Gunnung Kawi water temple is beautiful. One of several Holy-water springs around Bali, it has gorgeous pavilions amidst mesmerizing ponds of the biggest koi I’ve ever seen. It has crystal green waters that ripple with gentle peace below lush jungle foliage. It has a bathing pool where one moves through the five ever-flowing water spouts, becoming more and more ritually purified with each downpour.
I loved it there. Cooling, centering, listening without and within. I got a picture of myself praying in the ritual bath… I’d share it with you, but the Gods decided my phone and I should become forever separated at the temple, and I’m now without camera.
Without Google Maps.
Without postagram to surprise friends at home with personalized postcards.
Without Asana to monitor the ongoing administration of my business.
Without SMS and whatsapp to connect with travelling friends and make last-minute meeting plans.
In short, I am free.
I was just thinking fondly the other night, of how much I enjoyed travelling through India in the days before cellphones… no map constantly at hand, no constant connection to back home, just forced complete presence in life, here and now. I guess the Gods saw those thoughts and decided to give me that experience back.
It was my own mindless mistake. I was blissfully enjoying the holy waters, and taking some pictures, and set my phone nearby while I sat for some meditation. After meditating, I opened my eyes to see some trash others had left behind. (An all too common sight in Bali, I’m afraid). Inspired to help, I set about on a mission of gathering all the trash I could find, loaded in my backpack, happy to have done my little part to help clean this beautiful island.
It wasn’t until about half an hour later, when my Russian travelling companions and I had wandered futilely in circles around several surrounding blocks looking for a warung for lunch, that I realized I’d been so excited about collecting the trash that I’d completely neglected to collect my phone wallet.
We went back… it was nowhere to be found. We searched, asked everyone we saw, tried to call the phone, stressed, breathed, cried a bit, and gradually accepted the fact that it was gone. I stayed focused on moving forward, making a mental list of the cards that needed to be cancelled and steps to take to remotely block phone use.
And Grisha, my adventure buddy of late… a 40 year old spiritual psychologist and aura photographer from Russia offered a promising reframe.
In heavily accented English, and with all the sweetness that always runs under his broken English, he held my heart with a moment of cross-cultural traveller’s poetry:
When phone goes… old people, old life go…. New life coming. Good life coming.
I believe him. I love everyone who was stored in that phone, and I keep you in my heart. That part of life isn’t going away. But I have been asking for the “new life coming”.
Maybe the deep dive of extended travel I was looking for requires me to not be behind the lense of a camera, or following a prescribed route on a map. Little by little, I’m moving through shock, and finding gratitude for the huge adventurous opportunity presented to me now.
I have a backup debit card. I have access to money. I have great accommodation, beautiful friends here, good food to eat… and I’ll be singing and making music with good people tonight. Really, nothing’s wrong. I have my laptop, and facebook, I can still write, and post, and stay as connected to the outside world as I need to. I handled the business side and everything that needs to be cancelled has been.
RIght here, right now, there’s no problem.
And over the next few months, a deeper love affair with the unknown lays ahead. I’m grateful, and I’m ready. I got cleaner that expected by the holy water… but Bali does that. She continues to give in ways much bigger than expected.
(Photo credit: Thomas Hubauer)