I had this vision as I was on the way to breakfast in Canggu last week. Seated in the back of a taxi, I passed by a stretch of infrastructure that sprung out of the jungle, the one-storey dwellings haphazard in design. A hipster coffee shop parked beside squares of rice paddies followed by a ‘think pink’ nail salon. As I marveled at my surroundings I couldn’t help asking myself how this had all come to pass.
Bali is truly one of a kind, a go-to refuge for Australasians and a newfound paradise for Westerners the world over. While it has been known to draw the ire of certain tourist types, it never seems to stem the tide of flip-flopped souls arriving to expand and unwind. While I’m a sucker for the year-round barmy weather and ice cold Bintangs, it’s the locals that have me hooked.
The Balinese are truly beautiful people, men and women with a disposition to welcoming strangers with big smiles and open minds. It’s a beautiful feeling to say good morning to a complete stranger and have the gesture returned with sincere warmth. It adds a whole new level of meaning to your day.
Seeing the level of gratitude the Balinese have for their humble lot made me look in the mirror. It helped me to realize that we can all embody this sensibility if we really want to lead more fulfilled lives. It’s so easy to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, to bitch about your morning coffee or leave a bad review online. But do such emotionally charged choices leave us satisfied in the long run?
I got to thinking about little moments that left me nourished. Brightening a strangers day with a smile, saying thank you to the bus driver or helping to carry a pram down the steps at the train station. Giving without asking anything in return.
I recall one beautiful exchange with a taxi driver — a Balinese man no older than myself. I told him how much I loved visiting his home, how closely it resembled my idea of paradise. He grinned with pride and told me that he saw it much the same, only he’d been living here all his life.
I’d be lying if I said his answer didn’t leave me waxing cynical at first and yet it couldn’t be denied that his unbridled optimism left me warm all over. He wasn’t looking to impress. He was simply sharing his joie de vivre. Chewing on his words for the next few days I came to realize how much I want to impart this very same energy.
While we all have our own unique problems and woes, its important to take a step back and remind ourselves that everything we have gained and lost in our life to date has been a gift. Every day passed on this earth an opportunity to learn and grow and be better than the day before.
Imparting a sense of joy and positivity in and around your own community not only sends the good vibrations down the line. It helps you to uncover and savour the hidden beauty that life has to offer.