It is difficult to take two steps in Bali without encountering an impressive work of art. Stone carvings, bamboo offerings, colorful canvasses, trance-inducing melodies, and delicately designed rice fields make up Bali’s endlessly fascinating landscape and paint a picture of a culture that values creativity, sensitivity, and patience above all else.

The images, sounds, and daily rituals that one experiences on the island are a richly layered interpretation of the light and dark sides of the human condition. They are an expression of basic human beliefs, fears, and desires, and they act as an invitation to locals and visitors alike to contemplate life and demonstrate their respect for its many mysteries. I went to Bali in March to facilitate the Integral Artistry retreat. This ten-day retreat was designed with the experienced Thai Yoga Massage practitioner in mind and acted as the final module for our new Thai Yoga Massage Certification program. We partnered with local and internationally known artists and healers to explore different artistic mediums (Balinese music, dance, cooking, painting, beading, architecture, poetry, and ritual) and discover their relevance to the art of Thai Yoga Massage. Each day we played with different themes such as fluidity, rhythm, balance, sequencing, and intention, and wove them into our yoga and massage practice. Our “divine play” approach created space for plenty of experimentation and innovation, and I was truly inspired by what emerged. Participants demonstrated remarkable creativity and effectiveness in the way that they invented, performed, and sequenced techniques, and there seemed to be a significant shift in the way that participants viewed the intention and potential of their work.

The Balinese believe in the existence of an indescribable, yet recognizable creative spirit or essence called Taksu. Artists and healers make it a practice to invite Taksu to inhabit them and guide them in their creative pursuits. While I watched the Integral Artistry participants at play, it was clear to me that Taksu had accepted their invitations. There in our workshop n the rice fields, I was treated to some of the most magical manifestations of kindness and compassion that I have ever seen…and just when I thought that Bali couldn’t possibly get any more beautiful!

Time to make space and invite the magic in. It really is that easy.