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I woke up that morning, fed up and tired with this journey. The rats had returned to the ceiling, causing another disrupted night’s sleep while they played gymnastics above our heads, the thin plaster amplifying their patter to the sound of elephants’ hooves. Tonight we’d have to re-plug in the sonic repeller, pushing aside any worries about its effects on our consciousness. Sleep was more important.
Without sleep, everything feels heavier. A glorious day turns bleak and infuriation gives rise to the unreasonable. “Maybe we need to find another house, or maybe it would be easier to just go home earlier?” “Let’s look into it.”
It wasn’t really about the rats. We were both drained for different reasons. Steve is flat out with a film that seems as though it may never end. He is angry at Ubud because he has to work so hard here – a fact that won’t change wherever we go.
Dangers to my mantra
My infuriation with the town is more personal. Through adopting the mantra ‘Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it’, I’ve spent the last few months throwing myself into the town’s alternative health and spiritual healings. It’s a turbulent path, bringing frustration and progress in almost equal measures. Clarity is not forthcoming.
In the time I’ve been here, I’ve been told I’m allergic to gluten, dairy, rice, sugar, red wine, nuts, coffee, eggs, corn, soy, oats and others that I’ve forgotten. I’ve also been told I’m definitely not allergic to all of those things. I’ve been assured there are ways to eliminate these allergies, and also that that’s impossible, and I’ve been given so many different dietary restrictions that if I followed them all, I’d live off mostly red rice and mung beans. My head is swimming in so much conflicting information that it’s hard to find the right way up.
Allergies are only a part of it. Others put it down to energy or mind patterns – stagnant emotional trauma blocking the natural flow and manifesting as every ailment. It’s not even limited to this lifetime. That trauma could go back into the realms of ancestors and previous lives. The variables are immense, and one of the biggest is my own mind. Am I doing this to myself? What even is ‘this’? I am drowning in the possibilities.
I knew this was a danger when I started, and I’ve tried to remain objective, but when so many people tell you so many things, even if you hardly believe them, the words stick around as whispers of doubt that are sometimes hard to silence.
Power of affirmation
Techniques like NLP teach that positive affirmations help you to get what you want, the words becoming truth. What about when those words are negative, bequeathed to you by someone else’s misguided subjectivity dressed in the guise of therapy? It’s a dangerous game to play, and the fight to resist is tiring – an ironic side effect when tiredness is what I’m trying to remedy.
I read this quote from an author who visited Bali:
“Sometimes I get so confused looking for answers in this place that I can’t even remember what the question was.”
It sums up my frustrations exactly.
So that is how I began the day – impatience and anger boiling, desperate to throw all my toys out the pram and declare the whole thing void, perhaps returning to a homeland of pizza, cakes and hot chocolate.
The next 12 hours changed that. By evening time, sunshine had swept in and blown the clouds of frustration away. A glow replaced the glower.
How so? I’ll tell you next time…