Is there a certain age that we need to be that signals us to stop living small? And if there is a signal, or a sign, or a moment, how come some of us take notice and listen and others don’t?
I’ve often lived my life small. I am a petite person, just 5 feet tall, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it. For the most part, the people of Bali are small in stature, and yet have huge hearts. They see the beauty in everything and everyone.
A few of the scribe tribe went to the beach about a week ago, and our driver was asked how he recognized is someone was from Bali and his answer was that he could tell by their soul. Wow. That was powerful. He can tell by their soul. You look deeper here in Bali.
When you thank a server or a shop owner, you place your hands in prayer and look into their eyes and say ‘Suksma’ which is Balinese for thank you. (It delights most of the shop keepers here that I use the Balinese term as opposed to the Indonesian term for thank you!) It slows you down. Bali slows you down. There is traffic here, and the drivers, for what I have seen, wait patiently to get through it. Honking, when it happens, is to notify the driver in front of you that you are passing them.
There are scooters everywhere and they carry anywhere from 1-4 people on them. Scooters carrying 2 people and a huge bunch of bananas. Dogs riding on the foot rest of a scooter. Open back trucks carry people from their homes to their jobs and back. If there are traffic laws here, I don’t know what they are. Any traffic cops from North America or Europe coming on vacation here would probably go nuts with the amount of infractions that they would witness in a minute let alone an hour or a day. Yet, there is a flow to the traffic that you start to notice after a while, and you get that it just works. Dogs and chickens weave in and out of the traffic which only adds to the controlled chaos on the roads, rural and highway alike. It’s like nothing I have ever seen and it makes me love this place even more.
On Saturday our driver had to pull a U-turn on a 2 lane road as he had missed our turn off. He slowed down and pulled to the left (the drive on the opposite side of the road to North America here) and once traffic had passed him, he started to pull across to the other lane, into oncoming traffic. The driver of the car approaching us slowed down, and I made eye contact with him and his wife in the passenger seat and placed my hands in prayer to say ‘thank you’ and I smiled. They flashed big huge grins right back and also placed their hands in prayer to say ‘you’re welcome’ and with that, our driver, navigated the U-turn and we were on our way. There were no angry honks, no shaking fists, no middle fingers flashed, just beautiful smiles and space to navigate our turn.
Half of our group eats breakfast every morning at the Garden Kafe and our servers, Kristina, Winthi and the other ladies, personify the beauty and magic of Bali. The Balinese people smile from their hearts. You can see it on their faces. They are beautiful and open and we could learn so much from them in our own lives.
There are many things here that you can take back with you that can be packaged or placed in carry-on luggage, and I have definitely contributed to the local economy. Yet there is something that I am bringing home that cannot be wrapped or held in your hands. It’s the spirit of Bali and her people, and it will forever have a space in my heart and I will do my best to let it ripple out and infuse the world around me with joy wherever I go.
Suksma Bali, Suksma