There is plenty to love about Bali. It’s gracious and welcoming people, it’s natural beauty, its climate (most of the time) all contribute to a comfortable and deep experience. The pressure is on however. There is no reason to expect it to be any different, but like most of the world it has not escaped the ravages of population growth, small increases in personal wealth and consumerism, and technology. Bali’s population when I was here in 1985 was approximately 2.5 million. Today it is 4.5 million. At about 2,200 square miles in size, it is about twice the size of Rhode Island. Rhode Island has ¼ the population of Bali. No kidding, there are more than a million motor scooters/bikes. That growth (which is predicted to continue) has had its impact, but the increase of tens of thousands of tourists and second homes has taken its toll on almost everything traditional Bali—the architecture, agriculture, traffic (still a pretty limited transportation “system” but now even more crowded with trucks, motorbikes, cars, etc., all with their own sense of their role in the traffic), and consumer-driven trash (which is only an obvious sign of other changes). Yet, Bali has not yet lost its soul. It is not at all clear whether Balinesians have fully recognized the challenges that are literally at their door. Certainly segments of the population—the community leaders, expats, and some business people—recognize the challenges are already here. They cannot be postponed. From the weak-to-failing infrastructure (sewage, potable water, sporadic power outages), to ever more proposals for huge mega-golf resorts (Donny has one being built not far from where we are today), etc., to the exploding number of tourists, it is not clear where the people of Bali will fit into it all. Never mind the natural world. None of these challenges are unique to Bali. Most of the world’s communities face this challenge every day. But Bali has nowhere to go. This small island has no new territories to conquer and “open for development”; it has only more agriculture, more fisheries, and more tourist-inviting jungle to give over to “development”. Jobs will be lost, traditions sacrificed if not lost, certain segments of the local elite and international business people will benefit handsomely. As but one example, this tiny place holds the dubious distinction for being #1 worldwide for pedophilia. Desperation supplies the product. Greed supplies the means. International tours come to Bali for this sole purpose. So we like Bali in spite of those things. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the Natural Instinct Healing resort where we spent most of our time, in our rambles around what remains as the magical town of Ubud in central Bali, and our everyday exchanges with the Balinese people. History, mystery, beauty, and peace remain in spite of the pressures. We worry where this is headed. We worry about these beautiful people and their environment. We hope that they continue to rise to the challenges before them. In 1985 I consulted with several island nations (Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, etc.) on specific development policies, plans, and financial structures to manage the onslaught of pressure they were receiving as international travel became easier, less expensive, and more romantic to drop into those places—and of course international money came to grab those opportunities. In 1985 I used Bali and Bali’s development policies as examples of how other island nations could manage their pressures. I don’t know where Bali is these days. Anyway, we did a 10-day (really 11) health program at the Natural Instinct Healing “bubble” in Ubud. The program had its personal challenges but never more than we could do. Really no greater challenges than every day life in our home “bubble”—just different challenges. And as it turned out, MUCH better challenges. We came away from our experience healthier and with experiences with the NIH personnel that were deep, fulfilling, and rewarding for more reasons than the health objectives. We came away with personal interactions with them and the other three guests (5 guests total) with full and satisfying conversations and exchanges. Nurturing, intimate, opening, vulnerable exchanges filled the meals and the evenings, leaving no room for the otherwise socially-expected air-filling chitchat. Almost every day we ventured (as we chose, nothing required) into new territory inside and outside of ourselves. The territory surrounding our bubble was fascinating. We went on bike rides through the famous rice paddies, met the farmers, road through the tiniest of ancient villages, interacted with the villagers, visited centuries-old temples, and got refreshing exercise along the way. We went on hikes in the same ways (not the same places) and had similar experiences (loved the “Kiss Me” café on an 8-foot wide foot path through the middle of a rice paddy which was only slightly smaller than our living room). Full days every day whether we went out or remained in the bubble. One of those days (don’t know which or which time of the day) we went to a traditional temple to participate in the ceremonies of a High Priestess (not very common in a male-dominated priestly role), her bathing us in something of a baptism service (to cleanse us of our demons and help open the space for our wishes), and a private meditation led by her. Moving, deep, provocative, all at the same time. Everything at our election. Everything easy. Everything rewarding. Safe, comfortable, healthy….. life changing. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow we are in the tiny village of Amed in northeast Bali. Our bungalow is on the beach. The only thing between us and the beach is the swimming pool. This afternoon we are going snorkeling in the waters just off the bungalow. Tomorrow morning just the two of us are taking a little double-outrigger canoe to a Japanese fishing boat wreck where we will snorkel off the canoe. [By the time this got posted we have gone snorkeling at the first reef 150 feet off the beach in front of our bungalow and have snorkeled in the wreck….. warm, luscious, loads of fish.] Tonight we have reserved the #1 table where we will witness the classic traditional Balinese dancing over a fine meal of salad….. and maybe some herbal tea. Then we will return to Ubud for some real casual time (as it we haven’t had enough!). We also return there to enjoy Ubud’s food, regarded as the best in Bali. We have been looking forward to that and to doing it wisely. We hope that you enjoy these examples of our experiences. They are in no particular order. We hope that you get excited to do similar things.

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2 thoughts on “There is plenty to love about Bali. It’s gracious and welcoming people, it’s natural beauty, its climate (most of the time) all contribute to a comfortable and deep experience. The pressure is on however. There is no reason to expect it to be any different, but like most of the world it has not escaped the ravages of population growth, small increases in personal wealth and consumerism, and technology. Bali’s population when I was here in 1985 was approximately 2.5 million. Today it is 4.5 million. At about 2,200 square miles in size, it is about twice the size of Rhode Island. Rhode Island has ¼ the population of Bali. No kidding, there are more than a million motor scooters/bikes. That growth (which is predicted to continue) has had its impact, but the increase of tens of thousands of tourists and second homes has taken its toll on almost everything traditional Bali—the architecture, agriculture, traffic (still a pretty limited transportation “system” but now even more crowded with trucks, motorbikes, cars, etc., all with their own sense of their role in the traffic), and consumer-driven trash (which is only an obvious sign of other changes). Yet, Bali has not yet lost its soul. It is not at all clear whether Balinesians have fully recognized the challenges that are literally at their door. Certainly segments of the population—the community leaders, expats, and some business people—recognize the challenges are already here. They cannot be postponed. From the weak-to-failing infrastructure (sewage, potable water, sporadic power outages), to ever more proposals for huge mega-golf resorts (Donny has one being built not far from where we are today), etc., to the exploding number of tourists, it is not clear where the people of Bali will fit into it all. Never mind the natural world. None of these challenges are unique to Bali. Most of the world’s communities face this challenge every day. But Bali has nowhere to go. This small island has no new territories to conquer and “open for development”; it has only more agriculture, more fisheries, and more tourist-inviting jungle to give over to “development”. Jobs will be lost, traditions sacrificed if not lost, certain segments of the local elite and international business people will benefit handsomely. As but one example, this tiny place holds the dubious distinction for being #1 worldwide for pedophilia. Desperation supplies the product. Greed supplies the means. International tours come to Bali for this sole purpose. So we like Bali in spite of those things. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the Natural Instinct Healing resort where we spent most of our time, in our rambles around what remains as the magical town of Ubud in central Bali, and our everyday exchanges with the Balinese people. History, mystery, beauty, and peace remain in spite of the pressures. We worry where this is headed. We worry about these beautiful people and their environment. We hope that they continue to rise to the challenges before them. In 1985 I consulted with several island nations (Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, etc.) on specific development policies, plans, and financial structures to manage the onslaught of pressure they were receiving as international travel became easier, less expensive, and more romantic to drop into those places—and of course international money came to grab those opportunities. In 1985 I used Bali and Bali’s development policies as examples of how other island nations could manage their pressures. I don’t know where Bali is these days. Anyway, we did a 10-day (really 11) health program at the Natural Instinct Healing “bubble” in Ubud. The program had its personal challenges but never more than we could do. Really no greater challenges than every day life in our home “bubble”—just different challenges. And as it turned out, MUCH better challenges. We came away from our experience healthier and with experiences with the NIH personnel that were deep, fulfilling, and rewarding for more reasons than the health objectives. We came away with personal interactions with them and the other three guests (5 guests total) with full and satisfying conversations and exchanges. Nurturing, intimate, opening, vulnerable exchanges filled the meals and the evenings, leaving no room for the otherwise socially-expected air-filling chitchat. Almost every day we ventured (as we chose, nothing required) into new territory inside and outside of ourselves. The territory surrounding our bubble was fascinating. We went on bike rides through the famous rice paddies, met the farmers, road through the tiniest of ancient villages, interacted with the villagers, visited centuries-old temples, and got refreshing exercise along the way. We went on hikes in the same ways (not the same places) and had similar experiences (loved the “Kiss Me” café on an 8-foot wide foot path through the middle of a rice paddy which was only slightly smaller than our living room). Full days every day whether we went out or remained in the bubble. One of those days (don’t know which or which time of the day) we went to a traditional temple to participate in the ceremonies of a High Priestess (not very common in a male-dominated priestly role), her bathing us in something of a baptism service (to cleanse us of our demons and help open the space for our wishes), and a private meditation led by her. Moving, deep, provocative, all at the same time. Everything at our election. Everything easy. Everything rewarding. Safe, comfortable, healthy….. life changing. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow we are in the tiny village of Amed in northeast Bali. Our bungalow is on the beach. The only thing between us and the beach is the swimming pool. This afternoon we are going snorkeling in the waters just off the bungalow. Tomorrow morning just the two of us are taking a little double-outrigger canoe to a Japanese fishing boat wreck where we will snorkel off the canoe. [By the time this got posted we have gone snorkeling at the first reef 150 feet off the beach in front of our bungalow and have snorkeled in the wreck….. warm, luscious, loads of fish.] Tonight we have reserved the #1 table where we will witness the classic traditional Balinese dancing over a fine meal of salad….. and maybe some herbal tea. Then we will return to Ubud for some real casual time (as it we haven’t had enough!). We also return there to enjoy Ubud’s food, regarded as the best in Bali. We have been looking forward to that and to doing it wisely. We hope that you enjoy these examples of our experiences. They are in no particular order. We hope that you get excited to do similar things.

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