My hectic schedule as business owner, chef, wife, and mother keeps my plate full of countless joys and challenges every day. There is only so much yoga, meditation, and exercise that a girl can do to stay balanced.
At least one time a year, I make a commitment to take a spiritual journey to relax, reflect, rejuvenate, and stir my soul. While sometimes this might be for several days somewhere not too far away, other times it can be a major trek. These spiritual journeys are primarily taken solo or with a very close friend, so that I have to opportunity to go inward.
I have always been drawn to travel east, and through these trips, I have brought the influences of both food and design back with me for my stores and home. My most recent trip was to Bali, and it was much like the book and movie “Eat, Pray, Love” only that I was eating my way through Bali, praying that I would get to come back again, and loving every minute of it!
Bali has a nurturing feeling for me each time I visit the island. In the same moment, it is luxurious and raw, decadent and simple, inspiring and quiet, as well as healing and awakening. It’s lush rice terraces, rugged coast lines, sandy beaches, and deeply spiritual culture is paradise on earth.
Once I get away and take the time to unwind and breathe, my senses are inspired with fresh ideas and interpretations of what I experienced. My staff and family know that many new recipes, drinks, and gift items will be unpacked with my arrival home.
One such inspiration has lead to the launch of our new Goddess Granola. Packed with all-natural dried strawberries and dried organic pineapple, apricots, and cranberries, this crunchy granola is delicious for breakfast, as a snack, or a travel companion. It is available in both of our stores on 3/18 and our online store on 3/25.
My trip was planned around the holiday, Nyepi, which is the Balinese New Year. This is very different than a Westerner’s New Year. The New Year in Bali is observed as a day of silence. From a religious and philosophical point of view, the Balinese New Year is meant to be a day of self-introspection to decide on values of humanity, love, patience and kindness that should be kept forever.
Four days of preparation, ritual and celebration take place in every village throughout the entire island.
The first day includes bathing rituals with the deities from village temples being taken to the river or the sea in long and colorful ceremonies. They are bathed and then taken back to their shrines. This signifies the purification of the soul and the ability to embrace the New Year with a pure heart.
The second day is the evening parade of Ogoh-ogoh’s, which are depictions of monsters or evil spirits made of bamboo. In a carnival atmosphere the Ogoh-ogoh’s, torches and music create a parade through the streets. At the finale, these evil spirits are burned signifying the release of evil spirits out of everyday human life.
The third day is Nyepi, a day of silence to make and keep the balance of nature. Every street is quiet. No one is to leave their home. All televisions and radios are shut down. Light is limited to candles only. Security guards monitor each village. The whole day is simply filled with the sounds of nature and the barks of a few dogs.
On the fourth day, everyone emerges from their homes to visit their friends and relatives. They share meals and rejoice in the New Year together.
As fate would have it, on my trip home, I was fortunate to have missed the natural disasters that struck Japan by hours. This tragedy reinforces that we must strive to enjoy and fulfill ourselves by creating healthy environments and loving relationships throughout our daily lives.
The biggest gift that this journey offered me was the Balinese New Year. It has opened my heart and given me a greater compassion for all beings everywhere.