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Reflections from Bali

Reflections from Bali

By: Dr. Connie

As many of you know, I recently returned from a trip in Bali. This trip was anything but the typically “getaway” trip I had expected. I want to share a few of my thoughts and experiences from my trip, particularly as it pertains to giving yourself a little self-love!

Expectations vs. Reality

Prior to leaving on my recent trip to Bali, I had the expectations that this would be just another trip to get away and relax. I thought I was going for away far a relaxing break and to enjoy the wonderful nature of the world. Prior to leaving when I would mention my trip to people, they would respond “wow, that’s a trip of a lifetime!” I didn’t really understand what they mean​t​, and in fact I may have not even been on the same trip they envisioned when they heard I was headed to Bali. What it turned out to be was far from my normal experiences and exactly what I needed to move my life forward.

Life as we Know It

Life as most of us know it here in the United States is much different than other cultures and areas throughout the world. Though we may have more “financial health” than many third world countries, we are far inferior when it comes to spiritual, emotional and relationship health.

I’ve never been on a trip focusing on “cultural experience'”. The vacations I tend to take include relaxing on a beach at an all-inclusive resort with some fun entertainment scattered in with the relaxation. I entered this trip with my usual expectations of a vacation, in addition to some tourism and sightseeing, but in reality it was so much more.

A true, cultural experience

We were able to experience much of the culture of Bali due to our proximity to the locals & the many experiences we were able to have with them. We trekked our way through a rice paddy field in order to find a restaurant in the middle of the field. Picture an outdoor hut that serves food.

We saw wild monkeys, hiked up a volcano and visited temples. We visited several temples that were beautifully constructed way before America was even discovered. Think about it… great temples and statues​ that were​ created without tools without technology. The thought is just unbelievable!

The expectations of the people of Bali are quite different than what we are used to. For example, as we walked the streets we saw people using sandpaper sheets to sand the cement on the outside of the building. Not electric tools, ​but literal ​sheets of sandpaper!  We saw them using old hand tools to tear up cement wh​i​​l​e being bare footed.

We saw the locals plowing the rice fields by hand with an old wooden hoe and knee high in standing water. Most of the homes were actually 8×8 wooden shacks, tipped to the side as if ready to collapse. We saw many hanging laundry out at their homes.

The roads in Bali have no traffic lights or stop signs. The lines on the road are considered suggestions only. The traffic there was controlled chaos. What I found so interesting and intriguing was that there was never any road rage even though it is customary to just push your way in and turn in front of anyone you want.  Compare that with what many of us experience here on a daily basis during rush-hour traffic.

I was able to witness the spiritual lives of the Balinese people and how everybody is so custom to three ceremonies each day. They stop what they are doing three times a day to worship, even if for only a couple minutes. They ask for blessings and give thanks. They believe that they’re always striving for good but recognize that they have a part of their soul that wants to step into evil. This is the reason they stop to worship strive to always do things to prevent the evil and be in the light.

I wish it was like this in America. We all know we have a sinful nature and we will never be perfect, but what if we took the time three times a day to acknowledge this and focus on doing good?

The Balinese people were very peaceful, and everyone was extremely nice regardless of their financial state. We never saw anyone yelling on the phone or disrespecting another person in any way.  For two weeks, I did not see ONE mean moment during my entire trip. It was quite the experience.

Back to reality

Coming back was a whole new experience. To step back in my world… it really made me think if I really need all this stuff. I went through a major time of declutter ​a few months ago, ​and I got rid of bags and bags of clothing and things around the house that I simply just do not need. For the people of Bali to have very little, make about $400 a month and live such a peaceful life was something to learn from.

Do we really need all these things we have? Do we live in a world where the more things that we have the more things we have to manage? And the more things we have to manage means the less time we have to relax, rejuvenate, enjoy kids and family and be truly happy?

After this trip I decided that I will make sure to take these types of cultural experience vacations, as it does something to a person.

A Simple Life

As I sit and think, I think about my current home. I think about how instead of wishing for my next home being nicer and bigger, I actually might make my next home less square footage, less expensive and strive to live a more simple life.

A simple life doesn’t mean poor. To me it means less material items that can clutter our minds and hearts. I have been told many times​ by highly successful​ people that a cluttered​ environment makes room for a cluttered mind and results in chaos and less freedom to enjoy life.

I want to be captured by relationships and not captured by a busy life due to complexity.

I highly recommend taking some time to challenge yourself to declutter. In turn, you’ll clear your mind and gain freedom. Each week focus on one room and get rid of everything you don’t really need. Don’t keep it! It is really freeing when the excess stuff is gone.

A material item might be “worth something” but is it really worth anything if it steals your peace? Is the clutter worth something or is the items actually costing you something?


Take the next few weeks to challenge yourself. I would love to hear how the it goes and what it did for your life.
Do you have any tips for decluttering & finding more peace in your life?

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