Finally, I’ve embraced the Ubud vibe!  The Lonely Planet recommends that anyone staying in Ubud for longer than a week should chill out, read some books, take a few naps and enjoy making new friends in the abundant cafes.  You read that and you think – perfect!  Sounds like just the kind of thing I need.  You walk around a bit, sit awkwardly at a wooden chair, order a nasi goreng and watermelon juice, try to read a book, and find yourself getting distracted by everything that moves, hoping that the bearded fellow who’s just sat opposite you doesn’t introduce himself.

For days that goes on.  Wondering what people must be thinking of you – sitting there doing nothing, what would your friends at home think, what to do, what to do, there must be something to do!  And then suddenly, one day you pass a cafe you really liked first time round, slump down, guilt-free, flip-flops stranded on the steps, take your time over the menu, daydreaming out onto the street, and then recognise someone from yoga, or the reggae bar, and you chat and you chat, and you order another juice, another salad, and suddenly the  whole day has disappeared and somehow you feel richer for it.  Happy.

A friend sent an email saying that my happiness sounded like it was perhaps an absence of anxiety.  In part he is correct.  The absence of anxiety plays a role in my happiness, but only in the way that it makes space for it – an emotion in its own right.  Its coming from somewhere, has an energy of its own.  Perhaps in competition with chaos and deadlines it gets confused with something else, I feel like right now I’ve captured it in isolation.  I can lose myself in it, enjoy it, indulge in it, for with the absence of anxiety and stress, there is no longer that feeling of hurry.  That need to move on, to take that next step.  Yesterday, in search of Balinese festivities, Jill, Yonnie and I managed to spend six hours covering approximately 2 miles.  In which space and time, we saw the palace, found some kids in costume, drank 3 juices, one coffee, consumed sandwiches, ice-cream and potato balls.  It was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve had since I got here.

This morning we went for A coffee – at Freak Cafe – best coffee in town.  Guarded by a patrolling cock, and managed by an American chap who plays the didgeridoo.  He enlightened us on the lifespan of the coffee bean, and the importance of coffee roasting, followed by Wes, my yogi friend putting him to shame with his Crocodile Dundee didgi-skills.  “I’m an Aussie mate!”  rang out once the instrument was put to rest, with the swirling echo of his wooden breath.

We talk of everything.  Life, politics, environment, travelling, resting, yoga, chakras, drinking, drugs, eating, sex, friendships, business ventures, passions, fears, hopes, love.  There’s no acting, or playing up.  Just an open forum where everyone feels safe enough to be themselves.  Perhaps its the transient nature of this place.  People joining, belonging, moving on.

I guess with the yoga, we all have something in common.  A commitment to sweating our guts out on a mat every morning.  I guess that takes a particular type of person…

I’m on day ten now.  As in I have practiced ten times.  Having progressed quite rapidly through the standing sequence, I’m now at a healthy pause.  An extremely tight right hip, and a precautionary concern over my right knee, means that I have to slow things down a bit and be certain I’m ready before I proceed with the remaining Paschimattanasana and Sirsasana A, B and C.

 

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