Archive for May, 2009

Bali Lite – In the News Today

Posted by Robin Sparks on May 27th, 2009 | Email this to friend

“In Kalimantan Brothels Take Over Orangutans’ Habitat”

How could I not read The Bali Times today with a headline like that?

As it turns out, the mention of a brothel was a largely irrelevant bit in a story about commercial development in a national park and the subsequent disappearance of 600 orangutans. Serious stuff.

I admit, I was hoping for something more colorful.

I scanned the paper and I got it.

More headlines:

Egg-Laden Motorbike in Scrambled Calamity “Eminent chicken-egg wholesaler Ketut Tutek lost all 2,836 ovums aboard his motorcycle (converted perambulator) when his journey was arrested…by a rare wind sheer that sent him spralling into a acrenous pothole….’With the thrashing about of Tutek in the hole and the heat of the midday sun, it quickly turned into a large omelette that was enjoyed by all,’ he said.”

Villagers in Mass Rat Hunt – “Villagers in Kuwum…successfully killed over 1,000 rats in a mass hunt last Friday, an official said…”

Unpaid Bills Leave Bali Aussies Stranded

Bar in Brawl “A bar started a brawl on Wednesday night, street beggars reported. A local vagrant said she understood the bar was “upset at having become a venue for tattooed louts and was feeling unloved.”

Expat, Living Locally, Has Smug Thought

and my personal favorite:
Facebook Users Clinically Braindead: Study “”Researchers concluded that following a survey of postings on the popular website, there was ‘little or no brain activity,’ the peer-reviewed study conducted by Harvard University’s Internet Department for Social Sciences said. ‘It is clear that with the sheer volume of gibberish and drivel posted on Facebook, there is a vast chasm of intelligent thought,’ the study’s lead author, Dr. Hamish Barnicle, said.”

Vowing to read more newspapers,

Robin in Bali

traffic on Dewisita Drive; Ubud, Bali

traffic on Dewisita Drive; Ubud, Bali

Nostalgia sets in

Posted by Robin Sparks on May 23rd, 2009 | Email this to friend

Haven’t even left yet and already I miss her.

A few photos from the Island of the Gods, 2008-2009.

My front yard

My front yard

My pool, make that OUR pool, River Ayung

My pool, make that OUR pool, River Ayung

Balian Beach Ecstatic Dance Retreat

Balian Beach Ecstatic Dance Retreat; Photo by

Yoga with Katy Appleton

Yoga with Katy Appleton

Balian Beach, Bali

Balian Beach, Bali

Robin at the beach

My foot at the beach

Balian Beach

more Balian Beach



Dead gecko in my refrigerator

Dead gecko in my refrigerator

More to come…
Yours truly, Robin

Photo by Marie B

Photo by Marie B

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

Posted by Robin Sparks on May 12th, 2009 | Email this to friend
surfers head for the waves at Balian Beach, Bali, Indonesia

surfers head for the waves at Balian Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Last night I came across Alexandra’s Goddess site. ( I’d never been there before in spite of knowing Alexandra when she was in Bali. I went, curious as to how this Goddess, now living LA, had dealt publicly with the break up of her fiancee.

Amazingly enough Alexandra kept right on being a goddess, through the pain and the ensuing upheaval of her life. Her words gave me faith. She did tell the world they were splitting up and that she was in a sense “homeless”, and while not revealing the depth of her despair, she instead focused on the love she wanted to be and to draw into her life.

I latched onto her words – words of hope and trust in spite of complete lack of evidence in her life (and in mine right now!) – of what she really wanted.

From Alexandra’s blog (

Intimacy & Love
“The purpose of your intimacy is the passionate transmission of love, the rejuvenative healing of sexual energy, and the cultivation of heart through your mutual commitment to spiritual awakening.” David Dieda

Divine Women
“Women in her natural state is not dependent on man. She loves him. And, in love there is no dependence, no attachment, and no fear of losing. She is the passive, attracting principle. She is an irresistible living magnet. She draws to herself a right man to love her truly and divinely . There’s no choice in it.” Barry Long

This is the way I desire to move in the world!! We, as women, are powerful, we are divine and magnetic!! We have so much more power than we even know! And, we have so much more to give to our lovers!! We need to connect to this divine self, and be strong in our essence so that we can radiate love and attract the perfect partners and heal this planet. Divine love is possible! – -Alexandra.

After an hour of reading Alexandra’s blog, I checked my email. There in my in box was an email from, let’s call him, Peter. I opened it with trepidation. “Peter” was a dear friend in Bali, a man with whom something had been sparked, had begun, but then who had stopped communicating shortly before he left Bali, leaving me once again in a space of feeling abandoned, entirely unsure as to why things had ended.

I’d managed to heal my heart over the past three weeks, or had I simply begun to numb it again? I’ve tossed aside so many of the things I had adopted into my new life – little to no alcohol for example. Only healthy food, daily meditation, regular yoga classes, inspiring classes. To read his email was to risk reopening a wound.

I read it. And I was both saddened and relieved. “Peter” had karmic-ly closed his part of the deal and explained why he had stopped talking and apologized.

The heaviness I felt after reading the email was a sign that I had not processed the pain, but had simply tried to ignore it, numb it…and so as I went into my meditation this morning, I decided to be with it. The ache filled my chest and spilled out as I admitted to drawing into my life once again someone whom I had begun to open my heart to, who had then shut me out. Memories of a 20+ year marriage in which this was a recurring theme, swept over me. Through me.

The point of this blog is mirroring and attraction. Last night when I focused on Alexandra’s words of love, I drew “Peter’s” energy into my life – to make reparations to a friendship that had heated up and had then been snuffed out.

Then as I sat with the pain this morning (go through it Robin, not around it!), even before the sun was up, my phone beeped: “It is with heavy heart that I announce that “Robert” and I are splitting up”, “Ginger’s” sms said. “I am looking for a place to live …..”

That makes two now. My two closest girlfriends in Bali experiencing the ends of relationships. Hurt. Sadness. Grief.

Jeez this mirror thing is relentless and ruthless.

Whereupon I immediately sms’d “Ginger” back to tell her that she could stay in my house until I find renters…that we’d talk in an hour.

But then I had a moment of wondering, what is going on here? Is my reaction to “Ginger” what it seems on the surface? The desire to comfort a friend in pain? Or more? Is she to be the companion who is plugged into the healing arts – something I so need access to now, but have begun to feel cut off from? A practical, organized Virgo to help me wrap up the house before I leave, manage it while I am gone? A way to comfort myself by comforting her?

Or is it simpler than all that? Is “Ginger” a mirror of what I focused on this morning, the pain of a promising relationship gone sour? Am I bringing more into my life of what I wish to leave behind, i.e. sadness and the grief that comes with the sudden, inexplicable end of a relationship? Ensuing bitterness and feelings of rejection?

Jeez, I so hope not.

Then what do I want?

My Manifest-o
I am creating a life of peace. Joy. Beauty. Growth. Expansion. Love, Love, and more Love. Between friends, and with a soul mate. Financial prosperity. Freedom. Laughter. Understanding. Kindness and compassion. Exploration. Wonder.

I, Robin Sparks, personify beauty, light, radiance, inspiration, love, awakening, aware, alive, fit, vital, vigorous, wonder-filled, sexually vibrant, peaceful, receptive. Self-loving.

I am manifesting a loving companion with whom I am awakening into life. Growing together spiritually and experimenting with a depth of love unknown to either of us. Commitment. Communication that is open, fearless, kind, all-loving.

I am creating organization and order in my life and affairs as I prepare for my upcoming move from Bali to Istanbul: Debts paid off, bills organized and paid in a timely manner. Business run in a way that is beneficial to all and creates financial prosperity and freedom.

I am creative and productive: My experiences poured daily back out into the world from Spirit onto page and into a book that speaks to many. A speaking and teaching career.

I am committed to a regular spiritual practice that serves as a foundation, a spring board for growth and maturity and love to grow.

I nourish myself day to day, moment to moment with friends, events, food, experiences, quiet time, ideas and words of wisdom which nourish me.

What about “Ginger”? I have a new beautiful home. Of course I will share it with her. And rather than fear that I am drawing more of my shadow, I will act in complete trust that as I focus on what I want, that those are the qualities I will attract – and share with those whom I draw into my life.

And so, it is with a light trusting heart that I sign off on this journal this morning. And a heart full of gratitude,

Bali Spirit Festival Finale

Posted by Robin Sparks on May 6th, 2009 | Email this to friend

The Bali Spirit Festival is behind us now. Thank you Megan, Kadek, Charley, the more than 40 presenters (many who donated their time), the hundreds of volunteers, the festival attendees, and sponsors. The organizers of the festival took a financial hit of over $50,000, but the point of the festival was not money. It was about bringing together some of the world’s top yogis, sacred musicians, instructors, and gurus. It was about giving back to the community. About sharing the true essence of Balinese culture with a wider audience in order to positively impact the consciousness of people throughout the world.

On all of these accounts, the festival was an gargantuan success.

Sunday, the last day of the festival was a free day, open to families, and anyone who wanted to join, and join they did. Musicians to play together, yoginis to teach together, the community to co-mingle with visiting foreigners. It was the embodiment of Indonesia’s proclaimed mission – Unity in Diversity.

Sunday night jam session

Akim Funk Buddha

Akim Funk Buddha

Akim Funk Buddha dancing while members of various bands jam together

Akim Funk Buddha dancing while members of various bands jam together

Jam session

Jam session

Rocky Dawuni moves his performance into the crowd

Rocky Duwani moves his performance into the crowd

Hip Hop at the Bali Spirit Festival

Posted by Robin Sparks on May 2nd, 2009 | Email this to friend
Participants at the Bali Spirit Festival

Participants at the Bali Spirit Festival

I waited outside the Kafe Restaurant with a small group of people for the shuttle to the Bali Spirit Festival ground. One of those waiting was a quiet dark man wearing a bowler hat and bright Afro ethnic clothing. I asked him if he was going to the Holistic Hip Hop class. He smiled, nodded affirmatively, and said nothing.

We arrived at the festival and as it turns out, the man was Akim Funk Buddha himself,

Akim Funk Buddha

Akim Funk Buddha

Holistic Hip Hop

Holistic Hip Hop

a New York based performance artist and educator, who has performed at venues like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Blue Note and was the instructor of the holistic hip hop workshop.

Akim Funk Buddha – gotta love that name.

Princess Lockeraroo, Akim’s DJ, spun James Browns’ “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” and Akim was off, miming moves and motioning the students to imitate him. Soon, the lawn pavilion was filled with grooving hip hoppers of all ages – small children to senior citizens and all types- from hippies to suits from all over the world.

Hip Hop students (that's festival founder Megan on the left)

Hip Hop students (that's festival founder Megan on the left)

Any self-consciousness anyone may have felt initially, was quickly shelved as they learned moves like popping and waving. I’m pretty sure that there were more laughs logged per minute at the hip hop workshop than at the Laughter Yoga class.

Simultaneously, there was Kathak Dancing, Hatha Yoga, Prana Flow Yoga, Mark Whitwell’s “Practical Secrets of Intimacy & Love” yoga , a drumming and chanting circle, a Javanese Movement meditation, a Sacred Middle Eastern Traditions Music workshop, and a fire dancing class.

I found myself at the tarot card booth at the Dharma fair whereupon I learned that there are to be more challenges in my near future. OK, so bring it on (so I can get it over with). Everything happens fast here.

The headliner of the evening was Ganga Giri, a Didjeridu player from Australia who was joined by musicians from around the globe to pump out high-octave fusion.

Ganga Giri and friends at the Bali Spirit Festival

Ganga Giri and friends at the Bali Spirit Festival

The crowd pumped, jumped, leaped, and swayed for the next 3 hours. And when the lights went down, they moved to the Flava Lounge in Ubud, to continue to into the wee hours.

Suddenly it doesn’t matter that I missed the gypsy music festival in Istanbul this year. Because world music has come to Bali.

Bloggin’ from Bali
Robin Sparks

Bali Spirit Festival Rocks On – Day 3

Posted by Robin Sparks on May 1st, 2009 | Email this to friend

SAHARADJA!!! I am SO a fan, as of last night. Truly amazing.

The performance was a reminder of what I love and miss most about Istanbul, Turkey (my home of 3 yrs) and my home of origin in Northern California – music that celebrates life, that is a way of life, that connects at a profound soul level, and that pulls us out of our chairs to dance and sing along. It was a sign that yes, even in quiet meditative, healing Ubud, the music is still alive.

Saharadja onstage last night at the Bali Spirit Festival. Photo by Robin Sparks

Saharadja onstage last night at the Bali Spirit Festival

How about an regular outdoor venue in Ubud where bands can play late into the night? Ideas anyone? Can we bring global music and dance to Ubud on a weekly or at least monthly basis? Then again, I might not ever leave Ubud if there was good live music on a regular basis. Hmmm… has this to say about Sharadja:

World Music with a Rock Attitude!!

It’s commonly acknowledged that we live in a global era marked by the increasing movement of people and the exchange of ideas across national borders. Now, perhaps more than ever, we have the opportunity to learn from different cultures in order to create a better world based on peace and the celebration of cultural difference. In this context, a new musical form known as world fusion has been gaining momentum, and at the forefront of this movement is Indonesian band SAHARADJA.

Based on the beautiful island of Bali, itself a centre of cross-cultural exchange for centuries, Saharadja comprises a group of highly innovative, world-class musicians dedicated to making music that captivates the soul and transports us to a place where the vision of global harmony becomes a reality. Saharadja push the limits of the world fusion form, combining an exciting array of musical inspirations – both traditional and contemporary – in unique and often unpredictable ways.

Whether its reworking Brahms with latin beats and salsa trumpet; combining tabla with electrc violin; mixing a traditional Balinese song with a Celtic reel and Arabic vocals; juxtaposing didgeridoo with trance beats; or bring the soothing sounds of an Indonesian gamelan orchestra into play with slick acid jazz trumpet, the result is nothing short of uplifting. This is freestyle world music that is played from the heart.

During the six years they have been together, Saharadja has toured South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea , China and they look forward to sharing their music with the rest of the world.

Saharadja. One band, many flavours. Says bandleader Rio Sidik:

‘We celebrate the best mix of world music styles. We are passionate about what we do and are wholly committed to it. We can only have world peace if we take the trouble to explore and understand different cultures. I don’t want to sound like Miss Universe but we truly wish to contribute to world peace!! It is one of my dreams to play for the world’s leaders and show them how with music all ethnic groups can come together as one.’

Eight member band, Saharadja, was formed in Bali in 2002 by acclaimed Indonesian trumpeter and vocalist Rio Sidik, and Western Australian violinist Sally Jo. Between them, this energetic group play a diverse range of instruments including the trumpet, electric violin, didgeridoo, sitar, djembe, sarod, darabuka, Irish tin whistle, congas, fretless bass, drums and a large assortment of percussion instruments. Inspired to a large degree by the free form of jazz improvisation, the band explores a range of different rythmic traditions deriving from India, the Middle East, continental Europe, South America, Africa, China, and the British Isles.

All of the band members are accomplished soloists trained in improvisation. On stage together as Saharadja, their various talents for music make for playful experimentation and high energy entertainment. Sally Jo explains the band’s name:

‘Saharadja is an acronym of the band members’ names because we are a team and each member is as important as the others. Every member is a soloist and is indispensable to the band. Saharadja also means King of the Desert – an explorer. A desert is enormous and can seem ‘never-ending’. This is how we see our music – exploration and unlimited sounds.’”

And what a treat it was!

Check back here later today as I’ll be blogging about two workshops I attended yesterday: Swami Shankardev’s Yoga Tantra p1080336 and Ines Somellera’s Yoga & Writing Class.

Meanwhile, get your tickets for tonight’s live perfomances beginning with Mia Palencia of Malaysia, Ni Ketut Arini with Cudamni, Simak Dialog, and ending with Ganga Giri of Australia. See you there!

Robin Sparks, blogging from the 2009 Bali Spirit Festival

Getting to one's message via the body - Yoga & Writing Workshop

Discovering one's message via the body - Yoga & Writing Workshop

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