In mask-like face make-up and brightly coloured costume with the swingy cape and gold crown of a king – a young guy swings his leg over the seat of his motorbike and roars through the night with a flourish. In Milano’s salon, Paris shyly sports a shortie paisley apron over orange striped shirt as he carefully adds perfect colour and shape to my hair. ‘It’s a painting’ he smiles. ‘Many colours make the light move’. Nearby, girls perch precariously stacked offerings of fruit effortlessly on their heads, bearing the essence of goodness to temple above their elegantly swaying hips. In cafés, a mélange of global travellers, visitors, and expats mingle to share experiences, creations, purchases, spiritual discoveries and vision.
This pageant is just a tiny taste of the melting pot of Ubud, and Bali – a place where creativity is prized, playfulness is normal, colour is riotous, feelings are expressed, healing energies pervade, spirituality flowers, and smiles abound.
What I love, is that under this stylish street pageant is a deep vein of serious and passionate commitment – to craft, to beauty, and to spirituality – which is natural in Ubud, whose very name means ‘medicine’ – the town being located on a swirling energy vortex generated where two sacred rivers meet.
The Balinese in Ubud focus for years perfecting their art-form – dance, painting, woodcarving, stone-carving, silversmithing, healing – perfecting the habit of continual attention to detail, finicky precision and persistence in completing and making something of beauty, which is something I admire and which fills me with joy – inspiring many visiting ex-pats who bring international design morés and the celebration of spirituality into a magnificent hotch-potch!
I love to see the results – beauty everywhere – flowered curlicues on a carved door, a whimsical giant stone Cheshire cat in the spa as tall as myself, pathways delicately picked out with natural, pale turquoise pebbles from nearby Flores island – and nature – beautiful scented flowers – orchids, exotic Ylang Ylang and the sweetly fragrant frangipani weaving in between, wafting their scent!
The love of craft permeated my senses, and touched me, when I arrived – like a flower, my natural gift for healing with crystals and colour and light suddenly unfurled – and, like the Balinese, I invested time and money in tuition in my craft – and when I was gifted by a teacher with a new way of healing, a new technique to reach and release deep emotional blocks easy as shucking peas – I grabbed it, and burrowed into my own craft – deeply exploring and healing ancient belief patterns… and as people came, from all over the world, to work with me and be the clay that I would help to mould, like the many international healers and local ‘balians’ (spirit healers) here, I became a craftsman of healing… helping people weave their way through sub-conscious patterns and thoughts, release them, and design a new more positive truth that would help them live their lives in an easier, happier way.
One client brought his baby to me – the fruit of the happy relationship that he said I helped him sow. And another was grateful for the two-fold increase in productivity in his factory that he was delighted I helped him realise.
My Balinese ex-mother in law melds crystal colours and shapes brilliantly for me, interpreting my original design in wonderful ways, using the rainbow boxes of crystals I have supplied her with – making the ‘Yoga Chord’ that yoginis in Ubud wear to assist their meditation and yoga practice and balance their chakras.
Ubud is the perfect place for healing – many people are weaving and crafting their ideals – and re-inventing themselves spiritually- in Ubud and Bali – witness the fabulous eateries, the evolution of raw food, the yoga and dance, the many spiritual practitioners and healers (Balinese and international) and art – that is the most appealing tapestry – it is really a glorious multi-coloured mingling of East and West!