Imagine the sunshine, a hot breeze with a sweet smell brushing your skin, the sounds of the Balinese Gamelan in the distance and tropical trees and sounds of monkeys and frogs providing you a chorus of nature’s’ bounty. Within the vibrant feel of nature you have arrived to a sisterhood, circle of women who share your passion for gentle birth. Far from home, from many different lands and cultures you settle in with them and begin to share your stories. Being so far from home takes you deeper into your story, feeling safe to share your joys as well as your pain and your challenges as this gentle space holds them all, without judgement but with love and connection.
It’s hard to find the words to explain what I feel as one of the teachers or as I like to say facilitators of the Eat Pray Doula – Bali workshops. This was our first advanced birth worker workshop and my wild trip there again reminded me of all the reasons why I love birth. [Tweet “Life (like birth) – is unexpected, and we never know what will be asked of us or how long the journey will be.”] I had planned my normal trip flying from Newark to Japan with a short layover, and then on to Singapore, with a few hours to enjoy the airport in the middle of the night and an early morning flight to Bali – over 30 hours of travel, but predictable. Doing this 4 times before I even knew where I wanted to get sushi in Narida airport. But birth is never predictable and so as I waited on the airplane at Newark for an hour with news our plane had a flat tire, I thought ok a slightly longer labor but all was fine. Oh…we are going to get off as things are going to take longer than expected. Another hour and we boarded again, ok my connection will be tight, no sushi in Japan but it should be fine. Relax. Sitting yet again, NO- we must get off again and move to another plane at another gate. I could feel my heart pick up with worry that I would not make my connections and what would happen? At the new gate I patiently waited and then came the news I had never dreamed of. Your flight is cancelled! We don’t know when you can fly, contact an agent and see what they can do for you. 200 people rushing the desk to book new flights. I sat and decided to call instead of standing and reached an airline agent quickly to learn there was no way to get on my planned flights for days. There must be a way I said. Can you travel another way? I could go to Shanghai and from there to Singapore to Bali. I spent a whole day and no progress at all, the good news I could go home and enjoy a wonderful sushi dinner with my husband Jimi and another night together and then I would do it all again tomorrow.
Landing in Shanghai was new to me. A far away land I had never imagined I would find myself in. The process to switch to Singapore airlines was not easy and I felt nervous that I could not navigate it, would I find my luggage and have time to wait in line to check in and make my gate in time. I stopped to breathe deeply, I calmed myself and proceeded thru. My Singapore flight was delayed an hour, so all the rushing was not needed and I could sit at the gate and relax. I arrived to Singapore a familiar airport, knowing I was close. I would arrive one day later than planned but would still have 36 hours before our Eat Pray Doula workshop would begin to settle in and prepare with Ibu Robin and Ibu Katherine. I found a little airport cabin to rest in, rented by the hour. I had a bed and shower for 4 hours which felt like heaven after 20 hours of travel. Feeling refreshed I headed to my gate, cleared security and we were ready to board. Bali here I come, I was already dreaming of being met at the airport by Pagi or Pastika from Bumi Sehat, how wonderful it would be to see their smiling faces!
The PA system, are we boarding? NO NO NO, they are canceling my flight. Two flights cancelled in the same trip. What? A volcano on the nearby Island of Lombok is erupting and the ash is making it too dangerous to fly. The Depansar airport is closed. The next thing that happened calmed me so much. Instead of how United Airlines had created panic and a chaotic rush to the counter, Singapore said don’t worry. Please stay seated we are going to take care of you! We will call you up by rows and provide you with a taxi to a hotel that we will pay for, all your meals and as soon as the airport opens we will bring you back and get you to Bali. They were calm, they were doulaing us thru the change. I waited patiently received my vouchers, printed hotel name and address and headed out to reclaim my luggage. I knew I could choose to see this as a problem or to find pleasure in this change. I choose pleasure and stopped at a store and asked for their best dark chocolate. I purchased it, opened it and took a bite. I chose pleasure and smiled. This re-framing let me say mother nature has a plan that is greater than me, so let me make the best of it and enjoy it. I am grateful to be safe. I sent messages to the two birth keepers I have come to know in Singapore, Ginny Phang another DONA doula trainer and Red Miller a Midwife and hypnobirthing instructor. Ginny quickly offered her home, to meet for dinner and anything I needed… she too was my doula there for support and Red chimed in too. I was safe!
I arrived to a nice hotel and in the taxi line met Lori and Miriam from Sacred Doula and Sacred Midwife on their way to Bali too for their workshop. We smiled and I found even more comfort finding I had two more companions on this new adventure. By putting us all at the same hotel Singapore airlines put an agent in the lobby to answer our questions and keep us updates on the volcano. They reassured us they would bring us to Bali as soon as they could. The people came together, rather than random passengers on a plane, people were talking, going out to explore Singapore and even look at traveling to other destinations for those who were on holiday and were not committed to Bali. I was thrilled to have another bed and after a nap went downtown to meet Ginny for dinner. What a treat to meet her again!
On the next morning Miriam, Lori and I walked to a local mall and had massages, heavily and painful, yes Pain and Pleasure can happen at the same time! He dug in, working all the knots out of my shoulders from sitting and traveling – it was now Thursday and I had begun my travels on Sunday! We returned to the hotel for updates and they let us know they were providing us another night hotel and would hold a 2PM update meeting once they had news from Bali. We all gathered and the Singapore representatives said we have good news, the winds changed and we can go… be in the lobby with you luggage at 4PM. Yeah! I went to pack and walked into the lobby where representatives organized us on to 3 buses, whisked us to the airport where they had opened many counters just for our flight so they checked us in quickly, thru security and boarding and off to Bali – yes in the air at 6PM. The most efficient – gently, respectful, pleasurable process with smiles and care. When we touched down in Bali the whole plane cheered and clapped. Mother Nature had delayed us, but Singapore Airlines had doulaed us and gave us an opportunity that led to new friendships, time to explore Singapore and Ibu Katherine and Ibu Robin had reorganized the schedule to allow me time to settle before teaching. They created the “Eat Pray Doula ~ Volcano Eruption Schedule : Welcome EPDoulas… The best thing about being BirthKeepers is the fact that we can be and must be flexible. Babies come when they are ready, and apparently so do Volcanoes! Airplanes on the other hand, come when Mother Nature and Father Time make space.”
I had been gently reminded of my own saying “we birth the way we live”! I had traveled 5 days to arrive here, significantly longer than I had “planned”. The process of delays gave me a special dinner with my husband, a chance to land in China a land when I was young I could never have dreamed of going, to enjoy a dinner with Ginny, to meet the Sacred Doulas- Lori and Miriam, to enjoy some awesome dark chocolate and have a painful, pleasurable massage and still arrive in time to begin Day 1 of our workshop. Each of the doulas had a story of arriving in Bali and dancing with the volcano’s energy in some way. These stories lead to many life and birth stories. Sharing a passion for birth each group forms a bond that no words can explain. Nurturing each other, taking much needed time to nurture ourselves, massages, the magic of Bali, the heat, the pool, the water temple, cleansing and blessing. I laughed, cried, learned, stretched and as Jordan so well said was transformed – we each grew or strengthened our wings, recharged, healed, were inspired, and connected. I am returning home ready to go deeper in spreading a message of love, pleasure and possibilities with a larger and ever growing circle of sisters- with overflowing gratitude for the gift of mother nature and father time and for each day we walk together.
Join us in Bali for our next Eat Pray Doula gathering for a life – changing, workshop/vacation of a life-time! Give yourself the gift that will keep on giving for years to come.
(What are you waiting for? It’ s a write off and holidays are coming, this is the perfect holiday gift)
[Tweet “Share your EPD Bali or other adventures and how – Life is like birth”]….Tweet @OrgasmicBirth