I’m more comfortable helping than being helped. I’d rather do favors than ask for favors.  There was a saying when I was growing up, “It’s better to give than to receive.”  For some reason, I’d rather pay for what I get than ask for a boon. Maybe it’s a control thing, maybe I like my dream world, maybe I don’t want to face rejection, and maybe I have a heart of gold.  Maybe God is a 3-toed sloth. Continue reading Help

Wayan Balik: Driver Extraordinaire

wayan-balikWayan Balik has been my driver in Bali for many years.  I recently learned what the “Balik” in Wayan Balik means. Roughly it’s either, “second time around,” or, “turn around again.” My driver’s name is “turn around again.” It gives one pause.  In any case, our friendship has grown over time, along with his English and driving skills. I can always tell if he is thinking about our conversations instead of goofing and laughing as he usually does. First he stops passing other cars and then slows to half-speed.  With extreme thinking, he simply stops. This both amuses and frustrates me. I remember once having to ask my friends in the car with us to stop talking to Wayan or we would never get to the north coast of Bali. At the time, Wayan was behind a very slow truck and had many opportunities to pass, but he was busy thinking. After an embarrassing moment we all laughed, especially Wayan, and off we went. Over time, Wayan has learned to think and drive at the same time. Continue reading Wayan Balik: Driver Extraordinaire

Villa Shanti – A Home in Bali

abali-jp-brooky-2008-095My decades old “tropical dream” was re-awakened by spending time in Bali. You know, the dream of sleeping-in a bit everyday and having fresh coffee and O.J. waiting next to the pool, while huge butterflies float by on the tropical-soft air, perfumed with plumaria and mango blossoms. Well, that is the romantic fantasy part. The reality was that I wanted a home and refuge to return to at night during the weeks of long, hot days of work in Bali. Continue reading Villa Shanti – A Home in Bali

Bali From the Terrace – Morning Time

koi1Early morning and I’m up before sunrise. Through the two rows of glass roof tiles I see dawn’s light arrive and grow. I know if I’m not out of bed now I’ll miss the morning quiet. I make a cup of tea on the way to feed the fish in the lotus pond outside the front door. I found this pair of 100 yr old teak doors on a “hunting” trip to Java while we were building this house. When I open the left door it creaks and the fish come running. They know that’s the sound of breakfast. In their frenzy to get the first of the floating nuggets the water churns with flashes of orange, red, gold and white. The fish are growing fast. I hope they don’t pop from overeating like oranges do from over watering. In the ten weeks I was away they have doubled in size and number as have the lotus flowers. Continue reading Bali From the Terrace – Morning Time

Whoops and Yelps


I was awakened one morning at 6:00am by shouts from the rice fields in front of my house in Bali. When these strange, war-like cries continued, I knew I’d never get back to sleep. From the terrace I could see farmers walking through their fields, occasionally letting out a stylized cry that could be heard a mile away. I thought, “God, I hope this is some sort of ceremony for today only.” My precious peace was being disturbed. I watched, cup of tea in hand, until I saw the reason for making this racket: birds. The rice is starting to turn from green to gold, and the birds were having breakfast. The rice farmers’ banners of brightly color cloth and tin foil blowing in the breeze were not doing the job. Only a living, shouting scarecrow could save the crop. Continue reading Whoops and Yelps


tony_naga1Tony was born of a Balinese mother and Dutch father, around the time of Indonesia’s independence from Holland. He moved to Bali from the Netherlands at age nine. Highly respected in the spiritual and political communities, Tony participates extensively in ceremonies and political events across Bali. His abilities as a shaman and healer are remarkable, though private. He speaks perfect high-cast Balinese, a feat few locals can match, as well as common Balinese, Indonesian, Dutch and English. Continue reading Tony