December 11th, 2015
Adventures in Ubud
A journey of community and meaning
I just returned from a retreat in Ubud, Bali where I had the privilege of diving into work — and life — in the presence of some amazing women.
For me it is important to continually stretch and challenge myself, to go out of my comfort zone and learn new things on a regular basis. I do this through travel, through entrepreneurship, and through motherhood…but one of my favorite ways to do this is to hang out with people who inspire and encourage me!
Being a member of The Womens Presidents Organization, or WPO, introduces me to incredible people like Jacqueline Wales, author and executive coach, who hosted the retreat at her home in Bali, Villa Pantulan. And what a villa it was!
I signed up for the retreat without knowing exactly what to expect. Luckily I’d been to Bali before and knew it wouldn’t disappoint. Between the beauty of Bali and the company of four brilliant WPO friends, I was willing to travel halfway around the world…leaving John in charge of our business and the two kiddos.
Each day the retreat started with meditation and yoga. Afterwards we would immerse ourselves in 2-hour work sessions. These sessions were deeply engaging and asked all of us to surrender to the work at hand. It was an intense process and well-suited to the milestone birthday I’m celebrating this year as I turn 50.
We would finish our work, rewarded with a beautiful lunch cooked by Made (pronounced Maday) and Kayun. And after a morning of hard work, we needed a good meal!
The afternoons were spent sightseeing, exploring local culture and doing some shopping. One day we were initiated by a local high priestess in a cleansing ritual. Jaqueline introduced to so many amazing local people, she is well-loved there in Ubud and makes a wonderful guide!
One of my morning work sessions reminded me of my deep commitment to supporting hand-made, local, environmental sustainable products. It reinforced the fact that unique products with ethical standards are a cornerstone of our business at Festoon, and always has been.
With this in mind, on the hunt I went for well-made local goods!
I spent a day at The Green School, The Green Village, and Green Bamboo Factory. The inspiration came from a Ted Talk with John Hardy.
My interpretation of his message is that when a person’s vision becomes a realization and truly impacts the community around them, it will either drive others to think they are crazy, or it will become an inspiration to others to do the same. Follow your vision and do your own small part to change the world. Thank you John Hardy and thank you Green Village for such a good example!
John (my husband John, not John Hardy) asked me to visit the factory where the majority of the silver pieces are made for our Rose & Thorn Jewelry collection. I was truly in awe of the craftsmanship done by each of these Balinese artisans.
The factory insists on a clean and healthy environment. Their wages are also higher than local teachers and nurses. I watched the artisans begin the day with a ceremony before getting to work. Their craft, their family and their spiritual life is a cohesive whole. Witnessing this reminds me how my seemingly minor choices as a business owner in the U.S. can impact a global paradigm shift towards justice and sustainability. Small choices add up to collective change.
In the spirit of finding similar local artisanal goods, Jacqueline recommended a Batik Ikat store with very beautiful things. The quality was excellent and they carried contemporary, on-trend designs which was exciting! The owner, Kadek, and her little girl were to meet with me and introduce me to the line. Kadek, one of the main designers, explained the process of her designs, the labor practices, and her commitment to local women’s collectives and providing a working wage for community. She also introduced me to her line of bath and body products…sublime.
Lucky for you all, I picked out silk scarves, gorgeous cotton textiles, beautiful hand made soaps, bath salts, scrubs and facial masks to bring home for our holiday gift selection at Festoon! In offering these handmade items for you to give as holiday gifts, we can all know we are helping women on the other side of the world find independence. I know you will also find the inherent quality, beauty and value in these items.
Devoting time and resources to powerful experiences – such as attending this retreat in Bali – is a practice that I am committed to in my life. These small bursts of intense work further my growth, enhance my life and can be fit into the juggle of my life as a business owner, wife and mother.
I invite you all to consider how you might find opportunities to engage in growth opportunities. How explorations and journeys that stretch you out of your comfort zone might fit into your life. These trips can be closer to home than Bali, they can even be online immersion programs or they can be weekly commitments to a group or cause that leaves you feeling full in mind and heart like my membership in WPO. But my invitation to you all for 2016 is to try and find ways to grow yourself while growing a better world at the same time. Each of our efforts informs the whole.
Here’s to a healthy and happy new year!