Saturday, March 09, 2019

Mid last year out of nowhere I had a thought that I should go to a silent retreat. No one had put the idea in my head, it just came as a calling. I did not act on it until a few months later when again the idea reared its head. I had a trip planned to Bali, so I googled Bali Silent Retreat and that’s exactly what came up. I loved the look and sound of it, but fear got in the way again and I did nothing. Earlier this year, after a few really difficult months I finally bit the bullet, changed my flight to Bali and booked my stay.

This was something completely out of my comfort zone on so many levels, so I really had no idea what to expect. A few people with similar experiences only had positive things to say but I still felt anxious and fearful. Family and friends had very mixed reactions from dry reaching at the thought of it, sheer panic and laughing at the idea of me being silent for a few hours let alone 4 days. There were also those that were so completely excited for me.

From the moment I arrived I felt the spiritual, calming, magical energy all around me. There was a moment of panic when I saw my room for the duration and the warning to not leave anything out to attract the mice which in turn attracts the snakes…eeeek!  Everything was to be placed in a giant tub under your bed. You will be pleased to know there were no snake sightings. The simplicity of the room is all one needs as very little time is spent in your room.  There is a bag on your bed that contains your sheets towels, insect repellent, torch, paper, pen and recycle garbage bags. Zero waste policy here and any rubbish you do have, leaves with you.

The main hub of BSR is The Lodge where one goes for meals and relaxing on one of the many couches, bean bags, mats etc. The room is open air with beautiful views. Many naps were had. So many amazing books to read in the very well stocked library. I devoured Mindfulness in Plain English which was brilliant and the perfect thing to read there. Highly recommend it.

On ground level is where the meals are served, buffet style.  The food is vegan with the exception of local duck eggs and is amazing. Everything is locally sourced or grown on the grounds and completely organic. Garden to Table food. I was told that everything is triple washed and honestly every single morsel was beyond delicious. My body felt so clean and detoxed even after only 4 days. I could easily be vegetarian if that’s how I could eat, even better if someone cooked for me. Loved the Tea station, loaded with fresh herbs, ginger, turmeric, limes etc. It was a beautiful ritual to chop and prepare and watch your water come to the boil, wait for it to steep and then enjoy. Alongside, there are all-day healthy, sugar free snacks and fresh fruit. I especially loved the fresh lychees.

You have an open cubby type locker that contains your eating and drinking utensils that you are responsible for washing and drying after each meal. You also have a lockable storage box where all my devices went, and I never even had a peek…. so liberating and honestly never missed them, not once.

At 5:45 AM the morning gong sounds, and you could choose whether you wanted to get up and start your day or not. I was ready to go and started my day with a 45-minute meditation followed by 1.5 hour very gentle yoga class. Yoga has never been my thing, but it turns out I just never found the right one for me. I LOVED it and almost immediately felt benefits. There was then a second round of yoga and meditation every afternoon. These were all held in the Octagon surrounded by beautiful views of Mt Batu Karu.

The grounds are stunning and as I slowed down, I discovered more and more beauty all around me. Not sure how I simply did not see some of the incredible tropical flowers the first 36 hours. There is a walking labyrinth, water meditation, medicinal gardens and a very rustic jungle path down to the river and a wailing bed, should you need it. I was expecting an ugly cry, but it never came. I was too relaxed to feel stressed.

At the end of day 3 when I was lying on one of the Star Gazing beds taking in the very magical sky, I noticed the strongest feeling of absolute peace. I felt nothing but calm, even after trying I simply could not find my long-term friend Anxiety. She was gone. It is indescribable how that felt. When I woke up the next morning, I was feeling euphoric. It is really, really hard to put into words as I have never ever felt it before. The deepest feeling of just “being”.

There is something about being silent amongst a community of people bonding together and communicating with body language and the eyes. Just before my star gazing on the 3rd night about 10 people silently watched the most stunning sunset together.  I felt bonded to them even though I knew nothing about them.

I can say with complete conviction that I do not know anybody that would not benefit from this experience. It feels like the most natural experience to have and to do often if possible. Silence fit like a glove. When do we honestly ever just STOP and take a break from everything? No talking, no listening, no cooking, no screens, no deadlines, no expectations to be anyone. It is exhilarating. Who knew?

I have to say I was super impressed by the number of young millennials there. One Danish girl was maybe 20 years old and had been there for 11 days on her own following her spiritual calling. I wish I had been that self-aware at that age and I hope my kids learn from their "late to the party Mother" and do the same. Maybe I will take them myself.

The biggest thing I have taken away is that I want and need to create more peace and calm in my life however that looks in the hustle bustle of every day life. What I think it looks like for me is meditating everyday even if it’s only for 5 minutes, taking up yoga, less screen time and more me time doing what makes me chill. It means thinking before reacting, that will take a while but just being aware of it is a huge step. It means cutting out the toxic people in my life and decluttering. My stuff weighs me down.

I look forward to going again, a minimum of 7 days would be my recommendation if time permits. Whilst some people went with a friend I think for your first visit you would benefit greatly by having this experience alone.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

Each morning the yoga instructors would tell us to conjure up the beautiful view of Batu Karu once we were back in the concrete jungle. So incredibly beautiful.

You Might Also Like


Like Us On Facebook

Blog Archive

pop up subscription form