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Mindful Reflection In Solitude

Black volcanic beach lined with boats, Mt Agung in the background with clouds punctuating the blue skies
Amed Beach, Mt Agung in distance

Holidays can often be fast-paced, or a concoction of cocktails to numb out the racing mind - to 'relax' - but what if we spent just a moment of it in mindful reflection? In deep gratitude - solitude even...I did, I share it below.

Awoken by the pastel light that infuses the thin linen drape, signalling the dawn of a new day.

A blank canvas to colour with experience, emotion, and intent; I rise.

I’ve no need to set my alarm. My internal clock found the rhythm of the rising and setting sun.

Naturally, syncing with the darkness and light, movement and rest, the ebb and flow of the cycles that embrace the world, I find balance.

Creativity comes from the soft breeze that brings frangipani aromas, the dappled light through the fronds and the sounds of gentle waves crashing on volcanic sands.

Gratitude rises from the traditional Balinese bungalow which accommodates my basic needs, walking the countryside and the simplicity of taking in a different view, a change of location, or a new meal.

Tumbled stones that adorn the blackened beach provide reflexology to feet that have ventured throughout the day, declining a ride, a taxi or a scooter. Instead, I choose to move slowly. Enjoy the days I have here unhurried.

Diving under the surface; exploring the world that lives under the sequinned blanket. I draw breath on my rise and dive deeper into the world below. The light filters down, highlighting the beauty that lies beneath. An assortment of colours, shapes, and details draw attention; breathless I come up for air.

Stepping into the ramshackle street: lined with small storefronts swept clean by diligent Balinese, I’m greeted with friendly faces that smile hello, hands that come together in prayer if free to do so.

A quiet chaos as bikes, scooters, cars, pedestrians, cross paths and disappear into different directions. Tiny chicks, only days old, follow their mother in search of food, scratching through discarded rubbish that lines the road. Tiny cat mothers – still immature - with kittens meow lazily on the temples, playing with geckos too slow to escape their demise. Dogs with collars mark ownership, those without left to defend themselves.

I’m called to a jungle café, ‘Rimba’. Modest front with a gate adorned with plants. I enter. Florae outnumber the patrons; planted in discarded coconut husks and wrapped in string hung from rattan rafters, others potted in various sizes weave through the tables and atop, the finest push up through the earth where they form grand design of shape, texture, and balance. Their roots stretched into the underbelly, drinking from the untainted flow. Generous green hues extend down a stone path where I take my seat in the jungle.

Gentle winds carry the heat from the scorching sun, exploring shadow and light under the florae, I find my balance.

A voice, an aroma, a frangipani tree.

The voice of an Aussie; seeking communication, not comfort, I invite conversation with the couple from Wollongong who travels circumnavigate Bali – a delight I agree. Talk of travel, birthdays, and the modesty of Amed. Discussion deepens, death and living well. We share the sentiment, we bid farewell.

The exchange sustains my need for connection, if only briefly.

An aroma: bikes turn sharp on the bend, as I listen for the next before deciding safely to cross. Coffee aroma permeates the street, and an invisible connection draws me closer, longing for the taste. I pull up a chair waiting with childlike excitement as a small cup and saucer are placed before me. Clutching at the tiny saucer that balances this small cup of black gold, I raise to my face, drawing in a deep breath through my nose, pausing to let it linger in my lungs before a slow exhale.

It smells like home. Thoughts focus on my return.

A frangipani tree: trunk gnarled and bulbous, the root of the frangipani tree pushes through the earth between two slabs of concrete. My eyes trace the twisted trunk as it pushes out around ledges, over and around remnant buildings, reaching high through a hole in the rusted tin roof to spread its crown out. High and proud, the yellow and white flowers glow in the sunlight; clustered along small branches overlooking the beach.

It was determined to grow here. I admire its resilience

We are invited in every moment to live more mindfully, conscious of how we perceive the world around us.

How we do so affects our ability to self-regulate our emotions, thoughts, actions and behaviours.

We are shaped by the world around us, moulded by experience and invited to feel it all. For there is no place we can push it to, no depth that it will not arise from - mostly when we least expect it.

Mands x


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