Immigration Holdings Rooms & Escaping To India
Throughout this journey there have been so many ups and downs - but I am finding that when I remove myself from the judgment of the situations or circumstance I am within I simply see the moment for what it is. Its a much nicer way to live... quite honestly.
Last week I went to go on a simple visa run to Singapore from Bali and when I arrived into Singapore, immigration denied me entry into the country and deported me back to Bali!
They said they flagged my passport because of too many times in and out of the country to Indonesia. Apparently you are not allowed to just hop over to another country for a day then go back to the country you were just in - it looks suspicious. You are technically supposed to stay out of the country for 7 - 14 days to not look suspicious.
So my flights were canceled and I was taken to a holding room where I was interrogated about everything you could imagine. Where I am from, why am I traveling, info about my parents, info about college, info about work, past jobs, clients, you name it - they had a question for it.
I was honestly quite nervous. Then I started chanting two mantras....
"Humme Hum Brum Hum"
When I did this the energy began to shift, instead of being in a defensive state, compassion began to literally overtake my being. I could feel the adrenaline soften and my eyes relax. I felt more stillness and a sense of calmness in a provoking situation such as this... Once he finished interrogating me, he then said a few kind words, "I don't think you are a threat, but this is just how it works - we have to be cautious of everyone. I don't like to scold people either..." Then he continued to share with me about how to make sure I follow the rules to not get flagged again in the future.
I thanked him for his words at the end there for being honest and kind.
Nevertheless, he did not approve me to get into Singapore and held me in a holding room until I was deported the next morning back to Bali, Indonesia.
Once I got to Indonesia - it was not as easy. They were far more strict there. No food. Held in a dungy room with fluorescent lights that will give you a migraine if your in there too long...
It was not ideal or pleasant.
I was held in this room for another two days.
They were figuring out with my embassy if I had to be deported back to the States or if I could go to any other countries. At first they said I had to be deported back to America. I kept asking why and reasoning with them, continued to share with them about my travels, where I was headed, why I am traveling, etc. I had to share everything with them.
In these two days of intense conditions, I had to come deeply into my practice. Every time I had to use the restroom, I had to have an armed guard by my side. Each time I needed to get water, an armed guard next to me.
I felt so embarrassed and shameful...
Mind you, I also had no cloths with me, just the outfit I was wearing, all my belongings left in Bali... and I cant go back and get my stuff for at least 60 days! Another lesson in detachment... interesting how it all happened right before Im headed to India!
There are not mistakes.... :)
Then I decided to change the perspective - Instead, I pretended that this guard was not my escort to and from places, but rather he was my bodyguard - as if I was someone high profile who needed protection - lol. When I did this, instead of being embarrassed about the situation I had fun with it.
I also wasn't given any food and had to really come into my fasting practice - I just had some almonds that were in my bag and a banana and an apple. This was all I had.
Then of course, I had the breath. In the evenings and early mornings, I would be practicing my breath work - connecting this way to feel some sense of meditative presence to manage the stress my conscious self was experiencing.
It was a big test in practicing spiritual principle - I even went into my gratitude practice. Grateful that I had that little bit of food! Grateful that I knew that this situation wouldn't last forever. Grateful for my music and phone and that it wasn't taken away from me so I had my calming meditation music to listen to. Grateful for one of the guards who was actually kind to me.
And referencing my first statement above... when I withdrew from the emotional feelings of discomfort about the situation and just accepted it as it is, everything changed. I was no longer in suffering. It was as if I was in this movie watching it all as the witness, but not emotionally reactive. It was a powerful experience.
Before this experience I was living SO comfortably in my Bali home, gorgeous view, beautiful pool, etc... to all of a sudden in an immigration holding center. This was an abrupt transition - thanks New Moon Eclipse! (lol) - really took me on for a ride this time! ;)
But when I look back at this situation and why it occurred, there are multiple reasons. One of which is this...
When I left America, I wanted to start traveling in bali and make my way up and over into nNepal / or India - instead I would just go to a neighboring country and then come back to Bali. I found myself to be VERY comfortable there and completely fell in love with it.
Also, this all happened during the 16 - 19th... and on the 18th was the 6 month mark of my leaving America - TO THE EXACT DAY! And on Aug 18th - it was also an eclipse! Eclipses are proving to be quite something to pay attention to... at least for me! (lol)
I felt this was The Universe telling me to remember my initial intention. Stick to plan Stan and stop goofing around! Continue onward! So I have.
After finally negotiating with immigration to let me continue to travel, I booked a ticket to Kuala Lumpur to rest for about a week before I continue onto India. I found a flight for $38 (yes THIRTY EIGHT dollars)!
This is definitely the Universe saying GO! BOOK IT! And after India, I have no idea what will happen - one day at a time, staying present with what is and where I am led.
I am am currently applying for my 60 day visa for India so I can be there and see / do / experience everything I wish to do while I am there :) Probably will stay at an ashram for a week or so, then for my birthday go to visit the golden temple :)
From this experience I truly learned that “there is a way through every block”, one of the sutras in kundalini yoga. I hope this story has inspired you to not take for granted your situations in life. Examine your life as a whole, see where you are triggered, where are you not compassionate with yourself and others, where are you lacking empathy and how can you use the tools you have learned along your own journey through life and apply them more consistently. I find that having more and more references to these tools is the best way out of reacting to any situation. Life just is. When we allow ourself to drop into this state, we see that we are just apart of a grand play that is being acted out through us little human beings made in the image of the Creator. The infinite cannot experience itself so we were created in its image to play out its… Play…
But arriving at this point, these kinds of realizations, takes consistency in our spiritual disciplines and practices. I have found this to be the key and I have also realized that I am not the doer of my experiences, that there is a force, an unseen energy that is like rebar holding everything in the Universe together. We can read about this, we can study it, but to practice it is when we put ourselves in the petri dish, in the experiment that is Life on Earth.
As I have been traveling, I also have been noticing how much I personally have taken things for granted throughout my life… Even just having a warm shower is a luxury. Each time we complain about something, remember there are people experiencing much more intense challenges on this Earth. I hope this story has been enlightening and a reminder that it is possible to have grace and optimism when a situation looks threatening and uncomfortable.
We have choice in every moment, every decision we make. You hold the keys to your own destiny each and every moment. Each choice you make leads you to a path. Ask yourself what path you want to take.... and in truth... destiny isn’t in the future. It’s in your contentment right now. Your legacy you leave behind isn’t somewhere in the future either... your legacy is in your day to day interactions and the kindness you spread into the world.
I was able to share my kindness to people who were seemingly a threat, when really were just an opportunity. One of the officers even asked me, “What is yoga?” I paused for a moment thinking how I should respond. There is no one set answer because each person’s filtering system is unique and I intuitively tap into this place and try my best to respond tailored to them. He was genuinely curious and after a breath, I answered, “Yoga means Union. Union with the You within You. The most True You that exists. Its the You beyond all the roles you play in life. Beyond the job, beyond the uniform, beyond the relationships, beyond the culture, beyond the language you speak, beyond all the roles we play here on Earth. What exists beyond your personalities?” To which he looked at me quite stunned at this answer… Probably a bit deeper than he was expecting! Then I went on to say how yoga, pranayama and mantra are all ways to uncover this truth. That they are simply ways to take away all the illusions of who we think we are… Looking back on the entire experience, I wonder, if I went through all that for just that moment alone. One short moment with someone who had genuine curiosity and didn’t judge me - maybe that was a seed planted for his souls journey that I will never know about. Who knows where that conversation may lead him… But I think about this situation and I could reflect and think of a thousand reasons as to why that was profound for me… but what if it wasn’t about me at all? What if it was about that officer, or the people I saw being escorted around the airport? What if it was the contentment and smile I had on my face while others could see that this was a stressful situation? What if…
At the end of the day, we never totally know. And there exists another layer, another lesson…. being okay with not knowing it all. Surrendering it over, staying present and carrying forward with a little more wisdom than before…
So thats my update as of now!
And remember, you are loved, cared for and guided. This I know, I have felt and promise you are as well.
If you need more support along your spiritual path this is something I give extensive support within my membership only program, the Enlighten Your Life membership.