Friday, July 16, 2010

I've been to Bali and back

The Woven Voices project continues to grow and grow, almost like the peas in my garden that I planted last April. Every time I turn around there are more pods on the vines to harvest. And here I am to offer to you a bounty of photographs and notes for the Woven Voices project from all around the world.

A neighbor and friend Sally, went to India this winter. I gave her two flags to give away. Here she is hanging them at the Bohdi tree where Buddha the Gotma  became enlightened. 

Here is the plaque that explains about the tree.

Here's what Sally writes:  "This is the spot where Buddha gave his first teaching. Here I actually attached a prayer flag to to Bhodi tree where the pilgrims gather to pray."
The shrine in front on the tree. And another prayer flag hanging inside the shrine. Thanks Sally! Wow!

Back in the USA, my friend Marian in Bellingham, Washington sent me this photo of her prayer flag hanging in her garden. Such sweet, green lushness of the Northwest. Thanks Marian!

And here in the East, a colleague that I met at a symposium this spring in CT has taken the initiative to gather messages for the project. Karen Rossi has graciously set up a table at the Norfolk Framer's Market in Norfolk CT where she plans to gather messages all summer. She says "the experience of collecting the messages is a wonderful gift." I am ever grateful for your effort Karen! I look forward to seeing/reading the messages! Please check out Karen's website. She is an amazing artist who makes these really cool metal sculptures.

And then there was my trip to Bali. I brought 7 Woven Voices prayer flags with me on the trip. The first prayer flag went to Janice and Made, the owners of the BaliKana Resort in the Gili Islands off Lombok, Indonesia. Janice was so moved by the gift of the flag that she immediately found a perfect place to hang it in the gardens in front of the hotel, next to the big laughing Buddha.

We had a wonderful time here on this little oasis off Lombok and a couple of hours by boat from Bali. It is a quaint island with no cars, only these horse drawn carts. The snorkeling was AMAZING!!

The local people survive by fishing and tourism. While we were sitting on the beach between swims, we were often approached to by peddlers to purchase local pearls. We finally succumbed...and I love my new black pearls! The young man who sold us the pearls was very skilled at speaking English, and so after a bit of conversation I asked him if he would contribute a message of good will or peace for my project.

This was my first lesson in Indonesian and Balinese sense of living in the present moment. This fellow's name is Mawa and his message says something to the effect "I just sold some pearls and I am so happy." Wow. So simple, in the moment, and filled with honest gratitude.

At BaliKana there were also two young boys that we called the "cabana boys". Tom and Wayan were young men who served our beach-side meals and drinks, fetched towels, moved chairs and more. Their smiles and genuine presence filled my heart with joy. Here they are writing messages for the project. I gave them each a prayer flag.

My friend Nat is sailing around the world. He left over three years ago  from Freeport, Maine and he has been lingering around New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia for a year. When I was in Bali this June, we met up for a weekend in Ubud, Bali. I gave him one of the seven flags to hang on his sloop Bahati. Nat writes "I have temporarily hung the prayer flag on the wood keep it warm? ....and safe! Don't want to hang it in the rigging for fear of damage!! Besides it's nice to look at it in the salon."

As Nat travels onward heading West towards home, his prayer flag will spread goodwill across the waters.

The next prayer flag that I gave away as left at a temple called Pura Hyang Api in the village of Desa Kelusa. I went here to participate in something called the Bali Hash House Harriers.

A group of mostly ex-pats gather twice weekly to run or walk through villages, pristine rice terraces and jungle ravines of Bali. Right next to where we started our walk/run was this small temple. I snuck in there and hung a prayer flag.

While in Ubud we met with a young woman who has become friends with our friends who live in Bali. She is trying to start a business selling ikat handwoven sarong. So I bought a few from her and gave her a prayer flag too! Widi has the most wonderful smile! 

 Our final days in Bali were spent on a 'round island tour with Astika, a Balinese priest, who is a friend of our friends as well as a tour guide. On the first day one of the places that Astika took us was to the village of Tenganan Pegringsingan.
This is the only place on the island where true doulbe ikat is still woven.

We visited the home/shop of Ni Kadek Trisnawati a traditional ikat weaver.

 She is from a long lineage of weavers, and uses the loom that her grandfather built.

Her ikat fabrics are amazing.

This is one of her more intricate double ikat pieces.

This is the warp in the process of dying and tying.

Here is the piece that I bought, a stunning, double ikat check.  Kadek and my husband Ben are modeling the piece together. I gave Kadek a prayer flag and she wrote me a message. Sweet exchange from one weaver to another.

 My final prayer flag was given away to Astika, our driver, priest, tour guide. On the final day of our tour he, his wife and son arranged and help perform a traditional Balinese Hindi blessing at two temples. Here we are dressed in traditional Balinese temple clothing, with Astika's wife.

The final temple was Tanah Lot, a famous temple on the west coast that is a HUGE tourist attraction. We were able to go out to the small temple on the small separate the island, accessible only at low tide, where no other tourists were allowed. Look at all the tourists lining the rocks!

The view from this rock temple was magnificent!

Up on this rocky temple we had the most sacred blessing with Astika, his wife, his son and another priest. A glorious moment in time, and a wonderful way to end our two week visit to Bali!

So there you have it, seven prayer flags with seven messages of peace and goodwill. Seven prayer flags spreading your hopes to people of all faiths and many cultures.

Thanks to everyone for the continued support. Keep the messages coming...and PLEASE come weave if your are able!

Namaste and Peace,