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Yesterday, on Monday, March 11th a holy day Nyepi was celebrated in Bali. A day of silence, celebrated in Bali, but also in some parts of Java (but not this strict as in Bali).

A day of silence, fasting and meditation.

A day of "4 NO": Amati Geni -- No Fire / Lightning Amati Karya -- No Work / Activity Amati Lelungan -- No Leaving Home Amati Lelanguan -- No Delight / Amusement

During Nyepi which was from 6 am on March 11th to 6 am on March 12th, we just are supposed to focus on ourselves, limit talking, activities, and sit in silence and with one's spiritual practices. The outside world is quiet. No talking, no cars, bikes, no music, zero people on the streets. Everything is closed, including the Balinese airport. The inner world is supposed to be quiet too. We are in silence and a complete darkness at some point during the day. There are Nyepi-Patrols checking if people respect the holiday. For Balinese it is the greatest of the holidays, that ends the Galungan and Kuningan celebrations and marks a New Year (after new moon) in the Hindu calendar (Balinese Saka calendar).

It was my first Nyepi. Last year, I left for Europe a few days before. But I know that from now on I'll plan to always be here these days, because it is something special -- energetically, physically, and on all other levels.

There are big celebration days before Nyepi and it starts on Friday with a Melasti ceremony and then Ogoh-Ogoh on Sunday to finally calm down for Nyepi. The purpose of Melasti is purification and cleansing. It is performed on the beach and is meant to clean the world from all the "bad" things, influences, deeds, thoughts... also from the past -- by throwing them into water -- it's a kind of a symbolic act meaning that water is "the water of life". Balinese wear white on this day and this day is a great reminder for all of us of how life is important and how important it is to cleanse and purify ourselves, humanity and the world, our limitless universe.

Ogoh-Ogoh are statues created for a parade taking place on the evening before Nyepi. Ogoh-Ogoh usually are creatures and forms of mythological beings, mostly demonic ones. During the parade these creations are burned or symbolically burned, or destroyed to symbolize that these creatures, energies be kept away from the humanity and this world. As much as symbolic it is, it has also a lot of spiritual meaning as you can use it as a symbol of your own ogoh-ogoh. The energies of the day and this ceremony are very powerful and it is felt no matter if you participate in the parade or not. Many local people cleanse their homes with sage and other cleansing rituals.

These days fall also around the end of the rainy season, although this year it felt like the beginning of the season. It hasn't been raining much this season until the Melasti Friday which also shows how the nature is tuning into the energies, cleansing and purifying the way the nature does it. These days were with such a heavy rain and wind, almost like a hurricane. And finally raining also during the day, with a drizzle and a heavy rain together. During the culmination time of Ogoh-Ogoh a beautiful tree frangipani by my villa fell down. Coincidence? It's only 3 days, but you can feel how much these days bring into life and the world.

So the start of my Nyepi was a little distracted because this beautiful tree frangipani fell down. And the staff tried to safe the tree, and they did it which really cherish my heart. I love frangipani dearly and always collect the white flowers from the ground to keep them in a small cup on my kitchen table as a little bouquet.

So the morning was full of voices talking and helping the tree to stand again. But after that it has become quiet... I could hear the waves from the beach. Which normally I hear only during late evenings/nights and rather never during the day (it's like a 5 minutes walk to the beach). I could hear the nature and nothing else. And I was enjoying this moment so so much. I love silence so I feel like I was in my element though there are tourists in the area and as the day was passing by I was able to hear more noise from the neighborhood. I guess it's hard for some people to just be with themselves, in silence, without any entertainment, much talking, lights, etc. In the past, the authorities used to turn off Internet and phone service too. Which is not the case anymore, unfortunately. I feel like people need more down time to reconnect with themselves but obviously you can't force anyone unless they choose to reconnect.

But the darker it got the quieter. It felt magical. Very peaceful. No waves on the life surface. For a short moment even the sky got clear for a little star show. This evening energy kind of reminded me or gave an energetic memory of these times when actually we didn't have electricity or not much, and people were finishing their days with the dark and then were getting up with the light. It somehow feels so good. And also, it brought another energetic memory -- of the times when we didn't have cars, television, all the noisy activities... The light of the day was generally a mark for every day life. Life now is so different, it doesn't mean better or worse, just different. Though I feel with the way we live today we are more far away from ourselves. So we need that quietness and darkness to come back from where we come from.

I wish everyone could experience a Nyepi day. And I wish everyone had one day each year, a kind of Nyepi day, no matter if in Bali or somewhere else. Just for yourself. Just to connect, feel, go back to the roots, get grounded, clear, purified. I can't even express how deep and profound this experience is.

And it's a New Year too! Cheers to new beginnings!

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