Nyepi, Balinese Day of Silence

Waking up with the sunrise today in Bali, the air is perfectly still except for the humming of insects. No airplanes will takeoff or land today or even cross over the Bali airspace. No cars or motorbikes on the streets, no casual conversations, no raucous laughter.

As tourists, we are exempt from the silence and the fasting, but we’ve opted to try for a noble silence until 4:30. The silence can be powerful. It’s in trying to fill the spaces that we typically stumble.

And after yesterday, I need a breather anyway.

Nyepi is preceded by massive, festive, loud Ogoh Ogoh parades in local villages. People gather in team T-shirts proclaiming their village name. It inaugurates the Balinese New Year, which is 1934.

For three weeks prior, villagers build massive Ogoh Ogohs – papier mache creations to scare away evil spirits.

Here are a few:

There is so much beauty on this island, but what the Ogoh Ogohs represent to me are a collaboration, a community, a coming-together. The passion for detail and the intensity with which even the children take part to create these massive floats, then dance them into the city square, is inspiring.

 

Today is my last day in Bali – it has been a trip like no other. I’ve traveled to so many places and loved the art of discovery every time, but this was unique.

I have been very much in the moment, every step of the way. I am right here, right now – through rain, through being forced to teach yoga yesterday (secret: I loved it!), through a huge calm cockroach in the bathroom last night, to midnight swimming with music and Bintang beers among friends and a silly game of Marco Polo.

I have made friends for life this week, and started on the path to make my life the best it can be.

Everyone should do this – if not in Bali, then somewhere exotic and unfamiliar and beautiful.

Here, I swam under the stars and met smiling little children. The people are warm, open, embracing – and without any of the pretense or chaos of the Western world. I found a whole new definition of spirituality – one dependent on color and passion and texture and moments.

Back to my silence now…you never know what will come of the spaces.

 

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