I also learned how to de-stress. On my last day in Bali, I went to Tirtua Empul and had a spiritual cleanse in the Holy Water. As I emerged my body into 3 feet of ice cold water. I felt my spine release tension, I felt my nerves undo, I felt my soul shatter and I felt reborn.
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