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Eat, Pray, Heal – How I Healed My Heart in Bali

Perhaps a curse was to blame for my years of mini romances that never amounted to anything. So I did what any logical, empowered woman would do – I flew to Bali to get those damn chakras in check!

Photo by Fivelements Retreat
Photo by Fivelements Retreat

“You have a curse — it’s been passed on to you,” said Alex, a psychic medium during our intense 30 minute session.

“Uhh what?”

“Your love life… it sucks. Lots of men, but it doesn’t last. The curse, it was put on your mother, and passed on to you. You need to spiritually cleanse!”

“Ok! Ok! I’ll spiritually cleanse!” I exclaimed.

I’ve seen psychics in the past, but never before have I heard that I had a curse passed down on me. Part bewildered, part afraid, part hopeful… perhaps a curse was to blame for my years of mini romances that never amounted to anything. So I did what any logical, empowered woman would do — I flew to Bali to get those damn chakras in check!

Bali is known to be an energy vortex. For the left brain folks reading, that means it’s where there’s an intersection of natural electromagnetic earth energy. For the spiritual right brain peeps reading, that means it’s a place where your emotions and past karma get whirled up into one big feelings tornado.

First order of business, I checked in to Fivelements Retreat Bali, a resort known for their Balinese therapies.  If I was going to do my #EatPrayEat adventure right, staying in a luxury healing retreat known was exactly what the psychic ordered.

I got cleansed… like, emotionally.

To kick off my healing journey, I got a traditional Balinese Fire Blessing which promised to purify unwanted negative energy into the fire and manifest new intentions. The ritual began with a Balinese priest chanting Sanskrit mantras. Throughout the hour long ceremony, I chanted with the priest while making offerings to the Gods by throwing grains and other foods into a fire. The ritual ended with a meditation and some holy water poured on my head.

Following my fire blessing, I had a session with a healer who did a chakra clearing on me. He told me that I had some blockage in my heart chakra and that was affecting my throat chakra. With a mixture of massage, reiki and prayer, he helped move my energy. I finished my healing day with a flower bath in my stone tub overlooking the river. Hard to say if it was the holy water, the chakra clearing or bathing in a tub of flowers that did it. Whatever it was, I was well on my way of spiritual healing.

As an over-achieving New Yorker, I wasn’t going to stop there. So off to try out nine more healers I went. From getting electrically zapped, prodded, stretched and energetically cleared, here are the Balinese healers that resonated the most with me.

The Electric Lady 

If you ask locals about who is the one Balinese healer to see, you’ll likely hear whispers about the “Electric Lady.” With a waiting list of about two weeks, I was lucky to get in for a session. Without any idea of what to expect, I imagined meeting a woman with an electrical personality, not that I would get zapped with electricity coming from her fingertips. Say what?! Yes, within seconds of my session, I felt strong electrical zaps from her hands. When she reached my heart, I felt an ache — that was both uncomfortable but pleasurable at the same time. It felt as if there were shards of glass being pulled out. When she touched my pineal gland, I saw bright white light . I felt an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude.

Balian Healer — Pak Man

Pak Man is the real deal, Balian healer. You start off with a short conversation, with his wife helping as a translator. Afterwards, he takes you to a room where you lie on the floor and he performs rigorous bodywork on you. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a massage in the traditional sense — the bodywork is often painful, and reveals what blockages you have and illnesses stored in your body. During my session, I suddenly burst into tears. A wave of profound sorrow and heartache swept over my body, a feeling I haven’t felt since my big breakup seven years ago. Throughout my tears, Pak Man kept looking into my eyes, and reassured me I was okay, and that he was there to support me. I felt a loving, warm grandfather energy — also something I’ve never experienced before. Soon, the sadness lifted, and I felt lighter. It was as if I purged a decade of dormant pain, waiting to come out. When I left, I was smiling, and feeling grateful. The session was cathartic, and I felt an energetic release. Maybe it was all placebo, but in my gut, I know something shifted afterwards.

Meditation

I also started a meditation practice while in Bali, known as shaktipat meditation. An enlightened guru gave me a blessing, activating the life force ‘shakti’ energy within me. The practice consisted of sitting for an hour meditation each day, surrendering to whatever came up. There’s no mantra, no breath-work, no stopping of thoughts — you just surrender and accept. In the beginning, there’s a lot of thoughts ranging from the mundane (what should I eat for lunch) to the profound (how can I practice compassion with those who trigger me) to the practical (I should build out this feature on my website). But after a while, the mind quiets, and there’s a calm feeling of connection, of being, of light. I committed to 60 days of meditation — regardless of how tired or busy I was, and I’m happy to report that after reaching 60 days, there’s been an undeniable difference in my state of being.

So did it all work?

All this healing — what did it amount to? Months later, I find myself back in North America and something has shifted. I can feel it, and the change is being reaffirmed by many of my friends and family noting that something feels different about me. I keep hearing the same feedback,

“You seem softer.”

“Your energy is more gentle.”

“You’re very calm.”

My friends asked how I was going to measure the results of all these efforts, and I feel the ultimate ‘measure’ was summed up with a recent interaction with my father. After decades of a broken relationship, I received the insight while meditating that I could choose to accept my father — exactly how he is, with no judgement or expectations. I could choose to see him through a lens of compassion, and empathize that his entire life he’s been met with hateful energy — from his father, to my mother, to his own children.

I decided to take my dad out, with the intention of making him feel safe, seen, loved and accepted. When we sat down for lunch, I looked at him with new eyes. Instead of seeing him through a negative lens which has been my default since I was a child, I saw him for his essence — that he was a beautiful human being that I respected and loved. I asked him questions with curiosity and he reminisced about his days when he first immigrated out of Hong Kong, and in the car, we both sang along to his favorite song.

For the first time in my life, I felt connected to my dad. I’m not sure if he was conscious of the difference, probably not. But I could feel the change in our interaction. Energy is real. Being in a state of love and acceptance has ripple effects to the people around you and people can blossom in front of your eyes, by just seeing them in a different light.

The Greatest Lesson

What I’ve realized is that while each healer provided support in my journey, ultimately, the only healing powers lies within myself. It’s keeping a daily meditation practice, choosing compassion even when I’m triggered, taking that extra moment to self-soothe before I react, taking care of what I put in my body, my mind and spirit. Healing begins at the moment of acceptance — or reality, of truth — as is. It’s reconnecting with the life force that’s already inside you.

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