Bali, part one

May 28, 2013 | Life in Progress

So this is actually happening. #feelingspontaneous and #practicingcourage and #myhusbandiscrazysupportive
Friends, I went to Bali. And it was a life changer.

When I think back on all my best decisions – the ones that have gone on to define a clear path for my life – they are the decisions that came with an intuition, a hunch, a knowing without knowing kind of pull. I like to think of these kinds of intuitive urges as leading me to my True North. They just never fail. 

Deciding at the very last minute to take the 40 hour journey to Bali for nine whole days was one of those decisions. A total life changer. A total True North decision. 
My friend Flora had been gearing up to take her annual trip to Bali (a creative painting retreat that she leads) and there was something inside of me that longed to go, too, but I didn’t say anything until just before she was getting ready to leave. I sent her an off the cuff text asking if I could go, totally not expecting her response. 
I’ll never forget those moments. John and I and True were on our way home from a quick day adventure to the coast. As we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, I casually mentioned my longing for Bali to John which led to my texting Flora which (unbelievably) led to there being room for me to go which led to John absolutely insisting that I go. He was driving the car, practically bouncing up and down with excitement for me. I, on the other hand, was trying to talk myself out of it (work! childcare! not enough time to get organized! etc!). Kelly, this is why you’ve worked so hard. This is why you hired Lacy to help with the biz. This is why I’m a stay at home Papa. GO! God, I love this man. 
By the time the traffic eased up, I was officially planning my trip. I would board a plane in four days. 
I struggled with nerves and gremlins. Having never travelled abroad alone, I was a little scared. I don’t speak the language. What if I get sick? What if True gets hurt while I’m gone? Am I wrong to leave him for so long? 
A dear, wise friend suggested that my mantra be something like “he’s watching Mama take care of herself.” Amen to amazing, insightful words of truth. I arrived home more renewed and more in love with my family and life than ever before. Turns out self care is a game changer when it comes to parenting, marriage, and self love. But more on that later.

What I woke up to this morning! Hello Bali! It's currently 8am, Sat morn. Grateful for the very long, but safe journey here. It's BEAUTIFUL.
The trip to Bali, though long, was completely seamless. Very little jetlag. Very little adjustment at all, really. I arrived in Amed in the evening, and woke up the next morning to a heart soaring view and an orchestra of sounds: rooster, birds, dogs, insects, chickens, frogs. I felt like I was home, like I had been there many many times before. It was full of beauty. 
During the opening ceremony on the first day of the retreat, we all gathered, sitting in a large circle on the floor. In the center of our circle was a beautiful altar of rocks and flowers and little 5×5 paintings that Flora had painted – one for each of us. Flora asked each of us to talk about what brought us to Bali and what we wanted to invite in during the experience. When it was my turn, I talked about my last minute urge to travel to Bali, that even though I had all sorts of permission and encouragement to come (from Flora, from my work, from my husband, etc), that I still struggled with allowing myself to come. I said that my hope was that I would allow myself the full breath of the experience, that I would allow myself the gift.


I then reached into the center of our circle and randomly picked one of the 5×5 paintings that Flora created. When I turned the painting over, it read “allow, allow, allow.”
Shivers. Gratitude. And a knowing that I was exactly where I needed to be. 
Allow became my word for the trip. I wrote in on my body every single day, as a reminder. Most days, I had to keep re-writing it because it would sweat off a few times (hello Bali heat!).

Bali ushered in all sorts of personal and creative expansion. I can’t wait to share it all.

This trip wouldn’t have happened without the alignment of so many factors – and all at the last minute. I have huge gratitude for Flora for making it possible for me to go. I think of Flora as my older sister spirit guide who has led me toward all sorts of life awakening adventures. Huge gratitude for my husband who, for the entire time I’ve known him, has valued trips and experiences like these as the ones that remind us who we are, and thus are not to be missed. Huge gratitude for Lacy, my awesome assistant, who I had total trust in to run all things biz related with the utmost care. Huge gratitude for my parents who helped support John with childcare while I was gone.

To those of you who have a longing, an intuitive pull toward something – a trip, a conversation, a letting go, an inviting in – whatever it may be, I can’t encourage you enough to consider it an important whisper. It’s your life calling you. Listen and allow. Listen and allow.

XO and more soon,
Kelly Rae

PS: For those of you who were following along in my Bali adventures via Instagram and/or Facebook, thanks so much! I loved sharing the adventure with you as it unfolded. 

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (18 comments)
  1. Anonymous

    The word that comes deeply from me for you is "Ahhhh"!
    I am watching the bluebirds who have taken up residence in the bluebird house. They are actively renesting- one egg already, and yet also one juvenile from the last brood-hangs around the house- hasn't quite launched his next life chapter yet. Aren't we all like that? Tme to fly off to wonderful new worlds!

  2. Monica

    You know, the word "allow" has been circling around my mind a lot, lately! I was spoken with my husband a few weeks ago, about how we should "allow" instead of "blocking". Sometimes, it really looks like we're blocking all of the good coming our way, with out thoughts, fears, our musts and shoulds- what if instead we paused, breathed, and allowed?
    Now I need to paint something that reads "allow" 😉
    Big hugs to you, Kelly.
    Monica xo

  3. Tracee

    Before marriage and child, I was all about taking care of ME. After 15 years of marriage, I've forgotten how to do that. We're finally getting our heads above water so I'll have to put some thought into it.

  4. Karen

    Hi Kelly, I've been following your blog for a little while now but this is my first comment. Thanks for sharing all your stories with us. I am leaving behind my three small kids in Melbourne, Australia, with my husband while I travel to Paris by myself to do a writing course and take some art classes. It feels very brave and scary and exciting and creative and nerve-wracking all at the same time! Thanks for sharing your mantra.
    Karen x

  5. sarah ahearn bellemare

    you did it! it sounds like it was totally! so happy for you! xoox *s

  6. lauradodson

    Lovely. Glad you went with such love and support.

    This is the way I went to Uganda in April. Out of the blue-ish, spur of the moment, total support from my hubby.

  7. Su

    "Turns out self care is a game changer when it comes to parenting, marriage, and self love." I need tow write this all over my body. 🙂 I know this is my head, but not my heat. Oh, how to get there. And then what is self care. I am new to your blog…thanks for the time and energy you give it.

  8. Wendy D.

    What a lovely experience of serendipity! Thank you for sharing it.

    This is the second time today that the word "allow" has come to my attention. Hmmm. Now I'm wondering what that is about! 🙂

  9. Joyelle Brandt

    I am counting down the days (8 more sleeps!) until I attend my first art retreat in Port Townsend. I am so excited to have this experience. Like you, I know I struggled with all the reasons why I could not do this, until I realized that I needed to make it happen. That allowing thing can really be a big one for me.
    So happy for you, and for me!

  10. destashio

    I was blessed with a similar trip, studying painting in Italy for three weeks. I still can't thank everyone around me who talked me in to allowing myself to go. Totally life changing.

  11. Anonymous

    yes, kelly, i totally agree to listen to the invitation of intuition. but then, if there is no money to spend, it's really frustrating 🙁 anyway, i have followed your story through the years and it's awesome! thanks for sharing…

  12. Lauri Lumby

    In the words of one of my greatest teachers, "The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself."

    Congratulations Kelly Rae!

    Lauri Lumby

  13. Kathleen

    Wow – what an exciting journey! I know how hard it is to travel without your little one but I believe it is totally critical sometimes. And as an only parent, I can attest to how the break can make mothering all the more better when you return.

    Can't wait to see pics from the rest of the journey!

  14. CanvasPics {Interior HeART still life}

    It's not easy – life altering decisions. I've been struggling for a few months on my own – nursing school or follow my passion (create). No time for both…one is a sure thing, one completely the opposite of a sure thing. {sigh} Thank you for sharing your a-ha moments. Tara

  15. Jenn Gallagher

    Bali is such a magical place! I have been twice and long to return some day. I just have to share a quick story of serendipity that involves you! I recently reordered your book "Taking Flight" through interlibrary loan. As I was flipping through the pages, I came across a ginkgo leaf pressed between the pages. I then turned to a page that has ginkgo leaves in the illustration. It made me smile. As I flipped through the pages some more, I came across a page with five tiny yellow aspen leaves tucked inside. I then realized that these leaves were from my yard from last fall! I like to think about how far they traveled in between libraries, staying put for me to rediscover them! Really enjoying your book again! Thanks for all you do. So inspiring!

  16. Kathleen

    Beautiful words and, you hit the jackpot with that husband of yours! How lovely and truly inspiring. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  17. vivienne

    It was truly so beautiful to witness your adventures on instagram and get glimpses of what an incredible trip it was. So inspiring!

  18. Kate M

    Its something I struggle with enormously. Detaching from my babies. Thank you for sharing. I am starting to listen to all sorts of whispers. xo


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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