Mama Bali

Some days I am a Goddess.

Some days I am a Wild Child.

and some days I am a Fragile Mess.

most days I am a bit of all three.

…everyday, I am here trying.

-s.c. lourie

 View from Sayan House, Ubud, Bali

View from Sayan House, Ubud, Bali

It is said that Mama Bali gives you what you need to heal, not necessarily what you want but what you need. Having just returned from my third trip to this magical place, I can definitely concur. The first trip to Bali 18 years ago was certainly pivotal; much of my adult life was shaped by what I encountered and who I met in Bali, including the first love of my life. You could say the trip was life changing, except that I can’t imagine it going any other way.  

My second trip to Bali, last year, was ostensibly to visit my brother, who had moved there after some difficult shifts in his life. However, when I arrived, my brother had just sort of left for 5 days in Japan - I was hurt and disappointed at first, and then I realized that the alone time offered me the perfect opportunity to re-acquaint myself with a place that had been so pivotal in my life - shortly before the plane even landed in Bali, I began to process a surge of feelings that arose through writing - and that writing continued for much of those 5 days that my brother was away and helped me find deep healing from heartache and ultimately self love.

Overall, that second trip reaffirmed my affinity to Bali - the types of people it attracts, the inherent culture that is there and the magical land itself - it is said to be located on one of the vortexes of the world. It was great to spend the time with my brother and to see his life there, still uncertain of how long it would last - he was too at this point.

In summary, my first trip to Bali gave me love and my second trip gave me healing, so I was excited to see what this latest trip would bring.

This latest trip to Bali, I was able to see how nicely my brother’s life there was shaping up. From the start of his deciding to live across the globe, I have been his number one supporter, and I am so proud of him for following his dreams. On my end, I was finally able to bring my husband to Bali, and I also happen to be in my second trimester of pregnancy.

 From L to R: My brother and resident yoga instructor extraordinaire, Amit, my blessed and pregnant self, and my amazing husband and travel buddy Mahdad.

From L to R: My brother and resident yoga instructor extraordinaire, Amit, my blessed and pregnant self, and my amazing husband and travel buddy Mahdad.

I was surrounded by love on this trip - from a brother who is also a dear friend, my husband and also our soon to be baby boy. People can experience Bali in a variety of ways and it is pretty common for some to come to an area called Ubud to enjoy the many spiritual offerings of the area - yoga classes, meditation, healing journeys etc. This type of scene has always been my type of scene and made for a very appealing trip. It has not always been my husband’s scene so I was pleased to see him so enthusiastically immerse himself into these classes and workshops. It is one of the reasons I love him - he is open, adventurous and often up for anything. About 8 months ago we moved from NYC to Southern California and that transition in and of itself for him was a lot (I have lived here before, he had spent 17 years in NYC after 4 years in Montreal for University). About 2 months ago, he joined me in going to Bhaktifest, a large yoga festival at Joshua Tree and I LOVED how he just enthusiastically joined in on yoga, chanting, dancing etc - a side of my interests he hadn’t seen me immersed in until then.

Thus, in Bali, aside from a day trip to one of the nearby islands, we were primarily in Ubud. Our quasi-routine was to have these amazing meals at such a great variety of healthy restaurants that my brother hand picked (often with recs on what to order) and in between, we had spa treatments and either shopped or took classes - our first two nights involved ecstatic dancing, which was a perfect way to shake things up to initiate taking in everything else. We also took part in a cacao ceremony for the supermoon, involving connecting with strangers at deep levels (eye gazing and loving comments). We also took classes such as shamanic breathwork and activated consciousness meditation that in the past often had me in tears - I was curious in the effects on me of all the powerful breathwork and bodywork we were doing, especially paired with the prenatal massages I was getting. I took part in a beautiful and powerful women’s circle as well.

And then it hit - at first I had this nagging feeling of a dark cloud coming over me and thought maybe I just needed some alone time, so I took off one morning for a breakfast on my own, some silence and some writing and felt pretty good, better, you could say. But then, I found myself battling some strong (and familiar emotions) such as discontent, sadness, melancholy, anger. I have a feeling I can fall into at times which is like an abyss in the pit of my stomach - through a lot of conscious work, I am able to identify and discern that only I can help myself in these situations and there is no point in spreading my own unhappiness onto others, especially those closest to me (which I had definitely done in the past). And I saw that I was starting to be unpleasant around both my brother and my husband so I distanced myself again - and eventually turned to my journal because I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on.

After writing, there was so much clarity - basically, I called upon my higher self (the healer, the one who has helped MANY on their own emotional paths) to help the egoic self (the part of me that was stuck) and at first the egoic self needed to vent and as I sat crying and writing, I was able to see what was happening. It was an old issue that I had dealt with before but somehow got provoked from all the work we had been doing paired with how much time I was spending with people. The inner child. After working with people for more than 10 years on their physical and emotional selves, I see this as a very common issue, especially among women (well, men have been conditioned to repress their inner children). Basically, the inner child can be a beautiful thing to be connected to - especially the side that can make someone carefree, free spirited, fun, spontaneous, silly etc - I definitely have all of those sides. The flip side can be when the child feels unloved, unheard, unworthy. And that’s how I was feeling in that moment - in the past I used to get fixated on why I would feel this way; now, after much transformational work, I just acknowledge the feelings and then provide soothing reassurance in the form of meditative affirmations to my inner child, which really did the trick.

So after identifying the issue through journal writing, I start meditating and soon go into a deep state of meditation for healing the inner child - basically telling her everything she wants to hear and end up falling asleep constantly repeating things like “you are enough”, “you are loved” “you are beautiful”. It may sound insane to some - but after working with many people, oftentimes VIPs such as high powered CEOs, celebrities and supermodels, we all can have a chip on our shoulder and these reminders are really empowering - perhaps it’s the contrast of the inner voice criticisms and the empowering reminders that allow for the people that I work with to be as motivated as they are.

At the end of my meditative journey, I find that I feel deeply healed, being able to bring a level of enthusiasm to the trip that made sense when working with a group. I was so freaking proud that I was able to spiritually diagnose and heal myself that I knew this was the next level growth for me. And it made so much sense, I am PREPARING TO BE A MOTHER. OF COURSE I HAVE GOT TO WORK THROUGH MY INNER CHILD ISSUES.

 Mama to be in Mama Bali

Mama to be in Mama Bali

Thus, my third trip to Mama Bali gave me some good training to be a Mama myself - to nurture the inner child within, so that I can do the same for my son when he arrives, and also to remember that my own inner child may get provoked with the transition into motherhood and to be easy on myself (something that ironically doesn’t always come naturally - perhaps that is why I preach about self care so much).

Thus, I leave you with a beautiful meditation to help your own inner child, in case they are trying to express something to you and it’s coming out in ways that just make you not feel so proud. Hear them out, acknowledge them, and love them up so much that you feel so solid in who you are.

With Love and Light,

Shaffali