A Bali Beginner

My trip to Bali is coming to a close and as I reflected with Courtney over Balinese instant coffee in bed, I decided to write. 

Traveling is always a teacher and this trip was my first time acting as a co-facilitator in this type of setting. I had so many questions and question marks. What was my role? How did it look? Who was my tribe? When could I ask? What should I know about the country to share with the group to enrich the experience? With a group that trusted our lead, I quietly wasn’t sure how I was supposed to do…. well just that. 

In my own skin, my “lead” felt like a floppy fish. I couldn’t quite grab hold, it fought back,  and even tried to jump back to safety several times. I craved a better sense of knowing what I was supposed to "do." In a common setting,  I naturally like to take reigns, but I’d never been to this country, nor stood as a co-facilitator in a yoga retreat; I didn’t feel yet equipped. I was, very simply, a beginner at this. 

I learned by leaning and stumbling and falling and getting back up. I learned by watching and listening. I gathered information through experimenting and being silly. I  learned because even though it’s deeply uncomfortable to be in a foreign country with little idea of my role, I stayed. 

There were parts of the trip where I clung to an identity because it felt safe. Little sister, cousin, young, serious, counselor, break-down mode, let my hair down, Ohioan… because even if it was awkward, I knew the in’s and out’s.

I’d like to take a moment and thank my sister, Courtney, and my cousins, Annie and Tyler for their wisdom, expertise, and humor.  Your guidance and quiet modeling provided me with so much wisdom. I am grateful. forever! 

 And the group, I have tremendous big breaths full of gladness for being a “lifer” group for me; one  that welcomed me to learning the balance of an identity when I could use some extra care. 

Uncertainty and the not knowing is a place of growth for me. I may live my life in a way that looks seemingly relaxed and playful, but there is also a nagging ego often asking me to do it better and “get it right." And there is a part of me that just likes to know. It runs in my bloodstream as the little sister, the curious questioner, and the student. 

I remind myself that there is possibility in the not knowing. (Even typing that is hard). I remind myself to be gentle and that falling is a way of learning too. Floundering and awkwardness provides me with whole lot of information from which I can take a look at curiously, too. And of course, there is always room for laughter.

Treading gently and embracing a sense of unknowing is a lesson I'm ready to embrace. And Colleen Alber, your words were like a a huge Bali air embrace as we sat in an Indonesian coffee spot on a cloudy hot afternoon, “ We’re all doing the best we can.” 

Ultimately, this trip asked me to be a beginner and in a raw way, I tried my very best.


Thank you to all of it and all of you.