The moment I saw all of the posts about how the entire liquid soap and hand sanitizer section were empty in all the stores, I immediately thought of where those bottles will end up. Here in the US, they will likely go into a recycle bin and then possibly recycled.
But in developing countries, they will likely end up in a trash pile and then through whatever mechanism, it’ll send up in the sea. Floating forever (or the next 500 years), polluting our oceans, sickening sea life, and humans. Some will wash up on shores.
The Western world has been transporting our trash for years and now they are returning the trash to us, because we can’t even recycle well. Malaysia, China, and more countries are finally forcing us to reckon with our trash.
I spent 9 months last year in Bali and every time I went to any beach, so much trash. It caused me to feel such rage and sorrow at the same time. I felt so angry at people for throwing their trash out to only up in the sea. And it was then that I realized we need to permanently reduce our consumption of plastic.
I’ve since stopped buying bottles of shampoo, hair conditioner, or lotion. I’m trying out different brands of shampoo and the like. It’s not the same but I’m determined to never buy another plastic bottle filled with anything when there are alternatives.
Here is my post about some alternatives to consider.
This is the 2nd of two posts on how to Manifest your Dream Life. Here is Part 1.
In my previous post, I wrote about how to better manifest your dream life by adding on the following caveat- I intend ________ or something like it, for my highest good and the highest good of all.
I continue with examples of how I able to manifest specific circumstances in my life- and those that I intend with the caveat “or something like it, for my highest good and the highest good of all” land much better in my life, more aligned with my deepest intention and path.
Example #4: Twenty + years ago, I was working for a firm that did international development in developing countries for the US government. I was keen to keep following up on my passion for traveling, after having spent a year of undergrad in Paris and a 2.5 years in Benin in West Africa with the Peace Corps. And I got what I intended through this job and I started traveling extensively for my job on trips ranging from a few weeks to several months, mostly in West and Southern Africa- like Mali, Botswana, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, and in Haiti and also -oddly- in Nepal. Plus many others trips and multiple trips back to these countries.
I then started to notice a pattern. Whenever I made plans for a vacation, mainly to visit my brother in Indiana or my parents in California, or to run a marathon or a long bike ride for which I trained, I all of a sudden had an urgent business trip and I couldn’t run the marathon or go on vacation.
I then decided to test my hypothesis. When I needed some additional money to buy something, I decided to try to “get” additional money through traveling for work and saving my per diem. Lodging was spend to get (you only get what the cost of the hotel was) but you get a set amount per day and most places I was traveling, I also got a post diff/hazard pay type lift in per diem because living conditions were considered so difficult/hazardous. But as a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer, living in a hotel anywhere in the world was not a hardship for me.
In testing this hypothesis, I wrote or called my parents or brother and made plans to visit, like researching flights and prices. I truly intended to take the trip. I told no one and I didn’t ask for the time off. And within a few days, I’d get the call from work that some trip was in the offing for the exact dates of my proposed vacation. So I traveled, saved my per diem to the extent possible, and paid off my credit card or bought the whatever. I did this many many times and it literally never failed. I truly had to intend the vacation or the effort , like the Marine Corps Marathon or a long century bike ride, and boom, another trip was in the offing and the vacation or the effort had to be cancelled.
I don’t actually know why this happened. I wonder now if it was to create some space in my life from the attachments here in the US or if it was simply to awaken me to the Mystery. I don’t have to know why. I just love that it happens this way.
This experience of calling in the Mystery helped cement my understanding that there was more in play in the world than science and the logical mind could explain. And I loved it.
Example #5- For a few years, I had it as one of my intention to live by the beach in a foreign country. Each year for several months, I would visualize living on the beach in a foreign country, living my best life. I would see myself walking along the beach, enjoying the sunshine and feeling content and grateful. And then I would release into back into the Unmanifest and go about my life. I intended it but I had no idea how to swing such a big change for my family. I just affirmed my intention each year. And in 2018, our child care, while awesome, was part time and my partner traveled for work often and I had several nights a week by myself, trying to put the twins down. I started to feel overwhelmed, overworked, and sad.
I thought that may an au pair could be the answer- full time and live in so I’d get a lot of help. But then I found out that we’d have to buy a car for her use, which made hiring an au pair expensive and not feasible. I was getting cranky and sad about how isolating my stay at home mom of twins life was becoming. The twins didn’t want any friends and they didn’t want me to chat with other Moms at the playground. I was starting to despair a bit.
My partner asked me why we didn’t just head to Bali and see if we could make a go of it there, using all the money we were spending on our part-time nanny on a new life there. I brought up the details and the cost of an au pair and gave him several ideas of how we could swing the au pair and he’d respond to my strategies, always ending the conversation with “I still think we should go to Bali”. We kept up this dialogue for several weeks but it seemed crazy and I kept trying to go the safe and normal route. And then a light bulb came on. What was the problem with trying it? Why was I resisting this? It’s everything I wanted! In short order, we bought one way tickets for our family and rented houses via Airbnb for two months and headed out in January of the following year. We ended up staying in Bali for 9 months and then headed to France for over 2 months. We were gone from the US for just shy of a year. It was everything I had hoped for and it taught me a lot about how to best travel with my kids, how strong and capable I really am, and what I didn’t want, like how much we moved from place to place. What a magical year. Again, what a gift!
Manifesting is actually pretty easy. Intend it to happen. Write it out to help you shape what you really intend. Visualize it with 3-D clarity and feelings. Feel the feeling of having it or embodying the intention (it’s a subtle hit of emotion that you’re really intending it- kinda a like chills on your scalp or a frisson of tension in your belly) Then release it back to the Universe to allow the Divine to move it from the Unmanifested to the Manifested. And remember to intend with ease and that your intention is brought to you for your highest good and the highest good of all.
What is your experience with Manifestation? I’d love to hear all the amazing, jaw dropping examples of the Mystery moving through your lives.
I arrived in Ubud, Bali on Jan 14, 2019. I don’t know exactly when but it was just a few days later that I started practicing at the Yoga Barn
My first class at the Yoga Barn with Chris Fox
. The Yoga Barn is one of the most popular yoga studios in Bali, if not THE most popular. The morning classes are normally completely packed with up to 65 students in a class. The check in process can be quite impersonal but I kept coming day after day, 6 days a week most weeks. The staff became more friendly and I got to know the teachers. Some I immediately clicked with and some were quite off putting for me but there are so many classes that it’s easy to keep trying new teachers or stick with your faves. Lots of other students became familiar too and it started to feel like an easy to support routine.
Yoga during my 2nd trip to Nusa Lembongan
I was so amazed and thrilled those first several weeks at the global reach of all of the teachers; Swedish/American, Jamaican, Spanish, German, Venezuelan, Japanese, Balinese, Canadian, and American. I worked hard to understand their accents and learned to love their varying emphases about breath, movement, rigorous adherence to yoga dogma or listening to your own body.
At first, I was terribly out of shape. I was tight with weak muscles and hadn’t been serous about my yoga in months. I have a pelvic injury from carrying the twins (called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) that I was ignoring for the past 4+ years. It caused me so much pain but it’s hard to not walk a lot with twin toddlers. So I ignored the pain and as a result, my hip and abs got incredibly weak but I was able to manage most days. But yoga helps with the pain and tightness so I knew the yoga would help me strengthen and heal my hips, pelvis, and abs.. The first few moths of yoga were so hard. I was 50 years old and I was trying to get my body back in shape. It was so hard. Did I mention it was so hard? Sometimes, I thought I would pass out from trying to keep up with flipping my dog and transitioning to plan and doing my umpteenth chaturanga.
Mt. Agung on the way to yoga from Nusa Lembongan
Sometimes all I focused on was how much less flexible and strong I was compared to where I had been years before. And I sometimes I focused on my progress. I pushed myself so hard when I focused on the gap between where I had been and where I was. But that wasn’t healing my hips. Instead I realized I needed to just accept that I have an actual injury. My pelvis is hurt. I have tight and weak muscles as a result. And when I accepted what is, I stopped pushing past the pain and have started to strengthen the muscles. I’ve seen tremendous progress since I slowed down to speed up.
What I see now, 6 months into a consistent and rigorous yoga practice is how casual I have been about my practice in the past. I would reach a certain level and then allow a trip or something else pull me away from my practice. My practice was not a priority for me and my progress was slow, as a result. I see now that it takes time and consistency to become a better yogini. And by time, that means it might take years to get to where I want to be. I still can’t do a bind. I can’t jump back into plank or forward into a standing forward fold. I can’t do any inversion except shoulder stand. But how you do anything is how you do everything. I’d get to a certain level of mastery and back off.
Now, I’m so close to my first bind. So close. At first I wasn’t trying to do a bind. I just kept doing the full expression of the pose at a more basic level and then one day I tried to do a bind and I could feel how close my hands were. It inspired me. Now I try to bind whenever I’m in certain poses, like in Parsvakonasana.
I’m also practicing jumping through and jumping back. It’s fun to try it. I also decided to practice headstands by doing figure Ls on the wall to work up to a handstand. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was so much easier than it had been months ago. I’m practicing with dolphin pose to work up to Pincha Mayurasana. It’s exciting to do something so new. And to see
Yoga during my 2nd trip to Nusa Lembongan
progress. It might take me a year or 5. But I’m willing to give the time. What a sense of accomplishment to finally experience a different level in my yoga poses. I can feel my psoas and QL muscles tighten and give and maybe one day they won’t be so tight.
And something has clicked in me about yoking breath to movement. One breath, one movement. It just wasn’t important to me in my practice in the US. Another serious work in progress is staying present while on the mat. Now I also dedicate my practice to staying present so I can practice and stay present on my own mat without worrying how well (or worse) others are doing theirs.
Ganesha at the yoga shala
And again really, that old adage is so spot on, so beautifully accurate: how you do anything is how you everything. And at the start of my 2019 renewed yoga practice, I was rushing through my poses, breathing hard, totally trying to keep up with my teachers and fellow yogis rather than feeling my way through my own routine.
Now that I’ve stuck with a very regular and committed yoga practice, yes, I’m stronger, more flexible, and able to remember the yoga routines without as many cues from the teacher.
More importantly, now I see that my breathwork is so critical to a focused and loving yoga practice, that my transitions are as important as my poses,
Yoga wherever I go
and keeping my focus on what’s happening on my own mat is far more helpful in becoming a “better” yogini, and a better person.
Recently, as I was noticing that my transitions are so much flowing and I’m almost- so close- to achieving a bind -MY FIRST- and my focus was on my breath. No matter where my family travels, where I can practice my yoga is an important part of the planning process. Yoga is incredibly important to me now and by making it a priority, others see how important it is to me and expect me to take the time to practice my yoga. It’s no longer a negotiation.
I’m so grateful. It feels so much more loving to practice this way. And I’m such a better yogini!
No matter how much I learn, if I don’t actually practice the lessons/do the work, then I’m not making any changes and really haven’t learned anything. Kyle Cease says it best. He says, it’s like going to the gym and talking about getting on a treadmill and how best and how often to to use it, and learning about all the benefits working out on a treadmill will bring. And then going home without ever having gotten on the treadmill. Talking about the treadmill will not increase your fitness. You won’t know how your body responds to the treadmill and you certainly get no benefits from only talking about it.
I take all of this to mean to two things-
I must practice what I’ve learned and actually do the work and;
It’s better to stop seeking more knowledge than I need
By actually doing the work, I sit with my triggers and my habitual patterns and implement what I’ve learned. And then the inevitable failure to implement the new behavior patterns follows. So I know I must keep failing at it and starting again. Soon enough though, the new thought patterns stick.
In doing the work, it also means I have little time to keep seeking more knowledge. By seeking out more and more knowledge, I’m not actually accessing the inner wisdom nor fully implementing the new behavior. In the past, I’ve gone from mentor to mentor hoping for someone to help me relieve the pain of being the me who isn’t in authentic alignment with her true self. And seeking help outside of myself for an inner issue is going to fail, until I sit with myself and access my own deep wisdom and truths.
I will soften this statement by pointing out that many of the teachers are saying the same thing but in their own style. For example, maybe Esther Hicks and Abraham work for you and you just get their ideas on manifestating. Or it turns out that no matter what you do, you can’t really quite grasp their teachings. It’s then you can turn to a different teacher. Then maybe Mike Dooley at TUT or his books may help you more easily consume the teachings. This was certainly the case for me, that after trying to learn from Esther and Abraham for a while, listening to Mike Dooley’s Infinite Possibilities made more sense and it just clicked for me about intention and visualization.
And no matter, which teachers you work with, of course you still have to practice the lessons and you have stop seeking the wisdom and knowledge from elsewhere.
2 – Learning About and Following My Own Yes and No
Another realization, one that’s been so helpful for me to constrain my focus is that I simply love the idea of the Mystery. I love the idea of intuition, of an unexplainable knowing, the Mystery of Life. That by shrugging off all the striving and the pushing and the “making things happen”, there is a surrender to what arises. And if you surrender long enough, if you listen to the small voice in the stillness, a river of magical and perfectly timed coincidences and synchronicities will flow through your life, to astonish and support you. I want this. I want this with all that I am, an internal YES screaming so loudly that it’s apparent whenever this thought arises for me. I want to marvel at the mystery and weep with gratitude of how amazing life can be, even when it’s not “going my way”.
Some of my teachers utterly embrace the mystery and some are very logical and level headed about the step by step instructions about how to achieve certain outcomes. Now that I have acknowledged my preferences, I know I prefer the mysterious. I’ve dropped any teacher who doesn’t allow for the synchronicities to arise. Now I follow that small, clear voice that says yes and the other one, which can be louder at times, that says NO. I love allowing the Mystery.
There have been times in life where I have pushed against walls, pushed boulders up hills, tried so hard against what is a clearly a NO for me. And there are times when I’ve tried something and gotten the clear NO from life and I’ve immediately dropped the effort. And still I can be surprised when much better results arise.
An Example of a Ridiculously Clear NO
A recent example of this occurred just a few months ago here in Bali. After making the decision to leave Ubud and try a coastal town so that the kids can have more beach and more playgrounds, I thought Canggu in the west was THE place for us. I got a short term rental while I searched for a longer term rental. [My partner was traveling 6 days a week and was leaving all the details to me.]
Prior to moving to Canggu to stay in the short-term rental, I found a long term rental that we were going to stay in for about 6 months. It was going to be a great little house and the twins loved the pool, and the view was great. My partner had looked at it prior to his next trip and thought it could work. I had a small inkling that maybe it wasn’t the place for us but everyone was happy so I just put it out there to the Universe that I wanted this place if it was meant to be. And then I tried to rent it through Airbnb. And the transaction didn’t go through. This had happened before on Airbnb, so I gave it a few days. It happens. Not everything is a sign. I tried to book the villa again and this time, the discount wasn’t applied correctly and then after a ton of effort, the discount was finally applied . And then this transaction would not go through after so much effort to get the discount applied. It didn’t go through again. What? Now, I’m starting to have a stronger inkling that I was getting a No about Canggu. Meanwhile, we moved to Canggu into what I thought would be a sweet, short term rental.
The short term rental was a disaster. DISASTER. Mold in the living room. A bizarre sweat box of a bedroom that made it uninhabitable. The twins getting bitten in their beds so badly that they couldn’t sleep in the other room so we all slept together in my room. We changed our 16 day reservation to 3 days. Pretty obvious to me that I got a clear message saying “GET OUT” (a la Eddie Murphy’s show back in the day).
And as all this was happening and I was trying to find us a place to land after moving from the toxic, short term rental, I decide to have one last go on the long term rental for Canggu. I tried again with the same card and then a different card and still the transaction would not go through. It was a totally mystery as to why I couldn’t get the rental to go through on a card. And yet, I knew. I was getting a huge NO from the Universe about Canggu.
I wrote to the owner of the long term rental and was honest about the reason why I wasn’t renting: that I was freaked out about how I couldn’t rent her place no matter what I did and I felt it was a sign. She was deeply disappointed and a bit angry.
No matter her anger and disappoint, that decision to not take the house and give up Canggu as our future home felt deeply right. I therefore didn’t second guess myself and I moved us to Sanur.
And in allowing the mystery, everything just clicked. I found the cutest long term hotel rental in Sanur, the Bali Bubble, two bedrooms and a sitting room at a massive discount. Something like $800 less than the house in Canggu was costing us for the same amount of time. And we fell in love with Sanur and it was a joyful, happy almost three weeks in Sanur before we had to leave for our visa renewal trip to Kuala Lumpur. It turns out that Sanur was everything I was hoping for from Canggu and we spent a further two months there. Life flowed smoothly in Sanur. It felt right.
And by the way, I don’t always feel the need to know why I’m being blocked by the Universe. Sometimes I think that it may be the other thing would have been bad and in surrendering to the Universe and feeling my way through the Yes and Nos of life, I am not experiencing the catastrophes that could have occurred had I not followed my intuition and allowed the mystery to unfold.
Sticking with It for the Best Results
Because I have spent much of my life ignoring my own yeses, I still am not very proficient about feeling into the yes or the no. In the past, I’ve muscled my way past the quiet, small voice that says yes to something inconvenient and no to the convenient. But I renew my commitment to saying Yes to my authentic self as often as I notice I’m not. I won’t have the most authentic, best life for me without following my true Yes.
What have been your biggest lessons? Best results?
In January 2019, my family and I moved to Bali, my partner, our 4 year old twins and me. We bought one way tickets and had two months of housing booked through Airbnb. Beyond that, we would just wing it.
Because of my passion for yoga, we decided to try Ubud first to see if it was a good fit. We were so fortunate to find a house right near the Monkey Forest and had to walk past by countless monkeys to and from the street.
They grabbed at our bags and at the fruit off the trees at our villa. They were scary and thrilling at the same time.
I started at the Yoga Barn, taking classes six days a week. I needed the walk, the adult interaction, and the exercise. I was badly out of shape and getting back into shape was difficult. I almost wondered if I was too old, at 50, to get into good shape and realized that was a silly question. My children are fours years old. Their Mommy needs to be in the best shape possible, as fit as possible, to help them have a great childhood. And this thought served as all I motivation I needed.
We met our Balinese babysitter, Kadek, who would take care of our kids for most of the next few months, allowing me time to do my yoga, get some massages, shop for food and essentials, and see Ubud a bit. My partner worked in a bedroom while the twins got used to Kadek, who eventually became a trusted and beloved friend.
The first month was spent in Nyuh Kuning, a beautiful small village to the west of the Yoga Barn and south of Ubud Center. The second was in Peliatan, in a very cute villa that had connecting bedrooms and twins beds for the kids. This home also had two part time staff, who did a lot of the cooking and all of the laundry. Such a treat!
We then had to renew our visas, so we chose Singapore to visit. Singapore is not my cup of tea but there some great moments there. More on Singapore in a later post.
Then the village of Mas, and then the village of Lodtunduh for another month. After Lodtunduh, we decided to move to Sanur to allow the kids more access to their favorite activities in Bali, the beach and the indoor playground Peek A Boo.
For our second visa renewal, we decided to head to Malaysia instead. My partner was traveling for business so it was just me and the twins for 2 nights/3 days. I love Kuala Lumpur (KL). What an absolute treat. More on KL in a later post!
Then back to Sanur for a few more months. We’re now about to head to KL on our second visa renewal trip and we intend to get social visas this time so we can stay the remaining 4 months of our trip before we head to Turkey in November and Chamonix, France for December through February 2020. We’ll back in Bali in March 2020, if all goes as planned.