Decade to Decade Part Two: Movement


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.