Tag Archives: Indonesia

Find some time for healing

With a new week comes a new tip over at Lip!

This time, I went to a Balinese healer.

99 tips for a better world: find some time for healing (8 of 99)

I started writing today’s tip curled up on a rattan chair in a gorgeous Balinese villa, surrounded by lush greenery and the clicking tails of geckos. Peace was in abundance.

I, however, was unable to enjoy it. It was 3am and I couldn’t sleep. I’d made it to Ubud but was still running on Melbourne time. Not just the three-hour time difference, but the brutally early mornings, the relentless brain activity, the familiar feeling that something wasn’t done, that someone was waiting for something I hadn’t delivered.

I usually strive (read: try with limited success) to maintain a balanced life, but the last month or so I was a poster child for the insanity of modern life. I rushed everywhere, said yes to everything I was asked and, to accommodate the busy schedule, said no to sleep and exercise.

I allowed myself to work and work and work with disregard for anything else because I knew a glorious relaxing week in Bali was on the horizon. How better, I thought, to reconnect with my long lost sweet inner life than lie in a hammock surrounded by lush tropical growth. It was also efficient! A year of stress and sleep deprivation would be erased by a week of relaxation…right?

At 3am I faced facts – you can’t shift from harried office worker to Zen master yogi just by hopping on a plane.

That night I wrote:

So I’m awake at 3am. My stomach has that low-level churning stressed feeling that doesn’t seem to go away anymore. I’m on my fourth night of holiday sleeping (no alarm!) so the pure exhaustion appears to have receded and now I am left to contend with the bruised and depleted self left over.

I was pretty fed up. I wanted to begin a revolution against modern living.

A revolution, however, seemed like something that should wait until after my holiday, so instead I decided to get proactive about my personal wellbeing and visit a Balinese healer.

This morning, fully equipped with traditional Balinese offerings, my travelling companions and I drove out to a village and into a grand but run down family compound. We were ushered onto a rattan mat by a leathery old man who looked somewhere between serene and uninterested.

The healer sat in a chair and I sat down in front, with my back to him. He poked and prodded my ears, head, face and neck and ran through a list: ‘Balance, OK; stomach, not bad – wait does that hurt? Yes, could be better; intelligence, OK; mind, oh dear; lymph nodes, not good.’

Then his mobile phone rang.

As he answered it, he instructed me to lie down on a dais. When he hung up he took a long wooden implement that looked like something you would use to fasten a bun in your hair and pressed the insides of my toes. He pressed the first couple of toes and when they didn’t hurt he said, ‘See, OK’ as if confirming his diagnosis. As he got to my third toe he pressed the wooden implement with what appeared to be a glint in his eye. The pain as he pressed was breathtaking. ‘See, problem!’

‘Your mind is a problem! Too much worry. You need to relax. You have stomach problems? This is why.’

My companions laughed and nodded as if to say, ‘It’s true! Her mind is a problem!’ I looked forward to them having a turn on the dais.

Once diagnosed, it was time for healing. Still lying down I put my arms beside my head, leaving myself open for the healer’s medicine. He took a small brush and ‘painted’ me with air in an elaborate pattern down the length of my torso. Then he brought my hands together against my heart as if to pray. ‘Now, pray to your God.’ He continued to run the brush over me and then declared, ‘OK, you’re fine now.’

I got up off the dais and sat back down with my group. I felt a strange tingling sensation in my stomach. The low-level churning had disappeared. I couldn’t stop smiling.

At 3am this tip was going to be: ‘reexamine the insanity of modern life’. But these 99 tips for a better world are supposed to be small, and there is nothing small (or very original) about that.

So instead, today’s tip is to find some time for healing. If you’re troubled, or worn out, or just have that sense that you could feel better, visit a healer of whichever variety you choose, or clear your schedule and go to bed early. Go for a walk, pick up the instrument you love to play, or put on some music while you make dinner.

As for me, I’m off to enjoy the rest of my holiday in a hammock surrounded by lush tropical growth. Low-level churning not included.

(Image credit)

The list: Ubud, Bali

Not an exhaustive list, just the places I’ve come across that are worth writing down.

Accommodation: AirBnB.com came up with the accommodation once again. We stayed in this glorious, peaceful villa.

Getting around: Our stay was great in large part because of Q-ull, our great driver. He took us on a day trip, arrange our visit to the healer and has scheduled out our last day in Bali so we can fit in dinner at Jimbaran Bay on the way to the airport. Call him on +62 813 531 537 62. He also runs fishing trips if that takes your fancy.

Amertha Yoga Agrowisata
Br. Temen, (Tampaksiring – Kintamani)
Penglumbaran, Bangli
mobile: +62 813 387 846 33
Amertha Yoga Agrowisata is a coffee and cacao plantation you can visit. It’s not in Ubud, but rather in the area near Kintamani lake and volcano. The set up is awesome – the garden full of bushes and trees is labeled in english so you can see the trees all your favourite fruits and spices come from. Then you get to sample cocoa powder, kopi luwak (fondly referred to as poop coffee), ginger tea and other delightful drinks.

Nur Salon
The staggeringly painful reflexology at Nur Salon was amazing. I’ve had a lot of reflexology in my time but none as good as this. Persevere through the pain – it’s worth it.

Atman Kafe 
There are so many good food choices in Ubud. It’s mind blowing. I found a book that whittled the options down to a few stand outs. I used the list mostly to avoid decision paralysis. Fortunately, we got hungry for lunch in an area I had no recommendations for. We stumbled into Atman Kafe and I ate the most delicious and fresh balinese curry imaginable.

The healer I wrote about here is Tjokorda Gde Rai. I won’t add his contact details here, but you ask around in Ubud someone will be able to take you. (Even better, ask Q-ull to take you).

The list: Seminyak, Bali

Not an exhaustive list, just the places I’ve come across that are worth writing down.

Anantara Seminyak Resort and Spa
The loveliest beach hotel I’ve ever stayed in by a long way. We got a sweet deal through Mr and Mrs Smith and enjoyed two days of the high life. The breakfast was incredible, with the opportunity to order off the menu AND go to town on the buffet. The buffet included delicious renditions of Indonesian favourites which helped me tick off a number of foods I was hoping to eat (the kolak was a highlight).

La Lucciola
A Seminyak classic – I’m not telling you anything you won’t read in any guidebook or hear from a friend. This restaurant overlooking the ocean is glorious. The breakfast menu runs until midday and is worth getting in early for. Reasonably priced (it’s a pretty fancy place so the dinner bill will most likely run into the millions of rupiah) and delicious.

Desa Seni
Not in Seminyak but close by. I was lucky to be introduced to this place for a yoga class with a friend a couple of days ago. The yoga was truly amazing (open air, surrounded by lush greenery, a great and lovely instructor, humid like crazy – nature’s Bikram). If I were to come back to Bali for a yoga holiday or some heavy duty relaxing, this would be place for me.

Back on the road

Where is Sarah?, the travel blog with 95% less travel, is back in business.

Next week I’m off to Bali, to take up a practice in sitting and lying on beautiful furniture, maybe even a hammock. I will also take a photo or two. Maybe even put them here on this blog.

In the meantime – Maira Kalman:

New Law in Aceh Allows Stoning to Death of Adulters


I’ll write more about this later, but for now, just want to share. Article from AFP.

Indonesian rights groups condemn new stoning law

By Nurdin Hassan (AFP) – 19 hours ago

BANDA ACEH — Indonesian rights activists condemned as “cruel and degrading” on Tuesday a new Islamic law calling for adulterers to be stoned to death in the country’s staunchly conservative Aceh province.

The law — which also allows punishments of up to 400 lashes for child rape, 100 lashes for homosexual acts and 60 lashes for gambling — was passed unanimously Monday by lawmakers in the region at the northern tip of Sumatra island.

The law replaces elements of Indonesia’s criminal code with sharia, or Islamic law, for Muslims. It allows the death penalty for married people and 100 lashes for unmarried people found guilty in cases of adultery.

“The laws that have been approved in Aceh are cruel and degrading to humanity,” National Commission on Human Rights head Ifdhal Kasim told AFP.

The law undermines the secular basis of Indonesia’s law, Kasim said, adding the rights group was appealing to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to review the legislation.

“This will bring Aceh back to the past. Throwing stones is like Aceh in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries,” Kasim said, adding the law would likely embolden conservatives pushing for sharia on a national level.

The controversial legal change was passed in Aceh just weeks before a new, more moderate provincial assembly — dominated by the Aceh Party of former separatist fighters of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) — is due to take power.

The administration of Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, himself a former GAM fighter, is opposed to the strict sharia law, but has said it is powerless to stop the law, which will come into effect in 30 days with or without his signature.

“(The law) only deals with petty crimes, adulterers, but it doesn’t deal with (significant crimes such as) corrupt officials,” Human Rights Watch spokesman Andreas Harsono said.

“In our opinion it is against the principle of human rights,” he said.

Human Rights Working Group head Rafendi Djamin said the punishments set out in the law were “humiliating and degrading” and a product of politicking among local leaders.

“They’re more interested in private issues than issues of the wider public interest like corruption and measures to empower people who have been suffering in the wake of conflict,” Djamin said.

Arif Budimanta, a senior official of the opposition Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, condemned the law — despite local members having supported it in the Aceh assembly.

“We are deeply concerned about this cruel law as it is against our national ideology and values of pluralism,” he said.

Spokesmen for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a liberal ex-general re-elected by a landslide earlier this year, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ma’ruf Amin, the head of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, Indonesia’s top Islamic body, welcomed the new hardline law.

“The Council supports sharia law in areas where it is allowed, like Aceh, which has special autonomy. It’s not a matter of good or bad.

“For Muslims, sharia law is the best and can be implemented anytime, anywhere. As long as there is agreement from everyone, there’s no problem,” Amin said.

Aceh had previously adopted a milder form of sharia law in 2001 as part of an autonomy package from Jakarta aimed at quelling local separatist sentiment.

The sharia code enforced religious observation and offered lighter punishments — including caning — for gambling, drinking and association between unmarried members of the opposite sex.

Separatists in Aceh had been fighting the Indonesian government since 1976 until a peace deal in 2005 in a conflict that claimed over 15,000 lives.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s 234 million people are Muslim, but the country also has significant Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Confucian minorities. Most Muslims practise a moderate form of the religion.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.