We Find Paradise in Bali and Make Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

Can we feel intense joy at the same time as we experience total uncertainty? This is my question for you today. In my daily thoughts, I’m working to embrace uncertainty and joy simultaneously. It’s my new practice, and very much fun. I just try to increase the joy more and more, while embracing total uncertainty. Turn up the joy, and keep the uncertainty at a high level. How much joy can you tolerate? So far, it’s a fun game. When I observe my thoughts, I see through my superficial reactions. This practice requires courage. Yes, I believe that COURAGE is the bridge that can link joy and uncertainty inside us. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Balinese ladies are very beautiful. This is my friend Angel, the daughter of our landlord Yoga Wastra. Today she came with her family to do the blessing for our house. Traditional dress is used for the daily blessing. Women wear a sarong, usually with a lace top and a sash. Men wear a sarong with a shirt and Balinese hat.

Lama D and I visited a beautiful retreat center. Here he sits with the Dewa, the manager of the center and our friend Yoga Wastra. This center was so amazing, it took my breath away.

The retreat center sits on a small river. This dining room is breathtaking. The tables are made of thick vertical cross cuts of whole trees. See the long heavy table behind Lama D?

We drank fresh coconut water from their trees and then had lunch. We spoke with the owner about holding a retreat here in December – January.

The retreat property includes a 7th century temple that is carefully tended and blessed every day. These statues are the temple guardians. They stand on each side of the entry to ward off evil spirits.

In the corner of the temple complex is a stone yoni and linga, powerful image of creation. Essentially, the linga is a creation stick, and the yoni a sacred receptacle. To think about these images in sexual terms does no justice to the true Sanskrit meaning. Sexuality, as perhaps the strongest of our biological and psychological forces, also reflects greater and higher powers, the energies of cosmic consciousness, of which the physical world is a mere manifestation.

The polarity of male-female that we see in sexuality is mirrored in the great dualities of nature, from electricity and magnetism, positive-negative, to fire and water, the sun and  moon, and such natural forms as a mountain and a valley. Perhaps plants and animals understand sexuality better than humans do.

Ancient Hindu Sanskrit texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas narrate stories that identify the lingam as the phallus of Shiva. Practicing Hindus consider the lingam and yoni together to symbolize the union of the male and female principles and the totality of all creation and existence.

The owner of the retreat center stands in his rice field. He picked vegetables for us to take home. These are fresh bitter gourd, one of my favorites, which is very tasty with garlic.

We said good-bye in front of the HUGE Buddha statue. We hope to work with these people to plan our next retreat here.

Lama D has become an EXPERT at cooking beans. He soaks them 8-12 hours, and cooks them without salt. (They cook faster and easier that way.) After they are soft, he adds seasonings. His favorite bean is the chick pea, which he likes to puree in the blender. Today our breakfast was chick peas and green beans. Yum!

I miss my Paleo Desserts! I’m now in the habit of making a dish of chocolate ice cream every afternoon. Yep. Just stir together thick chilled coconut cream (they sell it in groceries) with cacao powder. Cinnamon and ginger are optional. Oh yes, it tastes very bitter, as sugar is not allowed in my diet. But it’s WONDERFUL ANYWAY!

Trouble is, I don’t have time to freeze my homemade coconut ice cream. I just eat it! After my daily nap, I’ve been enjoying a cup of Balinese tea and a little dish of homemade chocolate coconut ice cream. OOOOH!

Thanks for stopping by! Please stay safe. Stay relaxed. Let me know if you find you can embrace total uncertainty and joy at the same time. It’s a fun game! Sending you so many blessings and much love!

Sri Jana

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