Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hope Beyond Illness

For the MS folks out there, this is from Shulamit Lando, whose book, Hope Beyond Illness, I reviewed some time back.

"I have some news I want to share with you!
I am so excited to let you know that I am launching HOPE BEYOND ILLNESS – A Guide to Living WELL with a Chronic Condition again but now in its revised and expanded 2nd edition and is now INTERACTIVE - You read, you watch videos and you listen to audios of me and other experts explaining and teaching the tips I share there to better deal with the cards you're dealt. This reading experience is so much more dynamic and fun!"

Silence, More or Less

All quiet on Nyepi Day. Well, almost. Several people online have mentioned the presence of operatic roosters in various neighborhoods, and this would include mine. It's just one rooster, mind you, but a very vocal one, just behind the house that is just behind mine. Up to this moment, the neighborhood dogs have had nothing whatsoever to say, although one has now decided to give a long, rather repetitive speech, noting, I suspect, that silence makes for a captive audience. I just don't know why he has to say the same thing over and over again. Typical politician. I do not doubt, however, that this dog is being truthful (which is more than I can say for many of our human representatives). Biznet seems to have lied about ... well, about Biznet. It had been announced that there would be no internet service on Nyepi, but the fact is that it's actually working better than usual. Maybe they couldn't figure out how to turn themselves off. (Where's the off switch, Ketut? Holy cow, where IS the off switch, Nyoman?). Anyway, I'm rather enjoying this Nyepi Day, so far. The thing that would make it even better is that if a person (me, for instance) could go outside and walk around - just kind of bask in the silence, the stillness, the motion of nature. After all, silence in my house is the norm. The loudest thing in my house is the kids in the house behind my house.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Nyepi Eve

Just headed into Nyepi Day on Bali, which begins, for all practical purposes, when I go to bed tonight. After lights out, there will be no more lights until 6 am the day after tomorrow. No lights, no noise, no going out of the house. I do hear definitely, as well, that our internet provider will be out of service ... so, no internet. 

Tonight there will be a number of Ogoh-Ogoh parades. These are floats generally in the form of grotesque evil spirits which are paraded through each village with the goal of driving out the "real" evil spirits, thus cleansing the upcoming day of silence. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Well, we're coming up again on Nyepi Day in Bali. I think I write something similar to this every year. It is not a day that I look forward to, any more than I look forward to cabin fever. It's a day that I get through. That said, I hear that there are people who actually come to Bali especially for Nyepi, the day of silence and meditation.  

Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar. It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New Year's Day.[1][2] On this day, the youth of Bali practice the ceremony of Omed-omedan or 'The Kissing Ritual' to celebrate the new year. The same day celebrated in India as ugadi.

Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no electricity in the form of lights, televisions, computers, machinery and so on; no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali's usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.

Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from the restrictions. Although they are free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles responding to life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.

So, as pointed out in the article, everyone in Bali must observe Nyepi whether they like it or not, whether they are Hindu or not, and so on. For me, this means stocking up and videos and snacks (and candles) before the day strikes. I do hear, however, that this year the Internet will be turned off as well, which will mean no videos, since my laptop has no disk drive (I watch online these days). So I may just end up hibernating like a bear. 

As usual, my wife is out of Bali on this day. Curious that. Coincidence? I think that, in the last six years, she has only been here for one Nyepi. But that's okay. She doesn't do well with silence and meditation. Or sitting still. Best for all that she will be in Java till the day after. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Had the pleasure yesterday of meeting for coffee with my old friend and neighbor, Vyt Karazija. Originally from Lithuania, Vyt spent most of his life as an Australian and has lived in Bali for about 7 years. I knew him online before he moved here to Renon, to the house next door to mine, and got to know him much better during the two years we were neighbors. We would disagree about many things, especially religion, but always with civility and a sense of humor. He is a uniquely intelligent man, which is something I respect, as well as sharp witted and funny as hell. Vyt saved my bacon several times in those two years, most notably when I locked myself into the bathroom and when I locked myself out of the house. On the one occasion, he was able to free me, while on the other, he was able to assist in getting me back into the house. So, as I think I've said here before, I will need to be very careful about which doors I close behind me now that Vyt is on the other side of Denpasar.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I am currently revisiting the idea that exercise might be helpful for the wacky muscles in my neck and shoulder. I tried this before, and the trouble with it is that it hurts. Bad. And yet, I keep thinking that these muscles, which apparently due to nerve destruction have stopped functioning normally, need to be strengthened and retrained so that they can re exert control over my skeleton and joints in the area. Make sense?  Well, who knows. There is that old saying, "No pain, no gain". Then again, there is the common wisdom that tells us that if it hurts, stop doing it! Anyway, I'll try to stick with it for a few days and dry to gauge whether anything other than pain is resulting. I am really just so tired of this problem, which has persisted more than 7 months now. I keep thinking that there must be something proactive that I can do in order to aid the thing in resolving. 

Monday, March 20, 2017


Heard a puppy making a godawful fuss just up the street this morning, crying and yelping and squealing. Went to investigate and found that the poor little guy had gotten his fat little self stuck half inside and half outside the driveway gate. Couldn't go forward, couldn't go backward. There must be some kind of general life lesson in this, I reckon. Anyway, I unstuck the poor guy by gently pushing one shoulder first, then the other back through the gate. Now he knows. I'll expect to see him at my door before long.