There’s been a lot of testing going on. I was feeling the pressure, but wasn’t fully conscious of it until a friend brought it up in conversation. And then I saw it everywhere. From the social interactions we’ve bee having to feeling tested by the universe in general. Can we stay present? Can we respond in any situation with love and respect? Can we have sharp discernment without judgment? Can we see through the veils and be transparent? Can we stay in the practice of life, balancing effort and ease?
Sometimes it feels oppressive. Sometimes it feels like nothing and no one can be trusted, that I have to watch my step and watch my back every step of the way. By nature, I am socially cautious, guarded, and tend to listen more than I talk. And so for a long time I’ve been working on being freer, which seemed to culminate in my last run in L.A. where I just threw myself into everything and gave everyone more than the benefit of the doubt. Which actually worked there, allowing me to meet the right people and find the right opportunities with relatively little to no fall out.
The lesson at hand these days seems to be balance. I am being challenged to get out of my head and into my heart, while also keeping my wits about me and assessing each situation as it arises. Understanding peoples’ motives is key here. In a place where everyone is fluent in the language of spirituality and sustainability, who is the real deal? Who really wants to be of service by co-creating and/or facilitating sustainable transformation, and who is looking to perform in service of the ego? Can I hold whoever is in front of me in love, honoring wherever they are in their process? And at the same time, can I be discerning about the people and projects I put my energy and resources into?
I don’t know if I’ve changed, or if it’s the nature of Bali, but everything seems to be a lot more transparent here. As we explore the different “scenes” around Ubud, the vibes of places comes on so strong that it’s immediately apparent whether to stay or go. I’m learning to trust this, and not fall into the “well, let’s give it a try” trap when my guts our telling me to get the hell out. J is a lot less apologetic about this, and I am learning to be. It’s an instinct, which I am learning to trust and realize is not about condemning but using as a navigational sense. This sense is so strong, innate, and intact in the Balinese—they can recognize whether someone lives from the heart, or doesn’t, from a mile away.
Ultimately, it all comes back to self, since how we perceive the external is a reflection of our relationship with the self. Last night we got to go to a party at a swanky hotel, and while J was DJ’ing I had a conversation with an Asian man who has two hapa kids. He told me that it’s hard to do what we’re doing, but it’s the greatest service and gift to the world. He said that sometimes it’s hard to be the Asian parent because Asian parents are tough, but we’re tough because we love our kids enough to make sure they’re really going to be okay. And in that moment I realized that I’m an Asian mother; tough love is encoded in my DNA. I love my child, myself, and everyone else enough to not go along with any BS. I don’t have to be mean about it, but that’s just the way it is.
Then we talked about conflict, and how when we are coming from the heart, it becomes a tool to reveal character. This man was the organizer of the party. Earlier in the day he had come on to J strong, testing him. And J met him with love. Like the Balinese, he recognized heart. And although we had just met, he recognized me as J’s reflection, and I recognized his recognition of it all.