When I asked my readers last week for blog post suggestions for my thirty days of blogging, I got some really great suggestions. One of which came from Benjamin Jenks, film maker extraordinaire and creator of one of my all-time favourite websites, Adventure Sauce. Benjamin, suggested, amongst other things, the ‘biggest thing you have learned in Bali so far’. I loved this idea, not least because it was preferable to his break dancing in public video idea but also because I have in fact learnt some pretty big things during my time in Bali.

As you may have gleaned from my last few posts, I haven’t been feeling at the top of my game lately and I suppose you could say I’ve been feeling a little lost, both in terms of my purpose and getting the most out of my travels. Being in Ubud, the cultural and spiritual heart of Bali, I couldn’t resist the temptation to seek out some ‘spiritual guidance’ to see if I could get to the heart of what was going on. Anyone who has read the book or seen the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert will know what I’m talking about here.

After some research I decided to go and get a reading from a wonderfully spiritual woman called Novi who relies on meditation to interpret the Tarot. I’ve had readings in the past, some that weren’t all that great and others that blew me away, containing information so relevant and timely for me that it had a huge impact on my life. So it should come as no surprise that I’m fairly open-minded about these things and before we go on, I just want to say that even if you are of the mindset that this sort of thing is all a load of mumbo jumbo (which I respect entirely), I can assure you that the lesson I learnt from this experience was a very real and very relevant one indeed.

I arranged to meet Novi over email and she instructed me to meet her upstairs in a small, local warung (restaurant). I arrived a little early and when I got there, was directed upstairs to another part of the restaurant. As I entered the large upstairs space, there was the lovely Novi sat at a table with a huge expectant grin on her round and motherly face. I immediately felt reassured that I’d made the right decision to come and see her.

As is usually the way, she got me to shuffle a huge pile of musty and dog-eared cards, which she then lay out on the table and asked me to pick out ten of them and hand them to her face down. Once I had done that she arranged them on the table and overturned the middle three. As I searched her face for clues, she nodded, smiled, paused to compose herself and then said, “you have forgotten how to play”. Bam! I was hit, right in the stomach, immediately winded.

She went on to explain that my usually strong child energy was being suppressed by the overly concerned and worried mother energy within me. She then looked me right in the eye, and said “this is really important…[dramatic pause]…you need to sing and dance urgently.” At this point my eyes filled up, something about what she was telling me was resonating, painfully within me.

The reading lasted an hour and we talked about lots of things but the central message was crystal clear. Worry less, analyze less, mother less, play more, sing more, dance more and above all HAVE MORE FUN. She insisted, with a beaming smile on her face that I sign up for salsa classes immediately and go to Karaoke as a matter of urgency. Novi was clearly a woman who liked to have fun.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been so deeply focused on getting over past relationships, shedding bad habits and working on my personal development and growth that slowly and without realising it, I have definitely forgotten how to have fun. I can now see that as I quit previous habits like drinking and smoking, habits that went hand in hand with crazy nights out, festivals and parties, I removed all the ways I used to have ‘fun’ or let my hair down and replaced them with far more serious endeavours like reading, writing, exercising, researching, planning and so on. My more recently acquired habits have also seen me spending far more time alone than in the company of others, something that I don’t doubt is the primary cause of my feelings of loneliness on this trip.

I knew that my life was lacking in something but I couldn’t work out what. Wasn’t I doing all of the right things? Facing my fears, looking after my health and trying to be the best person that I can be? I think the answer to that question is yes and I still believe wholeheartedly in all of those things but what I can’t deny is the absence of fun. Being reminded to have fun and specifically being told to sing and dance has been a huge lesson for me.

Last night, in response to Novi’s advice, I went to a Kirtan evening with two lovely people I met on a yoga course I’ve been doing here in Ubud. Kirtan is a very spiritual affair that involves singing, dancing and clapping along to devotional music. All three of us felt very reticent about going but my story of Novi and her instructions to let go a little and stop worrying about looking foolish inspired all three of us to give it a try. We had a great time and today I feel a million times lighter than I have in a long time.

As a reader of my blog, I’m guessing you too have an interest in personal development and I’d like to ask you, amongst all of that personal growth do you remember to have fun? If so, what things do you do to have fun and bring joy into your life? I’d love to hear from you. If you liked this post please don’t forget to share it with others (especially people you think may need the same reminder) by hitting one of the buttons below. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a playful and fun-filled day!