I pressed my body into him and felt him lean back in response. “You okay back there honey?” he yelled.

“I’m terrified but yes I’m okay.” was my reply. We slowed and came to a stop at the lights, surrounded by scooters, fumes, noise and dirt. Our friend pulled up beside us and a cripple hobbled through the madness with his hands out. I reached into my crossbody bag, pulled out some crumpled notes and waved him over. He had stumps for feet and his legs were skinny knock-kneed trunks.  He needed both of his twisted hands to receive the money because his fingers did not work. I became aware that as I handed it over I avoided touching him and immediately felt guilty. We had a brief moment when his brown eyes connected with mine before he hobbled off through the traffic. Me, immediately forgotten by him. Him, part of a moment I will remember forever.

The lights turned green and the sea surged forward. We weaved through the cars and scooters and I checked behind to see if our friend was still with us. Fully aware that my safety was not only in M’s hands, but in the hands of fate, I distracted myself as I always do by scanning the signs written in Indonesian that we whizzed past. As I searched for words I understood, my Indonesian language would improve. I repeated out loud to myself, “Mie ayam”, chicken noodle. “Masuk dan keluar di sini”, enter and exit here.

We exited the highway and I looked up at a giant concrete wall topped with razor wire. Kerobokan Prison. I could feel behind those walls anguish, filth, pain and calls to lawyers from desperate foreigners hoping for release.

The roads began to turn & wind into more familiarity and we come to a slower pace.  I recognised the trendy cafe’s of home turf which overlook lush green rice fields. Beefed up tattooed expats cruise around on their scooters and I relax. Stories of people not only getting seriously injured but dying on these roads are heard often and I’m relieved to be almost home. As we turn onto our street I see a dog trotting down the road covered in blood. He’ll be fine but my heart broke a little, as it always does.

Finally we pull into the garage of our villa and the staff help us with our bags. I am absolutely exhausted. My face & eyes are red from the dirt and dust from the traffic. My feet hurt from walking and the fear from being on the crazy ride on the highway lingers. The memory of the cripple & the dog remind me not only of how blessed we are but of the poverty that hides behind the glitz and glamour.

I am craving yoga but haven’t had time. I’m needing time (to myself), but it’s been fleeting. The space that yoga and meditation gives me is a reset that I greatly need. I’ll get it soon. I’m realising today more than ever, how much I need to pause and withdraw.

Here in Bali I still have the normal stresses of every day life. I still work. I dodge dust, scooters, and stray dogs every time I leave the villa.  I see sadness, I eat the wrong things, I drink too much coffee and alcohol and then I come back to balance. This afternoon I am lucky, it’s time to come back to balance.

That’s all it is. Sit, breathe, listen, move.