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How To Glowing from the inside out

If you’ve ever been in love, you know what it is to glow from the inside out. It appears like a constant smile, laughter at the simplest things and an endless energy and optimism which comes from somewhere deep inside.

You don’t need to fall head over heels for anyone else to experience this “love glow”; you can just further cultivate a love of self.

It is easy if you just make a commitment to adopt some healthy habits and drop some that are no longer serving you.

You can choose to feel this great sense of renewal, where everything seems more fresh and alive.

One great way to find your inner glow is to cleanse your body.

After eating heavier and processed foods such as grains, sugar, meat and dairy for a long period of time, a cleanse can help to remove old mucoid plaque from the body.

You will become more alkaline, giving you more energy, mental clarity, improved complexion, softer skin and hair, a boosted immune system and that beautiful, natural radiance that already exists within you.

There are wonderful, bustling morning markets which offer a variety of freshly picked local produce and plenty of health food stores for specialty items such as Bali Buddha and Alchemy.

You can also find organic farmers locally: Har’s Organic Garden, Ariesta and Sari Organik all deliver and their prices are very reasonable.

With all of this at your fingertips, what’s stopping you?

There are a number of ways to cleanse…

1. The Detox Diet:

Choose only cleansing fruits such as papaya, pineapple, noni fruit, and the inner flesh of aloe vera. Eat vegetables and salads for one to four weeks while drinking a lot of water.

Eliminate all caffeine, dairy, meat, butter, chocolate, beans, eggs, corn, soy, salt, sugar, grains, nuts and oils.

Once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite easy. Whole fats are fats which have not been removed from their fiber i.e. oils.

You can eat whole fats such as sprouted sunflower and pumpkin seeds or avocados blended with vegetables and spices and/or seaweed to make salt free dressings.

Eat lots of green sprouts like pea shoots, sunflower greens, buckwheat greens, alfalfa sprouts and clover sprouts which are amazingly high in protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Drink plenty of water, too.

Another fantastic product to add into your cleanse is a protolitic probiotic (PP).

PPs help create friendly flora in the bowels which makes for better digestion, convert proteins into amino acids, clean and strengthen the colon

Reduce food and sugar cravings, moisturize the skin, and help our bodies to reverse the aging process by breaking down undigested proteins.

An excellent way to eat probiotics is by making kefir and enjoying it in your salads or over fruit.

2. An Intestinal Cleanse:

This is a deeper cleanse and can last up to 4 weeks. It involves taking herbs and cleansing shakes, and eliminating meals.

This removes mucoid plaque which blocks absorption of nutrients, removes toxins which are stored in the tissues and fat cells, and reduces stress on the organs which help to clean the toxins from the blood.

Colonics are a great addition to this process as well.

3. A Fast:

You can fast on juices or on water. Fasting on water one day a week is an excellent way to give your digestive system a break and help your body to detoxify.

4. Skin Brushing:

Since the skin is the largest of all the eliminative organs, dry skin brushing is a sure way to get rid of toxins and debris within the body.

We often overlook the skin, but telltale signs that your body is crying for help are things like dry, blotchy skin, skin rashes, eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis.

You will need one brush for your face and one for your body.

For your face, use a small, soft brush and work your way from the forehead down, making circular motions.

Continue brush the rest of your body with a slightly firmer brush.

Just 10 minutes every morning will tone your skin, improve your complexion, stimulate your immune system and your acupressure points, and regulate hormones along with a long list of other benefits.

5. Oil Pulling:

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy to draw out toxins from the body. It is an effective and inexpensive technique for restoring and maintaining overall health.

Essentially, it is the process of swishing oil (unprocessed sesame or coconut oil) around in the mouth, which pulls toxins and impurities out of your body as a natural way of detoxifying.

Before brushing your teeth in the morning (on an empty stomach), put one tablespoon full of sesame oil (for Vata or Kapha Ayurvedic types) or coconut oil (for Pitta or Kapha Ayurvedic types) into your mouth and swish around for 20 minutes.

Move oil slowly in the mouth, sucking and pulling through the teeth. This process makes oil mix thoroughly with the saliva which activates the enzymes, drawing toxins out of the blood.

The oil should NOT be swallowed, as it has become toxic. As the process continues, the oil gets thinner and white.

If the oil is still yellow, it has not been pulled long enough. Keep on pulling until it is white, thin and frothy.

Spit it out and wash your mouth thoroughly. Consume at least one glass of water afterwards.

You can perform this detox 2-3 times per day, and can try walnut, sunflower, avocado or olive oil.

You can also add a drop of clove oil or Thieves oil for even more healing benefits.

This cleansing beverage works wonders—it’s not very difficult for most people to consume and it’s also easy to digest.

This formula is a lower-glycemic version adapted from the original:

The Master Cleanser Formula

• 2 Tbs (30 ml) fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice • 1-2 Tbs (15-30 ml) pure 100% maple syrup, honey or stevia to taste • 1/8 tsp (.6 ml) cayenne pepper • 1 cup (240 ml) pure water

Make a concentrate of the juice, and add water when you’re ready to drink. Use the sweetener to taste. Store the mixture in glass, not plastic.

Drink this cleansing beverage liberally (8 to 12 glasses) throughout the day.

Also rinse your mouth and teeth with water after drinking to lessen the risk of lemon pulling calcium from your tooth enamel.

The perfect liver food, lemon is a great body cleanser, containing vitamin C, potassium, and other minerals.

Its astringent nature helps to tighten up tissues, loosening and clearing out toxins. Syrup or honey adds wonderfulenergy and nutrients.

Cayenne pepper helps clear the blood, eliminating mucus and toxins. Enjoy this tasty, spicy lemonade for 1-3 days with no other food to feel a glowing sense of renewal.

Green Magic Smoothies

Makes 2 servings

2 cups (480 ml) greens (such as spinach, sunflower sprouts, Romaine lettuce, etc.) 2 cups (480 ml) chopped mangoes or your favorite fruit Water or almond milk to blend (about 1 cup or 240 ml)

Blend until smooth and drink. Drink within 24 hours of making.

Fun additions: 1 Tbs (15 ml) goji berries, 1 Tbs (15 ml) protein powder, 1 tsp (5 ml) bee pollen, 1 tsp (5 ml) green powder (Wheatgrass, Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Moringa) Green powders give you that spark of energythat occurs when your body is alkalized by greens.

Gorgeous Alkalizing Green Juice

Makes 6 cups or 1 full-day’s supply on a fast

2 cucumbers, cut in quarters 2 bunches of celery (about 20 stalks) 1/4 bunch cilantro or parsley 1 green apple (optional for sweetness)

Juice all ingredients.

Store in sealed glass jars, filled all the way. Alkalizing Green Juice will keep for two days if made in a slow-speed masticating juicer (Green Life, Omega 8002, or Samson) or 1 day if made in a blender or other juicer.

Natural skin treatments:

Moisturizing Avocado Face and Body Mask (enough for 8 masks)

1 Tbs (15 ml) coconut oil 1 Tbs (15 ml) lemon juice

Blend all ingredients until fluffy. Apply on the face and body and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

This luxurious mask will make your skin feel soft and smooth. The honey and lemon strips away old dead skin and pore clogging elements.

The avocado and coconut oil help soothe and soften.

Face Mask with Toning Cucumbers

Lemon juice (just enough to mix) Thinly sliced cucumber, 1 mm slices

Mix honey and lemon juice and apply mask to your face. It will help to dissolve old dirt and lighten freckles.

Lie down and place cucumbers over your face for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Honey and lemon are excellent for cleaning pores and removing debris on your skin.

Exfoliating Peppermint Face and Foot Scrub (enough for 10 uses)

1 cup (240 ml) sea salt or fine beach sand Olive oil (enough to saturate the salt or sand) 10 drops of peppermint oil

Mix well and massage/scrub into your feet for 10 minutes. Rinse in warm water. This refreshing scrub leaves you feeling smooth and invigorated.

Nourishing, Anti-Aging Seaweed Face and Hand Mask

1/4 cup (60 ml) soaked Irish Moss (soak 3 hours in water then rinse well) 1 cup (240 ml) hot green tea

Blend the Irish Moss with the hot green tea until the texture is smooth. Apply to your face and hands and lie down while it dries.

Rinse off with a warm wash cloth. Seaweed has long been touted as a skin detoxifier.

It has amino acids, is rich in vitamins and minerals and is gentle. It’s all natural and antibacterial, which will remove makeup and sweat, prevent acne, and re-mineralize and soften your skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

1 Tbs (15 ml) apple cider vinegar (strained) 4 Tbs (60 ml) alkaline or distilled water

Rub, spray or pat with cotton onto your face to clean and tighten pores.

When you spend time loving your body, it will thank you by showing up more energized, beautiful and radiant.

Our inner glow reflects everything we put into our bodies. A “high raw”, high plant-based diet with alkalizing, enzymatic ingredients including plenty of superfoods is a great way to nourish and love your body and soul.

Living to work or working to live?

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“THE gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight.

They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.” (The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus)

In his writing about the absurdity of human existence, Camus believed that human beings were not supposed to be living in this world.

He used Sisyphus as an example of how life is imagined. Sisyphus’ efforts at pushing the rock up the mountain are, according to Camus, similar to the challenges of life.

He goes on to write that even if we work really hard to achieve goals, we may achieve nothing in the end.

So, if life has no meaning, does that mean life is not worth living? Are we living only to work, mirroring Sisyphus’ own struggles—or are we working to live?

Humans have always worked to survive: hunting animals and gathering fruits and vegetables. In this scenario they worked to live.

As society evolved and industrialized, the premise of working for survival (hunting) shifted insofar as work became a commodity that could be rewarded and traded with money.

Then, in the 18th century, the industrial revolution marked a major turning point in human history.

Nearly every aspect of daily life including agriculture, manufacturing and technology was influenced in some way.

The industrial revolution spread from the U.K., through Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the world, dramatically increasing the availability of consumer goods.

In the words of Nobel Prize winning laureate Robert E. Lucas, Jr., “For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth.

Nothing like this economic behavior has happened before.”

In the middle of the 20th century, people began to buy products with little regard for the true utility of their purchased goods.

As consumerism continued to evolve and society created the concept of materialism, people started to “live” to work.

Multi-millionaire businessman James Caan has said, “No one can survive for long if they are completely obsessed by work; that route will only lead to increased stress levels and can ultimately be count- er-productive.”

Consumer behavior is similar around the globe, even in places such as Bali.

However, in the past, the Balinese perspective about work differed from today; it was always related to religion and culture.

The Balinese traditionally believed that work was bound up with duty and dedication to their gods.

For example, a farmer’s work- day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. Under these conditions, a farmer may rarely complain and may harbor little desire to become rich.

In the past, a powerful concept among the Balinese – from the lowliest farmers to the high-ranking kings – was swadharma*; they didn’t work to live, but to fulfill their swadharma.

If a farmer believes strongly in this notion, he may keep that belief in mind as he works.

Over time and until today, this belief in swadharma has been slowly disappearing.

Work/life balance

Think about how much time you have spent working and how much time you have left for the ones you love, friends, family, and also yourself. Is it balanced? If not, what can you change?

Mohamed El-Erian, the chair of Microsoft’s Investment Advisory Committee recently wrote on the subject:

“One day, my daughter asked me to wait a minute. She went to her room and came back with a piece of paper.

When my daughter pointed out all the special events and things I was missing, I realized that something had to change.

The list contained 22 items: her first day at school, first soccer match of the season, parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween Parade.

I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Traveling, important meetings, and urgent phone calls, etc.

But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point.

My work-life balance had gotten way out of whack, and the imbalance was hurting my very special relationship with my daughter.

I was not making nearly enough time for her.”

Another important aspect of a healthy work-life balance is how you actually view your job. Step back and ask yourself: Am I happy with my life as it is right now?

At the end of his book, Camus writes that Sisyphus realized he would continue to face challenges despite no chance of success.

Once he accepted the misery of his condition, Sisyphus also recognized that life was nothing more than a struggle of absurd proportions.

When people accept their fate; accept who they are and what they are capable of, they may find genuine happiness.

This is really the essence of swadharma. Once we know more about ourselves and accept it, we can live with greater joy.

*Swadharma is the idea of acting according to your skills and talents, your own nature and that which you are responsible (karma).

All in a day’s work | Inspired Bali

This is a photo essay between myself, Janet Nicol, an expat living in Bali and Gun Gun Gumilar a photographer from Java.

We decided to explore Ubud and document the various jobs and incomes we encountered. Below is a selection of our work.

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Lengser, Shopkeeper-80,000 Rp a day

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Fivi, Caterer, income varies

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Wayan, seamstress 50,000 a day

Wita-Shop assistant, 130,000 a day

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Stephan, labourer, 65,000 Rp a day

Adi, Midwife 33,000 Rp a day

Satoru, Manager-about 250,000 to 350,000 a day

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Nyoman, Driver, various income

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Nila, Cook and restaurant owner, 250,000 a day

Kadek, Sales girl, 25,000 a day

Heru, Basko soup seller, 80,000 Rp a day

Dewa, Barista, 60,000 a day

Setting It Up | Inspired Bali

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IT was during a holiday on the island that I caught the Bali Bug; not the one that affects the stomachs of many tourists (that’s Bali Belly), but the madly-in-love and ‘can’t live or breathe without you’ kind of bug.

Bali is one of the few places in the world that I have visited where you get this hopeful sense that anything is possible.

Despite being half-Indonesian and half-American, I grew up in the United States so I had to relearn the language when I landed in Indonesia and take the time to understand the Balinese way of life.

For 13 years I worked steadily toward a childhood dream of building a socially focused fashion company that gives back to the community. I completed my Masters studies at London College of Fashion and London Business

School and worked for some of the top luxury fashion brands in both the United States and Europe.

However, when I arrived in Bali, I really had no idea how to start a fashion business.

I had created a business model during my studies, but that model was of no use to me when I first landed in Bali, when I was merely trying to survive.

There are so many things that you can only learn by doing when you are becoming an entrepreneur.

If you are considering setting up a business in Bali, I would like to share my insights in order to save you a few unnecessary headaches.

I have created a summary in the form of a SWOT Analysis, to highlight the key Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, along with my Top Ten Tips for Setting Up a Business in Bali.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Low cost: living, labor and property rents
  • Warm weather, beaches, mountains and rich culture
  • Fresh produce grown locally

Weaknesses

  • Slow and spotty internet
  • Limited legal protection
  • Health issues due to common illnesses in the region and poor hygiene
  • Heavy traffic jams and pollution
  • Everything takes longer than promised, which means longer wait times
  • Many religious ceremonies delaying business processes
  • Low level of customer service and business professionalism
  • Focus on producing lots of products at the expense of quality

Opportunities

  • High level of creativity amongst the Balinese people
  • Ease of customization
  • Production can be done in small quantities
  • Relative accessibility to Indonesia as a growing emerging market
  • Close proximity to other markets across Asia

Threats

  • Many legal limitations within the context of business. For  example, if your business operates outside the spectrum of the registration categorisation you could incur a hefty fine
  • Corrupt System – many officials are looking for a payout ‘bribe’
  • Owning land as a foreigner is not a straight-forward process and involves reliance on a partnership with an Indonesian co-signer. This process requires a certain degree of trust that could pose a problem in the future if the relationship doesn’t work out.
  • Temporary loss of key staff as the need arises. For example, when an employee’s relative is sick or team members have to return to their village, and a replacement is not easily found, this leaves the business vulnerable.Cutting corners is common when manufacturers or suppliers are looking to find a way to make a bit of extra money
  • Limited protection of your creative works – copying is a standard business practice on the island.

Top Ten Tips

1. Learn Bahasa Indonesia – Some locals speak English, but many don’t. I’ve noticed that foreigners end up paying higher prices when speaking English.

2. Learn to drive a motorbike – Traffic is a massive problem on the island so get used to spending lots of time on your bike. Be careful with your bags while on the bike, as there have been many motor accidents resulting from bag thefts.

3. Get a business visa – Although you can apply for a visa with an agent in Bali, you must leave Indonesia to process Once complete the visa allows you to stay on the island while you are deciding whether to commit 100% to setting up your business.

The visa is valid for one year but you must leave the country every 60 days. I would advise against registering your business in the beginning as it can take about 3-6 months. Moreover, your business idea may change over time.

4. From homestay to house contract – A ‘homestay’ is is a cheap form of accommodation, while still figuring out where you want to live. If you decide to stay, you will save you money in the long run to rent for longer periods like six months to a year. Prices are usually negotiable, so ask around with a local Indonesian friend in tow.

5. Learn the Balinese Hindu and Muslim Calendars – Mark your calendar for the key religious The Balinese Hindu have a large number of festivals and ceremonies throughout the year. Also factor in that the Muslim population fasts for an entire month during Ramadan.out where you want to live. If you decide to stay, you will save money in the long run to rent for longer periods like six months to a year. Prices are usually negotiable, so ask around with a local friend in town.

6. Have enough money to last you at least one year- Two years’ worth of funds is wiser and a safer bet. You can live fairly cheaply, but you may occasionally have to factor in unanticipated expenses.

7. Build Bridges with other Business Owners – In the early days of starting up your enterprise, you might want to seek out other business owners on the island who may be willing to help you.

8. Understand Indonesian Business Practices – Learn the Indonesian way of doing business by engaging with the local community so that the business can grow more Sometimes it’s easy to follow what you are used to in approaches to business, but be open to new perspectives.

9. Visibility through Social Media – I highly recommend using social media platforms to promote your business through video content, blogging and even a crowdfunding.

10. Spread Your Risk – Reliability and consistency are among the greatest challenges when it comes to dealing with vendors and Make sure to have a fall-back plan for all aspects of your business.

Looking back, this is the best advice I heard when I was starting out:When people start questioning your decision to move to Bali and they want to know how you will do it, just tell them: ‘I don’t know how I will get there, but once I have gotten there then I will tell you how I did it’.

I have documented the good, the bad and the ugly in a year-long blog called Bali Fashion Dream. www.balifashiondreamblog.com. My book, based on my blog, was released in January 2015.

Now it is up to you to dive into your dreams. No one else can do it for you. What are you waiting for? The greatest journey of your life awaits… See you in Bali!

Temple of dreams | Inspired Bali

Almost every day I am reminded of the absolutely real and very rich connection I have to my inner voice of wisdom because I listen to my dreams.

I live a life that is infused with magic because I remember I have a dreaming self and I honor and value this part of myself.

I take the time to nurture it. The first step is to catch dreams and log them in a journal, then look at them with an eye for the hidden gifts within.

I dream of Bali often when I leave the island…

In my dream, I am walking through a jungle, weaving through the emerald foliage and I hear a hauntingly beautiful gamelan playing like a soundtrack in the air around me.

I come to a lovely Balinese goddess, who gives me a large round screen that I hold up and look through.

As the light streams through the batik orange, brown, and green patterns I see the land and friends of Bali that are so dear to me.

I wake with the feeling that I was there, in a sacred Bali that feeds my soul.

And far away, in California, I ready myself for my day with the knowledge that I am still connected to the life I love in Bali.

I had a series of slightly different versions of this dream over the course of several weeks and each time I felt a deep appreciation for the sense of vitality it brought me.

I awoke refreshed because I remembered the special sense of aliveness I feel when I’m in Bali, and each time I had the dream I happily carried this feeling with me during my busy day.

Studies show we may wake with a “dream hangover” – a feeling that carries over from the emotions experienced in the dream.

If the feeling is pleasant, as in this dream, I can sustain it when I think about the dream and imagine my way back into the scene.

If unpleasant, like the feeling of a scary dream, it is possible to move that sensation out of the psyche and body by doing something physical, like shaking it off, spitting it out into the ground, or wiping the feeling off the body.

It may sound silly, but it can work if done with intention.

I use the first person present tense when I write my dreams and when I tell them to others.

With this technique, used almost universally by fellow members of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, I step back into the dream as I write it and more details come through as I see myself move through the dream in my imagination.

When I tell a dream to another in this way, I find it helps the listener journey through their own imagined version of the dream, and to facilitate insight that can then be shared.

There is magic in this; when shared, any dream can provide valuable insight for all parties and dreaming can become a community activity.

Balinese cultural researcher Sugi Lanús studies temple dreams. He spoke to me of a temple in his village that was built after several of his neighbors had the same dream.

They dreamt of meeting a holy man who was without shelter at the base of a sacred tamarind tree that grows in the village.

After three spiritual leaders in the community had similar dreams, the village decided to devote the time and financial resources to build a proper temple there.

Now, when young people who leave to work in Denpasar dream of this temple, they feel they are still a part of the village and are comforted with this vision of home.

This group temple dream is alive because the dreamers have allowed it to manifest in the waking world.

So what happens when we dream? A dream addresses many layers of our integrated Self simultaneously, in different and coordinated ways.

Dreaming is infinitely mysterious and creative and in order to better utilize and interpret our dreams it can be helpful to learn about a few different dream theories.

These categories are by no means mutually exclusive; rather, they are layered and are simultaneously present each time we dream.

Physiological

The body changes during sleep to facilitate dreaming.

Some scientists believe dreaming is nothing more than somewhat random effects of brain processes that help facilitate memory formation and information processing, but many hold something more is happening.

Studies show our imagination can actually change our biology; our body responds to that which we imagine, including dreams.

We are embodied consciousness and therefore need the tools of our physical body to do anything, including dream.

Sometimes a dream will actually give us insight into the status of our physical health to enable our body to continue to serve us.

My goddess dream affected my physiology in a lovely way.

In addition to the unconscious physical processes that always underlie dreaming, I woke from this dream energized, refreshed, rested, at peace, and happy.

My body felt healthy and strong upon waking and the dream did not interrupt a good night’s sleep. My emotions were positive and happy.

Day Residue

These dream elements refer to waking life events.

We live in a world of symbols, reflected in specific experiences, images and other sensations that make their way into our conscious awareness as well penetrating into the unconscious parts of ourselves.

Images are predominant in the language of dreams and perceptions from the day that appear in our dreams can carry significance and provide insight.

My own dream was rife with familiarity. From the colors of the batiks to the sound of the gamelan, elements of this dream were clearly called on from deeply etched memories.

I have seen images of Balinese goddesses and I often admire the beauty of Balinese women dressed for ceremony.

I have been in the Balinese jungle. All of these left a lasting impression on me and then later found their way into a dream of a place and a feeling I love.

Personal Psychology

Dreams provide insight into our psychological state of mind and our life story. Daily challenges, joys, and concerns are regularly processed in dreams.

In the language of Freud, when looking at a dream one image or feeling can lead to associations with another, leading to insights about one’s life.

The psychological view is the usual focus in the Western world when dreams are discussed, often in the therapist’s office.

When I think about my life from a psychological view, the dream reflects how much I miss Bali when away and that part of me yearns to return.

This dream fulfilled my wish to be back in Bali.

If I look at all of the elements of the dream as psychological aspects of myself, I know I have a beautiful, nurturing part of myself that guides me along, and that I can see deeply into the meaning of things.

I know that during the period I had these recurring dreams I felt a little lost in the “concrete jungle” of my big-city home.

I see this dream as a reflection of my search for the right path at this time in my life and the challenge of straddling two lives half a world apart.

Archetypal/Collective Unconscious

Dreams are also collective. This is the territory of C. G. Jung’s “amplification”, wherein our understanding expands beyond individual lives into the world of living myths, the vast cross-cultural repository of living symbols.

We can take our dream images and relate them to the big stories of our shared humanity.

In order to interpret my own dream through the lens of archetype and mythology, I look for universal themes and unfamiliar symbols to explore.

For example, the wildness of the jungle invokes the story of the hero’s quest and the act of finding one’s path alone in the deep unknown.

The screen is a magic implement that will help me find my way, and the gamelan is a siren song enchanting me.

The Goddess as she appears in this form is beloved by all who see her.

In this way, my dreams connect me to symbols of beauty, wisdom and earth magic and I have dipped into a ubiquitous source of knowing so that I may alchemically transform and grow.

Neo-Shamanic/Indigenous

We travel in the imaginal realm when we dream. Dreams take us into the realm of the transpersonal and can connect us to living energies beyond our own.

For example, Balinese beliefs speak of journeying beyond the body when we dream, and of visits with departed loved ones.

Psychologist Stephen Aizenstat teaches the concept of “animation”: the idea the dream world and everything in it is alive and is available for dialogue, and in the dream a dreamer has an authentic experience that is every bit as valid as waking life events.

I have journeyed across time and space to be in this particular Bali, and I can revisit it any time I choose.

I can go anywhere I like when I dream; I am unbound from my five physical senses.

I use my dreaming self to explore and make contact with a guide who has come to show me something.

The batik is a veil between the waking world and the multiverse and the music is the sound of the cosmos.

This is a dream portal ripe for further exploration. The extent to which we interpret our dreams is a journey unto itself.

Dream researcher Jeremy Taylor says we can work a single dream for a lifetime and still discover something new.

We can unpack our dreams as much or as little as we like.

I take all of the above with a great breath of gratitude, and I intend to further inspire myself by bringing something from the dream into my waking life.

Dream teacher Robert Moss says dreams require action and for me this series of dreams is so full of life I want to remember the feeling I had when I awoke.

I can return to this beautiful dream place simply with the act of imagining myself there. But there is more that can be done.

Perhaps listening to gamelan music will fuel further insights, or a phone call to a friend I saw in the dream will be timely.

I may make a model of the batik screen to meditate on. Maybe I’ll even return to Bali for a while.

And again, with renewed gratitude, I’ll sleep tonight and see what dreams may come.

The gift of walking | Inspired Bali

Solvitur ambulando. It is solved by walking. ~St. Augustine

Not a day goes by that I don’t feel blessed to have survived a near fatal accident four years ago with all parts intact.

I had fallen through a bridge in Cambodia while cycling, landing on a rocky riverbank ten meters below.

Despite suffering a concussion, multiple fractures and open wounds, the prospects for my recovery were good. I was lucky and hopeful.

Ever since I was released from hospital, walking became integral to my rehabilitation schedule, and helped me grapple with lingering stiffness, numbness and pain.

From my own personal experience, and from many books, articles and websites, I learned about the healing benefits of walking.

And so, with a fervent belief that the mere act of setting one foot in front of the other would help bring my body back to wholeness, I went from crutches to cane, and became a devout walker.

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Like many people I came to Bali to heal. Two years ago, when I arrived in Ubud – a renowned center for healing – I felt certain that it would be the perfect place to indulge in my passion for walking.

I expected to find parks, gardens and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks; and excited at the prospect of exploring the outdoors year-round, drenched in sunshine and warmth.

What I found instead were impassable sidewalks with steep inclines, parked cars and motorbikes, gaping holes dangerous to life, limb – and pride. Even walking through rice fields without slipping into mud became a tricky endeavor.

These hindrances were more than just an inconvenience.

Since I rarely ride on scooters or in cars (due to injuries from my accident), I rely on my feet as my primary mode of transportation more than most people do.

I needed to find an obstacle-free path on which I could walk easily and meditatively, with no fear for my safety.

I suddenly knew what I was looking for because I’d walked such a path many times before: what I really needed was a labyrinth.

In ancient times, the labyrinth was a symbolic rendering of a fortification, or a protective talisman against invaders and evil spirits.

In the middle ages, labyrinths were used as substitute sites for pilgrimages, when devotees were unable to undertake travel to other lands.

But in the modern era, labyrinths have developed into spiritual walking paths, typically concentric circles, with multiple turning points and with a single entry and exit.

Labyrinths of various sizes can be found around the world, in public parks, private gardens, university campuses, hospitals and places of worship.

They are walked for meditation, prayer, contemplation, and healing.*

Shortly after I began my search, an unexpected opportunity arose. A meditation retreat center was under construction in Tabanan, and its visionary founder wanted a labyrinth.

So I offered to design and install it as a gift to the center and its guests. I also imagined it as a gift to myself; a peaceful sanctuary where I could walk free of the impediments I was facing in Ubud.

Our enthusiasm grew as the labyrinth’s design began to take shape. We considered size, direction, placement of trees, shade and seating.

In deference to the orientation of Balinese structures towards Gunung (Mount) Agung, dwelling place of Hindu gods, I resolved to align the single entry and exit point with a view towards this sacred mountain.

I was also mindful of placing the labyrinth’s entrance in close proximity to a rock nestled into the ground a revered relic from an ancient ashram uncovered on the site.

Through months of blistering sun, rain and unrelenting winds, and with input from experts and volunteers, our ideas were transformed into reality.

I would walk the path at least twice a day, grateful for the wide open space, the grass beneath my bare feet, the surrounding sounds of nature.

The labyrinth was nearing completion when I noticed something going awry.

Weeds were growing out of control, limestone pieces were sinking underground, and grass around the stones was turning into mounds of burnished rust while spreading in strange and unmanageable ways.

In a matter of weeks, the grass showed further signs of decay: wilting and withered with large patches turning into colorless blades of grass, the circuits were barely visible.

Moreover, an army of red ants was threatening to overtake the field – and to bite every inch of my skin.

I gazed at the labyrinth with a mixture of disappointment and sorrow. Like Ubud’s sidewalks, the path was becoming virtually impassable.

Not only was the labyrinth falling apart – so was my body. Under dirt-covered gardening gloves, sweat-soaked work clothes and midday heat, I was straining.

I’d had to resort to boots to keep the ants at bay, and found myself knee-deep in gardening hell when all I had signed up for was to create a labyrinth.

My body was aching all over and my efforts were being scuttled by recurring bouts of pain.

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I briefly considered leaving the project, but was already too deeply involved and invested in seeing it come alive and thrive. Abandoning was the easy way out.

Who promised that either journey – healing or building a labyrinth – would be simple and straightforward?

If I wasn’t prepared to give up on my body, how could I give up on the labyrinth? I decided to stay on course, but resolved instead to give us both – the labyrinth and myself – a rest.

I returned to Tabanan at the end of January, well-rested and with a renewed sense of purpose. It was particularly auspicious because that visit marked four years (almost to the day) since my accident.

I meandered down the path to the labyrinth, with a prayer in my heart, hopeful that salvage (and salvation?) was still possible.

As I turned the corner and stepped onto the terrace, the wise words of Frank Lloyd Wright sprang to mind: Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

Indeed, signs of rebirth and renewal were everywhere. Freshly laid soil was covered with manure.

Tufts of grass, transplanted from healthier mounds, were settling into the ground.

Limestone pieces, by then understood to be the culprits in this saga ,were temporarily replaced with bamboo sticks until later, when the grass would be fully grown and new stones would be placed.

How do we grow ourselves if not by stripping away temporary setbacks and appreciating the gifts that are disguised within obstacles?

Through these unexpected turn of events, the labyrinth revealed itself as a mystery and lesson about life, as well as a vehicle for growth and sustenance.

Perhaps this is precisely the path I had to tread in order to truly appreciate and share the gift of walking with others.

If we take steps towards healing – by walking or any other way – without expectation of results, we may discover that nature will support our journey, in mysterious and inexplicable ways.

Ultimately every path will lead us precisely where we must go.

Read more about labyrinths here: http://www.labyrinthsociety.org http://labyrinthlocator.com

For more information about the labyrinth and retreat center, please visit: www.balisilentretreat.org

Amit’s future plans include creating labyrinths on other islands, in a jungle – and at a rice field (with a small footprint) in an effort to preserve the sawah.

When not designing and installing labyrinths, Amit practices Iyengar yoga, meditates for self-healing, writes, photographs daily life in her banjar and practices bahasa Indonesia.

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Dream catching: Have a little adventure every day

“When a really great dream shows up, grab it.”- Larry Page

“The deepening dusk opens to a night blue sky with stars and so much room. I’m sitting on a park bench illuminated by a warm light shining from an exotic lamppost from a long ago era.

Talking to my brother about how we can have a relationship that is more enriching, I notice it’s not his face, but the handsome face of a much younger man, perhaps from a tropical land.”

I wake from this dream with a knowing; this is a big dream, and I was not talking to my brother in this dream.

My brother was named after my grandfather, a man I never met and knew little about.

My father was raised in foster homes, and his missing family was a mystery to me. This felt like an invitation, one I decided to accept.

So, in the bright morning, I did an online Google search of my grandfather’s name. A photo from 1913 appeared, of a freshman high school football team, and one of the players was my grandfather.

As I recognized the face I had dreamed the night before, I felt a blast of energy in my solar plexus and burst into tears, tears for the ancestors I didn’t realize I needed to know in order to feel whole and to understand my place of belonging in this world.

I embarked on a genealogical treasure hunt that revealed three generations of my family, two generations of healers and their children. They lived in India, where my grandfather was born.

The dream revealed my need to have a relationship with my lineage, and brought deep healing and practical information. It had the power to change my life.

We are born dreamers. We dream in the womb, and research indicates that by the time we are eighty years old, we have spent twenty years of our lives dreaming.

This is a vital part of our lives that we don’t want to miss. Even though dreams may be mysterious, scary, or we simply don’t remember, there are gems of insight waiting to be uncovered.

Dreams guide us, help us make decisions, remind us of things we’ve forgotten, tell us about relationships, show us what our soul needs to thrive, move blocked energy and help us heal.

They warn us of challenges, tell us about our physical and emotional health, inspire and entertain us, and bring creative gifts.

Everything we’ve created was dreamed or imagined first, and dreamers have changed the world in practical ways. Jeff Taylor is a dreamer.

He woke from a dream of a “monster “ bulletin board filled with job postings and sat down to write his idea for Monster.com.

Innumerable artists, writers, scientists, and other creative people have used their dreams to enhance all of our lives.

Larry Page knows about the creative gifts of dreaming, too. He states the idea for Google came from a dream. Your dreams may hold answers for yourself and for the world, if you can only remember them.

Dreams are magic, and everyday life can be too. This is what your dreaming self already knows, that dreams come to inspire and enchant your life, to guide you.

They serve you, even the frustrating or scary ones, and sometimes, the especially scary ones bring especially deep healing.

Your dreams are a reliable gauge of what is going on inside of you and in the world around you.

And dreams are not just for us individually. In Bali, important dreams are shared with the family or the community, and dreams of beloved departed loved ones are visits from the other side.

When the ancestors come calling in dreams, the family wants to know about it. The ancestors live in sacred family temples in the family compounds, where one can communicate with them on a daily basis, in a tradition that goes back beyond memory.

When an ancestor is reincarnated, it is said they are reincarnated back into the family, and the cycle continues.

Dream sharing is part of the practice of becoming a skilled dreamer, and we can increase our connections with others this way.

Creating the space within our busy lives to share dreams within the family is a wonderful gift we can give each other.

Children love to tell their dreams. Dreams are stories and learning how to become a storyteller is one of the benefits.

Dreams bring information for others and this is one reason to share them. Sharing dreams builds community and helps us understand their meanings when we explore them together.

Dreams come to tell us things we don’t already know.

“I’m with a group of friends in a restaurant. A friend is holding his head because he has a headache. In the dream I understand he suffered a head injury.

I wake with an inner voice telling me he will heal from this, but he will need patience because it will be a long process.”

Two weeks later I learned this friend had been in an accident overseas and was still in the hospital with a significant concussion.

I contacted him and told him my dream, and that the dream indicated he would be fine with time, to have patience and faith in his ability to heal.

He deeply appreciated this message and it gave him hope. He eventually recovered.

A year later I was at the same restaurant as in my dream, with the same group of friends, and the dream unfolded in waking life as I saw my friend holding his head in the same way I observed in the dream a year before. This dream was for my friend.

Researchers theorize the feeling of déjà vu, that sensation we’ve experienced something before as we are experiencing it in present time, is linked to precognitive dreams.

We dream something and later it happens in waking life, and we get a sense that we’ve done this before.

If you keep a dream journal you may find you have proof your dreams and waking life blend and the boundaries between the two are not absolute.

Dreams are ultimately creative. In order to discover more of the magic in our dreams it’s important to understand that dreams are not just about individual psychological processes, which many of us have been taught in the West.

They are so much more than that. The psychological approach is valuable for understanding dreams and should be a part of the dreamer’s tool kit for dream exploration, but we can have so much more fun with them than just analyzing them.

Skillful dreaming is much more than psychology.

It is about creatively and actively engaging with the real dream experience and looking for ways we can bring the creativity and the healing of the dream into waking life.

What we call a dream is a reported memory of a much larger experience our dreaming self has had.

It has validity in its own way, with its own logic, and is an existential experience this part of our consciousness has undergone.

A dream memory is similar to a snapshot we may take of a vacation. It is a picture of an experience, but it is not the whole story.

This is why we can open up dreams, go back inside them to have a look around, and discover new insights hidden in the dream memory.

In Bali, as in many cultures, dreams are journeys and we travel beyond the body when we dream.

While dreaming, our dreaming self explores beyond the confines of our body and its limiting five senses.

We use other senses out there in the dream worlds and we can do anything.

In Bali it’s easy to have a waking dream, a waking experience that is rich with the meaningful symbolism of a dream, and that can lead us to the same kind of personal insight that a spontaneous nighttime dream can have.

Moving through a day in Bali is often like moving through a dream, full of rich sensory experience and deep meaning.

Some visitors to Bali remember fewer dreams while here because waking life is so colorful.

And other visitors remember more vivid dreams here because the dreaming self is awakened and stimulated, sensing into the special magic of place.

And when we leave the island, our dreams may keep us connected to her.

That “Aha” moment is a feeling of healing.

So it’s important to expand our definition of what is a dream. A dream is more than just what happens spontaneously during the night.

Your imagination and dreams come from the same creative source.

Dreaming includes imagination, daydreams, fantasies, meditation, reverie, moments of spacing out, inner voice experiences, images, visions, body sensations, intuitions, and anything else that expands our way of sensing the world.

This includes waking moments that are dreamy. We live in a world of symbols.

What does it mean to have a dreaming practice? Skillful dreaming is learned and practiced, like yoga, meditation, or hula hooping.

It’s not hard to do and it’s FUN! It’s creative. What is trying to come through for you in your nightly forays into the deepest parts of yourself?

What kind of adventure is your dreaming self having? How are your daydreams, your imagination, your fantasies, your wise inner promptings, and your reveries informing your life?

What about those funny coincidences you notice in your day? They all have something for you.

When developing a personal dreaming practice you expand your awareness and meet a part of yourself that is ready to help you live a richer life, with more vitality and a deeper understanding of the Self.

You receive guidance and catch unexpected ideas. You live a bigger life, one that includes more of your deep story, and includes all those hours of your life you spend sleeping.

Are you a dreamer? It’s romantic to be a dreamer. It brings play and enchantment and a feeling of magic.

With dreams we remember anything is possible. We remember things we knew when we were children. Something in us becomes young again.

How To Become Better at Remembering Dreams:

»» Make it Important: Decide it’s important to remember your dreams. This in itself alerts your dreaming self you’re ready to remember.

Select and organize your tools by your bed: dream journal, pen, colored pencils, smart phone, or other recorder.

»» Incubate a Dream: Ask for a dream before you go to sleep. Do this every night, and be persistent; it may take some time to wake up to your dreaming self.

You can put a slip of paper with a dream request, or any other symbol, under your pillow at night. Try doing this with a crystal, a little figure, a picture, or anything that will remind you of your dreaming self.  

The fragrance of the herb mugwort is a traditional dream enhancer.

»» Dreams are Experiences: Revise your concept of what is a dream. What we call a dream is a memory of an experience our dreaming self has had.

This dream memory is a glimpse of a larger event, and gives us a view of something we’ve done, which is now a memory.

More can be found in the dream experience that is unseen and forgotten. Even a fragment of a dream can be expanded.

Fragments, snippets, and flashes are all bits of dreams that are valuable.

»» Scan: Get in the habit of scanning your body and your awareness, before you fall asleep and when you wake, and even while moving through your waking day.

Watch for images, sounds, emotions, body sensations, words, unexpected sentences, fragrances, and memories. Do this every time you wake.

Pay attention to these sensations and write them down, draw or record them. You may come to recognize the distinct physical sensation you experience when you wake, alerting you to start your scan.

»» Stay Still: Don’t move immediately when you wake. Try to stay in the same body position you were in when you were dreaming.

If you use an alarm, set it close enough to reach the snooze button without changing your body position.

Dreams may linger longer if we keep our body still. After we’ve scanned, more of the dream may return if we get into a body position we experienced in the dream.

Try assuming the position of a dream character other than yourself and see what comes to you. Play at becoming that character.

»» Add the Hypnogogic State: This is the layer of consciousness we experience briefly as we transition from being awake into sleeping.

Practice becoming aware of what is happening when you dip into this state. It is a richly creative initial phase of sleep and it brings images, ideas, words, advice, feelings, memories, and sensations.

Try to sustain it and see if you can catch something.

»» Include the Hypnopompic State: Watch what happens in this short period of consciousness we experience just as we wake, between sleeping and waking.

Do you have a physical sensation of reentering this world? Where have you just been, or are you still there? What does it look like? Is it day or night? Who are you with? How do you feel physically? Do you feel any emotions? Do any words come?

»» Look for Nightly Gems: Instead of expecting a fully formed dream story every night begin to look for some kind of a “gem from the night” when you wake.

What did the night bring? Was it a dream, a memory, an image, interesting squiggly lines, a powerful word, an inspiring phrase, some words of wisdom, an idea, a deep knowing, or a good night’s sleep?

»» What’s Happening in Your Day? Watch for coincidences and symbolic appearances in your waking life.

Is a life question somehow answered? Do you experience a Déjà Vu feeling? You may find you dreamed the event before it happened, and these events can be very simple and mundane, or important and big.

Look for these in your dream journal.

Predictive dreams may be clear and unmistakable, or the precognition may be hidden in the symbols of a dream that looks nothing like what unfolds in waking life, but the tone, the feeling, of the dream is the same.

Look for symbols in your day that have meaning for you, and engage with these in some way.

Now that you are ready to remember more dreams, have fun, and have a little dream adventure every day.

“As they went on, the moon rose and threw a pale mist of light over the whole, and the diamond drops turned to half-liquid pearls, and round every tree-top was a halo of moonlight, and the water went to sleep, and the flowers began to dream.”

-George MacDonald (1824-1905)

History Of Bintang Indonesian Beer

IT’S REFRESHING, alcoholic and bubbly, and has fuelled many a party on the island over the past 80 years.

Many visitors to Bali may already be familiar with it before they even set foot on the island, thanks to the beer brand’s iconic logo that adorns the T-shirts, bags and cup holders favoured by many globetrotting tourists.

If you haven’t yet been acquainted with Indonesia’s local brew, Bin­tang, then now is the time.

Despite being synonymous with Indonesia, Bintang is actually a legacy of Dutch colonial rule.

The company that started making it, Nederlandsch-Indische Bierbrou­werijen, was founded in 1929 in Medan, Indonesia, when it was still a colony.

Since then the parent company’s name has changed multiple times but adopted its current name, PT Multi Bintang Indonesia, when it went public in 1981.

So what does Bintang actually taste like? Although popular on the island, Bintang is not popular with beer connoisseurs who bemoan its faintly metallic taste and texture.

Among the comments on the beer rating web­site www.ratebeer.com, is that Bintang “tastes a bit like cardboard” and is “bland and boring”

These views don’t seem to bother many drinkers, how­ever, who have clearly developed a taste for the beer.

Bintang has retained its dominant market share and sells 50 million litres of beer annually, making it the number one drink in Indonesia.

That may sound like a lot but it’s easily dwarfed by the amounts drunk by some European countries.

While locals have been known to enjoy the occasional swig of Bintang, it’s not a big part of the local scene.

Indonesians are not big drinkers and the high tax on alcohol makes drinking a relatively expensive choice.

But despite Indonesia’s lowly position in the global beer drinking stakes, beer is still more popular than liquor con­sumption, which is amongst the lowest in the world.

The drink may be relatively popular amongst Indonesians but it’s probably fair to say the biggest fans of Bintang on Bali are the island’s tourists.

The Facts:

  • One glass of Bintang beer is the calorific equivalent of two slices of bread, 150 grams of meat or 85 grams of rice. So go easy if you want to keep your figure svelte.
  • Bintang is 4.7 per cent alcohol, making it relatively strong but not as strong as Heineken, which has alco­hol content of 5 per cent.
  • The beer is made of barley malt from Australia and Europe, hops from the UK and Australia, yeast from Holland and water from an Indonesian well.

Price range:

A small Bintang costs 13.000RP or 25.000RP for a large bottle at supermarkets like Delta or Minimart.

If you are looking for a stunning view at a beautiful spot, find a seat at the Westin in Nusa Dua where a Bintang will cost you 70.000 RP.

Uang Kepeng: The Traditional Money of the Balinese

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YOU may have noticed old coins with a hole in the middle lying on the ground around the front of a house; or appearing in offerings at certain ceremonies;

or in works of art, without realizing how important they were to the financing of the arts and the development of strong traditional local government in Bali.

Chinese money, known generally as Uang Kepeng in Indonesian, or as Pis Bolong in Balinese, is known through the ancient Lontar records to have circulated as a medium of exchange since at least 900 AD, and perhaps much longer.

Throughout this time, Uang Kepeng touched on all aspects of Balinese life: cultural, religious, social, political and economic.

Today, Uang Kepeng is used only for ceremonial purposes, while the economic aspects have withered away with the rise of a united Indonesia.

Most Balinese over 35 years of age recall their parents giving them allowances in Uang Kepeng, with which they could buy lunch and snacks at school.

Older adults remember their banjar, the ancient traditional government, imposing fines payable in Uang Kepeng for failure to abide by village rules or attend meetings on time.

Some, particularly women, remember using Uang Kepeng to buy nearly all of their families’ daily needs in the marketplace.

But regardless of age or gender, every Balinese knows Uang Kepeng is an essential component of Hindu religious ceremony.

Few realize the significant role that Uang Kepeng played in financing the diverse arts in Bali.

Although Uang Kepeng circulated freely throughout the island, each banjar levied taxes on the coins, which were used to finance group activities (sekaa) like gamelan or kite flying;

or to support community infrastructure projects such as temples, bridges and roads. Women used to control the economy of Bali.

As Miguel Covarrubias wrote, “the women are the financiers that control the market; one seldom sees men in it, except in certain trades or to help carry such a load as a fat pig.

Even the money changers are women, who sit behind little tables filled with rolls of small change, Kepeng, Chinese brass coins with a hole in the middle.” Uang Kepeng gave women one of the most important roles in society.

Uang Kepeng also helped protect Balinese culture from the intrusive effects of foreign money, whether through trade or tourism.

People could choose to participate in both economies, rather than being forced to choose between them.

Take a moment to think about what this would mean to those Balinese who would prefer to continue living a more traditional lifestyle, in harmony with a slower, more sustainable pace of life.

Smile, you’re in Nyuh Kuning | Inspired Bali

“Smiling is the beginning of happiness,” says Agus Premananda, a longtime resident and proud member of the local community group Mekenyem (“smile” in Balinese).

He and his group are clearing the streets of litter, planting trees and ambitiously planning to plant 5,000 frangipanis. This, they claim, is sure to bring a smile to even the grumpiest of souls.

Nyuh Kuning (“yellow coconut” in Balinese) is a banjar (small village) of roughly 800 residents located south of the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud.

Once a village of wood carvers known for their animal figurines, Nyuh Kuning–much like Ubud and much of Bali–has been impacted by the tourist industry.

Increasing numbers of guest houses and hotels dot the village, as well as a small selection of shops and restaurants.

You won’t be solicited here for a taxi or a massage (though both are available), a welcome break from Ubud.

Nyuh Kuning’s popularity skyrocketed in 2009, when Julia Roberts came through town to film Eat, Pray, Love.

It’s also home to Yayasan Bumi Sehat Klinic, a prenatal care and birthing clinic founded by Robin Lim, winner of CNN’s 2011 Hero Of The Year Award.

Relatively tidy and pedestrian-friendly Nyuh Kuning has become a favourite choice for expat families with children.

“I want my kids to explore our neighbourhood on foot,” said one expat mother walking through the football field carrying a handful of organic produce from a neighbour’s garden.

The football field regularly hosts informal baseball, frisbee and football (soccer) matches, drawing a culturally-mixed group of players.

Nyuh Kuning stands out as an integrated, pedestrian- friendly village. It’s clean, bright, orderly, and colourful without the signature aroma of burning garbage.

“Who smiles in an unclean village?” asks Agus with a raised eyebrow. The village collects, and takes responsibility for all of their garbage.

On Saturday mornings you’ll see local school kids collecting their community waste along the main road, Jl. Nyuh Bulan.

The trash is then sorted, composted or recycled. This kampung runs their own local warung, a transportation co-operative and a parking lot to raise funds for community projects.

Though the village consists of only two streets that converge at the football field and continue to the Monkey Forest, it is full of artisans, cultural and healing centers and ashrams.

The soccer field is busy with a variety of activities: soccer, kite flying, community ceremonial preparations and even a Saturday morning baseball game headed-up by neighbourhood North American parents.

There’s Yellow Coco Creative Nest, a center for art and creativity, the Amrtasiddhi Ayurvedic and Yoga Health Center, Movement Matters, and notably for food, Coffee and Copper next to Monkey Forest.

The community even has a facebook page to stay connected to local activities (FB: Nyuh Kuning Neighbors).

Another lovely sight is the local elderly residents with yoga mats tucked under their arms heading either to exercise class or Laughter Yoga classes at the Ambarshram.

You can reach the village by riding your scooter or walking along the stone path left of the entrance to the Monkey Forest in Ubud.

If you come by car you will be charged a 2000 rupiah entry fee, a village initiative to keep traffic down.

With no shortage of innovative environmental programs and community activities, there is much to smile about here.

Janet Nicol is a resident of Nyuh Kuning.