Decade to Decade Part Two: Movement

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Me as Sri, photographed by Dalih Sembiring

Since I was a little, I had this little curse of moving around. I was born overseas in the first place, on my second birthday I moved back to Indonesia, to my grandmother’s house at my mother’s hometown. By the time I was four we moved to another house which still belong to my grandmother because our own house was being rented to others at those time. In my fuzzy memories, I was probably around 5 to 6 years old when we move to our own house next door. I slept in my parent’s room until probably around 10 years old and got a room shared with my little brother (who sleep with my mother more in the end, so either I will be alone or my father will accompany me) but the roof is always flood with rain, so the trickle of rain in the wall has coloured the memories of my tween years. At twelve years old I finally owned my own room in our new house, which last me until I was fifteen. Then I went back moving overseas for high school.

By the time I was 16, I traveled to Sydney alone, dragging my suitcase and went to the small town that I was born by 7 hours train ride. I moved into this town for a semester and dragged myself back to Western Australia and finish high school. I was working for a girl’s magazine for a year in the capital and went to Jogjakarta later on to enter the universities. I got accepted to the public universities, both majoring in history and art photography. Stayed in different semi communal houses with friends and keep on moving all over Jogjakarta until I stayed in the house I rented until today. Its the longest house I rent, a decade (with skipping living in it for some months and years but kept the house still for my things). I might as well break those moving every decade curse by now.

I thought to myself that this was pretty normal for me, until last year I met a child psychiatrist. Instead of talking about my son’s mental health and my own concern, in the end I found out where my inner child of these constant moving situation has affect me in some certain aspect of life. Compare to my son who knows well about where he belong to and where he is comfortable in staying, I had never learn to settle in one place. In my adult life, my constant need of moving around has become my comfort zone. Moving around is what I know very well and it made me feel safe.

Living with my boy had teaches me and also teaches him the meaning of compromising the way we live. Early on in his life, he moves around too like me. But unlike me, he likes stability, he loves to have a secure home where he belong. He is connecting emotionally with his surrounding while I grow detached throughout my years of upbringing.

This decade I went to the places that I never knew I could reach. Places that I thought I can only dream about in the decade before. Going to India in 2012 broke my assumption of my limited self. It also give me the confidence to take work travel projects and involving more travel to my works. Being in Tibet in 2013 made me rethink about the life that I wanted to do and that in the end I had to let go of things in order to renew my own dreams. Nowadays, I just commit to go to at least one places outside the country I never go before. My favourite are still the South Asian regions, which are for me is another continent where I grow the feeling of home in order to understand my sense of home while being in my own country. I learn to settle also with small exciting trips which are just nearby to keep me sane every two months in a while. I started commuting to the capital more often since last year while seeing dear friends and renew my bonds there. I make peace with my need of space and exploration.

Motherhood has not kept me away from travelling, in the beginning it was the only choice to work and survival. In the end it become a habit. I had to ignored the very best intentions of people advising to settle down. I had that problem of every time I tried to settle down, things would always go wrong. Nowadays, I don’t try to settle and let go that expectation. Nowadays, I just try to keep the balance and found myself in my own version of stability. My son also learn and grow in the many travels we did together throughout his first decade. He is one of my favourite travel buddy too. It has made both of us grow our adaptability muscle and nerves while we are on the go.

I know very well with my need for movement. Although nowadays I tried to apply this more into my inner movement of being. This is when in the end of another life crisis and transition I found conscious dancing by Gabrielle Roth. It has helped me manage and resolve the way my energies work. This journey led me to start teaching movement practices for others, although for me it is still yet another huge homework ahead.

For myself, movement is an important element in my life. It has somehow teaches me to be still in any kind of situations. It has teaches me to laugh at my own reactions and trigger. It has brought me different kind of people from all over the world and immerse myself in various cultural experiences. It has open my eyes and found the interconnectedness of all beings. It has brought me many teachers in many forms. It has brought me troubles and broken hearts. It has healed me from so many things. It has been a way to meet happiness and find love. It has been a way to cry it out loud. It has been my spiritual path of the wandering heart. To find home inside my beings. To find stillness inside my own storms.

As the weather, movement teaches me, that everything too shall pass.

Decade to Decade Part One: A Recap

Photo taken by @travelgeela at Kotagede, Yogyakarta

This is how 2019 end, with no post in this blog. While the second day of this decade, I decided to go back writing and now posting it. I had spent the whole year writing with myself on my own journal. From writing and noting experimental recipes for Banyuripan, my own emotions and feeling, the daily mundane, the upside and inside, the turning around of things. But reality already hit me in day two of 2020, I need to go back to my basic which is for me: WRITING. And this blog was supposed to be the space of sharing my own writing.

With all the fastness and speed of social media in the recent years, it has been an overwhelming process. I had found toxic experiences with social circles who prefer to see my life in social media and be judge with what I had posted. It made me realised how superficial life is in the social media and how people only think what they only wanted to see and hear what they wanted to hear.

I found myself with no more emotional connection with people who only prefer the platform to connect with. I prefer a face-to-face and one-on-one connection. I went totally private with my privacy and my private life, when I felt the online space was not the SAFEST place to SHARE things. I realised nowadays also it has been happening to me because I was lack of strong personal boundaries.

But here I am, when parts of my past life has been quiet public and my current life in total privacy. I spent the last couple of years being in a private cocoon. Suddenly after many toxic social circles, I decided to close myself up. Learning to take meaningful moments only with meaningful people who take the same effort to maintain any kind of relationship. With people who I considered my best friends, we don’t even take a bloody wefie just to show that we are friends and we are great in social media. I had spent so much quality time together with more real friends nowadays that we forget the bloody phone. I know in the new decade, I need more people like this, more quality times like this. More REALNESS which had went through time, trials and tribunals.

I had to admit toxicity in any kind of relationship has been the hardest to let go in this decade. For me it started with family. Dealing the whole ten years with the lost of my parents in the decade before. Dealing with my grandmother death in 2014, which mark that my lifetime enemy has just passed away and end the decade with the knowledge that I was a part of her. I decided to make peace with my blood family with many trips to the Himalayan plantain and mountains. I decided to take as much space as I can in the mountains just to make peace with the current reality of family situation that I had. In the end I make peace that in my life I fit in more with strangers who become like my own family instead of the emotionally and physically faraway so called blood ones. Though I tried my best to reverse this pattern but with no expectation with whoever is supposed to be my blood ones.

I realised in the end, FAMILY means something that you make your own. Your own heaven or hell. I tried to recognise more pattern about people I can trust as family even if they are not blood related, but has been having the history of reliability and support like my dear neighbour family in Jogjakarta who has become my true grandmother and true sister confidante. I like to say that my village of support system that I had gather the last 10 years is my tribe.

Then it was the toxic partnership pattern that I always had. Both in personal relationship and also business partnership. I had to examine myself thoroughly about what I went through this decade.

In PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP, I asked why back in 2010 and the last 2017, I ended up with the same violent nature of relationship? What was I looking for? Why did I connect with emotionally unavailable people throughout these years? Why people with the same tendency of violence, both physically and also mentally? Why the necessary of intensities of violent, passion and drama?

I had to go back to my past relationship that went well 13 years ago, the one that was quiet an anchor when I lost my mother but then I decided to self sabotage the whole relationship. Feeling that he was too good for me and that he should move on with life without me. Meeting and reunited with the person last year, has helped me tremendously to understand myself and help me move on in order to break my own negative pattern. I need to recap my mother wound and also my father wound to also understand all my basic wound and how I can heal them one at a time. I need to also understand how the toxicity has been quiet rooted in my family, to understand how the attraction actually works both ways. I know I can only relate all these feelings of loss and abandonment with people that has experience the same things. And I know I can’t make other people who don’t understand it to get the way I feel. I grew up when depression and mental illness was never talked about and always ended up with a hush.

I recognise nowadays that the danger of my personal relationship is within myself. When the answer is about getting what I deserved and stop people pleasing. And it is all about communicating my needs and wants clearly. I decided to take major breaks the last 3 years on my own to understand the whole pattern, the whole pain and those black hole I had inside to stop those repeating intensities to come like waves all over again.

In BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP I had to learn the hard way. With all the losses – both financial and emotional-, with the intensities, with the courage to gamble and taking a risk, with the lack of boundaries, lack of support, lack of communication and the one that hurt the most is the abandonment, scapegoating and the backstabbing, when I felt I had given all the effort that I can to maintain things and to prioritised others needs instead my own. Even owning my mistakes was not enough for others to understand the whole situation that we had to go through. Here, I learn that the only thing in this world that you can control is only yourself and never others. I learn to accept that conflict resolution face-to-face was not other people way to resolve thing and I learn to let those go. That closure is often a lone journey that you had to take by yourself.

I learn the hard way that for me, it is wise to do things solo. To have non-attachment collaboration, project after project. In the end it teaches me TO OWN MY OWN BUSINESS ENTIRELY and not going so fast in joining with others just because I am lack of confidence, support or even money. I learn to slow down with my business and fully doing things from the root up myself. Even if I have to do and redo everything myself to understand the whole mechanism. In the end I learn to be and give support to my closest confidante, my loyal customers, recognising who are the people who are willing to go hand in hand, sweat by sweat to build up something. And I felt entirely okay, when collaboration offers is coming and to feel not ready for it or even refuse it for the time being. Even in the business world in the end I learned, there is traumatised experiences and it is cannot be replace or calculated with just a cold business attitude. All wound take time, like all healing take time.

In any kind of relationship, I learned that being EMPATHIC has been the problem for me to get all my boundaries to be crossed and step over by people. By allowing others to treat me as their doormat has teaches me how precious it is to OWN MY OWN PRIVATE SPACE and value my PERSONAL TIME.

In my life, friends come and go. I know this all too well and nowadays I let them be. And at this point of life, I become very selected. I found myself going back to my solid old small circle of friends who has been quiet a core support of mine no matter where they are and how they have been, no matter how many years we have not seen each other. And they give in like I give in. In their arms of supports I learn to soothe myself. They were the ones who has withstand many trials in life and out from their major comfort zones in life. People who I consider to bear witnessing my life and stay on board no matter what. The length of friendship nowadays matter for me and I make time for them too. Time and friendship is tested indeed. And I also needed people who are at the same wave length, vibrations and experiences, I learn to use my gut feelings more thoroughly in this process and trust the first thing it say about a person (I should listen way back, even my son do this better than me). I learn to make personal boundaries and stand up directly for myself when one is crossed over.

I dropped Facebook as a platform and only use Instagram for business purposes and glimpse of what people are allowed to see about my life. I learn not to follow others who I feel unnecessary and regularly clean my feeds when I felt its a bit too much (nothing personal, its just how I learn to manage my consumption). I learn to be productive instead of being social.

My interactions in my business years has teach me how time is valued and how valuable my time is. I learn to monetised my time by the hour nowadays in order to care for myself and my financial needs. This decade has introduce me on the many ways and skills that I developed to understand the correlations of all the things that I had done in life to a point of understanding in all its connectedness.

Nothing has not been meaningful. Many things is still an ongoing process of learning and healing. But whatever has happened in this decade is that it made me SOLID. It made me have the ability to say NO, but also the ability to say YES. It made me found the right balance and recognise regularly which one is needed. I also gave time to everything that is happening unto my life and be consciously aware always with what is going on.

What I am not taking to the this decade is the pain of the past. The growing pains of transformation I know is require, but I learn to do things with ease. Choosing more simple route and not doing the hard things no more when there are other options. It is not the time for being in survival mode anymore. Am entering the decade for equal partnership in my reality, working to balance my own masculine and feminine power, and to say yes to the family am rebuilding in my own reality. Am looking forward to the structural things we are building and being connected with the land in the most realistic sense but with no rush either.

Despite all the dark periods of life that I went through in my 20s and 30s, in entering the half end of being 30s, am allowing myself to own my shine even if its only for myself to see. In the end I make peace with my own existence and allow myself to grow in my own way that I know: being honest with my words.

I believe the way of healing is to name things. And in this decade, more writings is to come.

continue to part two.

I take time

Me at 33, Padmashambhava Cave, Tso Pema, India. 2016.

I take time to write and process things. I make space and I take time. I am into depth and to reach depth, I believe in taking the slower path of everything. 2018 suddenly already reach its ending. I remember I was plunging myself in the depth of the Ganges last year around this time. That experience felt like plunging into a journey that reach my soul, deepen my understanding about myself and how I bleed after that plunge.

This year, I commit to myself, plunging unto my own ocean and setting out my boundaries. Its a year long of self talk, it throw me back on my days back in Bodhgaya. It takes that every morning walk and that every afternoon walk I took circumambulating the Bodhi tree where Siddharta became Buddha. It takes me to every time, I open the window to let the morning sunshine reflected to the moment where I pour the basmati rice to our small pot in the kitchen where I cook for my Japanese nun friend, who run the temple. For that memorable 2,5 month of sleeping near the temple altar because I can’t afford any lodging and waiting for my teacher to come to town. For all the faith I believe on myself. For all the Tibetan mantra that went all through my mala, bead by bead. For all the prostration I took to let go my own ego self in the wooden board with all the Tibetan pilgrimages. For the breath of my Gyenla in that cold morning in Bodhgaya. For his smile and the laugh of his students, for all this kindred soul of mine. For all those butter tea cups shared while listening and saw the Dalai Lama teaching. For all those warmth hearted moments that stays with me forever. I am home.

In my journeys I found myself. In my journey I am with my home and my heart. In my journey I healed myself. I don’t write a travel blog, even if I try to document everything I felt in words. I just don’t work that way. I had lost words lately in this overloaded world of information and disinformation. I am not into this negativity vibes and limitations. When words does not reach how I felt anymore. I move my body. I dance my life through.

People ask me why I don’t smile when I dance. People ask me why I move the way I move. People ask me whether I had lost my mind or going mad.

The thing is I move to live. To be alive. I don’t do this for entertainment. For the mass entertainment.

I dance to connect inside. I dance to connect with mother earth. With the wind that caress my being and teach me to be a breeze of fresh air. I dance to flow like water and find my ocean womb. I dance to purifies my fire and transform my fire power. I dance to channel the ether, the spirit realms, my ancestors, my guardians and for my own spirit to takes form. To shape shift. To release. To heal. I dance my medicine. I dance with everything to go back to myself. I dance to be with my centre of being. I dance with myself to process my own things.

And it has been an amazing journey of alchemy. I fell in love with myself and decide to give all the love I had to my own self, first and foremost. Because I deserve me. Because in my darkness, the whole universe and realm shift its gear towards light. In my dark womb, I rebirth my whole being. Inside, I started to understand my own power.

Now, when I shift. I promise to myself, that I will give time. The way I take time and space unashamedly.

Gently. Slowly.

Lotus Flowers at Dhambulla Temple Cave, Sri Lanka. 2017.

A LETTER TO MY MOTHER ON HER 70TH BELATED BIRTHDAY

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Dear Mami,

This is my son’s other mother, Ibu Heri, my son called her Ibuk and called me Mamah daily. She is as much as a mother for my son as me.

She is my neighbour, Simbah Ngadinem second daughter, my landlord. She is my older sister, my most reliable and trustworthy person, my partner in the process of raising my son the last seven years. She never let me down. We both owe her as much credit as a real family is.

This is her, doing my son laundry in her beautiful morning rituals. Both Simbah and Ibu are batik tulis traditional woman artisans, they would make a beautiful one piece of batik cloth with malam for two months full. Sometimes with gamelan music in the background from an old radio that Simbah had while she blow her canting and draw softly the pattern in the cloth. Every single day they do this when they are not busy taking care everything in their life, including my son.

When woman do their domestic chores, I found them in their graceful light. This is how I know her: simple, patient, affectionate, reliable, dedicated and loving. I know my son is safe in her hand.

Lately I have been practicing morning rituals and this is one of my first morning sight. My neighbours doing the laundry, the whole family together. The traditional well is the source of the morning energy. And yes, I am not a laundry person (I prefer ironing), I am not the perfect mother at all. I am perfect when other co-exist. I am existing as a mother to my son because of my neighbour.

I remember the day when we come to this house. With Ibu Hatch-Barnwell and Steven Bino Basira when we went house hunting. I had a messy separation with Bhumy’s father, had nothing and only carry the 15 months old baby in a baby sling. A completely lost, disoriented young mother and in the verge of tears anytime people look me in the eye. They didn’t ask or say anything. They take me in gently.

Oh how they take me in.

Four months later, I had to go for my last presentation for my final paper in the university and my son had a fever. I felt I can’t go that crucial morning, since he just had his first febrile seizure attack first time in Jakarta two months before. Both of them said to me:

“Trust your son with us, do your sidang skripsi and everything will be fine. Trust us.”

I did. And because of them I got my university degree and graduated that day.

Or when I was anxious of going the first time to India for a festival, because its going to be my first trip again after 5 years of not even travelling anywhere before because I am too scared to leave my son. Simbah only said:

“When the mother is calm, the children will be. Leave with a peace of mind, it would be easier for us to take care of your child, focus and finish on what you are doing. Then come home.”

I keep this words in mind after so many years. And because of these words, I found myself again. I had so many interesting job/work/travel offers that I learn not to refuse just because I had a son. I learn not to limit myself. Our life gets better. I got better as a person and a being.

I crossed so many miles and walk my nomad path even as a mother. They both are my pillars throughout my travel. As strong as any influential woman in my family. As inspiring as any of my favourite author or public woman figures. Woman are resilience and strong. This is what I learn from them.

Both of them are widows. They understand well the meaning of loss. They understand that nobody can be a single parent. Its impossible to do. Even nuclear family concept is absurd already. Woman need support. We need to support each other. To raise children you need a village, I prefer to make that village, than being a heroic single mom of the century. Am not in the superwoman band. I am imperfect as I am a human.

I lost you when I was 23. Two days ago you meant to be 70 years old. A beautiful graceful grandmother of my son. He is also a Cancerian. A home and family loving boy growing up to be a little man. He has your skin. Your fragile gentleness that I learn to understand slowly.

Then I found a grandmother, mother and sister again when I am 27. Simbah Ngadinem and Ibu Heri, they are the woman of my life and my son’s family. And I want to share these stories with you. I want to share these women who raise your grandson and help me grow as a mother. Through them I learn the value of trust, that strangers can also means family, and I accept this facts. That we are all one.

I forgive you for not being here physically. But I believe you are here, through them. And I am grateful for them, for you who has deliver me into the world so I can experience all this human experience, thankful for all the motherly blessing that the universe is giving me.

I understand you much better when I am also a mother myself.

Thank you for all the woman in my life with their grace, beauty, gentleness, vulnerability, warm, home, strength, resilience, anger, madness, grief, sorrow, pain, sadness, inspirations, lessons, wisdom, love and compassion. For your all beautiful souls, my soul and heart is honoured to meet you in my life.

You are loved. You are love. All ways. Always. #adaptingalexelle

Big hug, big love,

Astrid

Written last year, on her birthday, 22nd June 2016

The Melancholia of Transition

 

img_1179Jomson, Mustang, Nepal 2014

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” ~ Pema Chodron

The hardest thing in having the habit of living like a nomad is that you are constantly feeling in transition. Often feeling not exactly there.

2015 feels transitory for me, it is a year where it takes me to go beyond my comfort zone and trying new things. Completely new things. Testing my own limit. Going through the different sense of things beyond my reach. It has been giving me all the biggest lessons. It has shown me my capability and also my weakness. My constant travel also teach me something that we all should be careful not to burn out along our journey. That stopping is necessary. That a rest is always good. Even crying your eyes out sometimes. Asking for help. All is necessary.

I wish I could start to write something more uplifting in this beginning of the year, but this writing become more like a reflection.

It become something that I ask myself the fundamental questions about home, when you are constantly moving around. When your comfort feeling often when you just see yourself carrying only one bag in a journey. Then you suddenly feel home. Alone with just one bag. Walking to some unknown destination.

***

Death has been a constant blow in my life. Death, I realised can come in many forms. Death has often mark of a cycle for me in life. Last month, my most respected teacher, Benedict Anderson passed away in Batu Malang. I am supposed to submit an obituary writing for him and I haven’t started yet. The thing is, Ben teach me how to live.

My last email correspondence with Ben was about going to India. And I managed to be back in India again last year.

Pause.

The draft of this piece was done in January 2016. Fast forward, I’m continuing this writing in November 2016.

And its start to turn out what November feels. What 2016 for me feels.

I was back to Northern India again in March 2016, to pause a bit, to breath a little bit to things that brought back my sanity. I couldn’t continue my writing before hand. Now, I am on my last night in Saigon and found myself back to this blog.

This year, I ended back in Jogjakarta. I realised after trying to figure out what is the relationship I have with this ancient spot for the last fourteen years, is to also realised its old adapted name, Ayodhya. I missed this fact somehow along this journey to understand better the meaning of having home. To grow rooted.

While 2015 feel transitory, it is exactly in these melancholia that I felt in the shift within myself. The soft breaking of my own walls while staying in India. To stake my own heart once again. To go deeper again than ever before.

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Dharamsala Tibetan Archive, Dharamsala, North India, 2015

I had to go back to Dharamsala in October 2015, to be reminded again where all these journey of the open heart started four years ago. I openly grief and let go of the loss of my parents, letting things go for new spaces to come. I ended up feeling disoriented for a while. And the tinge of melancholia hanging in the air. But I manage not to get overwhelmed by it, since I know already all the things that I need to do to handle it.

I did not plan to take more journey this year. But seems the fact of always having a nomadic streak is just something I need to accept in my life. I end up in different places: Lombok. Gili. North India. Singapore. Toraja. Cambodia. Vietnam. Though seriously you would find me most at home nowadays, even revamping the space after going through so many years of trying to organised a proper home. I end up chucking 70 percent of my things, start a new restaurant venture with my best friend, organised a bi-weekly secondhand market which ended up being a community hang out. While our restaurant, at its best, starting become one of Jogjakarta communal living room. I am finding myself more in the kitchen, from cooking, managing and hosting things. I notice I wrote more while I am travelling solo. And I do these in and out nowadays. Seeing the fluctuation of my energies, those moments when I need to recharge myself and moments when I need to show up for others.

I lost two important person this year too. One is our first restaurant customer, Budi, he was only 28. Another one is one of my really good friend, Chindy Tanjung, she died before turning 40. If Ben Anderson teach me to live, Chindy teach me how to hope. Her best reminder is left at my son’s name, Asabhumy. She add Asa years back when I was still pregnant with Bhumy. Asa literally means hope.

I learn to go through my grief. Keep opening my heart to also celebrate death and all the values behind it. And I see death has the ability to transform so many things. I change my relations with death. It has been a decade since my mother passed away. In all my transitory state, I accept that giving time and space heals everything.

I took the heart to face and not turn away my face in seeing the darkness anymore. Lessons while travelling in Cambodia and Vietnam, flow like water. Being in Vietnam the last few days, the attack of nostalgia is strong. As strong as remembering all my love ones in a bite of food.

In the cold air of the mountain.

And in every breath I take in feeling alive. Here and now.

Bubur Ayam Kampung ala Peranakan

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In the process of cooking daily in Warungkita, I realised for me food are part of my expression of nostalgia and I am my own storyteller through my own family recipes.

I talked the history of this long signature dish of: Bubur Ayam Kampung ala Peranakan (rice porridge aka congee Chinese Indonesian style) that reach my friend Nino’s table yesterday rainy afternoon and we had this talk.

When I grew up, my family favourite spot for Bubur is this particular famous restaurant in Cipayung (all the way after Puncak) called Sudi Mampir (Why Don’t You Drop By – basically the name of the restaurant). They sell the best comforting bubur in the world. My mom and me has always taken by this, and since Cipayung is two hours away (minus traffic) from our home, we tried to make this at home, guessing the recipe by the sense of our tongue, trying to replicate the taste of this particular type of bubur. We managed to have them close to its taste until the day she died.

When my mother was diagnose with cancer in 2005. Her sense of enjoyment of food was lost. And I had to see her pass her days, slipping and slipping further away towards death.

There is a saying in our family or a general belief, that the closest you are to death, in the end you will keep on eating your favourite food. At her death bed, my mother requested a particular shark fin soup from TRIO restaurant in Cikini, which my best friend Alia brought all the way from Jakarta, before she went to a coma. And its one of the last dish that she eat with delight before she died. TRIO restaurant has also been my grandfather favourite when our family still stayed in Jakarta.

A week before my father died, he requested to my grandmother house assistant to cook all his favourite food. I am reflecting now, that food is the closest thing that still attached to us when our sense of life is still lingering. Its the symbol of our survival urge to cling with material world.

My only way as my mother’s daughter at that time, hopelessly 22 and lost with the sight of death, was to go back to my mother’s pots and pan. And cook this particular bubur recipe. It become the only thing that my mother can eat and digest. And yes, I believe every time I stir the pot, I put all my love and tears, and maybe a tinge of fear even with the fact that I know I am going to lose her.

But in the process years later I ended up improving this recipe and reclaim them as my own. I add ginger, lemongrass and a whole of ayam kampung (free range chicken) to the pot. Making them to have the reputation of bringing people back to life (I wish) when one of my best friend name them “Bubur Pembangkit Mayat” (The Porridge that Can Rise Death People).

Such reputation came in the changing season or at the rainy afternoon like yesterday that hit Jogja. When a friend or my son or even myself is going to catch the flu or cough or slightly shivering, I always make this one whole pot of chicken porridge. It really help people who are sick and a very comforting dish. I remember when my best friend, Dina, can’t eat anything in her early trimester of pregnancy, I always come to her house and cook this for her. This porridge had grown to something we all love together. I am so glad how this memories has turn out to be one of my most meaningful story.

Thank you for sharing this pot, Nino, by coming to our warung in the middle of the heavy rain. And also every other friends, worker, customer that had enjoy this pot of memorable porridge. Thank you for sharing my memories. I will not forget this.

Have a nice Sunday

This post is a late post from a few months back. Slowly going back to the blogging world.

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Our Bubur Ayam Kampung is serve every Saturday in @warungkitajogja,

Nitiprayan – Jogjakarta

A Reflection of Taking A Rest

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Writing about a journey has never been an easy one. Especially when most of the experiences are inward. How do you suppose to describe the sense of travelling inside yourself. To be honest, sometimes you feel lost in words after many journeys. And when you found yourself in your so called homeland, you only wanted to wrap yourself in a cocoon.

By January 2015, it’s already the rain season outside, in this tropical rainforest state and you wanted to wrap yourself more. You are already back home and scattered yourself all over the main island and the gods too. You never really stop walking. You wanted to rest and you know you mindfully need one. And you did.

***

You asked your local massage guy, Pak Warto, to help you in shutting your body down. This strong headed body of yours, who often forgot it limits, who always chase herself to go beyond her limits and sometimes it feels not so good. The body would take it toll in the end, and in that third week of December, you start your hibernating period.

Closing yourself.

But not totally, because you have your growing six year old boy beside you who would want to snuggle every single time because he has been missing you so much. And he is in a bear cub mode on. But you need that too for your eternal motherly bonding with your children. And he helps you. Reminding the essence of nurturing, that to grow is also by giving nurture. Or like my wise friend, Hanny said, to let go is to let in things too. It has always been a two way process, a circle, not only a one way thing.

And the flu started. A bad one with extra cough. The young cub got one, but not as bad as you. You feel the pain, the choking in every time you tried to speak out and something stuck by your throat. And slowly you sooth yourself down. Hot lemon water, those childhood classic: Ibu dan Anak cough syrup made in Hongkong, the forever saviour of Indonesian: Tolak Angin, and extra extra long nap.

You sooth yourself by slowly talking inside. Very slowly. And listen. Listen to yourself. You feel Bali is calling you, once again, like in every grandmotherly calling.

You had to take a flight exactly at Christmas night, that nearly poked your brain to death, which you commit not to ever take another flight when the flu happen. But like all things you arrived safely in Sanur. You had come to rest. Breathing the sea breeze of the Balinese southern sea and sleep in for some more. Enjoying your private space with your son. Your soul mates popping up in the house. Giving you all the love, hugs and food for all the nourishment of your heart. And in the end you find yourself in the magic mountain of Pupuan. Finding yourself in the circle of women healers and the heart of your soul mates. And be blissful, be thankful. Finding all the love in the eyes of loved ones in the first light of 2015. And you snuggle in for some more.

Everything feels out in the open of the grass fields and the wind slowly whisper in your ears. The moon is still. And you burst slowly like a never-ending fireworks. Seeing your own beauty. The beauty of each moment of your lives. Even the beauty of all the pain that had transforms you until now. And you let yourself be healed. With every tears that runs, you wash away all your sorrow. With every smile you give, you give all the love you got inside you. And just BE.

With all the imperfections of life, the impermanence of a moment and FEEL them completely.

Your purpose in life is often to find this BALANCE. In where to start and where it ends. When to keep walking and when to stop. Life has teaches you that in your journey, you start picking up your pace. Smoothing things out. Slowing things down. Stretching yourself to see the flexibility of your heart. The beauty of a certain fall, the courage to stand up and the ways to fly away.

And you know there would be time for you to walk again, start that run and raising that head once again facing all what lies ahead.

For now, rest, my dear heart.

Listen to your own heartbeat.

photo: Asabhumy snuggling in Sanur’s house

The Journey of Finding Home

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Banyuripan teak forest – our future home, Bangunjiwo, Jogjakarta

In so many ways, everybody need to find their own home. My life has been quiet random in the terms of the places I live in. Since 2012, I had the 10 years itch to move somewhere else. I had lived in Jogjakarta for the last 12 years. A city that I fall in love with since I was 18 years old. A city where I found my skills, gain my knowledge, belonging to communities, finding my ancestral roots, meeting all the beautiful people I love, fall in love, break my heart, again and again, where I deliver my son into the world, finish my degree after 8 years, a city where I build and rebuild my life, over and over. A city where I am most comfortable with. But also a city where I know I would not grow from it anymore. Jogjakarta is my comfort zone and everything has become too easy. Although I am at the utmost grateful with this beloved city, where I feel I answered part of my ancestry calling.

This feeling were answered in the moments I had in Tsuglag Khang Monastery when I went to Dharamsala back in 2012. I had nearly forgotten my travel passion due to all the family matters, motherhood and a faltering marriage. I was kinda lost for a while. Knowing too well that I’m actually best when I’m on the move. That my life energy is based on movement. My ways of grounding myself is often when I’m flying all over the place, doing yoga or just stare at the sea for hours (that goes for mountains too).

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The magical waterfalls of Pupuan, Tabanan, Bali

Photo courtesy of Labodalih Sembiring

Last year I tried to move to Bali, where I live in a beautiful mountain for nearly 7 months. It is a process of slowing down everything in my life. A process of cracking the nutshell to grow. The process to find the blooming of my own heart. It was a process of mirroring each other in the eyes of someone else. It was the process of opening the heart. It was about patient, resilience and perseverance. It is a process to know the right timing for every single thing naturally, something that I’m not so good at. But I learned. The hard way.

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Asabhumy on the way to Kethek Temple, Cetho, Solo

Then, it is my son. It was not easy to move permanently without slowly adjusting about his life and mine. Our own needs and our space. I decided not to go that fast this time. Though Bali stayed as our second home forever. We love Bali and its beautiful nature. His ancestral place and my love affair forever with the island which I need to answer myself. Somehow I’m starting to found Bali as my working base to be, very soon :)
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Me and Asabhumy chilling in Nusa Ceningan, Bali

Despite all things, I’m in my second trip back in Kathmandu this year. Where I found the gracious pace of Tibetan old ladies doing the kora in Boudanath had calm my mind and help me to keep my creative juice flowing through my writings. My days in Indonesia in 2014 were so intense that I need another break from it. I’m currently also helping my friend, Anggi Frisca, who managed itinerary adventurous trips around Indonesia and also Nepal, do check it out and contact them if you want to go to Everest Base Camp this year and next year: http://www.rokaora.com (ROKAORA)
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Tibetan Ladies doing the kora, Boudanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

I’m currently feeling so home staying around Boudanath Stupa this time. Of course I will share more on all the stories of the Himalayan regions since last year, so stay tune on this blog :) Bless all of you

Om Mane Padme Hum

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Boudanath Stupa under the moonsoon, Kathmandu, Nepal

Resting in the Garden

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Making raised bed in my garden

At this point, as once in a while a traveler need to take their balance by going nowhere. By trying to grow some roots in the place where I come home the last 11 years. It’s been a fantastic 3 months of beginning 2013, meeting old and new friends, making connections and most of all, making gardens together!

I’ve been enjoying making 3 gardens, including my own. Being addicted to permaculture and the concept of sustainable living, which I’ve wanting to do since a long time. I guess I have to say, here is the time when everything falls into places. Not only watching things grow, but also growing things.

More information for our activities: http://www.permablitzjogja.net

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