Swinging over paradise.
Our journey to Bali was an adventure! It was transformational, inspirational, and motivational.
I was there for a 10-day workshop, led by transformation life coach, Rachel Gilmore (center), designed for us to grow, experience, and learn. It was all about stepping out of our comfort zone, removing emotional obstacles that were standing in our way, finding more of what motivates us to be purposeful in life, growing our businesses that help others, and growing ourselves spiritually, mindfully, and meaningfully. This trip was all this and then some. Away from daily distractions, with a leader that is strong and steady and a whiz at forming business plans, drawing on the energy of these fabulous and insightful women and this island of peaceful and generous people, we accomplished so much!
Thank you Rachel for making this possible!
I think of Bali as this beautiful island with a generous spirit and a culture of people that are grateful just about every minute of every day. It is tropical and peaceful. The people are so kind. You can’t help but open your heart when you visit this island paradise. It was the perfect place to reflect, relax, create, and grow.
The people were warm and welcoming, like these 2 teenage girls who were excited to have their picture taken.
The staff at our retreat was genuinely interested in making our stay comfortable, relaxing, and memorable. What I found interesting is that it felt like they were present on a much deeper level that was coming from deep in their hearts. When asking how they could help, they would make direct eye contact almost like they were looking into your soul. “What do you want? How can I help you? What would make you the happiest today?”
This made me stop and reflect, asking myself, “What do I want?”. So often we are just going and doing with not a lot of thought about why or where we are headed. When I thought about it, I came up with a short list of things that I am looking for in my life. The first thing is meaningful relationships, that’s always number one with me. Delicious and healthy foods, a close second. A job I love. The Connecting Kitchen is not only a job I love, but a purpose, and has pushed me to grow both personally and professionally. Last but not least, I realized that I want to learn and laugh and inspire people around me and draw inspiration from everyone around me too.
Often we are filling ourselves with foods and thoughts and things that don’t serve us and don’t bring us health or happiness. It was worth taking a few moments (or a few days) to think about what I’m reaching for, what I’m doing and if it is bringing me closer to what I want.
One of the highlights of our trip was the excursion to Green Kitchen. The other ladies weren’t too keen on going. Who wants to cook when you are on vacation? But we all got to choose one excursion and this was mine. It was the ultimate experience of connecting in the kitchen! It was incredible, delicious, heart-warming and fun, and it reminded us of the importance of eating real food and making the connection with the things that nourish our bodies and souls, like friendship, nature, and eating good food. In the end, it turned out to be one of our favorite things we did.
Before we started cooking, we visited the local marketplace. Visiting local markets is one of my favorite things to do. I always think it tells you so much about daily life and how people in different cities and countries live. I also love seeing all the colorful and interesting foods, many of which we don’t have at home.
After a few hours at the market, we continued on to the cooking school.
We had an extraordinary day at this open air cooking school, connecting on so many levels with our host Jero, new friends Sophie and Amanda from Germany, with the nature all around us (overlooking the rice terraces), learning about wholesome foods that nourish, and feeling grateful for all of it and every moment.
The backdrop, the beautiful view of the rice terraces was breathtaking. The feeling was so rustic. All the fresh vegetables and roots were grown on their farm.
They put us to work mashing the garlic, chiles, shallots, turmeric root, ginger root, galangal root (relative of the ginger root), lemon grass, fresh corn, and lemon basil, all by hand with a mortar and pestle.
The most fun thing had to be that we mixed everything with our hands. Talk about making a connection with your food!
Lindsey and Sophie are squeezing the coconut cream from the fresh shredded coconut. The cream was mixed into the Chicken Curry and the coconut was added to our Long Bean Salad. We made 5 different dishes. You could taste how fresh everything was just by looking at it.Here we are cooking Tuna Satay. We mixed ground tuna with all the ground roots and herbs we mashed. We formed these lollipops and cooked them over the fire.
This was the lunch we made. Chicken Curry, Green Mango Salad, Corn Fritters, Tuna Satay, Long Bean Salad, Fried Shallots, and Coconut Rice. Wholesome and healthy. All made from scratch. All made by hand.
Before eating we made offering trays with small amounts of food to present to their gods, as a way of showing gratitude for food and nature and all that we have on earth. This day was all about enjoying the connections with food, friends, nature, and our abundant planet. What a day!
There are so many incredible memories from this trip. Everyday was like a different adventure! Here are a few more of the highlights.
This is a photo of rice terraces that we saw along our travels. These are similar to the backdrop at Green Kitchen, but this photo was not taken there.
The largest and holiest Hindu temple on the island is called Besakih Temple or “The Mother Temple”. It sits on Mount Agung, the highest point on the island. Here we are on the steps.
The black color of the stones comes from the volcanic rock created over time by eruptions of lava from the nearby volcano.
One of our friends guarding the Uluwatu Temple along the coast. Hundreds of monkeys live in the forests around the temples and are believed to protect the temples from harm.
This is the stunning view from the Uluwatu Temple. The temple sits atop these dramatic sea cliffs. The people believe that the temples protect the people from evil.
The lotus flower rises from the muck in the lily pond where it grows and is symbolic of beauty and spirituality. It reminds us of the potential to create beauty where there may once have been none.
Our furry friends were everywhere, but especially friendly in the Monkey Forest in the city of Ubud. They love to play with water bottles and snatch sun glasses from tourists. You need to hold on to your belongings, because they are clever thieves and often work in pairs.
While Rachel is smiling for the picture, we didn’t realize that the monkey had unzipped her backpack and stolen a bottle of essential oil. Bye bye essential oil. The monkey took off and we never got it back.
Spectacular sunsets every evening. Peaceful and beautiful.
This last picture at Tegenungan Falls pretty much sums up the whole trip. Feeling sheer joy and happiness. Embracing everything that is beautiful in this world. This trip was a celebration!