As a Dutch artist, I have been living and working in Asia for a long period of time. After 5 years in Saigon (Vietnam), I decided to move with my 2 daughters, then 8 and 5 years, to Bali, the Island of the Gods.
Arriving here as a fresh-single-parent, 2 suitcases, 2 kids, and my ‘holy’ Jura coffee machine on its way from Vietnam to Bali, I had no clue whether I had made the right decision. One thing I knew for sure, I would be in for an adventure, choosing extraordinary over predictable, and that this choice would work like a catalyst to help me live my life at my full potential.
From day one, Bali treated us well and we quickly adapted to this beautiful place, to such an extent that it made me decide to buy an old farmers-rice-field and build my house. A beautiful villa surrounded by nature with my own studio at the very end in the back garden.
And here we are today, almost 9 years later, enriched with 2 ducks, 2 rabbits, 2 chickens, 3 cats and a Bali dog named Charlie, happy and very much at home.
Living on this island taught me many things, it helped me to be who I am today, or should I say it made me, me again, the process of rediscovering what was there all along, I just needed to remember.
Bali has a gentle way of bringing you tailored insights, to help you to get closer to the core of your being, but you have to ‘listen’ carefully, because her whispers are subtle. She offered me to step into a culture driven by offerings and ceremonies, up to the yearly Nyepi celebration, where we have to stay inside our homes silently for 24 hours, hoping that the bad spirits out there would think everybody left the island and therefore leave as well. These mindfulness rituals, including the regular purifications Balinese do at temples to clean their energies, taught me to pay attention to what you feel inside and to listen to that. That your body is sacred but also very powerful, and tells you what it is you need to stay healthy and balanced. It also made me see that there are greater forces surrounding us than those seen with the ordinary human eye, and that we can ask for help and guidance by starting to connect from within.
The Balinese people taught me to go with the flow, that it is important to have time for a chat or a smile, and that doing ‘nothing’ a beautiful opportunity is to practice mindfulness. They follow the moon cycles and consult the calendar to decide when the energy is good for whatever activity they have planned. They do not attempt to control nature, moreover, they are part of it. They follow and use the flow that is there. They adjust their agenda to the lifeforce that runs through them instead of the other way around. An interesting perspective, or I would even dare to say an interesting ‘truth’.
Raising two daughters on an island such as this made me realize that they became children of the world, not belonging to a certain religion, but belonging to The Universe, speaking a universal language. They do not relate to one culture, they are surrounded by many, through the diversity that Bali represents. It helped them to stay close to who they truly are, and that is the very best version you can be, the version most of us adults still search for.
Thank you Nyoman, Made, Wayan & Ketut for raising my kids as your own.
Thank you Bali, for finding me.