I returned from Ubud, Bali September 16, 2016. Within a few days of arriving home the following piece lingered in my subconscious. It’s been delayed due to a broken arm (8 days after coming home) and more travel. Someone has probably written something profound about the timing of a piece, or the final penning to paper, but I can’t seem to recall. So, here goes.
“For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.” Dag Hammarskjold. This was my prayer, intention – words slowly turning in my mind, floating out my mouth, quietly whispered into the water as it flowed from the spouts at Pura Tirtha Empul Temple, Tampaksiring, Bali. It was a cool and slightly overcast morning. The three of us had come to participate in the sacred ritual of bathing in the waters at the temple. We were some of the only visitors that morning, very different from our first visit the week prior during the Galungan festival.
That day the temple was full of Balinese people and tourists: praying, worshipping, wandering. We were welcome to participate in the sacred ritual of bathing in the waters, but it didn’t feel like the ‘right’ time.
This was our time. Wearing our sarongs with sash and blouse on top we slowly descended into the cool water. Our sarongs billowed, slowly floating up and around as fish of various shapes and sizes swam about, gently gliding below the surface. Bare foot I made my across the rock floored pond to place my offering upon the altar edge.
Spouts with flowing water were positioned along the temple wall, steadily flowing into the pool. We grew quiet as we individually set our intentions and moved slowly past each fountain. It didn’t matter what the ‘right way’ was to say our prayers. As our incense burned so our intentions floated through the cool morning air. I dipped my head under spouts, splashed it upon my face, giggled, and cried as I repeated my prayer: “For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.”
Slowly I made my way along. Pondering and reflecting upon the ‘all.’ Really? All? With an open heart saying a future ‘Yes’ to all that may be. There are many joys as well as deep sorrows, questions and wonderings in my life to the ‘all’ that has passed so far.
There’s a simplicity and meditative quality to repeating the above phrase. Yes I say, Yes. Did I know then that just over a week later I would be screaming in pain on my living floor, broken arm splayed by my side, from tripping and falling over my black dog in the black of night? No. Did I know then that I would be able to travel with my recovering arm and experience an incredible journey with one of my daughter’s in Berlin, Paris, Glasgow and London?
As we finished our sacred practice, one of the temple workers asked if we could please put some of the ‘old offerings’ in the trash. It would bring us good karma. I’m not a big believer in having to do good things for good karma, it did make me chuckle though, and I was happy to help. Kindness works for me.
Our driver, Made, who was kind, friendly and very knowledgeable, joked with us later as we stopped by a shop to pick up Bintang beer for our meal that evening. “So, you need more holy water?” We laughed.
He’d driven us after our temple visit to meet Cokorda Rai, a Balinese healer. Cokorda Rai was genuine, kind, soft spoken, compassionate and loving in his individual interactions with us. Visiting him was a practicing of the above intention, ‘Yes’. Part of my experience with him was the humorous moment of knowing that some kind of bug decided to make my nose it’s landing pad. My eyes were closed as Cokorda Rai moved his hands gently over my head. I felt something land on my nose and decided not to open my eyes. I figured that if he wasn’t screaming, and the rest of the group (my dear friend Kayce Hughlett being one of them) wasn’t, then all was well. I met my insect friend later, sitting down after my session, when along strolled a rather large brown and gold beetle. “Look,” whispered Janey Hughlett, that’s who was on your nose earlier. Oh my.
“For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.”
I said Yes to Bali because of my friend Kayce’s invitation, and for that, I am incredibly thankful.