More than anything, yesterday was a lesson in mixed blessings, in letting go and being open to what is – rather than staying attached to expectation and sinking into disappointment.
Standing in the airy living room at Felice’s house overlooking rice fields, I was talking with Sohanna, when I realized it was two o’clock; which was when the creative arts workshop I was leading was scheduled to begin. There were only two of us, so I decided to wait until Felice arrived, while wondering what happened to those who’d said they would show up.
I was deep in thought when Felice glided into her house, energized, buoyant and glowing, having just finished up another day of her yoga retreat. Then Miguel arrived, followed by a few more women I’d never met before. Shortly after we settled onto pillows arranged in a circular shape, Holly and her young son Augie showed up too. Within an hour, two more women appeared… and then we were twelve.
The plan was to invite people to engage in a creative detox (part of daily conversation here in Ubud!) What unfolded was: Breathing and relaxation; cathartic writing & releasing thoughts into the ‘sea’ (ie. sending banana leaf boats afloat into Felice’s pool); toothpaste-tube mime; visualizing the emptied insides of our bodies; popcorn kernels popping or unfolding in the pits of our stomach; hands-on art projects – including the grande finale, creating crowns from coconut and banana leaves, marigolds and other flowers, all of which involved some kookiness and an abundance of laughter and joy.
Early on in the afternoon, while everyone was sitting quietly and jotting down thoughts, I made a mental list of everyone in the circle: Aside from Felice, not a single person I’d expected to join in was there; in fact, the faces were almost all unknown to me. And Augie was completely immersed in his drawing; and would be the rest of the afternoon, together with gluing, making a crown, hole-punching and stapling to his heart’s desire. (As Holly whispered to me a few times throughout the afternoon, he was in heaven…and it took so little to make this boy’s heart soar.)
It was a wonder to behold. The creative sparks were flying – as were the pastels, pencils, glue sticks and coconut tree leaves. The afternoon was turning out to be exactly what it was meant to be; and with precisely the people who were supposed to be there. More importantly for myself, I’d done exactly what I hoped to do…have faith that that which would unfold was undoubtedly, surprisingly, exactly what ought to.