My Hero’s Journey – The Gifts of Bali

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” – Joseph Campbell

I was once told that reaching enlightenment is when you feel completely at one with all.

My Hero’s Journey

Rebecca Minkoff US

Written and Experienced by: Brittany Wells

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The Departure – Call to Adventure

In “The Hero’s Journey,” a story begins and ends in the hero’s ordinary world, but his quest passes through an unfamiliar, special world. Bali was my special world. In the summer of 2019 I was being called to step out of my comfort zone and into an incredible, life changing adventure. I had never traveled alone before, let alone travel on a plane, across the world to a place completely foreign to me. I put my fear of the unknown aside, left my home and embarked on a quest for connection, love, transformation, self-discovery and enlightenment.

By the time I touched down in Bali the summer of 2019, I had released everything that weighed me down and held me back – from material possessions, living spaces and toxic people. When I arrived in Indonesia I felt rooted – light, yet deeply grounded. The Balinese people believe that many objects, including trees, carry spirit; that they have a soul. It was only natural to feel deeply rooted as if I were blooming out of the earth when I arrived. On my 7 day journey through Bali there were key events and gifts from God that brought me home forever changed.

The Healer: Initiation

When I arrived at the healers compound hours after my flight, I was nervous, anxious, skeptical – yet hopeful. The compound radiated serenity. After wrapping myself in a sarong, the healer waved me over. The first thing he said to me was that there would be no cameras or video. Immediately, my mind went to a negative space… wondering how I was going to remember this special moment in time. And there came my self doubt in my inability to retain information. I put my doubts aside and I obeyed. I sat down on a pillow in front of him and he began to pray. He waved around his hands to spread incense around the room and turned towards me, put his hands on my body and began to push on pressure points, all while his eyes remained closed, breathing deeply. 

With his eyes still closed, he asked if I had pain in my stomach. Hours before getting on the plane, I had a meeting with my therapist. I expressed my anxiety and nervousness about my trip and she asked where I felt the anxiety. When I was a child, I would have panic attacks and go to the hospital with stomach pains only to find out it was only nerves. Time after time I would land in the hospital thinking I had an ulcer or I was suffering from a heart attack. It was always anxiety… Prior to my trip, my therapist and I were working through some intense emotions regarding the feelings of abandonment inflicted on to me by a close loved one. When the anxiety comes, I feel it in my stomach. The healer knew there was negative energy in that region but assured me that my body was functioning properly and that there was no cause for concern. He instructed me to mentally release the pain. He went on to say that all of the chakras in my body were in perfect order. He knew I was a yogi and that I practiced meditation. He proceeded to say that through my “good heart and voice” I have the ability to spread motivation and hope throughout the world. He then asked if I was writing a book. In shock, I grinned wide as a natural reaction. I thought to myself, how could he possibly know this? He continued, “Write this book, make it motivational”. At the end of our session, he says; “I speak to your heart, not your mind. You will remember. Follow your heart and lead with your voice. Offer wisdom.” He released me of my doubt to retain information, that I will remember his words and keep them in my heart. Just like that, our time together was over. That night, my first day in Bali came to a close.

The Healer showed me the weak areas in my life. He provided me with encouragement to continue down the path of helping others through my voice. He provided me with encouragement and guidance to take on Bali without fear. He provided me with the tools to seek counsel from within myself, from my inner guide – my Higher Self. That evening, I went to bed full of hope, love and inspiration and held no pain or anxiety in my stomach. The healer was my first gift.

The Rainbow: The Point of No Return

The next morning, I woke up ready to take on Bali. I met my tour guide at my hotel at 5AM. When my guide Dody introduced himself he was wearing a sarong, a Balinese headdress and a huge genuine and welcoming smile. He and I would have an exciting day visiting the temples of Bali. A few hours into our journey, just before reaching Lempuyang Temple, I glanced to my left and saw a perfect, bright rainbow coming out of Mount Agung. I motioned to Dody to stop the car so we could get out and see the rainbow before it disappeared. Dody pulled the car over, we got out, took photos and witnessed one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever placed my eyes upon. The rainbow was my second gift. Immediately, I knew that this rainbow was God’s way of showing me that I was safe, that I was exactly where I needed to be in that moment. Seeing the rainbow was when I crossed the first threshold in my journey, this was the point of no return. However, when I say “the point of no return”, I mean I knew the moment I saw that rainbow, that I would not return home the same person. In less than 24 hours of my journey into Bali, I was taken into higher consciousness. The experience had already shifted me into the next phase of my life. I would return to my ordinary world outgrown of my old life and be forever changed. The rainbow was my second gift.

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Dody: The Guide

As the rainbow disappeared, Dody and I proceeded with our day. As it turns out, sharing my time with Dody was more meaningful then visiting the sites of Bali. Dody was my third gift, “The Guide” on my Hero’s Journey. He also became my friend. We spent multiple days together on my first journey through Bali. We laughed, I cried, we shared meals, he educated me on the culture of Bali and the Hindu Religion. We shared similar experiences in our life relating to love, marriage, divorce and children. He taught me many things, one of which was how to release resentment and anger and to leave it to karma.

The Birds: Revelation

Revelation: An act of revealing or communicating divine truth. Something that is revealed by God to Humans.

The third day of my journey I traveled to see the beautiful beaches of Nusa Penida Island. I arrived late at night, immediately went to bed and woke the next morning before the sun ready to take on the day. I made coffee, took it to the pool at my hotel and there I received my fourth gift, the birds. The birds were my symbol of hope… of freedom. As I sat watching the sun rise over the ocean one little bird flew over me and then down into the water and back up. Soon, another bird followed suit. Before I knew it, dozens were flocking around in front of me, rhythmically moving in the water performing the most beautiful dance. It was just me, the birds and the rising sun. In that moment God made his presence known, he gave me hope and assured me that I would get through the darkness that was surrounding me back home and that I would make it to the other side. There he was, through the birds, showing me that I was just where I needed to be. I went into the day on Nusa Penida Island with more hope than I have ever had in my 33 years of life.

When I arrived home to Ubud the following day, I witnessed beautiful ceremonies, I immersed myself into the Balinese culture by going to more temples with Dody, kayaking the lake at Mount Agung. After my 5th day, I said my goodbyes to Dody and prepared for my departure. On my last day I received my final two gifts.

Agung: Despair, Empathy, Awakening

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The morning I was set to leave Bali, I connected with Agung who tended to my AirBnb. On my final two days she prepared my meals and did my laundry. While sitting at breakfast eating her fantastic banana pancakes we began to converse. The evening before she made me a traditional Balinese meal at her home and brought it to me prior to going to the celebration at her temple. My trip happened to coincide with Galungan, which celebrates the victory of dharma over adharma (the triumph of good over evil). Only fitting given the fact I was fighting my own battle at home during that time. I told Agung how beautiful she looked the previous night and when I said that she turned away in disbelief. Clearly, she didn’t feel comfortable being complemented. When I noticed her discomfort I changed the subject. I proceeded to dive in and ask her questions about herself. She told me that her mother passed away suddenly from a headache when she and her younger brother were in their adolescent years. Agung had to grow up quickly to take care of her brother and work full time to support her family. Her father was unable to work as he struggled to cope with the death of his wife and became very depressed. As we moved through the conversation she asked me why I was traveling alone. She said that it was something she could never do. She said she was too fearful. It seems that the fear of being alone is a common thread for women, not only here at home but around the world. Of course the affirmations from me came and I told her anything is possible and that she is capable of traveling alone. 

As we continued on in conversation; I got onto the subject of self-care. I asked if she took the time to meditate – she explained that she doesn’t have time for herself, let alone to meditate. There I realized, Bali is titled as one of the biggest “yoga mechi centers” of the world, but is it really? In our conversation I realized that yoga in Bali is what we on the outside have created. The Balinese people work tirelessly to support their families, they live on compounds the size of single family homes with 30+ family members. The further we got into conversation the more I realized my purpose of coming to Bali – to connect with the people, to bring yoga, meditation and the teachings of self-care to them. We held hands, sat on the floor, closed our eyes with tears streaming down our faces and there we breathed. I sat in her pain with her, feeling her energy and tried my hardest to take it from her. I used the tools The Healer gave me to bestow wisdom upon Agung. I wanted to take her pain and suffering from her but I couldn’t. I gave her the tools and taught her how to take time for herself – how simple it is even for two minutes to calmly sit and follow breath. I explained that she needed to care for herself first and foremost. As we sat together I heard my car approach, we wiped away our tears, embraced one another and I left. Agung was my fourth gift. 

When I got into my car, I wept. I didn’t want to leave her. She needed my help. She needed affirmations, support and love. My driver handed me a tissue box almost as if it was a common occurrence for him – to “wipe away” the tears of the people he takes back to the airport. 

Mangku – Death & Rebirth

My flight out of Bali was in the evening so I decided to visit one last temple. As I approached Mangku’s temple for a mudra and acintya meditation session, I was still distraught from leaving Agung. When I arrived I took a deep breath, walked in and went to the middle of the temple and knelt down, almost as if I was surrendering. I was giving myself up to the journey, the experiences… ultimately surrendering to God. As I knelt in redemption knowing I would have to leave Bali behind in a few short hours, there approached my salvation – in human form. I looked to my right and approaching me was a man dressed in all white with his hands out, ready to accept me into his sacred space. I cleared my mind, brought myself back to the present moment, connected with him and breathed deeply. Mangku and I would share a meditation practice together. That day he taught me how to heal and protect myself and others. He blessed me with coconut water, marked my forehead with clay, and wrapped my wrist with a sacred bracelet. 

While waiting for my car we sat and talked. There he told me his story. This wasn’t Mangku’s first Yoga and Mediation center. He once had a thriving yoga center in the heart of Ubud. After years of success his business failed, he went under financially. He lost everything including his wife and his friends. He said, “when the money left, my wife and my friends left me”. After he lost everything and had given up all hope, he “went into the jungle and cried for 10 months”. He survived off of the land and at some time during that 10 months, God came to him. He told him to begin again. Magku worked up the courage, faced his fears, returned to Ubud and started over. When Mangku lost everything, he went into the jungle, found his soul’s purpose, came out enlightened and re-born. Mangku was my final gift.

The Return: Awakening, Bliss and Enlightenment

When I returned home, I came back full of gratitude and joy for everything in my life. Having released everything before Bali and embarking on my journey completely clear, I came home having had a spiritual awakening. It is only natural that my call to adventure was Bali as the Hero’s journey has a death and a rebirth. I died in Bali and was born again. I had a revelation and was granted many gifts. I have faced tremendous challenges in my journey before Bali. While I didn’t face any sort of crisis while there, my trials and tribulations took place back at home years before and leading up to my journey to Bali. 

Over the past decade, I have made it through unhappiness and feelings of emptiness through neglect, abuse and pain through a loved ones addictions. I was finally able to shift my perspective to the life that I could have and the life that I so desperately wanted. I let go of fear, I let go of what no longer served me and I released myself of self-doubt. Once I realized that I was worthy of happiness, love and deep meaningful connections, I found my answers. I manifested my new reality. In my new reality I experienced tremendous breakthroughs – through journaling, therapy, yoga, meditation and intense deep inner work. Sometimes, to get to and through those breakthroughs I had feelings of being lost. I would feel completely alone in my struggles. In those feelings of being lost, I would dive deeper and ask myself tough questions. I would meditate more, I would practice more, I would bump up my therapy to twice a week and then; magic happened.. I found joy in the journey. I turned my pain into power. I turned my past into a learning experience. I became grateful for what I have instead of focusing my energy on what I don’t have and what I didn’t believe was fair. I realized that my life is better served in service of others. Through that shift and through integration, and a state of pure joy and gratitude I reached my inner light – my enlightened state. 

It took me four months to write this piece. My Hero’s Journey and the gifts I received was that of pure intention from God. The people, the experiences, the land, they all served and will continue to serve a purpose in my life and in yours. The end of my hero’s journey is the beginning of yours. How can you embrace your own Hero’s journey? The Law of Dharma states, as a law you aren’t here happenstance or accidentally, you are here for a reason and for purpose. What is your purpose?

The Departure – Call to adventure: How can you leave your “ordinary world” as you know it and embark on a new adventure? Your “ordinary world” represents your comfort zone. In what ways can you step out of your comfort zone and into places unknown?

The Healer – Initiation: What do you have to open your eyes to to take the next step in your journey? Who can you ask for assistance to help you if you need to embark on this new adventure? Seek counsel but also know your best counsel is your inner guide, your Higher Self. Meditate.

The Rainbow – The point of no return: The rainbow was my “I said yes” moment. This was my commitment to the journey and my reassurance from God. What do you have to say yes to that can provide you the breakthroughs to take yourself to higher consciousness, to become your best self?

Dody – The Guide & Helper: Dody was my Guide, my friend and someone I could turn to while on my journey if I needed help… who can you connect with and ask for guidance in places unknown? Sometimes that means stepping out of your comfort zone and asking for help and guidance in your journey. 

The Birds – Revelation: The birds were my sign of hope and God’s way of showing me that freedom is right around the corner. Where can you see hope in your own life? How can seeing hope get you to ultimate freedom?

Agung – Despair, Empathy, Awakening: What we have to give others could be gifts to ourselves. Where can you show more empathy? How can you show acts of kindness every day? How can you shift your focus from being inwards to focusing on those around you? You hold the power to impact someone’s life every minute of every day by showing small acts of kindness through connection and love. 

Mangku – Death and Rebirth: Through Mangku we witness someone who has lost everything. He went away to die and came back enlightened and re-born. He put his fear aside, returned home and started over. He shows us through his story what overcoming major trials and tribulations looks like, and what it takes to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start again. He shows us not to look at our failures in fear, but rather as an opportunity to try again. How do you manage failure? Where/How can you try again after you’ve been defeated?

The Return – Bliss and Enlightenment: There are two ways in which one can see enlightenment, in the people that become quiet and the people that become very vibrant. While in Bali, I reached pure enlightenment by being fully connected with the land, the people and myself. When you truly believe and feel at one with everything – you have reached enlightenment and will continue to be enlightened. 

The Hero's Journey

The Hero’s Journey is the work of comparative mythology created by Joseph Campbell, Author of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.  “The Hero’s Journey” is an ancient formula created to show growth and passage. The journey requires separation from being comfortable in the known world, in initiation to be brought into a new level of awareness and consciousness. One returns home transformed after their experiences and reaches bliss and enlightenment.

How can you embark on your extraordinary journey of self-discovery, higher achievement and personal transformation? The time is now.

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