No Booze, No Meat, No Wifi. WTF?
Could you go a whole day without your phone? What about a week? Let me tell you all about my experience at Bali Silent Retreat!
Earlier this month I was feeling lost. I was in an Uber on my way to catch a bus to go to North Bali and chase some amazingly epic waterfalls. The traffic was so bad, I missed the bus. OK. So what now? I missed the bus, I don’t want to be in Kuta, but I didn’t want to stay in Canggu either. Where tf do I want to go?! After spending the next three hours in the Uber, it hit me. It wasn’t about being physically lost, I was emotionally lost. I just felt like I’ve lost sight of the important things in life. Or that I put too much time and energy into the unimportant things. I needed guidance. Redirection. Purpose.
I needed to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with the universe. I was minutes away from the perfect place to do some spiritual healing. Ubud, Bali! Maybe you’ve heard of Ubud from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love story? I had been to Ubud before and have personally felt the special energy so it was no question as to why I have found myself back in this beautiful part of the world again. It’s like that was the plan all along.
Surprisingly-not-surprising, meditation retreats are expensive af (like, thousands of dollars for a few days). After doing a ton of research finding the perfect place to realign my chakras (and didn't break the bank), I found Bali Silent Retreat. I booked a week at BSR, powered off my iPhone 7, took a deep breath in, and exhaled…
I didn’t really know what to expect at a silent meditation retreat. I mean, do we sit in a circle with our legs crossed singing cumbaya? If that’s what it takes to get the guidance that I came for, then hand over the mic! Well yes, we did sit in circles with our legs crossed (LOL! how cliche), but we didn’t sing cumbaya (it’s silent, remember?). We actually performed a really cool fire ceremony called Agnihotra. It is a process of purifying the self and the atmosphere that is only held during sunrise/sunset of a full moon. The spiritual flow allowed us to release, renew, and transform energy. Sang Tu led us through the Balinese ceremony. He asked us to focus on any negative energy we wanted to release from our body and any positive energy we wanted to be enlightened with. I chose two of each; I wanted to release:
The need for external validation
And the two energies I wanted to focus on building was:
We each went up to the fire one by one. Energy in, energy out. It was a very powerful ceremony that I was lucky to be a part of.
That night was a special night. The rest of the days included meditation, yoga asana, all-you-can-eat buffet-all-day (oh, did I mention I was a vegetarian for a week?! Involuntarily, but damn it was actually delicious!), go on a stroll through the rice terraces, read, write, & self-reflect. AKA The Art of Doing Nothing.
Now, I never read. Like, ever. During my week at BSR, I read five books. Yup, FIVE! And guess what they were all about? Mindfulness. I won’t bore you with a long drawn out explanation of what that is (there’s google for that), but I’ll share some key takeaways:
Be more— more patient + tolerant + generous + forgiving + kind = INNER HEALING
Smile more— this affirms our awareness & determination to live in peace & joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind. It helps you approach the day with gentleness & understanding.
Think less— The past is gone and the future is not yet here. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life. -Buddhist Monk, Thich That Hanh
Never let someone steal YOUR peace.
Overall, I came for guidance and I got it. I’ve learned that mindfulness is the gateway to happiness. Your happiness (or lack there of) depends on your state of mind, not anything external. It’s your own attitude, the way you look at things, your approach to life, that determines whether you are happy or not.
If you are interested in having your own Bali Silent Retreat experience, you can see more information at their website Balisilentretreat.com. Since I disconnected from all electronics during my week at BSR, I don't have much photos but here are a few pictures I took right before I left the retreat:
Unlike other retreats where it's a set price for a set amount of days and a strict schedule, at BSR you can stay as little or as long as you'd like. As of May 2017, the dorm room I stayed in was $20/night. In addition to the accommodation, you pay for a day pass ($35/day). This is what covers all the food, activities, and classes. So in total it was $55/night. Extremely affordable compared to the other retreats that averaged $300-600/night. Although this is all my opinion, I suggest you do a bit of research of the different retreats to find which one fits you best. Enjoy! XOXO MEL