Just because I’m 8000 miles from home doesn’t mean I don’t get triggered now and then. Not by Bali, with its fresh bowls of purple dragon fruit, its incense and little paper altars every two feet, a place so peaceful I haven’t seen one cop or heard one harsh word. A world where most people I pass on the street look up and smile, and who are so kind-hearted that today on my run when I almost got flattened by a young man on a scooter, he put his hands together in prayer and smiled when I mouthed, “I’m sorry.”
A friend from home poked me for being online so much, “What happened to unplugging?” he wrote. I guess I thought the wi-fi scene here would be worse, and while a break from the internet would have been hugely beneficial for me, I found myself sending photos and texts to friends and family fairly regularly. I’ve stayed connected and it’s felt good.
So when I got the text this morning from a man I like a lot, and when he shared that he had met someone and that there was a lot of spark, I initially felt, “oh no,” and a cold, crystally feeling spread into my chest and I sunk a little because he and I had been having such beautiful exchanges – these texts back and forth ever since I’d been in Bali – and before that, back home.
We’re not lovers, we may never kiss, but the connection between us is intelligent, strong and intimate. I liked the attention I was getting from him, and his excitement about this new woman triggered a smallness in me, a feeling that I would be forgotten.
I know I just wrote that piece about the lack of intimacy in technology – but he and I seem to be an exception. We’re frightfully honest, and each text is an opportunity to tell some slice of truth about ourselves, and how we experience the other.
“Wow,” I texted back. “Does this mean you’re going to disappear for a while?”
“I don’t think so,” he wrote.
And then I set out for my early morning run here in Ubud, before it got too hot. The minute my feet hit the pavement I felt happy. Not only because I’m an endorphin junkie, but because running these particular streets so early in the morning makes me happy. And it was more than the run itself, it was that I was alone, thousands of miles from home in a third world country, the only white woman at 6:30 a.m. in a sea of Balinese men and women on scooters, a girl in a skirt running past early morning monkeys hanging from phone lines looking for trouble. I was happy. Happy without my friends and my family, happy without a date, happy without the special latte god I pray to every morning, happy without my own bed, my amazing students, my milk frother, and everything else I’m attached to back home.
There’s a world out there and I forget it all the time. A world way beyond my tiny frame of reference; the few miles I travel to and from each day, my schedule – teach, gym, write, teach, gym, write – a world beyond my work and the things that I focus on at home and sometimes make too important – like whether someone likes me or not, or whether they meet someone else more perfect for them.
I don’t think I’m running away from my life when I run, more like I’m running into my life. In Ubud I love running up Monkey Forest Road to the school and watching the children arriving on the backs of their parent’s scooters. I love watching them get off in front of the school, and the way their parents stick their hands out for their children to kiss – just like the queen. This morning I ran past a large group of men whittling bamboo for a funeral pyre that’s being created for a holy man who died this week. A few doors down is the gorgeous temple that butts up against a small 7 11 convenience store. Dogs and monkeys rule the road, and I weave in and out of them as I make my way each morning.
Bali is waking me up – and partly because you actually have to keep your eyes wide open when you run here. You have to watch your feet as well as your periphery because it would be so easy to trip on the broken pavement and land in a pile of monkey doo, or swerve yourself right into the sea of scooters. You have to keep a wide view here and pay attention to everything because it’s all coming at you, and you have to look 6 ways before you step off the curb. It’s definitely keeping me on my toes. It feels dangerous, and beautiful and alive all at once.
That’s what I want to bring home with me next week, the wide view. Yeah, I get triggered, my tiny tin heart goes ker plunk sometimes, but there’s a world out there and right now I’m in it.
Fucking beautiful, Laurie. Keep your eyes and heart wide awake to catch what unfolds next for you here in Bali. Run, Laurie, run…into your life. Yes!
There is so much I want to say here, because reading this was like diving into a warm whoosh of ocean, and the wave of it is taking me to the most marvelous places. But really, at the heart of it, I am just so happy for you, Laurie. I’m happy that this is what you’re seeing and doing and being. I’m happy that this place you’ve touched down into for a little while is touching you, too.
Perfectly said, Maya. I feel the same. So happy.
wow! I’m blown away…truly connected to you and get you! XO
Thank you for waking me up to Bali this morning. I love looking through your generous lens. I feel inspired to look 6 ways today! Thank you.
Cannot thank you enough for the gift you have just bestowed upon me. The beautiful landscape of Bali ~ a word painting of a much bigger and personal wide view of a life many aspire too.
Thank you for sharing the rich world of Bali and your heart — the photos and words that you have posted, the wonderful doors and news of a more peaceful way of living, have moved me!
I don’t know you – but I felt the hitch in your heart when you read that update. It was the loss of a dream that was only a wisp of smoke. Beautiful description. I do believe that writing out what’s inside us helps us to see what we are ready to see. Thank you for sharing this moment in time.
Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Enjoy being alive, my girl! I love you!
So many thoughts here, but the first one, was wow, I love how her words feel round and open and smooth and untamed all at the same time. I love how you talk about how your time away has you running into your life. So so so beautiful and magical and real and you make it look even more beautiful. <3
“It feels dangerous, and beautiful and alive all at once.”
Thank you for taking us on your journey with you, Laurie, and holding us close. Love… <3
Your post was delicious. It made me tingle with the aliveness of your every word. ‘ … running back into your life …’ Beautiful Laurie.
Laurie Wagner marry me and have my babies…. 🙂
Thank you x0
I have follows you on your soul’s journey. I have felt energetically your desire to open- I am sure all who know you wished this for you. I know the feeling of opening- I left home for here myself and feel it again and again when I allow adventure. I missed you…and life is fluid-…we who love you are here…and you are free to let go in your life.. Keep running into your life and thanks for your amazing describing of your heart in Bali. With Love.
I’m enjoying your trip to Bali. Keep running, keep writing, always be you.
“Happy without my friends and my family….and everything else I’m attached to back home.” I love the feel of this whole paragraph – I love that you captured then distilled what it is to have a sense of your solitary soul in the world, the relaxing into that feeling without fear of loss, and then reveling in that joy! Wow! I’m totally inspired!
Thank you for opening your heart, for sharing your journey to Bali- it has enriched my journey too as I do my own running, ruminating, painting, playing, writing and avoiding my metaphorical monkey doo.
What a breath of air today. My gratitude for sharing your view this morning. I was allowing the creep of weak attachments and self-imposed rules, judgments and deadlines to consume me.
I’m going to pretend to run the streets of Bali where children step off scooters and kiss the hand of their darling parent…oh….and the monkeys.
Wowzer, girlfriend! What a sweet, juicy rush of rawness. Inspiring freshness of living your true self into everythingness.
Grateful you live it into writing. A gift!
I love your blogs, your honesty — the way you can say “I felt small” which is just the way I feel at times. I am delighted to know how you got out of it; got yourself back into the world and I hope I can find a way to do that when I am feeling “small.”
I know that feeling so well, and the worrying about being forgotten. Thank you for sharing that. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to read your words, to know I’m not the only one who feels that way sometimes.
Thank you Laurie! Your writing is always so beautiful, but this post took me away. And this: “I don’t think I’m running away from my life when I run, more like I’m running into my life.” I’ve been on the run a lot in my life, and have been asked, What are you running away from?, and you described it well. Yes, keep running into your life.
This is such a beautiful and ALIVE post. How brave and wise you are for tuning in to what all of your senses told you on that run and tuning out that voice about smallness. I feel more alive reading about it.
Thank you for sharing.
Hey Laurie- I was in Penestanan for a few weeks last spring- also w/o family. It was GREAT! I love reading your posts as I’ve been in most of the places that you reference and can imagine them vividly as your words take me back. Hope to talk when you return. Debra