Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali May 7-11th, 2025

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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We Come Here to Heal

When I walked into Nadine McNeil’s workshop, “Scripting Your Joy, Writing Workshop”, everyone was already on the floor moving, stretching and expressing. Nadine was guiding everyone into their bodies, massaging the physical in order to access the meta space of free writing flow. Every body part was addressed; torsos, arms, legs and especially hips! The first and second chakras needed to be activated. According to Nadine, authentic movement inspires authentic writing. If we are to find the place of joy, moving the body is a great place to start. After about ten minutes of movement, we settled into a circle to sit in stillness where we were to investigate the second important tool for authentic expression. “Listen to your breath”, Nadine coached. “Pay attention to it’s qualities and relax into it’s natural rhythm.”

Then, she posed the question. “Who Am I”? We had about ten minutes to bring forth an answer. I registered that our previous free flow dancing and subsequent breathing had already inspired a mental shift in my perception of who I was. A stream of words flew forward that all had to do with spirit.  I am earth, water, fire, I began. I am breath. Once we finished writing, a few workshop participants shared their stream of consciousness. One participant expressed her frustration. She noticed that she felt constrained about the exercise. Tears welled up in her eyes when she conveyed that she felt uncomfortable about sharing her own words after listening to everyone else. Nadine expressed deep appreciation to the woman for having the courage to voice her true feelings about what was happening with her. Then she said something that I often forget about the BaliSpirit Festival and about Bali in general. “We come here to heal”, she said. “We are our own healers, our own teachers. We create our own catharsis and Bali is the perfect place to do this kind of work.”

Our next exercise was a favorite. We wrote a story beginning with the phrase, A long time ago, in a place far, far away…” with our non-dominant hand. My experience as a dancer has helped me develop a healthy respect for the the need to mobilize the left and right sides of the body. However, I never write with my left hand. Actually, the thought never occurred to me that writing with my left hand had any value at all. What I discovered was that my child-like self became amplified. My imagination increased and I was charged with excitement! I was playing with writing in a way that was incredibly liberating. The words on the page looked more like geometric shapes than letters but I still saw the beauty in them. When I read it back, it sounded like a dream. There was a Turtle with a Star riding its back and the three of us intersected on a road.They were looking for a place to have a picnic. I didn’t know where I was going. I was just there. They looked at me expectantly. When I telepathically said that I didn’t have any answers they just moseyed along.

The final exercise involved looking at both pieces of writing, seeing if any emotional blocks had been revealed in the process and if so, write about them. This was a little tricky for me at first. I decided to just start writing to see what would happen. I wrote with both my dominant and non-dominant hands and what surfaced was a conversation with my self. I’ve been carrying around some pain related to a feeling of being alone in the world. At the end I wrote, in my baby-girl, non-logical hand, Help me before I hurt myself. The cathartic tears came and I felt some relief. Nadine told us to rip the last writing into pieces. I was symbolically destroying the idea that I had to do everything myself and I was moving into acknowledging all the human angels and teachers that show up regularly to offer me assistance.

The BaliSpirit Festival is known for its amazing offerings in yoga, music and dance. I would also add that my some of my most profound moments at this international event have been quiet and inward. Much gratitude to all the instructors, organizers and to the land and people of Bali for creating this special energy that heals and transforms people, communities and the world.

Written by : Jaguar Mary


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