Remember the Water.
I’m back again. This lush valley, all green leaves and dripping rocks. The river sails purposefully through the center, like a skilled ice dancer, dodging and swerving the obstacles in its path. And there’s me, paused and still like a lizard in the sun, staring at an open patch of jungle.
My patch of jungle.
To say ‘my’ feels strange. How can one own a piece of land? Who says I own anything, let alone a piece of a planet? The very idea is absurd to me and yet so integrated into our culture many people might laugh at me for questioning the concept at all. This piece anyway, is ‘rented’; a 30-year lease with a possibility to extend, long enough for my lifetime at least. And in so many ways already it has challenged my ideas of property and stability.
I grew up with the understanding that to purchase a piece of land was to put a step on a giant, coveted ladder of which the goal was to continue climbing, the ultimate destination being to have a legacy to pass on and a few decades of comfort in the meantime.
And yet, this little blob of mushy riverside soil provides neither of those. I neither have intention to sell for an upscaled price, nor to pass on to someone beyond my lifetime, nor even the security of knowing the land will stay as it is for my own. It is not near to much of anything, and to get to it requires a couple hours of stunning adventure from the center of Bali across cloudstrewn mountain and unpaved track. This is a valley of changes, of shifts and landslides, of floods and visas. Whatever I build here may well be swallowed up in the tides of time.
Why, then, would I go in on such a project? Surely, no one in their right mind would invest in such a remote and strange opportunity?
The truth is, I can’t truly formulate that answer into one sentence.
Perhaps it is the gushing power of the waterfall five minutes walk upstream, atomizing in one instant an entire valley of sunlight and rainforest kisses into the air.
Perhaps it is the rainbows that form in circles around your knees when you come close to said waterfall.
Perhaps the clear, clear spring water that trickles from the rocks above the property and winds its way down to meet the river at the edge of the land. Water that looks like liquid crystal and feels like pure life force to drink.
Or perhaps the community, rooted in sacred ceremony and appreciation of nature, people who remember that the secret to true living is being.
Or perhaps all those things are just more stories. For underneath, the true reason I find myself here might just be beyond words, a deep and ancient call to return to the land, an instinct to seek and camp near the purest water source available. When I am here, I feel alive. My skin soaks up the dew, my spine speaks to the trees, my feet become barefoot roots on the paths and my heart opens in divine creativity. I believe I could just perch here and watch, and be content. I believe that if I stay here, the right people will come to me. I believe that if I listen to this deep call, the vision for this space will emerge.
And so it is. Here I stay and sooner or later, a space will grow around me. The Temple of Water and Sound is the whisper that we hear, and although the form is as yet unclear, the intention speaks loud. A place to express, to sing with the jungle, to listen deeper than ever before. A place to drink and bathe and purify in the clean arteries of this planet. A place to feel our original nature, as people of the land, as children of the water planet, veins running with the very same blood of the earth and in complete reciprocity with the state of balance around us.
A temple for the people, to remember the sacredness of water.
Jiya offers retreats through Yoga as Medicine (alignment, energetics and tailored personal practice) and Create Space Retreats (creativity, yoga and cacao ceremony) in Bali and Guatemala. You can also study with her in Kula Collective’s August Peru 300hr, October Guatemala 200hr, and December Bali 200hr.