The Spirit of Friendship


I had an extremely fortuitous start in Bali, Indonesia, but it was by no means an entirely stress-free experience. There were many times I thought of leaving, doubting my next step.

Fortunately, I was given everything I needed to turn any obstacles into mere steps for climbing. One of the most fortunate parts of the experience was the way friendships brought me to all the right things at all the right times.

The first such event was being given a book by my next door neighbor titled Conversations with Raj. It is the story of a trance channel on the brink of enlightenment whose spiritual guide is trying to help him cross that final bridge. The guide says basically, “Remain in contact with me as much as possible. Maintain a field of peace within you and keep clarifying your intentions.”

The channel of course is concerned about paying his rent and providing for his family who don’t understand his sitting in meditation all day, day after day, month after month. They want him to get up and see to getting some clients through the door so money flows in.

The phone is about to be turned off and the man goes to the guide and says, “Don’t you think we should be a bit more balanced in our approach to this. I have responsibilities, you know.” And Raj still keeps saying, “Focus on me. Stay in the field. Clarify your intentions.”

Well the book never really says what happens to the man, or at least I have forgotten if it did. But I can tell you what happened to me when I applied Raj’s guidance to my own life. Miracles.

You see, my calculations were way off. I had thought Bali was going to be cheap living and I could stay a year just off the money I made from selling my furniture and collecting the vacation pay from my last job before I left San Francisco. In actuality, I ran out of money after only 4 months.

I had an open ticket with up to a year I could stay, but decided that I was going home after 4 months because I had lived so lavishly that I was broke. So I reserved a seat on a flight leaving on a Tuesday. That Thursday I went to my friends and told them I was leaving, so I wanted to get together with all of them that weekend for a party. My friend Kathy said, “You aren’t leaving.”

I said, “Well I have no money left and as a foreigner I can’t get a job here in Indonesia, so I’ve got to go home now and make a new start back in America.”

Again she insisted, “You aren’t leaving.”

For about a day I was disappointed by the idea of going home after such a short trip, but I remembered Raj’s guidance to remain peaceful at all times. I connected with my spirit for guidance frequently throughout each day, as well as doing a 30 minute seated meditation practice each morning, and stayed focused on my desire to live in “paradise” for a year.

I began and ended each meditation or channeling session with images of myself joyfully walking along the paths through the rice fields, the sun beaming down and a smile on my face. Or maybe I would be sitting on someone’s veranda overlooking the fields, laughing as we sipped afternoon tea.

I focused on the feeling of joy in my heart each time I saw these scenes, thus empowering the vision as a joyful outcome. Notice that I say I focused on what was already there, not that I generated the feeling. What we seek is always there, waiting for us to allow it to come fully into conscious awareness.

I had been told by my spirit-self (which I sometimes refer to as my “higher self,” or just “spirit” for short), that I must always remember that the product will match the process that created it. If I wanted the realization of the visualizations to result in joy, I had to be joyful while visualizing them. Otherwise I might get the picture of happiness, but not the experience of it. Does that sound like anything you’re familiar with?

Anyway, I did what the guides were instructing me to do. The day after I announced my departure a friend invited me to a party at a spiritual retreat center out in Tabanan regency, where there are few westerners. I didn’t want to leave Bali without having been to Tabanan, so I accepted her invitation.

At the party I met another Western woman who I really clicked with. We had a great time talking and by the end she invited me to come visit with her at her home near Ubud. I was also living near Ubud and wanted to accept, but I told her it would have to be soon since I was leaving on Tuesday and it was now Saturday night.

She said emphatically, “You aren’t leaving.”

I told her about my financial situation, never for a moment feeling any lack in my circumstances, simply stating the truth of the matter.

She said that I should come with her to her workplace on Monday and meet her boss who she was sure would hire me to sell real estate to tourists. I explained that I had never sold anything in my life and knew nothing about real estate, least of all in a foreign country. Also, my business visa was expiring and I didn’t have a work visa.

Again, she insisted that none of this would be a problem. And she was right. That Monday I did go with her to her workplace down in Sanur, I was offered a job, and her boss advanced me the money I needed to pay my rent and extend my existing visa by another month. I canceled my plane reservations and settled back into my life in paradise.

It turned out I wasn’t at all happy with selling real estate so I quit after just 9 days, but in those 9 days I made enough sales to earn the money to remain in Indonesia another month. Happy to be once more gainfully unemployed, I returned my full attention to my spiritual study and practice.

At the end of that month, I had again run out of money and so booked another flight out. I went to my friends again and told them I was leaving. Again the response was, yeah, yeah, right. And again I was invited to a party, this one at a beautiful home in Sayan, not far from where I lived.

At the party I entered a wonderful conversation with a man named Steven. He enjoyed my positive outlook and said he had watched me from the time I arrived at the party and noticed how I engaged each person I spoke with from a truly intimate and heartfelt space. He said that his ex-wife had also had a way of making each person at a party feel as if they were the only person in the room while she was talking to them, and that he had never appreciated that talent in her until he had lost her.

We talked for a long time then I said I should continue to meet some of the other guests. As I was leaving the party Steven stopped me again and said that he had been told that I was about to leave the island. I explained that I was out of money and so it was time for me to go home so that I would be able to work and earn a living.

He said that he had been intrigued by my explanations of the spiritual work I did, particularly that I taught spiritual dance, and wanted to know if I had ever thought about creating events. I informed him that I had been creating sacred arts events for small groups for years, but mostly just word of mouth affairs among an extended circle of friends.

It turned out that Steven was a successful businessman who was trying to make a life transition into sacred arts work but didn’t really know how. He had ample funds to support any venture, but no direction in clarifying where to begin. I had lots of experience with content development for sacred arts events, but had never had enough funds to do anything at a truly professional scale.

We made plans to meet for lunch and within the week I was working with Steven to create what turned out to be a standing room only success. And he advanced me the money I needed to extend my visa another month and paid me a fee for my consulting services that was just enough for me to live in Bali another 2 months.

I think you see the pattern by now. Month by month, I was kept in Bali. When it finally came time for me to actually leave I tried to get friends together for a going away party, but no one would come. They had started thinking it was my thing to just say I was leaving so everyone would throw parties for me!

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