I started walking along the coastline, further and further away from the other tourists. I couldn't see what was ahead because of the curve of the island, but as spectacular as the passing views were, I continued forward around the bend. I have never been afraid of being lost because I know I just might find something amazing around the corner.
I found myself being drawn to a spot where the sand was large enough to be called tiny pebbles and the water was gentle enough to just slip quietly around me. I sat cross-legged right on the edge where the ocean meets land. It didn't take long for the damp ground to envelope me in nature's most comfortable seat. To the right of me was a deserted stretch of beach where the sand turned to slick green and grey stone before becoming steep cliffs. To the left of me was the crowd of people I left behind and a gorgeous view of large aquamarine swells and bungalows perched on rocks.
The setting was otherworldly, but I turned my attention to what was directly in front of me. I couldn't see a single body. I wasn't even aware of my own. The only presence I felt was the rhythmic power of the ocean constantly coming towards me, yet never pushing me away. The sun was low with only two more hours before it would set. It's beams slipped through the nooks and crannies of the clouds and reflected its light at me. And without meaning to, I slipped into a meditative trance.
I started to take deep breaths. There was nothing but the rush of breeze, waves crashing, and the gritty scratchy sound coming from the sand I could not stop rubbing with my hands. And almost as fast as the sun was warming up my skin, the pointless noise that regularly fills up the constant chatter of my thoughts started to fade away. All the distracting thoughts about work, family and friends from home, self doubt, the past, the future, any unsettling feelings of anxiety, hope, completely disappeared and what was left was a solitary line of connected thoughts. This is what you call a moment of clarity. Some context first: It is easy to get wrapped up in the details. I have a high tolerance for stress and deal with traumatic situations fairly well. But, like anyone else, I do have a constant jumbled flow of unproductive thoughts that are nothing but distracting. It seems the thoughts that linger and clutter the mind are ones that are based on regret (your past), anxiety (the unknown future), and/or helplessness (loss and lack of control). For me, a lot of my angst revolves around my "love and let go" ability. I have always felt a bit ashamed about how much I can love and how well I can move forward. I assure you, its no easy feat, and it is a talent that has developed through major love and loss since an early age. But as I sat on this beach, adequately named Dreamland, with what seemed like the world at my feet inviting me to jump in, all of my insecurities dissipated. A solid concept was being unearthed as my mind shook loose the excess and revealed some truth. I realize my innate sense of adaptation has given me the skills to deal with work and uncomfortable personal matters. But, most importantly, these survival skills have made traveling solo a wonderful experience. I have been able to build genuine friendships and have not let the pang of goodbyes deter me from forming new relationships wherever I may be. I can't control who I will meet, where I will be, or when I will reunite with familiar faces. But, there is no regret, there is no anxiety, there is just living in the moment. So my moment of clarity was a bit selfish, but it had more of an impact because it was a message that came from within. Self-discovery at its finest. It was a confirmation that I should be happy with who I am, where I am, and the road I am on because I am fully appreciating every moment and all it has to offer. The world is accepting me, and I am accepting it back, for everything that it is. With every new experience, you will learn one more thing about yourself. The more you understand yourself, the closer you will become to figuring out how you want to live the rest of your life. My moment may seem cliche and underwhelming, but being content knowing you belong where you are and being satisfied with all around you is a state of nirvana that is best when realized yourself... with maybe a little help from the touch of the water, the warmth of the sun, the inviting breeze, and the hug from soft sand. I pulled myself out of my trance and turned around to see my friend staring at the same view wrapped in her own thoughts- "Why is there any other god than the sun?" - and my mind wandered into another beautiful tangent.
Bali truly is a magical place.
Almost two years ago, I wrote a small post about how I wanted to make more of an effort about being present in the here and now. I'm proud that I've made some progress... growth and development is always good.