What I Learned About Finding Balance in Life in the Jungles of Bali
One thing a lot of women in our community talk about is finding balance in their lives. Yes, it’s true that some of us are retired.
At the same time, for many, working is still a necessity. Even those of us who have left our corporate careers behind are still busy with projects, social commitments and our own business ideas.
With so many things going on, finding balance is more important than ever.
Why is Balance So Hard for Older Women to Find?
As a young mother, like many of you, I worked full time. It often broke my heart to drop my sons off at their childminder’s house every day. Life was definitely a struggle back then. Looking back, I know that I worked because I needed to. At the same time, if I am honest with myself, I also realise that working was an important part of how I defined my success as a woman. Do you feel the same?
Now, like many women over 60, I’m finally ready to find balance. So, what’s the problem? Isn’t finding balance easy? Just stop doing stuff! If only it were that simple.
The truth is that, like many of you, I have always been busy. I simply don’t know how to be any other way. When I am at home, I constantly feel the need to fill my life with projects, people and places. Sound familiar?
Well, this week, I had an experience that changed my entire perspective on finding balance after 60. It has already made a big difference in my life and I hope it helps you too.
Finding Balance at Bali Eco Stay
While travelling in Bali, I had the opportunity to stay at a spectacular property called Bali Eco Stay. It is an eco-hotel, nestled between rice paddies and jungle areas in central Bali.
It was an absolutely amazing place, grounded by the values of sustainability and “conscious tourism.” It turned out to be the perfect place for me to take a step back and think about just how out of balance parts of my life had become.
Actually, there were 5 different aspects of balance that I thought about while staying at Bali Eco stay. Here they are.
Balance Between Us and Nature
Man was not born apart from nature. He was born a part of nature. This thought was in the back of my mind for the entire time that I was at Bali Eco Stay.
The natural environment in Bali is so lush and abundant. More importantly, it is woven into to the very infrastructure of Balinese society.
In Bali, nature provides food, work and shelter. As one small example, coconut trees provide food, coconut oil and building materials. Yes, Bali faces significant environmental challenges due to its popularity with tourists. But, nature has not been forgotten. Places like Bali Eco Stay are showing that we really can live in harmony with nature.
So, what does this mean on a practical level? Well, I for one have realized how out of balance I am with nature. No matter where you live in the world, nature is abundant. Why not take time every day to walk in the forest or visit a local park? Why not bring some nature into your house in the form or air-cleansing plants? I definitely will be doing this when I get home.
Here’s the bungalow that I stayed in at Bali Eco Resort.
Balance Between Us and Other People
In many societies, including the U.S., where I spent much of my life, we are taught to excel as individuals. We are encouraged to be strong, resilient and, above all, independent.
In such an environment, working collaboratively is not always encouraged. In Bali, they value people and put huge value on the community. Here, people respect each other’s talents and value family above all else.
How many of us feel like our relationships with our family members aren’t what they should be? May it’s time to reprioritize this part of our lives.
Balance Between Us and Our Spiritual Nature
Many people would agree that finding balance in our spiritual lives is essential to achieving happiness at any age. If anything, the need to understand our fundamental nature becomes more “real” the older we get.
As you walk down the streets of Ubud, you see shopkeepers giving blessings multiple times a day. In Bali, the most widely practiced religion is Hinduism. That said, reconnecting with our spiritual side is something that we can all benefit from, whether we follow Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism or any other religion.
It may seem like we are divided by our religious beliefs, but, I have never come across a faith that does not put the Golden Rule close to its center. We have more in common than we think.
Even if we choose not to follow a particular religion, we can learn to take ourselves to higher levels of consciousness through mindfulness or meditation.
Balance Between Us and Our Money
As women over 60, we are facing a wide range of financial situations. Some of us, through hard work or good fortune, have reached retirement with comfortable pensions and deep savings accounts. Others are struggling to live on Social Security.
One of the things that struck me as I spent the last 2 weeks in Bali is the fact that financial security is relative. The great majority of the people in Bali don’t have the financial resources that we take for granted in the U.S., U.K., Australia or Canada. But, this doesn’t make them less happy.
I am gradually realizing that, while I want to be financially secure, having money is never going to make me happy. I, like all of us, need to keep things in perspective. I need to learn to achieve balance with my money. It is a tool and nothing else.
Balance Between Us and Our Potential
Do you see yourself as a lifelong learner? I do. One of the things that I like most about life after 60 is that I can finally be myself.
There is no-one standing over my shoulder telling me what is important. I am free to learn about the things that interest me and to take part in the projects that I think are important.
As women over 60, we have so much untapped potential. As I sit here in my little room, rain pelting the jungle leaves outside, I am aware of how lucky I am to be alive at this time.
Not so long ago, the idea of a 67-year-old woman traveling to Bali by herself and staying in the jungle would have been unthinkable. The world is changing. Expectations are changing. We just need to reach out and grab the opportunities that are in front of us.
We need to find balance in every aspect of our lives. When we do, we will find that we have reached our full potential – even if we never reach the destination. This is in tune with what the Balinese call Tri Hita Karana — Living in harmony with God, among humans and with nature.
If you are interested in finding our more about Bali Eco Stay, I encourage you to read more about them here. Or, you can send them an email at info (at) baliecostay.com. Don’t forget to tell them that I had great things to say about their amazing eco-hotel.
What does finding balance mean to you? What is the one aspect of your life that you feel needs to be brought back into balance? Please join the conversation.