This summer I traveled to Bali, The Land of the God’s, for a wedding. This journey was happening due to a long distance friendship that had proven that love could endure.
Bali for me had been on my wishlist for ‘must visit destinations’ ever since watching Julia Roberts’ Journey of discovery in the film ‘Eat Pray Love’. After my lived experience on this island I too discovered how Bali provided that essential environment to find your self more balanced.
Everything about Bali is more holistic than our western society’s way of living. Mind, body and environment are constantly acknowledged working together, neither one prioritized over the other.Even in greeting, hands are pressed together, moving inwardly from the heart, a gesture of connection and sincerity of mind. body and environment.
This integrated approach to living really had a balancing affect on me and I was reminded of Swashtha in Yoga practice after visting the Yoga Barn in Ubud. Swa means self and Ashtha means established.The literal meaning of the word is: the one who is established in the self. Swashtha is the person who is fully centered/balanced. Bali in essence was evoking the Swashtha in me and I was gratefull of its emergence.
So yes the Body of Bali had great lessons for my western conditioned way of being but I soon realized that not everyone experienced Bali as a paradise of balance.
While waiting in line for a coffee I was chatting to the Barista who had been in Bali for 6 months volunteering for a Charity called SoleMen. SoleMen is an Indonesian registered non-profit Foundation focused on helping the disadvantaged in Bali. Through this chance encounter I learnt that they were currently helping Made, a 42 yr old Man/Husband/Father, with symptoms of schizophrenia, who had been caged by his community as a method of ‘dealing’ with him when his family could no longer afford his medication. I felt sick and my sense of balance quickly abandoned me. As a Dance Movement Psychotherapist with experience of working with people managing their diagnosis of Schizophrenia I couldn’t imagine how in the 21st Century this barbaric treatment of mental health was someone’s reality? It seems we have much to offer in educating a community on methods of supporting those with a mental health diagnosis. Solemen is helping to remind those surrounding Made that regardless of diagnosis, Made is a man, a son, husband and a father NOT an object to be shut away!
Organisations like Solemen are a true blessing to the people of Bali and an example that the love of humanity is a love that can help bare a heavy load, a heavy load that manifests even in paradise.
To follow and support Made’s Journey please follow this link:
My experience of Bali, surrounded by family, friends, and strangers and their stories, reminds me that our collective actions are responsible in maintaining that sought after sense of balance, which even within chaos and pain is possible with the help from others.