Bali has a way of whispering to you so that you’ll lean in close to listen. You can’t hear her secret message if you’re boisterous.
What this region offers is a glimpse into a way of life quite foreign to the hustle and bustle of American commerce. Yes, they work, hard. But there’s a rhythm here that’s hard to understand unless you’ve experienced it and sat quietly to watch it at work.
There’s a flow. A constant forward motion that instead of pushing and shoving with angry resolve, sweeps you along to peaceful productivity. It’s different than the beautiful chaos of India although the rich colors and intricate handiwork of the art feels somewhat similar.
What I think sets this lovely lady apart is the core values of gratitude and gentleness. In a flow of traffic, weaving in and out with scooters and cars and trucks and buses, and no speed limit signs or noticeable legislation, I rode for hours over days never once saw even one person raise a voice or fist in frustration.
The Indonesian people are gentle, happy, quick to smile (it’s a sign of respect) and have a lovely sense of spatial awareness that allows them to move in close proximity without jostling. Everyone and everything (animals and nature included) are respected and are allowed space and the right to live at peace.
Even in areas like Ubud where the tourists have come in droves (primarily Australians), the locals still remain grateful and patient. They offer help to the confused, water to the weary and their constant smiles are a source of inspiration.
I hope that we don’t change her – this beautiful country who offers gifts of gratitude to the gods several times a day. She’s an icon of hope for a future full of communities where love, laughter, celebration, gentleness and goodness reign supreme so that mankind can live in harmony and peace.