Painting Outside the Lines

3800 people from 37 different countries have read my blog. Amazing. And the fact that somewhere behind the scenes that information can be gathered and available to me is even more incredible. But better than all of that is the technology that makes it possible for me to find Rita Golden Gelman, send her an e-mail, and have a response within twenty-four hours from her laptop in Turkey.

So who is Rita Gelman? Backing up just a bit, I met a woman from Iceland who had read Tales of a Female Nomad. She highly recommended the book so I ordered it and began reading immediately. Rita Golden Gelman, the author, lived in Bali for eight years. As I read about her experiences there I began to understand and appreciate more fully my own journey. So I emailed to let her know how profoundly her book had touched me. She answered immediately and included in her response the name and e-mail address of a person who lives in the seaside village of Kerambitan, Bali. She encouraged me to contact her friend if I wanted to see that area, and of course I will.

Rita is now 75 and has been traveling the globe and living with indigenous people all over the world since 1986. She’s had no permanent address.

The thing that becomes clearer day by day is that there are many ways to do this life. The roadblocks to pursuing dreams, finding peace, experiencing joy, are often our own limiting assumptions. The stories we tell ourselves determine how we live. Often they are just stories with no basis in truth, they are perceptions of how we think we should be.

Last night I got together with a group of friends. One of them said that she had been reading my blog and her favorite post was the one called My Wife is Fat. The Balinese man who said that also told me that he likes it. Fat, to him, means something far different than it does to us in the U.S. He tells himself a story about his wife that allows him to appreciate her ample girth.

When I utilized discovery writing techniques, I found new ways of perceiving my reality. The tagline on my website says, “Creating a life that fits like skin.” It’s trial and error. I’ve let go of the need to get it right the first time. I’ve given myself permission to paint outside the lines. Have you ever seen the view from there? From outside the lines? It takes my breath away. That’s where I’m finding my skin. That’s where I seem to fit. But I still have to fight the ‘stories’ that play in my head. They are full of shoulds and shouldn’ts. They want to keep me small and sad and caged. I see them for what they are, old fears, old old stuff. So I give my head a shake to clear the cobwebs and click the BUY button. A confirmation number for my return flight to Bali appears on the screen and my soul sprouts wings.

An Empowered Sisterhood

The internet has been down at my residence since last night. I feel terribly handicapped by this inconvenience! Ubud is flooded with people who have come for the Bali Spirit Festival and they’re all here with their internet accessible phones, computers, etc.  The additional activity has evidently put a strain on the system. But here at the Atman Kafe the internet is alive and well, another reason I love this place! I came here first thing this morning to plug in and immediately ordered coffee. It came with this surprise:

How sweet is that! I am delighted and my server is so pleased to have surprised me. Have I mentioned that I love this place!

After a short time of sipping coffee and answering e-mails I am joined by a nineteen-year-old girl from Berlin. Amalia. She has been traveling for seven months.  She spent time working in Australia then went to New Zealand to mountain climb on the glaciers, sky-dive, and do some hang-gliding off cliffs. Timid soul! She leaves to return to her family in Germany in six days and she admits she is lonesome. She reminds me of a 19 year-old in the 60’s who left her Minnesota home to live in Hawaii. But I somehow talked my best friend, Diana, into going with me!

I am amazed at the number of women I meet who have opted for traveling alone. We are here in droves, all ages, not running from…not looking for…just being who we are without constraint or compromise. It is an empowered sisterhood of kindred souls. From this perspective, half a world away from home, the globe shrinks to a companionable size. Imagining possibilities comes naturally. Dreams are allowed, encouraged, nurtured. We share them with one another, almost apologetically at first, shocking ourselves with the boldness of them. But in the sharing they become more real. And somehow, we too become more real.


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