From the Pipe-Dream Whisperer

“Nature is not a place to visit.

It is home.”

~ Gary Snyder

So says the bamboo-framed glass board in the bamboo-framed classroom. In blue ink.

The teacher in cargo shorts and light blue polo shirt. Who probably wrote it.

My mother’s voice through her uterine walls.

My Mother’s voice.

“… It is home.” In blue ink.

In blue vibrations of my amniotic sac.

The doctor-guest speaker, who carried a goodies-filled suitcase and didn’t want to be formal, sat with the six year-olds like a story-teller.

Four things.

The intelligence of my half-grown peanut-sized brain to pick up my mother’s troubled sighs.

The incredible resilience of my fluid airbag.

The indomitable beating of my little heart.

Of my young thumb-sized heart.

Look across the room. If you can get to just one person. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

“… Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”


Joint little hands around the world.

Unconscious hopeful emotions.

Joint little fingers clenched around the placentaic sense of my mother’s love.

Unconscious of hopeful emotions.

One person.

Oohs. Claps. Thank yous and smiles.

Door-less bamboo-framed classrooms. Pathway made of rocks.

Uncompromised trees. Irrepressible scent of manure. Non-soundproofed chirping of insects. Uncovered eyes of earth mounds.

The universe has demanded my attention.

My hope-unconscious attention.

But I’m not ready.

Not ready.

When the universe has demanded my presence.

My slimy, umbilical cord-ed, half-conscious presence.

“… It is time.” In blue vibrations of where-has-it-gone?

My mother’s voice. Through the lit end of a vigorously dilating tunnel.

Suddenly a person.

Reporting for life duty.

By the intelligence of my upside-down fist-sized brain. The resilience of my mother’s strands of fibromuscular tubular tract. The indomitable beating of our hearts. Our young novice hearts.

Not ready. Readied.

… Earth mounds. Pathway made of rocks. A Bali starling bird.

Suddenly a wasp.

A mustard yellow-bottomed wasp. Heedfully passing – fly walking? (two unused legs, upright-posture floating)

– on an invisible crossroad.

An unspoken mutual conception.

Because, one civilization.

The freedom-aspiring Bali starling birds. The rescue-campaigning orangutans. The attorney-seeking tarsiers.

The trees, hacked bloodless at their legs. The ocean, overfed with over-processed leftover diet plan. The fungi, single-handedly healing in their first-aid camp.

The fetuses that grow behind uterine walls. The little people that grow with little knowns. The humans that grow a memory loss. Of their mothers. Of their Mother.

… The universe has demanded my attention.

My palm-sweating, stomach-queasy, helplessly-conscious attention.

Of no more ‘them-and-us‘s.

“…It is time.”

My Mother’s voice.

Through the intelligence of a pipe-dream whisperer doctor. The indomitable spirit of an eager 14-year-old boy. The indomitable springtime spirit of joint little hands around the world. The gut-wrenching resilience of the mercilessly defiled ground which they – we – are standing on.

Hope. Regrown.

Because of one person.

Heart. Strong.

Because we are all that close.

Home. Common.

We’ve forgotten we belong. To live for.

Suddenly one queasy-stomached, belly-twisted person,

With an intelligent cantaloupe-sized brain. The most resilient-bodied of a Mother. An indomitable beating heart. An indomitable newborn fighting heart,


Reporting for Life duty. Right here. At Home.



“The sun shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.”

~ John Muir

Written in response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight on November 26, 2012, a meeting with Dr. Alicia Kennedy from the Jane Goodall Institute Australia and Dr. Ating from Dr. Ating Foundation at Green School Bali on November 22, 2012, and the message of Jane Goodall on March, 2002.


Off the Camera: On Experiencing Life in HD

“Can any of you recall a time when you were confronted with a scene of such spectacular beauty?
That it took you outside of yourself into a place of great serenity, maybe a rainbow, a mountain range, a valley, a sea, anything…


So one day I went to a beach and watched the day turn into night. The sunset wasn’t the best part.

In the evening of Saturday last week after my weekly session with Matthew, my ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver dropped me off at the Dhyana Pura beach in Seminyak.

With my loyal backpack and sandals, and a piece of peanut butter ball in an over-sized paper bag I’d picked up from a nearby organic restaurant, I situated myself on the best seat in the house;

an empty spot right in the face of the 5.30 PM sun, warmly surrounded by vendors, romance-seeking couples, vacationing families, and men with their dogs and Frisbees.

A little past 6 PM, I watched as the sun gradually lowered itself down into, what as far as my eyes could see is, the end of the Bali sea.
Its rays at first blinding my eyes and turning all that was in front of it into shadows; but then slowly and gracefully, extracting a trail of yellow-orange-pink-purple lights and reluctant gradating blue darkness all at the same time.

And for a moment just right before it disappears, you’d almost swear that you could see, just below the sun, a transparent formation of exotic gates, statues and palace-like buildings – like a defined outline of an ethereal city –

which may have been the clouds, but what I choose to believe to be the glimpse of a neighboring universe discreetly revealing its existence.

And just when I thought I’d seen all that the sunset had to offer, the beach started to clear off.

The romance-achieving couples walked away hand-in-hand, the vendors retired carrying away their bags, the vacationing families wrapped up their last poses and packed up their cameras.

I picked up my bag and sandals, and walked towards the shore. And once the gurgling ocean waters have reached my toes, I stopped and buried my feet in the sand like how my father used to teach me to do when I was small.

I stood there and followed with my eyes the trail of yellow-orange-pink-purple rays of light that was further radiating from the arc where the sun had just taken its bow, freshly dyeing the sky and uncovering the layers of heaven above all at the same time.

I dipped my hand into the silk-surfaced water and watched the waves diving in, their white foams gently swaying in and cradling against my open palm. The whitest of whites. The clearest of little tiny bubbles.

I looked around at the two men who were still throw-catching their Frisbee, at two other friends waiting for the water to rise and lift up their surfboards, and a boy who was half-swimming half-splashing just a few feet away from where I was a witness to it all.

I looked back towards the ocean. At tides vibrantly crashing into the shore, water eagerly creeping up towards dry land, dropping off fizzing white foams and quickly running back into the sea as tadpole-shaped glimmering tiny particles on orchestrated spot lights.

Everything moved in the sharpest of motions, with a glistening touch of the faintest yellow golden glow.

All, a part of what the sun had set to arise: This Life, live, in HD.

And that Life, ever so unconditionally, basked me in a sudden overwhelming embrace of its beautiful serenity and gravitated me to my knees.

I reached towards the seams between the beach and its sea, and grabbed a handful of sand just to let them slip off right through my fingers again.

I swept in and around a few more handfuls, letting the surface of my skin rejoice in the finely-textured carpet of velvety pixie dust beneath me with a dance.

I observed carefully as little lumps of moistened grains took shape, the way each one fell and merged itself back into earth, in a most elegant display of obedience, phasing from a lighter to a darker shade of gray.

The grayest of gray. The whitest of white. The most yellow-orange-pink-purple of yellow-orange-pink-purple lights. The finest of fine texture. The most luminous of glow. The most visible of the smallest particles.

Suddenly in those moments I was gone. My ego, the self that knew I was me, was carried off.

The sweetest momentary absence of the soul.

I became but a small atom that made up only an insignificant portion of the entire universe.

One with the world.

As the sky grew dimmer and the watch lights lit on, I gave my hand to the smooth oscillations of the ocean and let it memorize all that I’d been shown.

In lifted spirit I turned around and made my way back towards the entrance to civilization, lightly stomping each step on the solid bed of sand that had been a 60-minute home.

Thinking back to the wandering visitors who had dropped by for a little more than a shiny backdrop for an impromptu photoshoot, or some kind of an I-have-a-life digital proof,

“They’ve got it all wrong.”

Off-the-camera, is Life, as the universe has meant it to be. Unbuffered. Unpixalated. The highest of resolution. The best quality of experience.

Came not with the tool to prove it, but with the eyes for us to see it. And the power to let go of what we make it to be, and embrace what simply is.




“… Have you ever wondered why that happened? The reason that happened is that somehow, for some reason, at that instant, you accepted the universe exactly as it was.”

~ Srikumar Rao

Pacification by Paddy Fields, Desensitization of Dogs: A Postcard from Segara Beach, Bali

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

~ Seth Godin

“I divide my friends into two categories,” a college senior of mine once said. “The ones that dread and complain about their jobs, and the ones that enjoy and love what they do for a living.”

I have at different times found myself in both (my senior’s) classifications. So if I were to ever find myself sitting on the mid-parting fence, the choice should be obvious. But here’s the thing about this kind of twenty-something dilemma.

On one hand, the job I dread and eats me up from the inside comes with the convenience of organized training and orders I’d only have to follow, the comfort of a high-rise office building in the business district of Jakarta metropolis, the confidence from wearing figure-flattering skirts and high heels and carrying a smartphone and a black leather planner, and last but definitely not least, the security of a bank account that remains on stand-by to maintain a comfortable lifestyle and occasional exotic holiday.

On the other hand, the job I love and wake up looking forward to in the morning, is teaching. And we all know what that comes with, a lot of compromises. Mostly in terms of finance and convenience.

And for a single, independence-striving twenty-something that has known little of lifestyle beyond the boundaries of luxury and walks around with big dreams of entrepreneurship and parenthood, that love does post a concern.

So I spent months exploring both options, at the same time stalling my decision-making in fear of committing to either option that just couldn’t seem to fulfill my ideal.

Whenever I came close to sealing a deal with the corporate, I cursed myself for giving in, selling out. And whenever I found myself magnetically pulled by the possibility of going back to teaching, I cursed myself for being such an old soul, for knowing better, for being so clear about what my calling is, this early in life.

Oh, Ignorance, thou art bliss.

The cold shower came one afternoon during a job selection process at the last local corporate agency I applied to, when the company’s owner concluded to me, in a way, that I appealed more as a personality than a corporate figure. It was the ultimate confirmation, once and for all, that the corporate isn’t where I belong.

But the afternoon I spent scrolling through teaching job online ads and suddenly found myself caught in a kind of rush of involuntary flow of energy of natural excitement, was the ultimate set-in-stone, once and for all, that not only that this Love is undeniable; it is unavoidable, and most importantly soul essential.

So when a job offer came from a school in Bali, I packed up my stuff within a few days and left Jakarta to land on the side of the fence I should’ve been back on a long time ago.

And as it always has been, Love never fails.

The fact that I have a job that wakes no urge in me to distract myself by checking my phone, personal email or Facebook is the way it should be.
The fact that I work in a library building literally bordered by green paddy fields that stretch just behind the Sanur beach is just a bonus pacifying compensation for some of the convenience I’m lacking.


the scenic official morning greeter at work


Banjar Tangtu paddy fields cum lunch time view from the teachers’ lounge

The fact that I have been fortunate enough to become a part of a culture so abundant of humility and kindness is a grace.
The fact that I find myself living in a place with such wonderful energy that I feel an effortless synchronization to is a peaceful luxury.

The fact that there are so many street dogs wandering around that I can’t always run away from is the accidental blessing of fear reduction in disguise.
And the fact that I’m writing this sitting at a beach with sand on my feet, the sea breeze blowing through my hair and the sound of crashing waves to my ears while waiting for the sun to set, well, that’s just living the dream.


Oh, Moon, thou art full and bright.

The only catch is that I still haven’t come here for a vacation. I still have to put myself on a monk diet and manual laundry duty in order to stay healthy and have enough to save up, and spare plenty of time in the weekend to keep myself on my toes for my work’s sake.

But for now, it’s all enough for a life that I don’t need to escape from.

Oh, Enlightening, thou art Bliss.

I have also decided to dedicate Saturdays to go, see and write.

So, till next weekend,


Just Helen Keller

Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see.

Recently I asked a friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, what she had observed. “Nothing in particular”, she replied.

How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note?

I, who cannot see, find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch.

I feel delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough, shaggy bark of a pine. In spring I touch the branches of trees nature after her winter’s sleep. Occasionally, if I am very fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song.

~ Helen Keller