The dual nature of spirituality.

We have been in Bali for about three weeks now, and are so thankful to have this opportunity for personal growth.  Bali is an amazing place with beautiful people.  Interestingly however, the vast majority of the people we have run into are desperately trying to sell you something, anything, and that has become a bit overwhelming.  We so desperately want to help all of them but don’t need any of what they are trying to sell and are rapidly running out of money just trying to be able to have a place to sleep and food in our own bellies.  I feel their need so deeply that it is becoming painful, but I am growing tired of being treated like a rich American, which I am not.  We came here on faith and trusting people back home to do what they committed to doing, but it seems like in many cases this is too much to expect.  There are people we know who committed to nothing who have gone above and beyond just for the sake of friendship and for/to them we are eternally grateful.

Hopeful that something is going to shift financially we are proceeding with our plan to partner with our new friend Smiley, who has been one of the few people we have met that genuinely wants to help people rather than take advantage.  He is in the process of building a school in his village for the children (on his family land) and has put together a plastic collection station to cut down on the litter in his area (also on his family land).  Obviously he still works hard to make a living for his family, but not at the expense of others well being.  He very much believes in karma, works at a resort what most of us would consider overtime, and he and his wife run a small warung (restaurant) that they opened a couple of months back (after saving up for a long time to do so). He also coaches soccer for the children and attends as many of the ceremonies for friends, family and the gods as his work schedule allows.  He is truly a beautiful soul, and believes in treating others as he would wish to be treated.

On another note the disparity between the constance of prayer, offerings and spirituality that the people here seem to practice and the incessant attempts to get your money is a little confusing.  I understand the need to feed ones family and take care of your responsibilities all too well, but it is difficult for me to wrap my head around how anyone could believe in their Gods so strongly and still be trying to take advantage of of other people every minute of the day.  Surprisingly enough the people who are working the hardest seem to be the most content with what they have,  in the rice paddies the other day we saw a young man carrying a load larger than he was, he looked up at us and smiled a huge beautiful smile that said “look! see how hard I am able to work! I am so thankful!”  right next to him in the sweltering midday sun were an old man and woman working harder than most Americans ever dreamed of, with huge mostly toothless smiles on their faces.  People that age in any western country would consider themselves too old to work at all, as would most of the rest of the western world.  These two elders (there is no other word except maybe ancient ones) were seemingly perfectly content to be doing this gruelling labour and even thankful for whatever pittance they were given for it… It truly puts into perspective how utterly spoiled we as Americans and most westerners in general are… how can we help to make life better for them?  Rachel and I, as some of the founding members of the Free Soles Society have decided that the least we can do is spend the better part of our time to helping people like Smiley and his village to educate their children in as many ways as possible.  To that end we will start a charity dedicated to raising awareness and funds to building schools and orphanages intent on providing the means for the children to pass into adulthood with the knowledge base required to maintain their culture while at the same time being qualified to have a successful career in the field of their choice.

That is all for now.

Follow your heart my lovelies.

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