Creativity Coach - Artist Desiree East

You want to THRIVE and live in the PRESENT MOMENT. You want to CREATE THE REALITY YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED through CREATIVE LIFESTYLE HABITS.You want to tap into that hidden, CREATIVE POTENTIAL that is ready to be UNLEASHED to the world. When your inner voice, your intuitive heart --- YOUR creative genius --- is nourished and pampered, you know you can create profound changes in your LIFE that is the art.

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creatively Fit Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

Filtering by Tag: travel

From Maiden to Mother: A Humbling Transformation in the Sky and Sea

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Okay, so travelling in general could be very stressful at times, no matter who you are travelling with and no matter where you are going. Planes, trains or automobiles, kids or no kids, friends or foes, something bad is bound to happen, no matter how minor or major the incident. Travel incidents just come with the travel package, right?

Well, let me tell you, the first two days were hell. Ironically, it was not because we had a baby in tow. In fact, Kirra did soooooo well at the airport waiting in long lines, plodding through TSA, and she was a champ (in my eyes) on the flights to and from Hawaii. She got a little restless toward the end of our flights, but who doesn't? (You should feel my biceps...talk about workout).

TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT:

American Airlines, you suck.

There were no clear signs of where to check-in, nor were there clear, designated fancy red line ribbon thingies. What happened to the fancy red line ribbon thingies??

There were no regular check-in lines to check into. The only thing available were these little self check-in kiosks, scattered throughout the floor, underneath the big American Airlines signage.

"No problem, I've got this shit. I'm a computer nerd. I've done this before, we'll be done in 5 minutes flat..."

The self check-in kiosks were not working properly.  1 out of 5 computers in our line were in working order. There was ONE employee that was available to assist our entire area (which was filled with a massive crowd of unorganized, helpless, desperate souls).

Then I looked outside to the Valet check-in. LIFE SAVER. We tipped our dude $20, worth every penny.

Because of said disorganized check-in lines, we were were one of the handful of people to get on the full flight. I even saw a guy sitting a couple of rows behind us roll his eyes, as poor Kirra started to fuss. In my mind, I was like, shut it, dude. Shut your rolling, judge-y eyes.

Yep. No matter how prepared we were and no matter how early we got to the airport, we were that family.

And NO time for a diaper change.

SO much drama for this mama. Sheesh.

SINKING INTO ISLAND LIFE - BLESSINGS ABOUND

Even though our trip didn't start off as smooth as possible (does it ever?), there is always that moment when you step off of the plane and breath in the tropical air that is filled with the scent of sweet plumeria leis...where everything slows down and everything is ooookay.

Aloooooooooooha.

We crashed out pretty darn early on the night of our arrival, only to wake up at 5am the next morning to find out that there was a Hawaiian blessing and ceremony taking place on the beach where we were staying.

Perfect.

I took this as a sign, and decided to use this opportunity to introduce Kirra to the ocean water for her very first time, as well as, honor my transition into motherhood.  The releasing of being a maiden and honoring my role as a mother for Kirra (which was quite the journey, especially with her wanting only me during the entire trip) was something I've needed since she was born. Some sort of meaningful ritual to make it all legit.

And this was it.

Coincidentally, it was also the anniversary of my beloved furry family member, Moana (my other daughter - no, really) passing, and to add to that, the name of the chant was about 'Moana', and it took place in front of the iconic Moana Surfrider resort. Whaaaaaaaat?

I swear, I didn't plan it that way.

And the funny thing is, is that Brendon and I have always believed that our dog, Moana, was the one who sent Baby Kirra to us. That, my friends, is yet, another story.

This beautiful "Ho 'ala" (or awakening) was a Hawaiian ceremony of renewal of mind, body, and spirit, and it took place at sunrise, facing Diamond Head. It was a practice of getting into the correct mind-space, cleansing body, mind, and spirit, focusing our minds toward a future, filled with renewed vitality, hope, and happiness.

An ocean blessing of sorts.

Kirra loooooooooved the ocean water, and she had a big grin on her face when we took her past the shore break. It was such a special moment. Of course, we didn't get it on video or capture any photos, but it was definitely memorable.

At Dusk. Quiet. Still.

Diamond Head in the background.

Perfectly peaceful, as we chanted toward the sunrise:

E ALA E

E ALA E

KA LĀ I KAHIKINA

Awake! The sun is in the East

I KA MOANA

KA MOANA HOHONU

At the ocean, the deep ocean

PI'I KA LEWA

KA LEWA NU'U

Climb to the heavens, highest heaven

I KAHIKINA

AIA KA LĀ

E ALA E!

In the East, there is the sun, arise, awake!

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So, there was a point during our trip where Brendon and I decided to stop trying to plan and control every single second of our vacation time (because, naturally, that's what we had been doing all along to make the vacation happen, right?!).

We let go.

Let go of planning.

Let go of needing to figure what we needed to do next.

Let go of figuring out where to eat and when should we eat and what time should we eat and what about the baby?

So much pressure, man.

And once I decided to consciously let go of control (damn post-partum OCD. There is such a thing, isn't there??), all was good in the Hawaiian hood.

And I applied that to tending to Kirra the entire trip, too. Letting go of having to be the perfect vacation mommy. Letting go of having to be the perfect vacation wife.

And my, oh my. Everything just fell into place as easily as it could in paradise.

FAST FORWARD A FEW DAYS

As I was sitting on my surfboard, salt water dripping from eyelashes and onto my lips, a dear friend and beautiful surf sister that I've known for many years gently shared this little piece of a truth-bomb that was given to her from another friend, on being a mom:

"Your life is no longer your own..."

What? Ouch! No, no, no. La, la, la,la, la, la, la...

"I know, how depressing, huh?" Thank god she shared the same sentiment as me.

I really didn't want to hear that, and my instant inward, silent reaction (being a life coach and all) was, "Pfffffft...there you have it, another limiting belief, disguised as wisdom, promising to hold me back from doing all of the things I want to do in my life."

But the truth was that I had only a small window of time to paddle out and enjoy my very first surf session since I became pregnant with Kirra. And the truth was, was that I was thinking of Kirra every single second I was out there.

What was she doing?

Is she playing with Daddy?

I hope she's not crying.

Is she having fun?

I missssss her.

And, it was true. I have been admittedly been playing this game of denial with my former maiden-self for quite some time now. "What?? My life isn't going to change that much. I wish people would stop telling me my life is going to change. Bah, humbug. Not happening over here. Because, see look: #TRAVELLINGWITHBABY"

And then, my break-time was up.

Long gone are the surf sessions that lasted for 2 hours at a time.

Long gone are the surf sessions that had me staring off blankly into the horizon with no care in the world.

Long gone are the surf sessions where both Brendon and I could surf together, wherever and whenever we want.

Long gone are the carefully planned surf sessions, perfectly synced with the tides, the wind, and the swells formed from stormy seas thousands of miles of away.

Yes, this is all true. BUT, it doesn't mean I have to give up the things that I love and stop doing the things that make me feel complete. Otherwise, I will really go insane. And that is not good for me. Nor for Brendon. Or for the Baby.

So, let's reframe this, shall we? ('Reframing' is an example of a pretty awesomely simple coaching technique, where we change the meaning of an unwanted situation in order to gain a more positive perspective on the outcome...incredibly useful stuff, if you're feeling stuck!)

MY LIFE IS STILL MY OWN AND NOW I GET TO SHARE ITS BEAUTY WITH MY LITTLE BABE

Ahhhhhh...much better.

The flip side to this new mamahood thing is a whole 'nother world that has opened up in tremendous ways. New ways of being. New ways of seeing. Now I get to share my love of life, of travel, of the vast ocean and its blessings, with my little girl. I have a whole new perspective of ocean-life from the eyes of a child. And it has been magnificent. And soooooo much FUN!! So much laughter (Kirra is a really funny baby, guys!) And the LOVE, I can't even to begin to measure.

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As soon as I got home, I had a conference call scheduled with my fellow Creatively Fit Coach Team members. And it was just what I needed to seal the deal of this whole transforming into motherhood thing (although, I suppose it never really is a process that ever ends, is it?)

In speaking with my colleagues, something kept ringing in my ears loud and clear:

“You can never lose yourself. Yes, there might be moments when you could feel yourself slipping away. From FREEDOM From INDEPENDENCE From SELF-EXPRESSION From SELF-LOVE But, it’s not forever. You always have the choice to come back to YOU. You might have a completely different palette splashed with hues you’ve never used in your life. You might even have a giant canvas that is overwhelmingly intimidating. But one thing is for certain. The only constant is that YOU will always be YOU.”

So, as a new mom (and your Creatively Fit Coach), I'm going to practice what I preach and go back to the canvas and commit to my personal painting practice for four months straight. So I could allow myself to re-connect with myself.

To make time for me (selfishly, how dare I do such a thing, that thing they call self-care?!)

To connect with creative, kind souls (are you ready?)

To connect with mother nature (I hear the ocean waves calling to me as I erratically type)

And to just beeeeeeee...FREE, INDEPENDENT, SELF-EXPRESSIVE and LOOOOOOOVED!

AND, I'm going to commit to my creative coaching practice and my clients, my people, I miss youuuuu!! Whew...cheers and big MAHALOS for sticking with me through my transformation. I hope to support you with the same.

weekly photo challenge: between

costa rica 2014 - desiree east Welp, we made it back alive from our (incredibly relaxing) Costa Rican vacay. And, yes, as promised, I took a very well-needed digital break, as well - sans the photography taking and sharing on instagram, of course. I just couldn't help myself. I will admit, I didn't take as many photos as I had hoped, because of the rain, but the images that I did get were quite memorable.

For this week's photo challenge, 'Between', I wanted to share some pictures of our trip, because quite literally, I am still in between vacation mode and work mode. It's been over a month since I've been back, and I haven't updated my blog, BUT I am trying not to punish myself for that. Please, forgive me, blog-gods. Thank you.

I admit, it took me at least a month to get out of sloth-mode. Something about soaking in the tropical heat (translation: gigantic jungle sauna), makes it a wee bit hard to get back into work-mode.

But I'm BACK. And I'm back with a (work) vengeance!

Here are a few select pics of our trip...it was a super special treat to see some tropical wildlife. On the very first day, as we swerved through the cool-air mountain tops, finally reaching sea level, at the town of Playa Dominical, we spotted a sloth - just chillin', mind you - on the way to the eco-lodge we were staying at. It was pretty awesome.

(By the way - for those of you wondering, the surfing conditions were mediocre, at best - hence, the non-photos of surf breaks. Sorry, guys- next time!).

costa rica 2014 - desiree east

And THEN, when we arrived at our destination, the receptionist checked us in and non-chalantly gave us a brief warning of sorts, in the most beautiful Tican accent, "Just so you are aware, there is a boa constrictor on the grounds, and he is having lunch (aka, a helpless little iguana) right next to the sidewalk that leads to the restaurant...please, do not disturb the snake and iguana."

Ummm...okay.

Part of me wanted to make double-sure that the snake was nowhere near our room. And part of me wanted to go all Nat-Geo and find this boa who was devouring an iguana for lunch...!! Crazy-cool.

We went to the restaurant to see what we could see, but it was nowhere to be found. Uh-oh. Where'd it go? Our group excitedly searched the grounds for the snake in the grass...and there it was. And, that's how our little adventurous vacation began.

Here are some select pics of the rest of our time in the beauty that is Central America (and here are some shots on Instagram). A little lounging here, a little beach-time there...you know the drill.

Until next time, HAPPY SUNSHINE-Y SUMMER TO YOU!!

cheers_xo-desi

costa rica vacation - photo by desiree east

 

WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN A LITTLE COMBO TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY + TRAVEL JOURNALING PROGRAM? I'VE BEEN WORKING ON CONTENT, SINCE THE DAYS OF BALI - REMEMBER BALI? SO PLEASE HOLD TIGHT, IT'S BEEN AN EVOLVING WORK IN PROGRESS. I'VE BEEN DEVELOPING THIS CREATIVE + TRAVEL BUNDLE COURSE BEHIND THE SCENES, AND I THINK YOU'LL ENJOY IT. I CAN'T PROMISE ANY RELEASE DATES, AS OF YET, BUT JUST SO YA' KNOW, IT'S IN THE WORKS.

IN THE MEANTIME, IF YOU'D LIKE TO JOIN ME AND MY MANDALA ARTISTS FOR SOME SUMMER PAINTING, PLEASE JOIN US IN 'MANDALA MEDITATIONS: A 3-WEEK PAINTING JOURNEY'. I'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU!

 

mandala meditations solstice program - desiree east

weekly photo challenge: threshold

bali surf and exposed reef by desiree east Threshold - noun

  1. a strip of wood, metal, or stone forming the bottom of a doorway and crossed in entering a house or room.
  2. a point of entry or beginning.
  3. the beginning of an airport runway on which an aircraft is attempting to land.
  4. the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.
  5. he maximum level of radiation or a concentration of a substance considered to be acceptable or safe.
  6. a limit below which a stimulus causes no reaction.

 

I immediately thought of this photo of How I Brought in the Balinese New Year in 2012.

As surfers, we have this hungry anticipation for playing in the ocean's waves like you wouldn't believe. Our hearts' start to pump, and our eyes start to dilate, as we scan the horizon for energetic lumps of salty goodness forming into the perfect platform for gliding to freedom.

CROSSING THE THRESHOLD IN LIFE AND BUSINESS

And at this point in my life, it very much reminds me of the anticipation of building my dream business. One of my online colleagues and surfer friend, Srini Rao of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast (formerly BlogcastFM), happens to use surfing as a metaphor for life and business quite often, which I love. In fact, one of his biggest dreams of hosting a live, yet most intimate event is happening, as I type these words. Check it out: The Instigator Experience. Go Srini!

If you've been following me for the last couple of years you already know that I am also at the threshold of bringing my dreams to light as a creative entrepreneur. And it really does feel like I'm about to paddle out into some of the biggest waves I've ever paddled out into. The courage and confidence that I've gained in the last few years, especially in putting myself out there --- no holds barred --- has been incredibly thrilling, scary, exciting, humbling, liberating and freeing.

All while trying to be as focused and grounded as possible.  

Very much like paddling out into the ocean, I feel like I'm on the verge of having the best surf session in my life, with many more waves to come, in all different sizes, shapes, and forms. And I definitely feel like there is more to come on the horizon.

HERE'S THE THING: Experiences like this just don't fall into our laps. It takes knowing and identifying what you really desire in life. And, just like learning how to surf and getting used to an environment you may not be used to, it takes knowledge and practice. AND, more importantly, to cross that threshold, you must surround yourself with support, so that you're not doing it alone.

 

3 SIMPLE TIPS TO CROSS THE THRESHOLD:

1. IDENTIFY YOUR TRUE DESIRES.

Is what you are about to do truly in alignment with your higher calling/purpose/soul's work? If yes, then fantastic, you'll be happier knowing you're on the right path. If not, change course.

2. BECOME AN EXPERT.

To cross the threshold, educate yourself and take action by practicing the thing that you want to become. The more knowledge you have, the more comfortable you'll be.

3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED SOULS.

Once you cross the threshold, connect with other people who have the same values and who are doing the same things that you doing, for support, accountability, and sharing challenges and celebrating successes. Having a sense of love, safety and belonging (our three basic human needs) makes a world of a difference.

  WHEN YOU HAVE ALL OF THESE PIECES IN PLACE, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, AND YOU WILL BE READY TO RIDE THE MOST EXHILARATING WAVE OF YOUR LIFE. READY TO JUMP IN?

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO CROSS OVER THE THRESHOLD, WHEN IT COMES TO CERTAIN AREAS OF YOUR LIFE? PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.        

AND SPEAKING OF MAKING YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE, JOIN ME FOR THE PARTY AND LEARN THE ART OF CREATING A VISION BOARD LIKE AN A-LIST DREAMER. I WILL SHARE THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISION BOARDING AND SHARE SOME STORIES WITH MY SPECIAL GUESTS, WHOSE DREAMS HAVE BECOME REALITY. HOPE YOU CAN MAKE THE PARTY! FREE ADMISSION - CONFETTI OPTIONAL:

vision board dreams with desiree east If you feel inclined to join me and other WordPress bloggers for weekly photo challenges, please do. Just follow the prompts for this week’s theme here: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. You have until the following Friday to share what you’ve come up with…Happy Shooting!

weekly photo challenge: street life

Greetings, creative souls!!

When I first heard this week's theme, I couldn't help but think about the collection of street photog images I've collected over the years from my travels: Tahiti, Costa Rica, Baja - Mexico, Peru, and Bali. And I have boatloads of street photography from The States: California (my faves from Los Angeles/Hollywood), Hawaii, and even some 'old-school' photos from New York - hidden somewhere, way back when, when I was invited to the Macy's Day Parade.

Oh, you never heard that story?

Well, it involved being strapped on to the tippy top of a ginormous cake, executing choreography, while Liza Minnelli sang LIVE in the background. Just imagine: Me (and my other dancer friends). On a cake. Whizzing by Radio Music City Hall. And LOTS of sparkly jazz hands. True story.

Those were the glory days (you should've seen the costumes). Oh dear, oh me, oh my.

Anyways.

When I saw this week's photo challenge, Cuzco immediately popped into my mind. Speaking of which, FUN FACT: Cuzco (elevation: 11, 200 ft), once the center of the Inca Empire, is higher in elevation than Machu Picchu (elevation: 8,000 ft). I have pictures of us sucking in air with oxygen masks, compliments of the cute little bed and breakfast we stayed at, but I'll spare you those images.

One thing is for sure - Brendon and I spent hours wandering around the main town center, Plaza de Armas, immersed in the beauty and the buzz. Click play to watch the video below:

http://vimeo.com/90490697

If you feel inclined to join me and other WordPress bloggers for weekly photo challenges, please do. Just follow the prompts for this week’s theme here: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. You have until the following Friday to share what you’ve come up with…Happy Shooting!




DO YOU HAVE WANDERLUST DREAMS OR THE TRAVEL BUG? HAVE YOU EVER TRIED CREATING A BEAUTIFUL SPREAD OF IMAGES OF PLACES YOU'D LIKE TO TRAVEL TO USING THE PROCESS OF VISION BOARDING OR DREAM COLLAGING?

'VISION BOARD DREAMS' IS ALMOST HERE, AND IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD, I'M HAVING A PRE-PARTY BEFORE ENROLLMENT STARTS. I'LL HAVE SOME AVID TRAVEL BUDDIES AT THE PARTY, SO BE SURE TO CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO GET ON THE LIST AND JOIN US: how to create a vision board with artist desiree east

would you visit an active volcano?

I've been to Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawai'i a couple of times, and it was breathtaking. Well, except for the sulfur smell. And the fact that my slippahs felt like they were nearly melting under my foot. I have images of that trip to the volcano from a long, long time ago. Perhaps I'll dig those up someday... bali volcano. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

On clear days, we can see this volcano from the town that we are staying. It makes me smile. I'm not quite sure which volcano this is...it's either, Mount Agung or Mount Batur. We'd like to make plans to see it and hire a driver to take us up there. We figured it might be a trek, so we are going to spend some time in the mountains, and make Ubud our home-base for a few days.

Our initial motivation for making plans to visit Ubud was because we had no running water in the region that we are in right now. Can you imagine? Here's a link to my Trip Advisor forum post, if you want to read about the drama: Does anyone know which Hotels currently have running water?

We've been to Ubud, once, to meet some friends for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant. Yes, I mean tacos and margaritas! We were hesitant at first --- mexican food in Bali? --- but, our friend, Jeff, claimed it. And we were craving mexican like you wouldn't believe (my mouth is watering, at this moment, just thinking about it).

It was really, really good. The Indonesian owner had spent some time working in a Mexican restaurant in (I think) New Mexico --- and he's got some mad skillz in the kitchen. So we are going back.

Not just to eat the food that we miss. But to check out the Balinese art scene (yay, finally) and shopping, of course. Any special requests from home?

Ubud apparently has the best markets of all Bali. It's time to test my ancestral bargaining skills --- my Filipina blood runs thick when it comes to shopping and finding good deals, but I never get to do this in The States: "Half, half...I want half..." 

Or, in Bahasa Indonesia:

"Itu terlalu mahal..." (That's too expensive...)

"Boleh kurang?" (Can you lower the price?)

"Ada yang lebih murah?" (Do you have anything cheaper?)

"Ini tawaran terakhir saya." (This is my final offer).

"Untuk orang Indonesia dijual dengan harga berapa?" (How much would you sell that to an Indonesian for?)

Shoots, that last one is long. I better start practicing.

Because I can easily pass as a local, my Indonesian friends like to joke, "Just pretend you cannot hear and you cannot talk, then you will get good bargain!" 

That would be funny. But, let's face it, I would never be able to pull that off. My PC karma and guilt would follow me wherever I go. And have you ever seen me try to lie? Exactly. I can't do it with a straight face.

BTW, "PC" stands for politically correctness. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Oh great, another PC snob..." I'm not really, though, if you get to know me. Just buy me a beer or two, and we'll go from there...

Sooooo, unless we find reliable internet service, we might be going off the grid for a few days. A mini digital cleanse sounds mighty fine, right 'bout now...so, until then, I'll catch ya on the flip side --- x to the o

well that was fun...

We woke up this morning to find out we had no running water...so what did I do to kill time? desi travels to bali

But I'm not that lazy. I worked, too. Brendon and I have been brewing up some plans for our professional lives (which is why we are in Bali, in the first place), and we are very excited for the things to come. I'm not a psychic or anything, but I see wonderful things for our future. I don't know how or when it will all come together, but we are figuring it out and feel very inspired. More importantly, we hope we can help and inspire others along the way...

it's official...we're in love

I'm gonna keep this one short. But, by all means, please keep the questions and emails coming. Our friends and family have all been asking if we've settled in; if Bali has been what we expected; if it's all that we've hoped for; if it's getting easier... Our two-month anniversary of living in Bali is here, and I can definitely say that we have found our groove.  A routine, if you will, and a very nice one. It almost deserves a Marvin Gaye soundtrack to go with it. Seriously. And I can talk for hours on end about what we did and didn't expect. I think I might save that for another post, because I will just get all philosophical about it, because that's just how I am.

That said, I have a gazillion photos to share, and we haven't even really done any touristy stuff yet. We are just getting started...so I will keep shooting and promise to share more later.

Besides, the truth is, we just bought a bunch of pirated DVD's for super cheap (my apologies to my brother, Kalae, but that's all they have available to sell here, in the malls and everywhere...and somehow, it's completely legal???), and I just want to veg out in front of a movie in our cool, air-conditioned studio...aaaahhhh.

For now, here are some photos. This is a typical day for us: wake up, stretch, eat breakfast, check the surf, paddle out, eat again, and work on business/creative projects at home when the waves aren't good --- maybe go sightseeing, if we feel inclined. And then, Repeat. It's going to be hard to leave, and I don't know how we're going to break it off to beautiful Bali gently when the time comes...

it's official we're in love. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

everyone wants a piece of the action. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

where are we? i think we were supposed to go over there... bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

surf check. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

surf check from the cliff. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

entrance before walking through a tunnel. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

loving the adventure. sea cave at uluwatu, bali. desiree east

yes, it was that big. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

shooting from shade. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

brendon fave empty peak. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

bigger than it looks. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

cute little side-of-the-road calf. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

balinese woman in red. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

diggin the freshly blended fruit juices. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

we like lemon iced tea, too. bali, indonesia. desiree east

 lemon iced tea. photo by desiree east

one of our favorite places to eat. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

balinese seafood satay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

time for ice cream. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

be careful what you ask for, you might just get it

the biggest wave brendon duck dove. bali indonesia. photo by desiree east For weeks on end - no, wait...months, actually - all I've heard from my darling husband is: "All I want is to get some, barreling lefts... just a nice, clean, hollow left." This statement is almost always accompanied with him posing in a front-side stance, along with sound effects of what it's supposed to sound like when you get barreled.

"Wow, babe, you're good. You'd make an excellent sound-effects dude, too." I always told him that he could go into voice-over acting. You should hear him, he's really good.

As you know, we are blessed with a wide variety of waves in Ventura County. Well, all of California, for that matter. And Mexico. And Hawaii. And we've had our share of travelling to other states and countries, as well, to seek out fun, rippable waves. It's what we do. Mandatory.

But, what we all love (we, meaning regular footers) about California and Baja are the plethora of right-hand point breaks...makes me all giddy inside, just thinking about it. However, being married to a goofy-footer makes me realize, well, how badly I feel for all the people who have to ride back-side on a perfectly, peeling right-hand point break. Like, all the time. (Can you sense the sarcasm?) No, but really, I feel for you...

Brendon has had a taste of the Mentawais, and he's been itching to spend more time in Indo. So, after a series of unfortunate events - coupled with the perfect timing of a down economy - we decided that after all was said and done, time is more valuable than any material wealth. So, we put our rose-colored glasses on and decided to stretch our dollar in Bali...and here we are.

Several weeks ago, the Bukit finally turned on. Seasons are changing, and the trade winds are blowing off-shore on the west coast of Bali. And what perfect timing: a significant swell hit the shores of Bali.

And Brendon lived to tell about it (because it was that big).

I bribed him to write a little blog post for us, just because. So, just grab a beer and pretend like he's all salty-dogged out, and doing his usual hand-gestures and sound effects. I wish I could have gotten his reaction when he came in from the water, but this is the best I can do for now. Hopefully, next time, I'll have the video cam on stand-by...

walking out to paddle out zone. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

Guest Post written by Brendon:

I think that was the biggest wave I’ve ever duck dove.

It was my first time paddling out at this spot, and it was firing. I was watching the other people jump off at the paddle-out zone. Some of them made it out clean, without having to push through too much duck diving drama. Others were getting caught at the wrong time and getting sucked down the break, while having to duck dive, like thirty pretty good size waves in a row.

I must have calculated fairly well before paddling out, because I didn’t have to duck dive a single wave on the way out - except for the one right when I jumped into the water; the current started sucking out so fast, I ended up dry-docking it with my fingers in between the board and the reef. Great.

So, I make it out and try to find my place in the lineup and noticed, along with my now freshly sliced index finger, that there are guys way outside and some on the inside. I know there are bigger sets, but I get antsy and try my luck picking off some of the smaller, head-high ones bowling up nicely on the inside section.

perfect inside balangan. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east.

lonely guy getting barrelled. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

That was a dumb move on my part. Out the back, came one of the biggest sets that I had seen all afternoon. Shit.

I started to paddle out to meet a giant wall of water that seemed to keep getting bigger the closer we came together. At that point, I started to think to myself, "Can I even duck dive this f***ing thing, or should I ditch my board?"

It was at least triple overhead.

Usually, I would just ditch my board and swim down, but I had an old leash on (another smart move), which could easily snap. The last thing I wanted to do at that point is take the rest of the set on the head without my board.

At the very last second I decided to duck dive it.

The wave breaks about ten feet in front of me, and I had about 10-12 feet, like ceiling high or more, of white wash coming toward me. I pushed down into the water super hard and tried to time it to avoid getting annihilated. I got bounced around pretty good, but somehow managed to hold onto my board.

After duck diving the next 15 waves and getting pushed further and further down the reef, it was over.

Out of breath, super hot and exhausted, I manage to make my way back out and sit on the outside corner for a couple. I was clearly under gunned that day but managed to get a couple.

cleaner day for surf. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

simplicity. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

a balinese hindu ceremony...offerings to sea. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

The next day, was a bit cleaner and smaller, but there were still some decent size sets coming through. I paddled out with my buddy, Ken, and he makes his way up the break past the crowd. I went the other way to try and pick off one of those wide, swinging ones.

Just as I get in the line-up, the first wave of a set comes right to me, so I turn around and take it. I don’t know what happened, but I think I caught my rail when I dropped in on the wave.

Snap. There goes my leash.

I started to make the long swim in with the rest of the set breaking on me, but it wasn’t too bad. This is where a pair of reef booties comes in handy, because the reef is sharp with urchins hidden in the cracks. Urchin fest.

Some ladies kicking it in a tide pool grabbed my board.

Oh well, at least I got some exercise from the swim in. I called it a day, went in and got a Bintang and took some video footage from the warung. It's true, be careful what you ask for...

close up from warung. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

view from warung. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

quick sketch of a daily ritual

afternoon sketch of wiwin feeding fish. bali, indonesia. by desiree east I've had my share of the usual field sketches while designing landscapes for clients, but it's been a while since I've kept a field journal for myself. I kind of miss the spontaneous feel of quickly dragging a pen or pencil, in a somewhat messy, yet intentional manner, across a page to do a quick sketch of something I see.

You know, that something that catches your eye. The silhouette of a tree. The texture of a leaf. Or something that suggests a story, like a magnificent view of perfect, reeling barrels. Or that simple something to document and keep, forever archived...

One of my goals, while here in Bali, is to keep a nature journal. I have finally settled into somewhat of a routine - of basic day-to-day living, that is - and now have some time to get back into a creative groove.

This was the first sketch.

Wiwin, one of the care-takers of the property, shows up every afternoon, around 4-4:30ish to feed the fish. So, I thought to myself: Okay,  perfect. An opportunity to fill the first page of my nature journal.

Scribble, scrabble here. Scribble, scrabble there. Throw some watercolor on it. Done.

I showed Wiwin the sketch. I got a thumbs up, a healthy laugh, a huge smile, and something in Indonesian...all I heard was, "Bagus!" which means, "Good."

"Ya, you like?" For a split second, my nerves got to me, and my stomach churned a little, as it always does, when I share my artwork. I know, it's just a sketch, but still. I get so nervous.

"Ya, bagus!" Again, Winwin says, with a huge smile and thumbs up.

The image seemed to make him smile a lot, so I ended up pulling this first page out of my journal and giving it to him as a gift, "For you...gift."

He just kept smiling. I hope he liked it.

chasing the bad spirits away...balinese style

following the parade. photo by desiree east How I Brought in the Balinese New Year: Part Two

Thursday, March 22nd: the eve before NYEPI 2012

After a day at the beach, we went home to get some food in our stomachs before the evening's festivities. Tonight, our goal was to see the ogoh-ogoh parade. Time to make some loud noise and chase those bad spirits away!

I whipped up some saimin. It's been our staple food, at least at home. I threw in scrambled eggs, green onions and crushed mint leaves to fancy it up. It was a quick meal, as we wanted to head out before sunset.

We had no idea what we were doing, or where to go. We just went.

My little red pay-as-you-go cellular beeped, and I checked the text message. "Hi Des, where do you want to meet?"

"I don't know, where is a good place?"

"We are driving right now...we'll let you know if we find something."

Finally, after a series of mini-texts, back and forth, a phone call comes through. "I see a huge group of people standing in line at Hardy's. I don't know why there are standing in line. But something is going on..."

moped frenzy by desiree east

So, we headed down toward Hardy's, a local market, where our friends decided to park it. (Everything in Bali is kind of word-of-mouth. No fliers, nothing online, you just have to ask around if you need any information. About anything - no really - anything.)

On our way down, we saw a large group of people dressed in Hindu attire - well, actually, half temple attire and half street clothes - and a giant purple ogoh-ogoh statue with multiple arms extending in the air.

"Oh, look...ogoh-ogoh! Stop here! Thanks, Babe." I'm such a pleasant passenger-seat driver. My husband loves it.

We found a perfect little spot to park, right behind the group. Talk about timing. They were getting ready - or actually, they were all sitting, relaxing on the ground. Traffic was still going by, but slowing down, while passerbys took quick snapshots of the statue.

ogoh ogoh with white hair. photo by desiree east

We decided to park and wait till the group decided to leave. They had to have been going somewhere, and we figured if they head down the road, they'd eventually end up at Hardy's.

So we followed them. It was pretty cool. Exciting. We have it on video. We walked down the hill, toward the bypass, following the drumming, the music, the ogoh-ogoh. Meanwhile, a plethora of mopeds and cars were still attempting to through, going the opposite direction as the parade.

It was kind of nuts, but fun and exhilarating at the same time. We came to the conclusion that they don't really close off the streets for parades. Ummmmm...kay.

As we marched behind the ogoh-ogoh, along with the mopeds and the cars, we approached one of the main traffic lights. Our village's ogoh-ogoh started to merge with the main parade on the bypass. "Look, more ogoh-ogohs!" I felt like a little kid at a Disneyland parade. Except it was different. Waaaaay different.

The group from our village turned right, and we turned left, fighting our way through a river of people and idling mopeds, to head in the opposite direction toward Hardy's. It was like swimming upstream, except instead of getting water up your nose, we were sucking in exhaust fumes.

dodging mopeds by desiree east

We finally met up with our friends at Hardy's parking lot. Yay, we made it! Their car was smoking for some reason. Go figure. Maybe it was the freon. They just got their air conditioning fixed. Oh well. Let's walk! Downstream we go...

So we walked  alongside the parade, walked through mad traffic, and followed the ogoh-ogoh madness, colorful, ginormous, statues flying high above us. We headed toward the end of the bypass in Nusa Dua - walked about a good mile, or so it seemed.

this one I like to call, 'the flying drunk one' by desiree east

At one point, I started walking through a group of people, oblivious to the fact that they were all wearing the same color T-shirts. I suddenly realized there was a giant ogoh-ogoh coming my way. Oops! The parade had suddenly come back toward our direction, and I was walking right through a group of parade people."What the...???"

You should have seen my face. I was so confused. Pure comedy.

See, this is why we need traffic control, people. You know, like traffic cones, and officers in reflective vests. Not in Bali, though. But it's okay, I kinda liked it. The chaos.

As Brendon protected me with one arm, I got pushed (gently) into some bushes in the median, while the rest of the crowd - families, kids, tourists - followed suit. Here they come...loud whistles, drums, cymbals, torches, music...and a gigantic ogoh-ogoh, flying above us. "Wait a minute, didn't I see that one already?" Oh yeah, they magically made a U-turn somewhere. That's right.

I learned later, that while carrying the ogoh-ogoh statues, they purposely stop at intersections and u-turns, and rotate the statues around in circles in order to confuse the bad spirits...??? Oh, okaaaay. Now it all made sense...

After getting our fill of seeing the brightly colored, impressively built statues, we headed back, like a herd of cows. It was a long sweaty walk back to Hardy's. The temperature doesn't drop much here in the evenings, either.

We all decided it would be a good idea to hop in one car and grab a cold beer and a grab a bite to eat. But we ended up in traffic, unknowingly getting stuck behind another ogoh-ogoh parade from another village. And then another one. To top it off, all of the warungs (small side-of -the-road eateries where you can eat local food) were pretty much shut down. After a good  45 minutes of sitting in ogoh-ogoh traffic, we finally made it back to Nusa Dua.

Was it worth all the madness? Totally.

a family enjoying the parade by desiree east

red ogoh by desiree east

flames to chase the bad spirits away  by desiree east

bright colors by desiree east

 a lion-looking one by desiree east


transformational creativity coach desiree east

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creativity Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

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