Sunlight and Gems

LIVING MY TRUTH


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I am laughing so hard right now and loving me as I am sitting here in sunlight and dappled shade on this Balinese hillside while I look over this rice terrace called Tegalalang in Ubud. That sentence sunlight and dappled shade simply popped in my head maybe because that is the title of the first book that I wrote in addition to Blood in the Water.

I am watching the crowd, people of different ethnic background carefully maneuvering the steep steps on their way down further into the rice fields. They were carefully walking down the steep, winding steps cut in the hillside to avoid tumbling because if they do they have a long way to go. They were being careful as careful as I was some years ago maneuvering a minefield that existed on my job and a fishing trap that was set to ensnare me, simply because my new boss tried to block the promotion that I was slated for . . Imagine that, the prejudices that exist in the work place exhibited by some one of my own color but a different ethnic background.. I stood up for myself and was unapologetic in fighting back because there was no other way.

I took note of those who stood by and said nothing in my favor, did nothing, people that I thought were my friends that stood back and watched because they were as tight as money rolled up into a thick wad with the boss. SMH. It was quite painful and reinforces my belief that the people you work with are not your friends, do your job, get paid and go home.I don’t keep tripping over grudges and disses because to invest my time in the negative takes away from the time that I need to spend on working on the positive. What I do however is to remain conscious of the situation. I am not a fool, Today I am allowing absolutely nothing to disturb my peace.

The sun on my face, the lush green vegetation, a cow in a shed that is much smaller than the cows that I am used to seeing in Jamaica, the way the smoke curled leaving the villagers mouth after puffing on their cigar and the thought of someone tumbling and rolling down the hill, the thought of more invigorating happenings to come, the discard of the subtle put downs that I threw out in the garbage sometime ago was responsible for my laugh out loud. I am getting valuable Vitamin D that I need sitting on this hill I am embracing my flaws as I speed dial in my head my imperfections.

I am thinking that I need to ramp up the exercise because I do need to lose a few pounds. For many years I allowed people to get in my head because I could not conceive a child and believed that I was too flawed to real dig who I am. I am impatient and communicates when I choose on my own time. But as these thoughts flash through my head an older Balinese girl is imploring me to put on their native hat, take a picture with her hat and then pay her for the photo. An older lady is beckoning as she sits close by with a cow in a shed that is referred to as a house cow. She offers up an offering to her supreme being as she motions to me. I walk over to over and nods and decide to offer up an offering to my God also, thankful for his blessings and for the confidence and contentment that I feel now, that I am whole and beautiful and filled with love, that I have the right people in my life. It makes a big difference having the right people in your life who supports you instead of tearing you down. You should think about embracing you if you don’t, warts and all, moving forward and not allowing others to put labels on you.

There were some who questioned why I wanted to visit Bali.It’s not for you to say. This is where I wanted to visit for the last two years. I was culturally curious to see what Bali had to offer. I wanted to see Ubud and the World Heritage listed Subak iirigation network in Bali that is the reason for the green fields of endless rice plants. Most of all I wanted quiet time, time away with my husband and far away from the madding crowd to hear myself breathe, to kick up my feet and live in my truth. It has been a year with ups and down but you roll with the punches, I wanted to visit the Hindu Balinese Temple called Pura Tirta Empul with its holy spring water used for ritual purification and that area for bathing where people come to wash away their sins. There is so much to learn. I have to do things my way and be consistent with that. I no longer base my life on what others think about me or what they do.

We explored at our own pace with an early start making our first stop at the Batik and hand weaving factory, where we purchased real beautiful cashmere scarfs, watched the traditional dance of good over evil, stopped at silver and gold crafting, painting and wood outlets, the Water Temple and finally our stop at the rice terrace. What I discovered were a people who were very respectful, very spiritual and travelled on motor bikes in very large numbers, who is deeply involved in Art in the form of dancing, painting and wood carvings which represents a large part of Balinese culture. Driving to and through the Ubud countryside stone carvings and wood carvings are seen everywhere. One of my observations with many of the Balinese people is their communication. They have direct conversations without checking their cell phones every two seconds. It was quite refreshing to see.

I think my very good friend would like Ubud. She is earthy and beautiful. I hear her voice in my head as she said to me many years ago, that I needed to begin to manage myself, to cut back on helping everyone who asked. She said I was too kind, too giving to get rid of some of the people around me, stop being so open about my business, stop letting others dictate your life. I remember vividly the heated exchange we had because of a specific situation. As per her I allowed people to take too much of me, my time and my money. Her words were while you think you are helping someone, they are taking from you, while they help others. I heard. I listened but the sad truth is I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t ready to live in my truth. I was too busy pleasing others, wasting my precious time. But I eventually learned to say NO. My thought process back then was I came to the United States and it was hard for me so whatever help I can give I will, not realizing that some of those around me was not genuine, they were sucking the life out of me

I whispered to myself, I am managing myself. I choose what I do. I keep a tight circle and I live, love and laugh on my terms. You can do it too. Start living your truth. You can stand up for you.

I am here in Bali immersing myself in their culture taking stock of what is happening with me.

When I came to live in the United States, the people that I knew were few. Its not like today where there are so many people living here that you do know. I didn’t have much help. I did and learnt on my own. The words of my father comes back to haunt me because he said, “you have to work and go to school, I am no Salvation Army. “ For many years my interpretation of his words were wrong. I missed what he tried to communicate. He had been living here in the United States and helped so many who showed him ingratitude and disrespect for the help he gave. As his child I thought at that time that he was mean and terrible. In time I understood what my girlfriend and my dad wanted me to get, just that his disappointment should not have been directed at me. Some people will take from you as long as they can and turn around and disrespect you. Do not expect them to remember when the help stops because they have short memories.

Communication is important and unlike my dad who liked to communicate in riddles I prefer to be direct. I observe and communicate on my own terms, when I choose and on my own time. I am not searching for approval from the masses. I approve of me and what I do. You can choose to do the same. I try not to allow others to push my buttons and as I zen right about now I can turn my face to the sun and my eyes to the heaven and laugh out loud.

Bali is good for me. I breathe deeply and exhale. Its clear to me that you have to do good when you can, help those in need when you can but with checks and balances.

The breeze is gentle and calming, the sun kisses my face as a baby waves and I smile as I wave back as the mother lovingly cradles her child. He decides to play peekaboo with my husband. I have no children. After three painful IVF’s in my life time and spending thousands of dollars my husband said enough. It’s not meant to be. I was crushed not being able to conceive in my lifetime. When I told the Priest that I had no children but my husband does and that the adoption failed, He said to me and this is one of their Balinese sayings, “if you are happy you can learn to dance.” I understood what he communicated.

“You both are happy people because I can see it. Each person has their own purpose” He said. And so my time in Bali was well spent. The truth is everyone has problems, some may hide it better than others. Don’t let them fool you. I live my truth. I reconciled with not having a child a long time ago. For whatever reason it was not meant to be and I live with that. I am happy, I am alive. I am the best me right now. You can all be brave enough to live in your own truth instead of living in the shadow of others.



About The Author

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Dantie Smith-Brown

Dantie Smith-Brown was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, where she graduated from teacher’s college before migrating to the United States. Changing course upon arrival, she became a Respiratory Care Practitioner when her father introduced her to that specialized area in health care. She is passionate about educating, diagnosing and treating individuals who suffer from heart and lung diseases to improve their health and well-being.

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