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  • About:Bali has a long tradition of Bali Usada, also known as Balinese traditional healing. The Balinese live equally in two worlds: the seen or conscious world called sekala, and the unseen or psychic world, called niskala. In traditional Balinese healing, both of these elements need to be addressed in order to truly heal.

  • What to expect:The experience will be very public. The healer may make magic, create fire, use mudras, draw patterns on your body & spit wads of chewed herbs on your skin.

  • Journal:Click here

Day 11, 06/05/12: Rediscovering Spirit - Bali

Just as I was standing up to leave the breakfast table Ken and Paula asked if they could have a chat with me. We discussed aspects of trance at length; Ken wanted to clarify that I was OK with Ratuniang entering me and that I am happy to let events unfold.

I agreed and made clear that I do not in any way want to control or limit what is happening - the unfolding is I believe the way it's meant to be. Ken said that if I would've replied with anything other than what I said he would've tried to persuade me otherwise.

He once again mentioned how rare all of this was and what an absolute gift it is to all involved. On some level I too get a sense of that. I spoke of how Durga brought me a connection to the feminine; a pair of eyes through which I could experience the feminine in a way I hadn't previously acknowledged or considered. I feel right here and now Ratuniang is doing exactly the same, weaving her magic, re-working the constructs of my inner experience.

Ken spoke about Ibu being a conscious channel; that on some level she remains conscious throughout. I mentioned that with Durga that felt like absolutely the case, however with Ratuniang I don't seem to keep hold of that level of awareness. Ken explained how the energies are very different. Previously I had experienced the power and strength of Durga; characteristics I fully recognise. However with Ratuniang the energies are far more subtle. He asked me to play a bit and consider at the next available opportunity how I'm feeling from the inside. He asked me to explore the sensuality of the experience. The minute the word, "sensuality" dropped into the space between us I felt immediately uncomfortable. Obviously he had seen and named something in order to consciously bring it into my awareness. The moment it was named I felt myself in unfamiliar and somewhat vulnerable territory, and now it had a name there was absolutely no hiding.

He mentioned that through his practice with all the different forms of energy he is able to feel into the experience. He mentioned that when he holds and supports me as Ratuniang he experiences what was described as a "continuous flow, a waterfall of energy pouring in and flowing through".

Sensuality, oh crap; yet another word I'm going to have to learn and experience at the deep end. Once again Ken has seen me and with one sure blow has hit the proverbial nail smack on the head.

I rely heavily on my ability to visualise; if I can't visualise something I believe I lose all connection to it and affinity with it. Paula asked me to think about what I was saying and to consider how I use language; to consider all the times when that statement isn't actually true for me, to consider the Kundalini experience.

Oh yeah, I suppose she absolutely has a point. When I think about it I had no specific visual representation whilst at the Sangye Menlha Retreat; whilst receiving acupuncture in China or whilst being in the ashram earlier in the week. Yet in all three instances I experienced an intensity of feeling/sensation.

Perhaps this is where my work is. I'm pretty good at feeling and recognising the strong energies however my work seems to be about expanding and opening that same level of recognition to those that are more subtle.

It reminded me of being back in counselling for the first time. During that stage I was unable to even recognise my feelings let alone articulate them to another; I just didn't have the vocabulary. That process took time and a concerted effort around being kind to myself. I had to pick apart the many mis-beliefs I held around being wrong; being stupid; being not good enough.

And now, here I am some years later being invited to not just name those feelings and sensations but to let myself feel and experience them within my body. Paula encouraged me to check in on myself throughout the day, to feel my feet on the ground and to feel my butt (sic) on the chair.

As I sit talking to them I can't help but feel my own sense of sadness. It's sad for me to comprehend that I partly get pleasure from feeling aggression, power, hurt and pain because they are absolutely tangible. However the flip side is my lack of recognition towards love, affection, touch and intimacy; for those are far more subtle and delicate. To experience those elements is for me a sad, sad proposition; a proposition I am still fearful of confronting. It's a proposition that would mean me cracking open this armour. As I sit with Ken and Paula I get that they appreciate that. Maybe that's why they reflected and named it in the first place.

Both Paula and Ken mentioned that in the last 15months they have already noticed a shift, an opening up of me with regards to this. They also spoke of the idea of inch by inch increments; a slow but persistent process.

I feel a bag of mixed emotions having spoken to them. Undoubtedly there's a deep sense of discomfort but if I park that to one side there is also a feeling of recognition; a feeling of being seen for exactly who and what I am. Like my fallibility has been witnessed and obscurely that feels so good, wholesome and appropriate - it's real somehow.

As I walked away I breathed deeply for on some level I feel I have been gifted a little ember; some tiny spark that I can now take away and cultivate in my own time and space.

I took some time to be with myself before we headed out to meet Yoda for our river ceremony. Due to the nature of scrambling over every shape and size rock imaginable; all dignity was suspended for the duration of the day.

Yoda taught us a practice to move the energies up through the chakras starting at the root. This felt completely not where I wanted to be; after the conversation this morning I just wasn't ready to get stuck into this; it absolutely felt like the last thing I wanted to practice right now.

As I climbed over the rocks I slipped and splashed. Paula reached out her hand to help support and I was fully conscious of how reticent I was to take it, instead choosing to slide down the rocks on my backside. The stubborn child in me was still wanting to hold on to my ability to "do it" alone. As I stood in the river with the offering perched above my head I made the decision to let go of shame; to let go of all the times I feel "I can't... the times I feel I can't feel, I can't do, I can't see; I can't experience..."

As we sat in prayer I began writing these two messages in the air with the burning end of my incense. Holding it like a pencil I saw the messages clearly before they gradually dispersed leaving no trace.

I was glad to leave the river in my wake, today had been challenging. It's unusual for me to have to stay present with people when I'm feeling so exposed; ideally I would've liked the afternoon off so I could wallow and process in my own sweet way.

That it would seem was out of the question. In a way I was pleased that's how it unfolded; after all this experience is about challenging and letting go of all that no longer serves me and granted my avoidant coping mechanisms might just fall into that category.

When we arrived back at the retreat centre, we headed into the family temple where Ibu Atoo called in the Durga energy. I have to confess I was so nervous about being there. As I sat behind her she said I was doing all that I needed to be doing. That my purpose is becoming clearer to me and that I do not need to know exactly what that is or what that means but to instead trust that it will unfold and flow with a sweet ease. That by walking this path she sees no obstacles in my way. She kept repeating, "less talk more action, as this will unfold at home in the west and in the east; it will be for the good of both the east and the west".