Serendipity? Or the Power of Dreaming?
Recently in Bali, after leading a writer’s retreat in Sanur, I headed off on a wee road trip with our retreat host Kadek Kris and a new friend, Dutch/Syrian novelist, Rana Haddad. Kadek wanted to show me a new venue for our next retreat in a part of Bali I had in mind to revisit on this trip. The Tabanan district in the centre of the island is less popular with tourists even though it has some of Bali’s great sights, like the Unesco Heritage listed Jatiluwih Ricefields and Mt Batukaru, second only in height to the holy Mt Agung, as well as a number of important temples.
A few weeks before, in my pre Bali daydreaming, I had imagined travelling to Jatiluwih with another friend, Made Surya Darma, a Balinese artist I met in Jogjakarta in 2006. We had become good friends and a couple of years later he had invited me to stay for a few days at his mother’s house in their village up Tabanan way. Made’s mother was part of the daydream too — when I first met her our connection despite the language barrier, was one of great warmth — at that time she was recently widowed but still exuded strength and positivity and I had always wanted to meet her again.
I hadn’t been able to contact Made, who was now busy making a living as a driver, so I was happy that by coincidence part of my day dream had eventuated. Kadek, Rana and I were enjoying bus-free roads, with rarely a tourist in sight as we wound our way up and down iridescent-green ridges and valleys. When we arrived at the the famous Jatiluwih ricefields, we had just jumped out of the car to take in the view when a motor bike with a pillion passenger pulled up beside us. To my my surpise it was Made’s brother Gede with Made’s mother Ketut on the back! How was it possible that on that day, in that moment, the next part of my daydream fell into place?
After much exclaiming over the coincidence Ketut invited us to her rice shop in her village about half an hour away and treated us to roasted rice tea. There we met her daughter-in-law and grandchildren and called Made to say hello.We left with a sack of organic red rice for Kadek and a packet of roasted rice (my favourite tea) for me.
You hear of such coincidences happening all the time — it’s a small world I often think. But how much of it is serendipity, how much is to do with suggestion, intention, or random daydreaming? Did I dream up that coincidence or was it going to happen anyway?
It doesn’t really matter, I’ve decided, but there is a useful tip we can take away.
If we have the power to dream up the things we want to happen,why don’t we use this power more often?
The trick, I think, is not to think too much…
Just let yourself daydream.
But dream lightly…
Allow your dreams to turn up and let them drift off just as swiftly. In fact forget you even dreamed them in the first place.
DON’T go writing them on post-it notes and sticking them all over the house…
DON’T go telling six people, or making a committment ceremony to your great intentions…
DON’T go turning them into: the seven, the ten, the thirteen, the fifty-two ways to succeed at this or that.
Just let yourself dream…
Jan Cornall is a writer/performer/teacher who mentors writers and leads international writing workshops and retreats.www.writersjourney.com.au
Kadek Krishna Adhidharma is a journalist, writer, translator and curator. His first book of poetry will be published later this year.
Rana Haddad’s novel, The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor, published by Hoopoe Fiction, will launch in March 2018. Read an excerpt here (scroll down)
IGede Made Surya Darma is a Balinese artist who has exhibited and performed his work in Japan, Germany, and Indonesia.
Gede Setiawan (Made’s brother) is a photographer. He and his wife Ayu Kartika help out Ni Ketut Lepus, in the family rice shop in Tabanan district, supplying customers like Bali Buda with organic rice.
Next Writer’s Journey trips heading out:
Taste of Tibet, June 7–18, a 12 day creative tour for writers and artists.
Backstage Bali, Oct 14–21, seven days, mountains and ricefields retreat.
Moroccan Caravan, Mar 4–17, 2018. A camel riding/writing adventure into the Sahara.
© Jan Cornall 2017