I just returned home from my 3rd trip to Ubud, Bali. It is the first city I’ve been to more than twice outside of the US, so it feels very familiar even though it’s so far away.
About a year ago, my friend Veronika suggested that we meet with a Balinese healer she read about online; Tjokorda Gede Rai. (Cokorda Rai.) The day following that first meeting with him, I no longer had the neck pain and dizziness and eye twitch that I had been trying to figure out for months. I seriously couldn’t believe it. I was sure that whatever he had done had healed me.
I wasn’t dealing with any obvious physical ailments on the most recent trip, but something in my heart kept telling me that I should go back and see him again. It had been over a year.. and a lot had changed. I needed some emotional/spiritual healing this time.
The first time there had been only 2 people in front of us. This time there were many more waiting to speak to him. Even though everyone was crowded around him watching him working with others, I hung back a bit hoping people would get the hint and not sit too close while he was talking to me. I knew that I would be more honest with him if there weren’t strangers staring at me. Luckily there were only a few people left when it was my turn to approach him.
I walked over and sat down where he was sitting. He asked: “What can I do for you?” I said: “I’m not sure…I’m just really confused… and sad.” He nodded and then did the same thing he had done before, poking at different spots on my head, my eyes and my neck.
Then he started poking at my toes with a little wooden stick. Different places hurt more for different people depending on what you need help with. When he finds a spot on your foot that causes you a lot of pain, he will do whatever it is that he does to heal you, and then when he pokes that spot again, the pain is gone. It’s bizarre.
After the initial analysis, he said a prayer over me. He sat across from me and shook his head. “You think you are sad,” he said. I didn’t know what he meant. “You are not sad. You are angry. You wake up every day angry. But don’t worry. You are not angry anymore.” I cried, obviously, because that’s just what I do, but also because he was right… and I hadn’t realized it until that moment.
For me, sadness has always been harder to climb out of than anger. I am generally not an angry person. I don’t have a short temper and I really don’t like to fight with people. The reason I hadn’t realized that the pain I was feeling was anger and not sadness was that it wasn’t anger directed at another person in a way that I recognized. I was just angry at situations. At a set of circumstances. I was frustrated. I hated that I felt powerless over certain things in my life. I was also angry at myself for not taking better care of myself, physically and emotionally.
Once I knew that I was angry, I saw that I had been doing all of the wrong things to try to feel better. It takes different things for me to turn off each emotion. Sadness feels heavy. There is no energy behind it. It’s draining. When I’m sad I want to lay in bed and cry. Anger can actually be a really great motivating force for growth. When I’m angry, I can drive around belting out a P!nk song.. and just be like Whatever! F U! Just watch, I’m gonna do something AWESOME! Ha.. But I’m serious. I’ve done some of the best things in my life out of motivation that was ignited by anger. It’s fun when the anger wears off and you’ve created something beautiful.