Eight years ago, I was interviewed for the magazine BaliSavvy “The Official American Express® Guide to the Island”. I found a copy of that old interview recently in an archive of the adversities I have endured since March 2010. I decided to post the 2010 interview here in several installments as a prologue to a writing project I call Thirty-Three Seasons in Hell. Here is the third installment. REMEMBER: THESE WERE MY WORDS EIGHT YEARS AGO JUST WEEKS BEFORE THE THIRTY-THREE SEASONS IN HELL BEGAN.
2 0 1 0 Jadis, Si Je Me Souviens Bien Part III 2 0 1 0
What does Bali mean to you?
It’s my home. I’ve lived in many places. Among all the places I have lived there is none better or worse than any other. Every place has a mix of positives and negatives. What seems to matter is finding a place where the mix of plus and minus complements your own strengths and shortcomings — then adapting in order to take the downside in stride, once you know that you are in a place you belong.
Not many people are willing to do this. To adapt and change. I think we should learn to be more accepting of the ups and downs of any place on earth where we find ourselves. Instead of crediting or faulting the place, we should first credit or fault our own capacity to understand and adapt.
There is no paradise on earth. Bali certainly is not a paradise. It never has been, except in popular imagination. So don’t get fixated on Bali as some kind of magical, divine island Shangri-la.
Find your own place. If a place where you happen to be allows you to feel relatively well, then learn to adapt and roll with the punches in that very place. Stay there and live it out. Come hell or high water. In sickness and in health.
On the other hand, if you want to chase paradise on earth, you’re going to create a hell of your own life. Best to make the most of whatever there is, wherever you find yourself. Heaven and hell are mostly just situations we create with our own perceptions and reactions to the world around us, minute to minute, day by day, year after year. That’s so obvious.
What did my grandmother say? Oh, I remember!