Friday, March 2, 2018

From Humiliation to Triumph!

I was determined that Bali would be a recuperating, healing and strengthening place for me. 

The educational opportunity fizzled out when the two week Permaculture Design Course was cancelled, after I had arrived and had applied for the extended visa because people were afraid to book flights because of the silly volcano. Bummer! I wished I’d thought that might happen and I would have taken the course in India instead and at half the price. Hindsight!

So, with firm resolve to meditate every day, exercise, eat healthy and start yoga, what happened? I got sick for the fourth time in one month. (Yes, it definitely was time to get out of Nepal. No protein or fruits or vegetables or exercise for one month!)

Once I started to recover I vowed to get strong! First step —yoga class. 

Here is a picture of the setting in Ubud Yoga House, looking out on rice fields, breeze wafting through, nice teacher. I was actually her only student in Gentle Yoga and she carefully adapted all the poses for my two bum knees and one wrenched shoulder. I felt encouraged. She was also kind enough to tell me where the expats go to get their extended visa expedited (Immigration Highway) and where they congregate for movies and healthy food (Paradiso.)

Yes, it was going to work! Gentle yoga, daily swims and fresh fruit juice, eggs and bacon. I was feeling better already!

Nest stop, the beach-side town of Sanur. 

Ahhh.. my Florida soul felt at home with the sand and surf. Definitely a resort town with sports, restaurants, music and dance on the beach— in a happy non-offensive way. Everybody was coupled up ...but me. Everybody having a great relaxing time.

Yoga on the Beach a sign proclaimed and I signed up. 

Bought 5 tickets at a discount and started. The teacher on the first day was Balinese with a heavy accent. I could not understand what he said to do, except I finally figured out that “depreading” meant “keep breathing.”  I explained about my compromised joints, but he proceeded to teach a very difficult class to advanced students. 

I was humiliated, frustrated and sad! I used to be good! 

My ego used to be invested in my yoga competence! But no longer. I couldn’t kneel because of the knee replacement. I couldn’t support myself on the torn shoulder. Limitations, limitations! 

So I just stretched, modified the best I could, and finally observed that actually maybe possibly I could do a downward facing dog and triangle pose, after a fashion. Child pose? Forget it!

I left very discouraged but sort of curious about what might be possible. After all, I had 4 tickets to use up! The clerk suggested Restorative Yoga the next evening. And alone I walked the beach at sunset. 

Somehow I can never really feel alone at the beach even in a romantic setting. 

It’s just so big! And lit by fireworks. 

And Brazilian dancing!

And sounds of dance music down the way….

Salsa! That was it! The antidote to humiliation!

I had seen a sign for salsa on the beach! Did I want to go? Well, I knew it could be very sad without my former dance partner, expecting everyone else to be coupled up. And it would be impossible without my salsa dance shoes— you just can’t twirl in regular soled shoes. But I still wandered by. And what did I see in the sand but two Balinese young men dancing cool moves with each other, barefoot! Interesting… no dance floor. Just deep, shifting sand.

So, wanting to feel competent with this poor body at last, I asked one of the men to dance. 

They were hired to dance with the guests and had just been practicing with each other. “OK, but this one is a Bachata,” he warned.
“No problem,” I replied. 
And off we went with automatic muscle memory of those Latin dance classes in Vero Beach, Florida.

Tricky, very tricky to twirl in the sand. Fortunately he was a strong and tolerant 21 year old and kept me upright. Then a very fast salsa with him showing off all the stuff he’d learned on You Tube and me enjoying the music, the rhythm, the way my body knew what to do, the partnering… and of course the fact that no one else was on the sand dance-floor! I assumed that they were looking at us in awe even if they didn’t applaud.

And here we are posing in celebration!

Mission accomplished. Ta da triumph! And now off to the pool to strengthen those legs for Restorative Yoga tomorrow…