Learning Acceptance and Gratitude in Bali
One of the most memorable experiences of my trip to Bali was a day walking trip through the villages of Bali with a former tourist from Canada, named Augustin, who made Bali his home and now learned to capitalize on it through just being himself and giving tours. What was cool was Augustin had gotten to know the Balinese people so well over time through conversation, that they all loved him. Not only did they welcome him and his guests into their home, but they looked forward to it.
The day started by being picked up by Augustin and the other, I was the last one to be picked up as I was the closest to the village we were heading to. We stopped for coffee on the way at a local Balinese shop and since I don’t drink coffee, I got a ginger tea. (Let me tell you, this was straight up ginger root, not some little tea packet!) So much of what the Balinese put in their body comes straight from the earth. We then went on to park in a field off a side street and followed Augustin as he led us through the lush rice fields with ducks and greenery. Rice fields are a main income source for the Balinese. The women we encountered out working in the fields during that dry, 90 degree day were happy, peaceful souls. They accepted and enjoyed their life and the translation that was given to me was, “It is the way it is.” There is such beauty in acceptance, but with that there is joy.
As we progressed on our hike we came to the village river where people come to bathe and do their laundry. This is probably where my laundry I sent out was washed as well. Families and friends were bathing together, playing around and laughing. It reminded me a lot of running around playing in the sprinklers as a kid with the kids in the neighborhood. Although many in Bali have running water, it is more cost effective for them to still come to the river. Kids don’t go off to a daycare of any sort; they are hanging out with their families while the older ones work or they may be with someone at home.
We went to an open farm house were the chickens and other animals were making rice chips from the harvest. There were lots of herbs, vegetables and coconuts waiting to be used in foods. I learned that if you are dehydrated or hungover, you shake down a coconut. If you need to settle your stomach, you might have ginger or another herb. Beauty products are all found from the earth as well, aloe vera plants and coconuts alone provide so many nutrients and love for our bodies.
Along our hike we came across many offerings; these are physical offerings in a little paper dish put out each day to protect one and their space (maybe their store, car, road intersection, etc.) from any evil spirits. In Bali, they believe that it is better to just give the evil what it wants so that it will leave them alone. They provide things like food, money, and incense in the offering. There is a small ritual or prayer you will also see them performing as they place the offerings. You will see these offerings everywhere in Bali; it’s one of the things I miss most. It’s really the symbolic meaning behind them that I think is so beautiful—beginning one’s day from a place of prayer (whatever that belief is) and giving of something of one’s own, offering up a piece of their earnings and food. It’s really a practice of gratitude and abundance in so many ways: gratitude for what they have and that regardless of how much or little they have, they have enough to always give away. It is a faith that money and more food will be coming their way—that they will always be taken care of.