Rest in Peace Ketut Liyer 1916-2016

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When I first visited Bali 17 years ago, I was told there was a very special medicine man, Ketut Liyer, who lived in Ubud. I didn’t get a chance to meet him then. Years later, I read the book, Eat Pray Love and he was was one of the significant characters Elizabeth Gilbert met on her journey. I remember the way I felt when I read the book and saw the movie. I recall feeling like I understood the depth and connection she experienced meeting him as well as the connection she had with Ubud. I related and always knew I would return.

We’d been traveling around the world for almost 9 months before we arrived back there. In Bali. One of my most favorite places on earth. When I found out Ketut was right around the corner from us, I could hardly wait to meet him. I felt his presence in the village.

Ubud is a sanctuary, filled with amazing artists, culture, yoga, magnificent nature, rice paddies, and a bohemian, earthy, spiritually awakening atmosphere which I cannot get enough of.

I felt deep joy from the the moment we entered the home of Ketut. As I walked around the corner, I saw him and felt connected immediately. When I sat down , I was so happy to see his toothless grin and the sparkle in his eyes. I experienced the wisdom of a 100 year old man sitting before me just by looking at him. I felt every bit of his healing energy, before a word was even said. He was so charming and funny and had me laughing so hard, I was crying. This meeting was a destined component on my path. This day, exactly as it was, couldn’t have been more special.

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He read my palm and analyzed my soul. Deeply. He brought to light much for me to contemplate about this life, my place in it and things to come. He made me laugh the kind of belly laugh that makes one truly understand what joy is.

I will always remember this day. I will continue walking on this path with my heart open and the willingness to recognize and embrace life’s teachers, lessons and answers along the way. I will continue questioning, observing, learning, giving and growing with all of the awareness and love in my heart.

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In all of my travels around the world, I find myself very interested in the citizens of each country and their culture. I like to see how they live, what they value, what they stand for and how they treat others. There are two places in this world so far, in which I have met the kindest, warmest and most generous human beings. The first is, Ireland. The second, is Bali.

Indonesia is split religiously between Hinduism, Muslim and Christianity. Bali is predominantly Hindu. I am not a religious person although I consider myself deeply spiritual. I have never witnessed such a peaceful religion. The energy here and everywhere we go is gentle and kind.

Many Balinese people prepare offerings and pray three times a day asking for good blessings. They strongly believe in Karma and live their lives, speak their words and treat others with that in mind. They truly think about what they are doing or saying before they take action. They want to ensure that these align with their intention, purpose and good will for others.

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As a citizen of the United States of America and a witness to all of the violent, senseless and evil crime that takes place in this world, I see light. I see that we each play a role and have the power to make a difference. Not all people of any race, religion, or country are good. Not all people are bad. We are all different and responsible for our own actions and what we choose to give and take from this world.

That said, I do believe it’s possible for ONE person to evoke Hate and it is just as possible for one person to induce LOVE.

I thank you, Bali, for shining brightly through the darkness. I thank you, for choosing Love and for generously sharing it. I promise to act with the same kindness and to offer whatever I can to you and all people.

Ubud is still my favorite place in Bali. It remains tranquil and filled with so much warmth and kindness. It is in this peace-loving village that I had the pleasure and honor of spending time with Ketut, the Medicine Man.

Lastly, I’d love to share this deeply poignant excerpt from Eat Pray Love. I truly believe in and agree with this sentiment:

I’ve come to believe in something I call the Physics of the Quest. The rule of quest physics goes something like this…

If you’re brave enough to leave everything behind familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house, to bitter, old resentments

And set out on a truth-seeking journey, externally or internally

And if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue

And if you accept everyone along the way as a teacher

And if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then…

The truth will not be withheld from you.

I couldn’t have said this better myself. The truth is being revealed each day and shall continue…

May you rest in peace, dear Ketut. You made a difference in my life during the short period of time we spent together. Thank you.

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The Less We Speak, The More We Learn

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When your ability to audibly express your voice is taken away, you begin to wade through your thoughts and decipher actuality versus your perception of it. So often, we believe we know something so clearly and we robotically react. We articulate our interpretation without really understanding why or if we believe what we are saying.

For example, you may say, “I don’t care what people think. I love you unconditionally. I’m not afraid of getting hurt. I can handle it. I’m okay. I’m happy. I can do it all.” The questions are, do you really not care, can you love without condition, are you afraid, can you really handle it, are you okay, are you happy and can you do it all?

When we quickly answer these questions, without hesitation, they seem to make sense. I proclaimed these thoughts, therefore they are true. Right? I’m considering that the answers and the meanings behind them, aren’t as easy to translate or validate with certainty, from just our words.

I’m on Day 20 of this prescribed Vow of Silence. I can’t express, respond and handle things as I was able to just a couple of short weeks ago. I can’t speak for myself. I have so much to say and I find that my pen can’t keep up. Take away my voice and I’m left here Mindful. Observant. Paying much closer attention. I’m adjusting and I’m discovering more than I imagined I would during this time.

Now, I find myself realizing that this is not something that’s been taken away but rather a gift of soul and heart-searching. I am here, listening and learning.

For now, I must remain quiet and allow the vibrations and messages to come through.They reel around and around and eventually land. They teach me something. About myself. About Humanity. About Life. About You.

Everything happens for a reason. The why is being revealed in each moment I get to hear something without the ability to verbally analyze and interpret the meaning behind it. Maybe I don’t always have to know the meaning and maybe it won’t all come together and make sense. That is okay. It is here, in my speechlessness, where I am consciously exploring and giving rise to forthcoming discoveries. Although you cannot hear me, I am very present to the resonance surrounding this silence.

The more we listen…

The less we allow the constant commentary of our own minds to unquestionably define and dictate what it all means as we evolve through each day…

The more we learn.

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My Unexpected Vow of Silence

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Time to Tune in to my Inner Voice

Sometimes our bodies have a way of telling us what our minds are too afraid to hear. We may not pay attention to the warning signs. We may experience them with each of our senses, yet, we shove them off to the side, justifying their existence, somehow. “Maybe I’m just tired. Perhaps I’m run down. Oh, I just got my period. It must be the Lupus.”

The rationalizations continue and the physical manifestations persevere. Until one day, the message is so loud and clear. We have no choice but to open our eyes and face, head on, what we’ve been consciously neglecting; those deeply instinctive feelings, the unquestionable and undeniable alerts, the literal blurriness in our vision.

I’ve been without an audible voice for a few months now, on and off. Mostly off. I quickly attributed the hoarseness to whatever made sense and would allow me to continue on with my life. As I knew it. I pushed through and pushed forward as I’ve always done. I wasn’t ignoring it but I wasn’t quite addressing it either.

I’m full of curiosity in this life and I’m constantly Searching. Yearning. Questioning. So much. Sometimes I get stuck in the thought process and the noises in my head leave me ambivalent, unsettled and unclear. A force, greater than my own, has decided to step in and impose silence upon me. I now have to acknowledge and address the clamor differently, without the use of my voice. It is time to truly listen.

In the midst of much medical testing, I had a camera put down my nose and my throat in order to see my vocal cords. Based on their findings, I was told that I could not utter a word, not even a whisper, for thirty days. I am sitting here now. Still and quiet. Taking in the meaning and message behind this obvious sign of impending change. My voice is on hiatus. The voice I’m often trying to find. The voice I’m sometimes unsure of. The voice which had to be taken away in order to give me the space to recalibrate and restore the harmony within.

Some live under the basis that actions speak louder than words. Some believe that words are meaningless, if not accompanied by the reflective action. In my case, my words, especially my written words, have always been my truest form of expression. They communicate what I’m sometimes unable to say in action. They speak the depth I may not share with you otherwise. Within my words, you will find my Heart. My soul. My truth.

In silence, with only my thoughts and a place to write them down, I find peace and I can truly tune into my Self. My innermost feelings, fears, hopes, dreams and consciousness, manifest lives of their own.

Life has an interesting way of leading us to a moment, taking away our power and then giving us choices. We can give up and give in and remain helpless or we can surrender what we thought we knew and open our hearts and eyes to other possibilities and new perspectives.

Take away my voice and I’m left here Listening. Hearing. Paying much closer attention. I’ve always been an observer. I hear and see all that is not meant to be seen or heard. I read between the lines and I connect with and relate to more than is shown or given. It is there where I make sense of what sometimes doesn’t make sense at all.

I’m on Day 5. Everything happens for a reason. This I always believe. It sure is interesting hearing what we otherwise replace with noise, distractions and our own constant commentary and interpretation of the meaning behind it all. Maybe I don’t have to always know the meaning and maybe it doesn’t always have to make sense. I’m just hoping to gain a little more clarity and a little more understanding.

With that, I plan on continuing my pursuit toward the direction of my purpose and my happiness. I used to jump before I calculated risk. Now, I tend to calculate risk, before I jump. I’m working my way back toward the middle because it is time to fly again.

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Unleash Your Super Power

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artist: sandra chevrier

 and Break Free from the ties that bind you.

Have you considered as I often do, what life would be like if you allowed yourself to Expand beyond the stereotypical box others have put you in. Have you considered what it would be like if you no longer accepted that role or found comfort within those boundaries. Who would you be? What would you say? How would you feel?

I have recently received many letters and calls asking if I’m okay. Some are questioning my mental state and some simply want some sort of translation or meaning behind the shift in my expression these days. Thank you all for your concern.

People often confuse the fact that I feel everything so deeply as sadness. They get confused when I don’t fit into the Sunny Sandy image they are so comfortable with. We often look to others to help us define our own lives. We expect things to make sense and when they don’t we put the focus out there instead of looking within.

When I sit back and observe, I see so clearly. We all want to be heard and seen yet, if we can’t listen, we will never understand. As I observe, I witness many people who appear to have lives which others may envy. Many may be projecting that image in order to fit in. Many may be projecting what they believe to be true or what they want others to believe as truth. Many put it all out there. The highs, the lows, the good, the bad. If you are too positive, you are judged. If you speak your mind and it is negative, you are judged for that also. I’ve heard it said too many times that people should only put happy stuff on the internet. Why would anyone want to hear otherwise. This always surprises me but then I say, why should it?

I suppose the majority wants to appear as if everything is fine and wonderful and they want you to represent the same. There isn’t much confrontation in that and perhaps it is more comfortable not having to look inward in order to seek deeper meaning.

I often isolate and my introspection takes me where I need to go. The destination is always unknown. The results don’t conjure labels. The process of it all is what defines me. The journey is where I find myself.

Today, I may feel like Eminem, rapping from a rooftop and singing at the top of my lungs, I’m Not Afraid…

Tomorrow, I may need you to remind me.

I am alive and so very thankful for each moment. I see and feel the beauty in everything around me. I am so sensitive to the gift of this life and I appreciate the many souls I have the privilege of connecting with along the way.

Thank you for walking beside me and for having the awareness to question something out of the ordinary. The next question is, what are you going to do with that? Put it back in the box from which it came, add a bow and accept that the contents have a slightly different appearance or, will you consider this…

Rip the box open, tear the walls down and allow everything you are and everything I am to unfold. Without expectation. Without fear. Without judgement. This is where I am today and I cannot wait to see and experience the mysterious lessons and possibilities lurking behind each corner.

I am taking chances. I am writing in order to sustain life. I am exposing and expanding my Self each day as I hit Publish and I am very happy to share in this unraveling. With you.

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Layers.

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A New Day.

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I can only…

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Unification.

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I will Be…

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Your words…

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