Toning my Mind, Body, and a Trip to Bali

Welcome to the second instalment of my Mind Body Series. If you missed the first one, Toning my Mind, Body and Breasts, you can read it here. It provides a basis for the series.

For this post, I’m tackling a few topics: My upcoming trip to Indonesia (specifically Bali); writer’s block; and travel as inspiration.

But first, a few facts about Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation.

map of indonesia

Indonesia is home to more than 17,000 islands in each of its 34 provinces. With a population of 260 million (dated: July 2016), it is the world’s fourth most populous country after China, India, and the United States. My flight to Bali by way of Beijing and Singapore will take about 22 hours from Toronto.

With wait times for connections added in, it will be 33 hours before I land in Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.

I traveled around Indonesia in 1988 as part of a trip I took across Southeast Asia. Here I was on the most exquisite white-sand beach in Lombok.

lombok beach

That was nearly thirty years ago, but I’ve never forgotten the beauty of the country and the people I met there.

I knew I would return to this part of the world someday, but what would call me back?

As it turns out, several things did. In my first post, I talked about health concerns which forced me to make some changes. I started a regimen of Chinese herbs, continued to meditate, and took up yoga. I’m in better shape now than I was twenty years ago; I lost ten pounds without even trying, and I feel terrific.

It was all good, except … my writing was stuck.

Stranger at Sunset released in 2014. It was the first of a 3-book trilogy, but books 2 and 3 are not finished. A bit of introspection uncovered the following thoughts, which of all things, involved the concept of input and output.

My mind is a mystery, even to me.

input output

My thinking went something like this. As with all things that require an ‘output’— correct and adequate ‘input’ must first feed the brain. A series of steps known collectively as a ‘process’ then creates an output. If the output is not as expected, it only makes sense to go back to the source and ask: Is something missing from or wrong with the input?

For example, if my pipes leak, I engage the services of a plumber. If the leak persists, it’s due to bad input. Either the plumber used incorrect or faulty parts, or the problem was misdiagnosed, resulting in a flawed process to fix it. Whatever it is, the desired result is not achieved.

Why am I using this odd plumber analogy?

Because once upon a time, in an over-simplified attempt to dismiss writer’s block, I wrote: “Plumbers don’t have plumber’s block, so why do writers have writer’s block?”

Unlike plumbing though, writing is deeply entangled with an author’s personal identity. The inability to produce undoubtedly creates angst. This in turn, can paralyze the process of writing altogether.

So … as much as I hate to admit it, writer’s block is real. I had to eat my words.

eat your words

I initially treated my block as emotional noise, something I could banish by continuing to write. I produced novellas and short stories, but I could not move forward with my series, no matter how hard I tried.

My block was specific. I couldn’t defeat it with enthusiasm and discipline.

I beat myself up mentally until I realized I had to change my input if I wanted a different outcome.

When I purposely shifted away from negative thoughts, I created space for opportunity. That’s when I came upon a festival—in Ubud, Bali.

ubud writers fest

I was familiar with the festival but had always dismissed it. The cost of airfare and distance to get there made the trip prohibitive. I never gave it a second thought. This time, I thought twice, so I decided to explore the pros and cons of making the journey.

Pros:

(1) Travel lifts my spirit and imagination to a new high.

(2) Parts of my next two books are set in Asia. Firsthand research is the best, whenever possible.

(3) Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali filled with temples, galleries, and local markets—an inspiring place like no other.

(4) Numerous yoga studios are located in Ubud, so I can keep up my practice while there.

(5) The aforementioned Writers and Readers Festival.

Cons:

Hmm …

Aside from the cost and distance, I really had no cons.

I chose to make the trip because ultimately, it was an investment in me and my writing. And the two are inextricably linked.

From the moment I booked the trip, my imagination went into overdrive. I won’t make empty promises about when I will finish my books, but I do know this … I’m excited and I’m writing, and I look forward to returning to Bali to recharge my batteries.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of my Mind Body Series when I’ll be writing to you while en route to Beijing. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing on a 16-hour flight. 🙂

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14 Comments

Filed under Craft of Writing, Revelations & Humor

14 responses to “Toning my Mind, Body, and a Trip to Bali

  1. What an exciting journey you will go on. Traveling always re-energizes me and I come home full of creativity. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Letizia! I feel the same about travel. I haven’t been overseas in some years, so this is very exciting to me. Though it is a work trip, I will definitely take in the beauty and culture of the environment to re-energize and fill my brain with material for my next books.

    xo
    eden

    Like

  3. We may be in the same part of the world at the same time. The flight is the hardest part. But, as in the past, as soon as I step off the plane my body will relax and hopefully my mind will call my muse home. Have a great trip and be sure and wear that pink bathing suit! And don’t for get the pictures, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw Dannie, are you following me? Heheh. I hope you have a safe flight and relax on your trip too. May your muse bring you endless wonder and other delights.
      I’m packing my pink bathing suit just for you! xox
      eden

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is going to be a long trip to make, but sounds worthwhile. Writer’s block… it can be a curse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Casey

    cover the words in chocolate and they’ll be easier to swallow. or in your case, put them in a bowl of lime jell-o. 🙂
    I used to think the same thing in regard to writer’s block, but it does exist (unfortunately).
    writing truly is “entangled with an author’s identity”.
    have a great time on your trip (I’m sure you will). I’m looking forward to reading about it. be safe.
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. HI lovely lady, thanks for your sweet note. I’m so happy to see that beautiful avatar of you. ❤
    xox
    e

    Like

  7. This is awesome. The long travel time is a hassle but if you can get over that, I think you’ll have a great time. I hope the workshop will spark your creative juices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Matt, I’m sure just being away will get my creative juices flowing. I don’t mind flying, but it’s been some years since I’ve gone overseas, and airports are not the ‘luxury’ mode of travel they used to be. Still, the prospect of going to a beautiful country and seeing new things eclipses any of the inconveniences. I’m really looking forward to it.

      Hope you’re having a super time in Taiwan. 😀
      eden

      Like

  8. suenador

    Eden, you are so smart to take this trip to Bali. The plumbing analogy makes so much sense, and one can’t be creative when we are “stuck”. You are so disciplined and results-oriented so I know how difficult it must be for you not to have enough “output.” Have an amazing time my friend, and can’t wait to hear all about it when you return! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the late response Sue! I was obviously in travel mode at the time and now I’m already back! It was amazing as per my subsequent posts. Thanks always for your support and hope life is treating you well xox
      eden

      Like

  9. SO exciting, Eden! Bali has been on my list for years, and I will go one day. It’s tough for both of us to take off the amount of time we would need to for that trip, due to the traveling hours that come with. We’re saving it for when we have the time to enjoy it more.

    Traveling is a must for me! I always get inspiration when I go places.

    Liked by 1 person

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