Look, I'm going to start this by saying that Ubud is a NINE in numerology. Let's just take a second to let that sink in. This entry is part journal, part travel log.
Places or people with the 9 value, have qualities like leadership, clarity, and passion. That all sounds great - until you realise what COMES with those qualities - what needs to be overcome to rise on the other side.
Here's what NUMEROLOGY has to say about the 9's:
"The qualities of the number 9 are those of leadership, the ability to see clearly, integration, the three worlds – physical, intellectual, spirituality, last symbol before return to unity, ability to understand, inborn talents, compulsions, introspection, personal integrity, unity, truth, the Seer, artistry, high moral sense, good advisor.perfection, concord, dissolves ego attachments, challenges faced in looking for your own wisdom."
I want to focus on that casual last line there.
"Challenges faced in looking for your own wisdom"....
What this means, folks, is that life is like a video game. If you want to reach the next level, and unlock the cool new superpower, you've got to fight the battles to get there. You've got to jump and leap over big GAPS in the ground, you've got to SMASH obstacles, and every time you fail, you've got to start the whole level again, until you bloody well BEAT the last demon monster thing at the end.
Just like in life... When you learn the lesson (how to beat it), you get to upgrade to the next level - new superpowers and all.
That is EXACTLY what Ubud 'invites' you to do. And I say 'invite' with total sark, because the amount of days you can get away without doing any sort of inner work before the place starts FORCING you to, is about three, MAX.
There is so much myth and legend around Ubud. It is an ancient area, dating way back to the 8th Century. The legend says that a Buddhist Priest was in Java, and saw a strong light rising from the earth into the sky, and coming back down again. He immediately got a group of people together to search for the place, but within 30km of where Ubud is today, many in his 'army' became ill and perished. He gave up searching and returned home. He continued to see the strong light burning, rising and falling, and decided to try one las time to find the origin, and persevered past the place where so many in his party had left this world.
He then found Ubud, the centre and origin of this infinite, ethereal light. He built a temple to honour the land and the Gods that it was so clearly home to... And so, Ubud began.
So much of the religion and culture here is based on two opposing forces - Good and Evil - represented in the statues all over the village - Barong (good) and Rangda (evil). This made so much sense to me, because that is EXACTLY what everyone feels here! An inner battle RAGING between the light and the dark, and the up and the down, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative - each side pulling you, tearing you in two - until you DEAL with the SHIT you've got going on, and an equilibrium is met.
Anyone who spends more than 24 hours here will know what I mean when I say the ENERGY is undeniable.
I arrived in Ubud about a month after my fiancé and I had decided to call it quits. It was an epic relationship full of passion and humour - but at the very core of who we individually were, we were too different to have the same vision and goals. So, like many broken hearted women - I packed my bags and fled to Bali. I knew Ubud would bring me the healing I needed - even though I didn't know what exactly that healing was.
I booked a light, airy space overlooking the jungle, with the perfect writing desk to support hours of pouring my soul into notebooks.
I arrived like a little bird, seeing the world for the first time. I felt scared, unsure of myself and my newly found label of SINGLE. What did that even mean? I'd spent 10 years in serious relationships - the last time I was on my 'own', I wasn't even really a fully formed adult human!
I'm not going to sit here and pretend I didn't cry like a kid who'd been kicked in the knee. I cried A LOT. Especially at night. I'd feel GREAT, like everything was in alignment and like I was exactly where I was supposed to be - And then, after a few days of yoga, journaling, meeting new friends & leading a 'normal' life - This SADNESS would creep in, in the hours after sunset.
It wasn't a sadness of disappointment or of regret, but a sadness of grief. I think anyone who has been through a break up of a significant relationship can identify with this. I knew we'd made the right decision to end our chapter together, and I after a short period of WTF, I truly did begin to feel more myself than I had in years - freer, open, lighter - but there was a deep feeling of GRIEF. Grief of 'losing' a person you truly love and connect with. Grief of loosing an entire life essentially (I've left the town I called home for 8 years, and so many wonderful friends who are there, and am travelling the world), and everything that COULD have been.
There were nights I had trouble sleeping - not only because of the emotions I felt, but because when I say there is energy in Ubud, I mean it. I can't say I was ever approached by - or ever felt - any negative/shadow beings around me, but I knew there were other beings around, all emitting their own powerful vibration that you can feel almost constantly here.
I only ever encountered one 'not so savoury energy'. I still don't know if he was a real person, or simply a spirit taking the shape of a person. He appeared as a bony old man with a stick, walking towards me. Upon seeing him, I immediately felt sick, but I was too close to him to cross the road or turn around. I approached him, and walked around him, thanking him (I have no idea why - I suppose I assumed he would move when I tried to walk past - he didn't). He looked at me, with dark eyes, a grey mist over them, and I felt HEAVINESS and darkness overcome me for a moment. I literally had to shake it off as I walked, and TURN THE FUCK ON my energetic shield, which dissolved and dispelled the energy immediately.
Everything else - the energy and the beings I felt were all of the light, all holding powerful vibrations that you can physically FEEL - but MAN, do they like to 'chat' vibrationally. The villa I stayed in had a river a meter from the pool, where there was a Holy Water Spring and a temple that many locals frequented to pray and witness.
The moment I arrived, my host told me about the beings that patrolled the pool area, garden, temple, spring & water - they were protective beings who ensured only good came there. He also very quickly instructed me never to hang any wet clothes over my railing (my room faced over the pool area, and I could see the temple area from my balcony), because it upsets the holy spirits. Once, he said, someone had done that, and MANY things started going wrong with and in the house. They couldn't figure why, and eventually consulted a family clairvoyant, who told never seen the house. He told them that the water spirits had been upset by the disrespect of the visitor's actions.
That kind of thing happens everyday here.
So anyway - after crying it out, I'd be okay again for a few days. What I learned through this process though, was that Ubud doesn't like to be fucked around. If you're here for healing, growth, or any sort of 'up -levelment' in any way whatsoever -you better damn well be prepared for it.
People often describe this place as a washing machine - you get thrown around no matter what you do - and my experience definitely matched that.
In fact - there was a period about 10 days ago - where I wanted to actually leave Ubud early. Every part of my body was screaming to leave - enough healing, enough processing, enough 'going through it' , I just wanna be human again - but my soul told me to say. And now, as I sit here writing this on my last day here - I feel as if I've come full circle.
Here are a few things that one month in the Spiritual Capital of Bali has taught me, that you can apply to your own life - no matter where you are in the world.
1. FACE what you're feeling, or have it return 10x harder.
For real, you guys. The more you resist an emotion or a thought, the harder it's going to come back. Allow yourself to witness what's happening within you. The things that come up - especially those things that come up on a regular basis - are not to be ignored. You didn't just make them up, or have a bad day when you were thinking them - they're there, because you need to deal with them, make a decision, and follow through with it. If you continue to ignore the feeling that's showing up, or try to numb it with ANYTHING, all you're signing up for is an even GREATER lesson to try and get you to see what's happening.
When you feel something, allow yourself to explore it. Be honest about what's going on. The more you try to justify something, the more you're layering BS on top of it, and the more it's going to take for you to crack the code when you finally realise you have to.
2. Being Spiritual doesn't equal being NICE.
One of my personal biggest realisations within this lesson, was that I settled for a lot less than I knew I was worth over the past few years. I allowed a lot of unsavoury behaviour into my life, allowing others to treat me in a way that I knew wasn't up to my soul standard. I would always try to be the 'bigger' person, because I thought being spiritual meant always seeing the best in people, and always understanding it's just part of their journey and I have to allow them to be who they are...... when actually, I was letting myself be treated FAR below what I should have been.
Being spiritual isn't about bending over backwards for people all the time, and removing all of your own personal boundaries, just so other people have the room to be fully themselves. That isn't being spiritual. That's being a doormat.
3. RADICAL HONESTY IS REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES.
If you're going down the up-leveling rabbit hole, honesty is not longer a negotiable.
True, lasting growth can only take place if you're completely and radically honest about what is going on within you, and in your life. If you BS yourself - you're never going to get anywhere.
If you're feeling it - you need to be honest about why. Nothing will ever change if you don't.
4. Your LIFE will mean NOTHING if you're not LIVING IT.
This hit me SO hard, because I considered myself a pretty 'present' person. I did all the right 'things', like journaling and grounding and (trying to) meditate and and and.... But one morning after my daily breathwork practice, this message REALLY hit me.
As a goals and vision orientated person who is OBSESSED with creating the best damn life for myself and others that I can...... I am very rarely actually HERE. If I'm doing anything physically, 80% of the time I'm thinking about how epic X Y Z will be in my future - you know, stuff I'm manifesting. I love to sit in places - like this cafe - and pretend that I'm already the best selling author who speaks to and impacts 100 Million + on stages across the world.
But what I realised, is that while that's amazing - it's really important constantly be in a state that is an energetic match for your desires - That kind of meant I was missing out on the person I am RIGHT now, and the absolute magic that this life contains.
This moment now - writing to you all. I glance up and see the green leaves of a tropical tree moving gently in the slow, warm breeze. I notice a man who's tshirt has a picture that reminds me of a great book I started to read years ago. I smell freshly roasted coffee, mingled with frying onions - someone's breakfast is almost ready. I see smiling people. I notice myself smiling, too. Here I am.
If we are so busy constantly living in our futures.... are we even really alive in our present?
Ubud is a mirror. It simply reflects back at you, the places that you need healing the most.
WHAT GOT ME THROUGH:
- Journaling every day
- Surrounding myself with high vibrational people, who were also on their own journeys
- Putting myself out of my comfort zone and trying new experiences - building my confidence.
- Committing and sticking to my rituals (Morning routine and evening routine).
- Exercise & moving my body (yoga and tonnes of walking)
I can honestly say that once I stopped resisting what Ubud wanted from me (or to do to me....), everything changed. I let go of the shit. It felt like I'd lost 10kgs (actually, my body literally did loose weight, almost overnight), and once I allowed playing WITH the energy (instead of fighting against it) to be my new normal, magic began to happen.
I looked forward to what the energy of Ubud had to show me everyday.
I looked forward to sleeping, knowing the healing I'd receive while I did.
I looked forward to growing everyday, with Ubud holding my hand (well, sometimes it felt like it was pushing me off a cliff, LOL).
Thank you Ubud, for peeling back the layers.
Thank you Ubud, for reminding me of the truth.
Thank you, Ubud, for holding the space for me to become the woman I am now.
See you again soon.
Exploring Gunung Kawi, an ancient shrine & temple to the Kings and Queens of the Old world....
Soaking in the energy of this hidden cave waterfall...
Ubud is scattered with statues and artwork depicting the battles of good and evil.
Daily routine - ZEST CACAO CEREMONY!
Playing in the streets!
Watching my brother (who came to visit for a few days) play in the water below.