At Ngurah Rai International Airport

A late post from Josefine:

August 31st, 2012

2:13 PM

This has been a really tough day for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I just could not stand myself due the fact that I would be in this airport five hours earlier all by myself. It was kinda hard to decide whether I would go to the airport directly or wait until the boarding time with my friends who stayed in Kuta. And well, I decided to go to the airport directly with a starving tummy. I was sososososo sleepy on the way to the airport, and frowned myself up. This was not good at all. However, these were none of my big concerns—I can say. 

Today, my biggest concern was saying goodbyes. I hate to say goodbye though, I always do—even though I know there’s always a goodbye after a hello. Maggie had left to Australia last night, and I just realized that my time to go back to Jakarta has come. Me, Anna, Ana, and Paige were in the same car. The traffic was pretty good, but my feeling was not that good. I’m feeling sad, yes I am. The action is in the present time. To spend the last sixteen days in Bali to have Young Women’s Leadership Training 2012 was such a bless. I never knew that this training would change my life so much. Spending these days with thirteen inspiring women all over the world was super duper truly 
amazing for me. 


During the training, I have learned so much. I have learned from all of the laughter. I have learned from all of the smiles. I have learned from all of the frowns. I have learned from all of the tears. I have learned from others’ stories. I have learned from the surroundings. I have learned from the observations I have done. I have learned from so much time I have had for these sixteen days. I have learned from the hugs and kisses we have shared with each other. I have learned from the compliments and feedback we have given to each other. These learnings are so unstoppable. I’m so glad and super grateful for joining this program, especially getting the scholarship. Thank you so much dearest Ryan Feinstein for choosing me to be the one who got the scholarship. I am super duper lucky and happy!!! 

I always love to do anything for the first time, and for these sixteen days, I have experienced a lot of things for the first time. I wore my bikini for the first time. I have learned completely how to respect my body and be confident with it for the first time. I learned the Balinese dance. I learned how to make offerings! I am so grateful for watching Legong dance for the very first time although this was not my first time going to Bali. I did snorkeling in early morning for the first time. I swam in an open ocean and got stung by jellyfish for the first time. I learned how to wear sarong from Ibu. I also swam in an open river near the waterfall 
or the very first time. I danced freely for the first time! WOO-HOO!!! I am a one free soul! 


So much gratitude and thanks will never be enough, I know. However, I do still want to thanks all of you. Our meetings will be arranged again someday. We’ll all do meet up again and have so much fun. I wish a lot of luck for all of us. Surprises are in the queue in our lives, and it’s our job to open the paths. I love all of you, I really do. If only I can be around all of you for all the time. See you in the future. 

Lots of love,

Josefine

My world

I’m just going to write this down so that in case i lose my notebook or lose hope, this wil always be here.

I am going to be a writer. I’m going to write young adult fiction, non fiction about nature and illness and environmental issues, powerful women, life. 

I am going to start an organization. In the meantime, I’m going to do everything that has to do with these issues. I’m going to need the help of others. But it’s going to be a safe space for women and my community. It’s going to be on the coast near the forest. It’s going to be a hands on learning center. It’s going to teach ocean ecology and about the forest and place we live. There will be field trips, documentaries showing, local activism outreach, speakers. It will be a place of gathering for everyone. Ideally, it will be in Northern Cali, but it could be anywhere like this. Florida. The south if that’s where a place like this is needed. oregon. washington. probably I’ll stay in the states. 

Once a year or so, I’ll hold a summit. It will gather women from all over the world from countries/communities/low-lying islands most affected by ocean-related climate change issues. These will be young women—high school age, college aged, wanna be leaders in their community. They will come together and we will discuss solutions—adaptations, alternative jobs, empowerment. They will learn ecology and leadership and discuss what they are doing in their communities. My goal is for them to leave empowered with their own ideas for their own communities. everyone is a leader. we disucss. we share common ground. Anywhere. New Orleans. Sri lanka. Australia. the maldives. kenya. indonesia. I’ll figure that out with my narrowing down process.

With the women summit and during the year, there will also be activities. Kayaking. Hiking. Camping. Let’s go outdoors and be hands on. Maybe some snorkeling. There will be art so it’s not just science. Connecting science and the humanities is my goal. Writing. Photography. Theatre. I can teach these three but if there is more art, i would need some help. 

Food will be local. The goal is to strengthen the community, empower. 

And in my own time, I will still write whatever strikes me. I will be published in orion, have my own book, go to writing workshops. Terry will know me. She will be my mentor. she is my mentor. 

This is what my world looks like 

This is what I am working towards becoming. 

-Maggie 

We hiked to this beautiful, secluded waterfall. One of my favorite moments of the trip was swimming in the cold water.

We hiked to this beautiful, secluded waterfall. One of my favorite moments of the trip was swimming in the cold water.

Remembering to Listen: Reflections on YWL 2012

As we successfully close the first Young Women’s Leadership Bali program,  I’m reflecting on all our adventures through the sacred island of Bali and everything I learned from this group of 14 women… I am remembering to listen.

 

Last night we ventured out on the ocean for a sunset boat ride.  Jumping off the boat into clear, warm water with coral reefs below us, and the sun setting a red purple pink.  I felt waves of gratitude and bliss.  I’ve never led a training like this before, and yet it feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life to make this happen.  There was never a doubt in my mind, although many times I experienced deep fears.  

I remember a few months ago, lying on the floor of my room in tears.  Unable to get up because I had so much fear that we wouldn’t raise enough money, or the program wouldn’t happen. It took a lot of trust.  Trusting in myself, trusting Barbara, trusting the group, and the vision we hold together.    

 

The other night I sat on the porch of our little hotel in Lovina talking quietly to Barbara.  I think I must have the strongest, most fearless co-facilitator in the world.    I feel really grateful for our graceful flow working together.  Through all the ups and downs of planning and creating this program,  nothing was ever “difficult”.  Challenging, yes.  But it’s been amazing to approach obstacles as opportunities for growth.  

 

As soon as we arrived in Bali, the island embraced us in a way I never could have anticipated.   Things happened so smoothly with almost no effort.   I’ve been meditating frequently and praying.  But mostly, I’ve been learning to listen. 

These words came to me… 

 

Listen to my intuition. 

Listen to the circle. 

Listen to the women around me sharing their stories.  

Listen to the gentle rain and the way the flowers fall from the trees. 

And the ocean of our hearts. 

Listen to the rhythm of tears and where the eyes go. 

Listen to the roosters when they tell us it’s time to rise.

Listen to my body when it says rest. 

Listen to coincidence and mystery.  

And how perfectly we are all made to be mirrors for each other.  

 

Because I didn’t call these women here.  I only listened to the call coming through me.  No wonder the circle contains all the wisdom we need.

 

Sitting on the porch we listened to the chickens, and the little girl dancing to her music player.  We listened to each other. We listened to the sadness and worry that our world is sick.  We listened to what is outside of our hands, and our own inner power, that shows itself in times of crisis.  We listened, like a mother whose child is threatened.

 

As women we listen. Because we’re never alone.  And we’re never separate. 


-Mary Candice Shandler

-

The Flickering Glow

The flickering glow of candles lights up the faces in the circle of young women. We sit telling our stories and our truths. Happy, hilarious, sad—anything goes. We are no longer strangers after a few days, but people connecting on many levels, travelling on a collective journey, facing ourselves and the world together. Bali beckoned me as I wandered through South East Asia with no particular plan other than to go with the flow. Learning to surf, topping up my tan, volunteering in spaces and places and meeting some amazing people from different cultures were my main intentions. So, I arrive in Bali, get ripped off by a taxi driver and guesthouse in Kuta, leave that behind and see smile after smile. I surf in cyber world to come up with some kind of plan, and find this amazing leadership program for young women. This had feelings of serendipity… I must go there! Ubud—beautiful, spiritual, genuine. With to-die-for food—raw, vegan, spicy. I think I’ll stay a while. I meet the group of women I’ll be spending most of my time with here over the next two weeks. I feel a connection already. We learn, play, dance together, and wander through our stories and herstories. We imagine a world of equality, where women will be leaders in communities, the world becoming a more harmonious place, where nature is respected, and where people are united with differences and diversity being embraced. So far the program has been inspiring, difficult, fun, raw and emotional, and there’s more wisdom to flow. We will not be held back or down; we will creat and connect; we will dance the dance of women. -Anne Thomspon (8/23/12)

I’ll carry these women with me. Always.

As I prepared to depart from Bali today, I sent love in a million directions.

To Heather for her courage. Sonja for her tenacity. Barbara for power and softness. Mary and her abundant joy, centeredness, compassion, and infectious giggles. Maggie for her brilliant writing, vision and passion for tackling climate change. Ana for her dream of creating a children’s art organization and for her compassion. Josephine, bright like a sunflower and clear eyese set on Indonesian women’s education. Kelly’s beautiful spirituality. Prita’s hugs and plans for a Balinese women’s restaurant that teaches cooking and offering making. Paige for her fierce desire to protect women. Anne for her adventurous spirit and love of vegan food and yoga. Dominique’s style and desire to bring people of all cultures together through art.

These were the moments where  I felt most alive: skinny dipping in the Bali Sea. Dancing like no one was watching and knowing my body’s longing for playfulness. Opening my heart - being completely vulnerable to sharing my scars and secrets - and, in doing so, creating common ground with 13 women, the likes of which I’ve never known. Drawing to music and imagining the world I want to create, one filled with clean energy, reversal of climate destruction, planetary restoration, equality, harmony, and of course, powerful women leaders. Riding out to watch the sunset and snorkel the coral reef. Stretching up to the sky at the foot of a waterfall, then jumping in the cold water below. Howling at the moon. Singing “why, why worry, when you can pray. pray to the most high. pray for the love of the sisters. pray to the most high. pray to those who watch over.”

I am transformed, energized, honored, and grateful.

- Anna Wagner

Some final words

Somehow I found myself in Cairns, Australia this morning. I left Bali last night and arrived in a whole new continent. Bali belly still follows me around, but I can feel it’s on the upswing.  

The last night was full of love. Three at a time, we sat around candles as the rest whispered words of love and gratitude in our ear. It’s one thing to be loved by your older family members, but it’s something else entirely to feel loved by a group of 14 women whom you have only known for 2 weeks. To be inspiring. Passionate. To live life to the fullest. To be smart, brave, strong, a visionary. These were words I live by and last night they were whispered in my ear or written in love notes. I teared up on the plane. Last night I was too busy smiling.

This is the first time I’ve traveled alone. I’m sure it will lonely but I’ll just embrace it. I wish my mom was with me every step I take. I can’t help thinking about our adventures in Iceland and Norway right before she got sick. But in Bali, I was reminded you are never alone. So it’s okay.

My pics! http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3669552093255.2139241.1108410194&type=1

-Maggie

How to explain this in words…

We were asked the day before heading to Lovina, a town located on the Bali Sea, a time when we felt happy and fulfilled. I think the first day in Lovina was one of those times. 

It was one of the best surprises of my life. We had just arrived at the coastal village just starting to be affected by Western tourism, and our first activity was  a sunset boat ride. We rode out in three motorized long canoes, heading parallel to the shore as the sun was setting over the sea. When our boats came to a stop, lo and behold—a coral reef! I was overjoyed. I knew this stuff! Although I couldn’t identify anything except for hard or soft coral and a couple of fish species, I was still so excited for everyone. I was in the ocean surrounded by amazing women finally experiencing carefree joy, so naturally I was on cloud 9. Then we all encouraged Melanie to face her fear of jellyfish and Anna and I led her through the water as she screamed in the snorkel over the darkening reef. It was a rewarding experience indeed. 

It was practically dark on the ride back, but I was on the bow of the boat, Bali on my right, the world on my left. A black smoke rising from the shore, flickering lights, the hilly forests of the volcanic island. On our way to Lovina, driving through steep and curvy rainforest road, we passed a motrobike accident. A man was laying down in the back of a truck and a crowd of people were surrounding him. In that moment, I felt vulnerable, twisting around the turns with no seatbelt. I would just be another tragic accident. And then what? But out on the ocean, I felt infinite. And to me, preserving the sanctity of such a tremendous force is sometimes all that matters. 

Other feelings during my time in Lovina? Blessed. Inspired. Introspective. We spent two days at cross-cultural workshops with a group of wonderful Balinese young women. On the last day we discussed our visions. Dreams and ideas flowed. I experience my heaviest emotions in my stomach and on the tips of my fingers. It’s usually anxiety, but today it was inspiration and a calling. 

For our farewell dinner, the two groups ate together at a restaurant and sang and danced to kareoke all night. We danced. We sang. We were joyous. We connected. My heart will go on and I will survive. 

After dinner, a few of us swam in the ocean. It wasn’t long before we were holding our bathing suits in our hands, staring up at a different set of constellations as bioluminescent creatures floated around our bare legs. 

Leaving the indifferent ocean and stars, we all realized that although the universe may be too large to comprehend and our actions on a geological scale may be miniscule, there is so much needed to be done in this generation, and we all have the capacity and the will to do something about it. 

So no more holding back, okay? 

-Maggie Allen

A Hopi Elder Speaks

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered …

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.”

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time!”

“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.

“Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder
Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona

Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy’s edge, all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.

Gore Vidal