Can you be alone with you?” my inner voice resonates loudly. “Can you sit in complete silence and just be?”
I look around and see single women in their thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties. The restaurant is layered with solo women all deep in reflection, silent, in what can be recognized only as inner peace. We all have a gentle grace about us. As we take in the healing properties of this food and fresh-squeezed tropical juice smoothies and elixirs. It is as if each one of us has arrived to this pocket of the world to take ourselves out on the best date of our lives – one with ourselves.
We look around at one another and smile with our eyes, as if to say, “I see you,” “I understand you,” “I am you”. We all speak the same language, the unspoken sentiment of self-love.
I am eating dinner at Fivelements, Bali, opened in late 2010 as the first of a new genre of wellness destinations bridging the wisdom of traditional healing cultures with innovative wellness concepts. I am more than 8,000 miles from any comforts of my home, yet here, today, I feel more at home than ever. I am in 100 percent alignment with my body and spirit, more so than I have ever been in my life.
Unlike some other high-end resorts that gloss over wellness and slap a pretty name on the treatments, the focus here is on inward reflection and healing yourself from the inside first. With its unconventional approach to wellness, you can experience ancient traditional ceremonies balanced with world-class treatments. The indigenous experiences, the fire ceremony, water ritual, and martial arts program, are all guided by Balinese healers.
The heart of this wellness program is in the nourishment and food is king here. The entire menu is raw with vegan-based meals curated by a top LA-trained food chef artist. Yoga is not on the daily regimen, but you can have classes on request and seek out other detoxing ceremonies.
The energy on property is calm, inviting, serene, and stable. Anyone who sets foot on this tropical haven is asked to seek sanctuary from within. A utopia of sorts for the raw foodie at heart, but the wellness extends far beyond the kitchen. If you crave more yoga, spirituality, and are in deep need of balance, this is indeed your haven. An abundant natural oasis accompanied by riverside bamboo villas, all with an acute focus on holistic healing.
This is so far from just massage, meditation, and balmy nights in lush green paradise. It’s about Fivelements organizational approach to Wellness as a core concept and how this approach affects their programs of personal well-being, social harmony, and Sustainability in the natural environment.
At the core of this healing center is love—everything comes back to love.
This is apparent in the healers’ touch, the staff’s kind smiles, and the low-impact footprint the resort leaves upon the world.
I arrived as a single woman, traveling alone, in my thirties and instantly felt AT HOME. Many other guests were like-minded, dedicated to living life more fully, on a healing pilgrimage and committed to a greater understanding of the bigger picture of wellness, health, and happiness.
The other guests were also creating their own Eat Pray Love journey. I met a woman from the UK who was there on a week-long holiday. She has just left her corporate job and broke up with her long-term boyfriend. She was in transition but not lost at all. For here, on this pervasive Fivelements property, she shared with me how she has been ‘found’. “The serenity gives you opportunity to reflect.” She shares that it is the ultimate for anyone seeking clarity.
The Ayung River flows gracefully below, nudging up against the property. Spacious pool suites with sweeping mosquito nets share a view of the seemingly emerald-laced River. Upon checking in, one is graced with the choice of healing rituals ranging from three- to 21-day retreats. I tell myself I didn’t come halfway around the world to give it only half my effort. As far as my own healing goes, I am all in. Which means pushing past my comfort zone and embarking upon a self-discovery journey with no comfort limits.
First on the list was the Agni Hotra Fire Blessing Full Moon Ritual. In the spirit of becoming my best self, this ancient practice invites in and embraces our deepest desire for healing and encourages a fresh start for all who partake.
“I want true love”. I look down at the piece of paper in my hand. My scribbled words have a sense of powerlessness to them. The fire in front of me roars with heat and promise. That is why I am here, to reclaim my power and my belief in a better future. I am sitting in front of the fire pit, surrounded by 30 other souls, being led by Balinese healers who will guide us through this sacred ceremony. Wow.
The headmaster had just asked us to write our deepest desire onto the paper in our hands. I am in the process of manifesting a lasting love, so there it is, scribbled out for the entire universe to see. Within seconds we begin. We all sit in a crossed leg position as we repeat “OHM” 21 times. The offering “sway-ha” is repeated as we offer our wish to the fire. This is a release as we burn our written desire and expectations.
Holy water is splashed on me, and we each get sugar to offer to the fire, which represents apologies to those we have harmed and forgiveness to those who have harmed us.
Next, we grab a coconut, which represent the ego. We chant whilst holding the coconut in our hands as we cup and rotate clockwise. We are invited to throw it on the ground, which represents shattering the ego and letting go of all illusions of separation. I am blessed as more holy water splashes over me, only this time Balinese flowers are mixed in. The floral aroma fills my body with excitement; I feel revived, connected, and grounded. My skin is dripping with sweat from the evening humidity, heat from the fire and the intensity of the holy water. The flower petals stick to my skin, nature’s delicious tattoos, and everyone around me smiles with joy as we each look rather like mini parade floats! Celebrated with color, a glorious surrender and release has just taken place. I have discovered bliss. It is on my face, in my heart, and now in my soul.
Attending this Balinese fire blessing offers an opportunity to offer negative thoughts or unwanted energy into the fire to be purified or transformed into more positive energy. This healing ritual is known to be effective in helping one let go of unwanted aspects in our lives and, simultaneously, manifesting and welcoming new intentions and new life. It is rooted in the culture, love, and light. Samsara in happening.
With an holistic, integrative approach to living well, all is designed at this property to tune in to the coalescing of the physical, emotional, and spiritual auras. You don’t have to strain to reach happiness, for it is manifested from within. It is here where souls convene for a truly transformational healing journey through the mystic culture of Bali, manifested masterfully at Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa.
- We will collectively make a greater impact on the wellness of humanity. Love all, serve all.
Visit: Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa
She is best-selling author of three books about happiness, including Find Your Happy and Adventures for Your Soul. She appears regularly as a happiness expert on AM Northwest and Huff Post Live, and was named among the “Top 100 Women to Watch in Wellness” by the Mind Body Green. Shannon's the founder of Playwiththeworld.com, an award-winning self-help and personal development website. She's an author, international life coach, teacher, travel writer and inspirational speaker who left her job in advertising several years ago to follow her heart and become a writer.
Her work has been recognized in media outlets across the globe such as HuffPost Live, Health Magazine, Australian Vogue, Women’s Health, Spirituality & Health and Entrepreneur magazine. Everything Shannon does is to help you connect to your true self and unapologetically live your authentic purpose.
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