A Magical Week in Byron Bay
I had the most magical week in Byron Bay filled with abundant synchronicities, which again confirmed the plan that had occasionally visited my mind for the past few months, i.e., to split my time between Melbourne and Byron Bay, to spend more time up north whenever I can.
Melbourne is great for "doing", to put on workshops, to perform poetry and mingle with fellow writers, whereas Byron Bay is great for "being", to immerse in nature, to feel inspired in the beautiful paradise that is full of creatives, artists, spiritually minded individuals and communities. A healthy balance between doing and being.
Besides, I know myself too well that I cannot stay in the same place for too long, I cannot settle down for too long! (Hence, bourgeois domestic married life is out of the window for me. Thank you very much). I am almost certain that I "suffer" from this disease called "the insatiable wanderlust (wonderlust)". After staying in the same place for too long, this wanderluster within me would poke at me and asked: "Yo, big sister, when is our next adventure together?" She raised an eyebrow, crossed her arms, her lips pursed, she pulled a face and staring at me with total contempt.
"My feet feel itchy, my energy becomes stagnant, my brain feels foggy and my imagination is fading. I'm not living, merely surviving, not thriving!!" She exclaimed, jumping up and down the house, like a restless rabbit.
Alas, time to bring this wanderluster out, even if it is just for one week. I could also hear my soul complaining too, yearning for freedom, for adventures, its eagerness to escape the mundane existence, to expand beyond the comfort zone and to venture into the unknown...
With hindsight, I am truly grateful that I took an impromptu trip to Byron Bay, to follow the impulse of my heart and intuition (and of course, listening to the complaint by my soul). It was truly a magical week filled with abundant synchronicities.
The concept of synchronicity is first introduced by the psychotherapist Carl Jung. Synchronicity means meaningful coincidences. If you are in tune with existence, then you too, perhaps have also experienced plenty of synchronicities in your life. I am not a believer in coincidences. I believe everything happens for a reason and nothing is in fact "by chance". The Universe is alive and is talking to us all the time. Even if sometimes our prayers may not get answered immediately, the Universe is still communicating with us. Silence is also a form of communication.
I like to use synchronicity as a yardstick to measure my flow - the more synchronicities I experienced, the more I'm in the flow - like in a dream state where the outer and inner boundaries have dissolved. You experienced a heightened awareness, a state of satisfying and stimulating engagement, a total absorption. And this is exactly what happened in the past few days.
As I mentioned in my previous post, when I arrived at the Gold Coast airport, my iPhone automatically sent me an Osho Zen Tarot Card, and it said Travelling! Out of all possible cards, it pulled the one says travelling! (Of course!) I just could not believe how many times this had happened to me, but it seems the synchronicities have become much more apparent and more often than usual.
When I was driving on the highway from Gold Coast to Byron Bay, I lowered the car windows, breathing the air of freedom, turning up the volume of my speaker to maximum putting on my favourite tracks. The wind caressed my cheeks, my hair was flowing freely in the air. I noticed a wide, smug grin on my face reflected in the driving mirror. My eyes beamed with excitement for the unknown. As if sunbeams radiating out of my heart stretching out of my body and filling it with love and light, I felt alive, exuberant, full of energy. My soul was dancing on the roof of the car. I felt like on top of the world. Ah, the feeling of absolute freedom is indeed priceless. Travelling is no doubt my drug. I was experiencing a full-on mingasm, the flow state. Better than sex.
It was the most delightful drive, with lush rainforest on both sides as I approached my accommodation, which was just five minutes from Byron centre. The house was situated in a mini-rainforest, with a sign next to it says "Art Gallery Inside".
The rich, earthy fragrance of the soil blended with the fresh smell of the trees heightened and awakened my senses as I drove into the driveway. When I travel, I like to be guided by my intuition, by my feeling, as someone who is super sensitive to energy, I often could feel the energy of the place and its people. I felt the energy of this place was ideal for me.
The house was listed on Airbnb as "an art gallery home sure to inspire you". Exactly what I need, I thought, when I was browsing through all my options the night before. And I purposely booked the "Zen room". I want to feel inspired but also want to live in the way of zen - a dynamic emptiness, action through inaction, which may seem like a paradox to some, but for me, it was the best way of living.
When you entered the front door, you stepped into a lush open plan house, with greenery on all sides. There were also paintings hanging on almost every wall (afterall, it is an art gallery house). I was greeted by an extremely friendly lady whose name was Leeorah. She is an artist, author, healer and musician. Upon hearing that I had a poetry book, she told me that she also had written a book and we decided to exchange our books. And her book's title, lo and behold, is called Naked Soul: A Spicy Spiritual Adventure! I was instantly hooked and intrigued because I was also writing a spiritual memoir and it was also full of spicy spiritual adventures! So I spent the next few days reading her book, and was deeply inspired by the raw, the honest and authentic voice behind it.
In her book, she shared the stories of how a bored and unhappy South African Jewish ex-housewife turned into a healer, painter, and went on an epic journey of self-discovery after the breakdown of her marriage. She studied Hawaiian massage, lived in Hawaii, worked as a healer in Europe, developed her own style of healing, stayed with Papaji in India, travelled to Cuba for dancing... She had the most fascinating life. She also talked about her sexual awakening, her juicy sex life openly. It is indeed a book about spicy spiritual adventure! I applaud and admire any author who dares to speak about their sexuality and sex life candidly, boldly, with no shame, no fear, and nothing to hide.
Although Leeorah was well in her sixties, a big lady with broad shoulders, her face radiated with happiness and joy. And I noticed that there was not a single line of wrinkle on her face! Must be the juicy sex life! (So she told me, and she never experienced any symptom of menopause, such as hot flushes. "I just release the heat out," she said gaily with a wink, and she splits her time between Cape Town and Byron Bay, as she had more lovers over in South Africa, her black lovers. "Byron Bay is too dry," she remarked.
The Airbnb place I stayed seemed to be a magnet for creatives and artists. There's also this apparently famous Brazilian artist, as everyone called him, who have put on some art exhibitions in Brazil and is now traveling the world collaborating with artists, doing incredibly creative projects and surfing at the same time.
He was in his late thirties, bald and all tattooed, a surfing enthusiast. In the beginning, we did not talk much as he was always on his phone - turned out he was working, editing his work using Lightroom on the phone. He told me he wanted to be a minimalist. So he sold his laptop (as his phone could do almost everything), he also wanted to give away his clothes, and only live with no more than five pieces of clothes (pants and t-shirts). A resolution I admired and wished I could too, but knowing myself too well, I probably could not just live with five pieces of clothes...
He told me he was a gifted painter since childhood (me too!) but did not pursue art back then (me too!). He had worked in different industries (tourism, design), but he had found himself always painting whenever he felt unhappy - that was his way of healing, then he would throw away all his work. Until one day he realised his true calling lies in art. And finally, he summoned his courage and dispelled his doubts and decided to devote his time to create art, to pursue art full time, to do the things that make him truly happy,
to do the things that his soul is called to do.
We shared a deep conversation the night before I left. The house was quiet, and every one was out. We talked about our artistic pursuit and journey. Then we exchanged a friendly hug and said goodnight to each other. He thanked me for the company and conversation and said "Remember to have fun. It's about having fun on the journey." He said joyously.
There was also this Canadian guy based in South Korea, who made a massive profit from investing in Bitcoin a year ago. He even wrote a book about it and was about to publish it. He had the wildest and craziest adventures I had ever heard (I thought I had heard enough crazy stories in my life already). Like how he always says yes to whatever that comes up. It was stemmed from the fear of missing out and not living life to the fullest," He confessed. This habit of regularly saying yes to almost everything could also get him into a lot of troubles - like how he was invited for drinking tea by an attractive lady on his last night in Shanghai (perhaps most men would respond yes in this circumstance) while he was walking on the Bund, a famous waterfront area in central Shanghai. He was taken in a room and sensed that something was not right as there were more girls coming into the room. He had to take a flight out the next morning and was not interested. When he complained to the manager, he was charged with a thousand dollar bill. He resisted in paying and was taken to the basement by three huge men. They locked the room and he believed he was threatened by Chinese mafia. They would not let him out until he paid the bill.
I have heard similar stories from some friends living in Shanghai. This is called the "Green tea scam". They would normally scout innocent looking westerners, invited them for tea or for a drink, then charged them a thousand dollar bill. So if you are a foreigner in China, be aware!
He also told me that how in Morocco, he woke up in jail the second night he arrived (after being drugged at a guesthouse). And also in Israel, how he accidentally joined a rainbow gathering in the desert between Israel and Egypt (an amazing experience)... and these were not even his craziest and wildest adventures... He had done a TedTalk about all his crazy travel adventures and was in the process of writing a book about it!
We also had an interesting conversation about religion. He said he was Catholic and asked me about my religion. He thought I was a Buddhist as I mentioned India a few times during our conversation. I told him I was everything - like a poem I wrote in my book:
"Mind loves labelling
If so, label with all the religions on earth,
I'm a Sufi, a Buddhist, a Hindu,
a Christian, a Muslim, a Jewish...
Tell me a thousand differences among them,
and I will render you 1001 commonalities..."
Anyway I didn't really know much about Catholic and the differences between Catholic and Christian. He told me that Christian is all about Jesus, whereas Catholic also included Mother Mary and other saints (this I like). Then he said he wanted to go to the church today and asked if I wanted to come along. I was busy with my writing and was not really in the mood. He made a phone call to the nearby church and spoke with a "Father" and said he had a confession to make. The Father agreed and welcomed him to meet him around two in the afternoon.
"Wow, I have a story to share with you." He said, when he came back from "the father".
"So what confession did you make to the father?" I asked curiously, in a joking way.
He cheeks flushed for a moment, "I was confessing lust to the father and then he invited me to his house and he was confessing to me too!" He said, looking a bit embarrassed.
"What did he say?" I asked eagerly, awaiting for the story.
"He said he also struggled with lust and has been having lots of affairs. Not with women, but with men! He is gay! Then he invited me to stay at his house. Unbelievable!" He said astonishingly, "And I asked him why did he become a priest then. He said it was for freedom! Because he only needed to work four days a week. It was a great lifestyle." He shook his head in disbelief, as if he had been betrayed.
We both burst out laughing. The father also seemed to be a free spirit.
I honestly do not understand why certain religions condemn sex so much? If there is no sex, then none of us would be here. If sex is a sin, then we are all the products of sinful conducts? But aren't we also the children of God? This just does not make sense to me.
Sex is natural and beautiful, surely God would not think of it is a sin. Sex only a sin when it is done without consent (e.g. rape, abuse), when the power is being misused.
There was also this artist from New York and a video photographer from France...whom I did not have too much chance to talk to, as one checked out when I checked in and the other checked in when I was about leaving. Everyone is from one place, living in another or just full-time vagabond artists and creatives. This is why I love Byron Bay, you can always meet people with the fascinating stories - a plus for writer. I like to write from direct experience, also listening to others' stories and found inspiration in them.
So for the past few days, I had been immersing myself in nature, and surrounding with creative people, artistic vibes, precisely what my soul needed. I woke up to the chirping of birds, walked to the deck and inhaling the fresh air from mother nature, basking in the sunshine. I would work a little bit in the morning, then go to the beach in the afternoon, reading, dancing and swimming. I also drove up to the lighthouse, hiked in the magical Minyon Falls, visited the crystal garden and did a crystal clearing workshop there. I managed to fit in a lot during the past few days, yet I did not feel tired at all. I felt refreshed, rejuvenated and revitalised.
I am so grateful to Byron Bay for replenishing my soul. Thank you Universe for everything, and I'm ready to embrace more greatness the Universe is throwing at me! Planning a little but unattached to the results, just living in the Now and following the flow. I shall end here by quoting Leeorah's book - "If you should meet me by chance one day, remember to take a deep breath, and live in the moment, for that's where the adventure begins."
Also, a huge thank you to people who came to my debut book lauchh
yesterday at Lentil as Anything at the Abbotsford Convent.
It was a beautiful night.
I'm truly blessed to be able to share my work with you.
My debut poetry book Songs from the Soul is available on my website,
and my second poetry book This Eternal Romance is also available for pre-order now
(worldwide release on Amazon on 30 March).
You can order here.
I also have two upcoming workshops:
A Sacred Women Circle
Rumi: the Path of Love & Wisdom of Heart
You can book here.