The euphoria of what I’d achieved in that first week of Life Design Lab – physically and mentally – set the tone for the weekend, which was perfect timing for the arrival of my wonderful friend Rhi from Dubai. We had a fab time in the beach town of Canggu, where I’d booked a gorgeous villa that was open to the elements, with a private pool in a lush garden and an outside bathroom (I love how common these are in Bali. It’s weirdly liberating to get naked in the company of trees and geckos). We toured some stunning beach clubs – La Laguna, which had this laid back, softly lit, gypsy vibe going on, and La Brisa – which felt like where the lost boys live in the movie Hook. Here, we ignored the magical Bali sunset vibes and sat in a corner to stream the Royal Wedding. I’m not a royalist, but this was an event (and two seasons of The Crown have rendered me fascinated by the royal circus). While I couldn’t hear everything properly, I was thrilled that Meghan and Harry managed to turn an exercise in pomp and bullshit into a genuine celebration of love, of blackness, and the autonomy of women. The world needed this.
The weekend was a blur of massages, Bintangs, sunning ourselves, and cocktails at more beach clubs – such a hardship, but Rhi was in need of serious R&R, I had to provide! We explored Canggu on a scooter (my first time driving with a passenger, eek), and we managed to clear an entire dancefloor of baffled youths with our enthusiastic moves at 2am – overall we had a blast. We also met a friend of a friend for coffee – Lauren is another life coach, and had been in Bali for a year or so. She was glowing, with beach hair and the outfit to match. I wondered if this is what living in Bali did to you, and could I have some?! It was interesting to see Lauren unable to resist coaching mode when Rhi talked about her stressful job. It’s like this powerful secret that needs to be imparted once you’ve rejected the conventions of the corporate world – you don’t have to live this way if it’s not serving you. As well as the coaching, Lauren had found a remote company that she could do legal consultation for on her own terms – another indication of the way the world of work is moving forward.
We headed back to Ubud, and went straight out tango dancing, of all things! I had been to a workshop at Outpost in which a shy Russian guy mentioned self-consciously that he wanted to grow his following on social media. When he finally told us it was because he was a tango instructor and needed to up his marketing game, the room went nuts. Whaaat! This guy was cool! Rhi and I went along to his taster session at Gana Restaurant on a Sunday evening. I made Rhi go first, naturally, and was totally going to chicken out, but was soon being whisked around the dancefloor by the rather solemn Kirill. It was actually really fun! And another lessons about myself – I was struggling to relinquish control, to relax and just be led, and found myself trying to anticipate the next move. Classic Lils, but good to make a note of as something to work on.
Rhi fit in brilliantly with my Unsettled crew, as I knew she would, joining us for our family dinner and a big night out the following day – it was Areti’s birthday, and a bunch of us went to No Más to dance to the Latin band there (a wild night for Ubud!). This was soooo much fun – I’d had a pretty intense morning on LDL and needed to let loose. Andi, a diminutive Venezuelan-American treat whose hips were born to salsa, showed us how to move, Tamika propped up the bar, doctor Alice was her delightful self, I resorted to my ‘Spanish Spanish Spanish Spaaaanish’ interpretation of all the lyrics, and Rhi was the life and soul. I had been feeling bad for Rhi, as I was processing a lot from the morning LDL sessions and we were on very different schedules. Rhi was on holiday, wanting to see and do as much as possible, and I was on Bali time, deep in my own head, struggling to focus on much else. She was very understanding though, and I had to accept that I needed space to think while she went off and did some super fun activities I would ordinarily have been up for. We even parted ways for a day or so, and I was grateful that she understood.
Learning to say no is something I’m working on. I’m usually up for stuff – activities, socialising, all the funs. But I’ve noticed I need to recognise when my body, or my mind, is saying no, like if I just need to take some quiet time, or give myself the space to work on something creative and more mentally nourishing. And also, now that money is an issue, reining in the spending! I’ve wasted so much money on alcohol that I didn’t need over the years – either because I felt that I couldn’t have a good time without it, or as a release from work stress or other anxieties. But I don’t always need to drink to have fun when I’m with the right people, and just because I say no to something today, doesn’t mean I won’t be invited in the future. I’ve learnt that as an introvert/extrovert, I need around a 50/50 split of time with people and time alone. Too much of the former and I get derailed from myself, and too much of the latter and I get depressed. I always thought I was an introvert but I really do bounce off the energy of the people that I love, and that inspire me. And as someone who spends far too much time and energy analysing and fretting about completely inconsequential things, blowing off steam and quieting my mind is essential. I’m just trying to be more mindful of how and when I do it.