Bali  – Resplendent Sojourn at the Alila Resort Sitting poolside of the luxury five-star resort watching crystal blue waves rolling into shore is the last place I thought I’d find myself to be three weeks earlier. Yet here I am stretched out on a sun lounge with nothing to have to do other than be.  To just be.  I want to squeal with excitement.  Is this real? Am I really here living the life of a princess even if only for a week? I feel like someone has superimposed me into a travel brochure. It all seems so far removed from the life I have left behind as I melt into a gentle lull of relaxation and peace. Thank you, thank you, thank you I inwardly yell to the blue sky.  My real life is that of a crazy single working mum constantly running from one thing to the next trying my best to keep things together, ironically it’s usually me that collapses in the process.   When I do sit down “to just be” my inner organiser advises me of all the things I have to do, the things I have failed to do, the things I really really ought to do,  and at the bottom of the list are the permanently pending items. Stupid list! (It seems there is always something to worry about, and that’s one thing I do exceptionally well, I worry. A marvelous worrier, a trait I think I have learnt from my mother, her ability to worry is even greater than mine. Even when there is no need to worry about anything, we’ll find some imagined future possibility to worry about.  Master worriers, not a title I’m proud of or choose to keep. Right now, however, I don’t feel worried and I don’t want to worry.  The only thing I’m worried about is getting too much sun as I don’t care to add to the wrinkles on my face rather than the potential risk of skin cancer.  Vanity, in this case, serves me well.  The only other thing to worry about is not to miss the massage I’m booked in for. “Do you miss your daughter?” my friend asks. I realise the correct answer, in this case, is “Yes, I absolutely miss her” but I have no interest in telling a white lie to my dear friend.  “No, I don’t miss her.  I know it sounds awful.  I love her more than anything else but right now I don’t miss her or the life I’ve left behind”   “I’m so pleased you said that” she replies “I don’t miss my kids either. Should we feel guilty?” she asks.  We chat about it and have a chuckle about our need to feel worried, guilty, responsible, to always be something to someone. No we should not feel guilty for not missing our children, we should not worry about not being worried and enjoy just being girls with no children to run around after and no to-do list, other than the regular application of sunscreen and make it to the 2 pm massage at the resort spa centre, which is a mere fifty metres away from the sun lounge I currently occupy.) “Organise a trip to Bali” was nowhere on the list so here I am wondering how on earth I managed this small feat.  Was there some divine intervention that orchestrated this wonderful adventure or the effects of too much champagne shared one autumn evening leading to our spur of the moment decision by two women to leave their children and lives behind on a fanciful whim to not only get away but to also embark on a new business venture.  To say that we acted out of character would be a gross understatement.

Typical of most mothers we put our children and everyone else’s needs before our own.  On this occasion however we broke out of our comfortable/uncomfortable molds, wild women that we are!

We keep looking at each other in disbelief that we’re actually here.  “Can you believe we’re here?” we intermittently say to each other throughout the day, still in a state of mild shock at out our achievement. Eyes wide with joy faces smeared with 50 plus sunscreen, innately knowing that our 40 plus years on this earth will catapult us into new worlds of discovery. It is so much more than just a holiday, for the journey’s that have led us to this point in time have been eventful, wonderful, traumatic and revealing for both of us. (It is so much deeper).

This is about reclaiming ourselves, rejuvenating and redefining who we are as women living in a modern world juggling ever-growing “to do” lists.

Our short week in Bali is the beginning of our endeavor to live fearlessly despite the setbacks and the wounds from our past. Through our own personal experiences and those of our inner and outer circles, we are aware of the increasing challenges faced by the lives of modern women.  We have supported and been supported by remarkable women navigating their way through this ocean of life. (Hold and cherish each others stories of failure, victory, pain, celebration, fear, courage, madness.) The warm ocean breeze, the sound of the sea and the essence of this deeply spiritual country provide an enchanted sanctuary away from the routine and demands of our daily lives.  We are privileged women in that we have jobs, homes, loving families and friends, beautiful children and so much to be grateful for.  With all that we have, there is a deep longing and yearning for something more.  (Inner peace, fulfillment?) Exhaustion, anxiety, busyness, responsibility, the constant rushing, running, texting, calling, cooking, cleaning, caring, hurting, worrying, hoping laughing, crying…etc.etc.

Like so many women in the haze of all the doing there is often the sense of having lost ourselves somewhere along the way.  Our deeper purpose was forgotten in some old drawer stuffed with odd bits and pieces that we may eventually sort through one day…. or maybe not.

Our bodies fatigued, minds mental, emotions overwhelmed and soul starved we keep on keeping on.  That’s what we’re meant to do right? That’s what we see so many women do, try and hold it all together.  So what happens when she decides to no longer hold “it” together anymore? Well these two women book a holiday to Bali and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.  They make a commitment to dare and be more than they could ever imagine for themselves. Armed with the power of friendship and the belief we have in each other, but not necessarily in ourselves, we propel each other onwards and upwards.  Seeking inner peace and fulfillment we delve into the stories of our past sharing the turning points of our lives and the keys that released the locks and the blocks. My beautiful friend is lying back on a sunbed drinking in the tranquillity of the warm blue world around us.  Although the sun is shining brightly the colours of the sky and ocean are a diffused tone of blue adding further to the dreamlike state we find ourselves in. Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is like a dream and that’s the way it certainly seems. It was not so long ago that I was curled up in the fetal position, a wounded little creature shaking at the core of her being, bereft of hope, numbed by the abuse of a man I had dedicated my life too.  I didn’t think I would ever be able to smile again, I gave up believing that things would one day get better.  Each time I hit what I thought was rock bottom, the ground would open up once more sending me spiraling down into an abyss.  My faith and ego crushed, there was nothing left for me to do so I gave up.

We can never know the role someone is going to play in our lives when we meet them.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to meet people that enhance our lives just by virtue of knowing them.

That was what it was like when I met Genie. I met her in a professional capacity at a time when she was going through one of the most challenging periods of her life, a story that she will share a little later on in the book. A sensitive, joyful, deep soul with a beautifully coiffed bob, a warm heartfelt laugh and always wearing pretty shoes. Even in her deepest pain her light always shone through. Sitting on the wood framed leather African chair in the little green healing room, she wept as she told her story of miscarrying twins, the collapse of her relationship and the subsequent grief and depression she found herself in.  While I cannot remember our conversations in detail, for much time has passed, I recall my heart opening to this gentle spirit and my desire to soothe her soul.  There was also that feeling that I knew her from some other time, while we had not previously met in this lifetime there are so many similarities in our lives that we know we must be connected in some way that is beyond our understanding.  So it is with great honor that I have the opportunity of collaborating with this wise wild soul sister in sharing the stories of our keys which are your keys also. Once upon a time, I wanted to save the world, to make everyone feel better, happier and ecstatic with the fullness of life but somehow I lost myself.  I discovered that nobody could turn the key for me to free me from the darkness I found myself living in.  It was up to me alone.  The calm blue surface of the water softy drifts and ripples as the breeze gently skims across creating circular patterns and fast flowing currents.  Such peace to melt into the liquid blue.  I now know that what once was is no more.

The key has turned, new doors have opened and finally, I have the courage to walk through into new worlds that await me.

In this mornings yoga class with our exceptionally gorgeous and ridiculously flexible Santi, yoga positions that once seemed impossible for me to maneuver into I’m now able to ease my way into.  If my body has been able to do this surely my thoughts and emotions are capable of overcoming limitations also. Rosemary Sherro Key Mindfulness, the science of wellbeing is the Key for Me

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