My 2013 Reflection – Stepping Stones

When I sit down to write a reflection I generally turn up with a blank page. I am not one to consciously think about details. Mostly everything is off the cuff, I don’t sit and think “Oh, this is a moment, get ready for the light bulb!” However this year has been all about taking the next step.

I love discussing ideas, details, thoughts, motives and actions and for me, knowing the why is most important. I like to understand or at least have some insight into other peoples’ stories, I love the little details at the time, but then they all seem to meld into one big framework.

And that is how everything makes sense to me. It is gathering knowledge, discerning what is true for me and leaving the rests behind. I tuck it into a little box for future reference if needed.

Every human has the ability for love, compassion, tolerance and empathy, however in the society that has been created by mankind there is no place for these attributes. This society is all about power, money and competitiveness.  Unfortunately this trickles into everyday lives and we find ourselves belittling, bullying, justifying, defending, attacking and abusing our fellow man. We get greedy and selfish, we strike out, we curl up and all the while we have missed the point.

Allow me to generalize a whole heap more; we even go to the lengths of putting others down, criticizing, putting our own experience above others to either justify or make ourselves feel more worthwhile. That is the human condition.

However, what I know now after my Bali Soul Journals experience is that this is not always the case.  Has there been a shift, or has this phenomena been there all along and I am just becoming aware of the ‘why’ people do their things and about letting go?

It is a hard road to the “Letting it go” junction. So many obstacles and pot holes and I fear there always will be at different crossroads. I have realized however, that these are my obstacles and my pot holes I have unwittingly placed so very lovingly in full protection mode for myself….

Yay, GO ME!


So during 2013 I learned that my road blocks, as self imposed as they are, are only for me to break through. Upon reflection I have had to look at what my barriers have been and what has inspired me along this journey.  What have I learnt, how have I grown? And to that I would say I seriously don’t have a clue!! How is that for deep and meaningful!!

So I obviously need to look in another direction…who were my favourite people to meet on my BSJ journey

Wow, so many incredible people….

I learnt from Mary of JJ Buttons, the strength of the quiet achiever in the background, her determination, her spirit and compassion is beautiful. I learnt of a family closely bound by shared experience and hardship and how it made them stronger.


I met Liza at the R.O.L.E. Foundation, a beautiful, intelligent, giving, caring young woman with the world at her feet and she chose people. She chose connection, compassion and education. Liza chose to help community grow and flourish. Liza chose to love.

I met Marg, Marg works tirelessly to build communities, to look to the future to grow and sustain culture in the most practical, caring, clever and intelligent ways. Marg works to engage others to contribute, to nurture and to give back.  Chandra’s message was simple and amazing, it was a message of hope, youth and the future. It was a message of seizing opportunities and staying true to your values.

Niluh’s sense of family and community was astounding, looking after her ‘boys’ is her number one priority. Selfless, smart, creative and living a life of passion! Catarina is driven to preserve her culture, taking pride in her history, also amazingly smart, creative, brilliant business acumen and humble in her words and wise beyond years with her ideas and philosophies.

I met Paul, Paul with his old friend Jerry, such different ideals, and beautifully honest friends. Paul’s passion and creativity knows no bounds, and as many walls that were placed in front of him, they were taken down somehow, anyhow to get through. Through sheer hard work and a belief in himself, Raul Ropp has succeeded because of his values, insight, passion, inspiration and there is absolutely no reason ‘why’ not.


The Seaweed Farmers on Nusa Penida reminded me so much of my childhood. The beach, the lifestyle and living closely to the land. What I learnt from them was simplicity, we make it too hard. And I don’t even, for one minute, think theirs is an easy lot, I saw the difficulties of their profession and am in awe of their strength and fortitude. It takes a special person and for that I thank them for reminding me that we can make this as complex or as simple as we choose. There can be a lot of satisfaction in hard, honest work. With modern technology we forget that nature and being in tune with the Earth and her cycles is the basis of all life….we have forgotten.


I met the Master Weavers on Nusa Penida and will always be so thankful for their generosity, hospitality and their talent. Their age old cloths handed down through the generations are treasured, and treasured as they deserve to be, handmade craftsmanship at its finest. Talent, patience and perseverance, it was an incredible lesson for me in tradition.


Then there was Natalia, whose story is not in the Journals, only because this story is too big, too sad, too tragic and horrific to fit into 4 pages. This is a story of Man’s ability to act like animals, depraved beyond words, to ruin lives, to maim, injure, murder, abuse and torture children. Natalia’s story needs to be told and this one is a work in progress. An horrific story that on one hand sickens me to my core and on the other provides some hope with people there willing to make a difference. To step up and not only talk but take the action. Natalia is an amazingly inspirational woman.


Agung is a young Balinese Australian man who has been called to the temple and now looking to the future to make a difference. His mission is to help younger Balinese to preserve and understand their culture, their ceremonies, traditions and their spirituality. A wise spirit in a young body, spending his life in servitude, I was reminded of commitment, faith and generosity when I spoke with Agung.

I also learnt, on this journey, of the nature of greed and desperation, of poverty and survival. I learnt that Bali is on the brink of over commercialization, and I had to think about what that means to me as a member of the global community.

I am in awe of the people who try and help especially with the number of charities for children, education, medical, animals, the environment, the rubbish problem, the water issues, the farmers and the list goes on.

Bali is in desperate need of reform. It is a small island living beyond her means in terms of infrastructure and resources. That, however, is my humble opinion and upon reflection there are many people more qualified than I fighting the fight to preserve Bali.


So at the end of the day I hope that BSJ is a voice, albeit a small voice, that will help Bali climb the ladder to economic and environmental sustainability. My hope is that by looking positively at this beautiful island with its amazing people, we can inspire, in some small way, the preservation and protection of this paradise island.

I think when I started out in 2013, this would have been from the farthermost issue from my mind. However, as is the nature of things, here is where I have ended up on my 2013 journey. My list of amazing people has been endless. The collaboration between 2 people to get this message out is also another fantastic insight for me. Some people just have the ability to just get stuff done. Clare is one of those people and it has been a fantastic trip down the “Let’s start this project, see where it leads and then finish it!” road.

What I have learnt

ACTION not only speaks louder than words, action insists you grow in a direction you never dreamed of or thought yourself capable of. Action makes a difference. Take the first step, take the leap!

I also learnt that everyone is the same but different. The same because we are all connected, we all have dreams and ambitions, hopes and desires. Different because some people take the action and others just dream about it and wish their lives away.  Neither is right or wrong, just different and it is not until we are aware that is our own choice that we can start treading on the stepping stones to growth.

I have learned that there comes a time when our excuses as to “why not” become hollow and empty.

So all in all 2013 has been a whirlwind of amazing people. Certainly not in any direction I had imagined, nevertheless, we got some “STUFF” done!!  Maybe even changing a little of my cynicism to hopefulness!

I think in 2014 I may try to consciously recognize my lessons through my experiences, then again I may miss them altogether, who knows!! I am so grateful to every person I have worked with and met this year, thank you all for your valuable input into my life. I am sure 2014 will be fun, exciting and educational. Bring it on!!!



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