This interview was initially published by Author Ioana Budeanu on her blog.
It was a very usual August night in Ubud, full of frangipani scents and soft jazz music. I was a little bit bored, drinking my beer, listening to the sounds of Bali, and soothing myself in that feeling of “arriving home”.
You see, many years I was searching for my home all over the world, pushing myself to travel more and faster and further. For the first time in my life, in Bali, I felt something. Something that made me wanna stay.
And, just before midnight, I heard some people laughing and I was looking curious and intrigued. Who is it?
In the middle of a very young happy crowd, it was her. Red silky dress. Dark long hair. She was light and dark. Mysterious and open to being seen. She touched my soul with a big smile and a hug. I read her through her friends, stories, and dresses. And we met many times after that night.
She drove me home with her scooter. She told me mind-blowing stories. Stories about loss and falling in love, stories about fireflies in the jungle, about temples and miracles, about drifting minds, about cherish, and giving, and taking. About divorces, honeymoons with herself, about ceremonies, and flowers and coming into the light.
We stared into each other’s eyes and souls. We became some kind of sisters between worlds.
In Bali, nothing is as it seems. People say there is something called “Bali synchronicities”. But I don’t believe in this. Nothing is random.
In Bali, you will meet your soul’s mirrors, your most difficult triggers that will help you heal and grow. You will meet “divine designed” people to show you the way to yourself. To your best self. Even if sometimes it’s difficult as hell.
I knew at that moment, in that scented August night, that she is meant to be my “divine designed” sister. Ah, and I wanted so so much to tell you this story, but it was never THE time. Truth is, I wanted to keep her for myself.
But today, finally, is that moment.
From the bottom of my soul, from those green fields of Ubud, from the sky full of stars, from another world, from this one… my dear friends, please – meet Cristina. The most amazing woman I met in Bali.
You’ve traveled the world, you saw a lot of beautiful places and you could live anywhere. Why did you choose to live in Ubud, Bali?
While its stunning nature opens my senses and the sweetness of the local people makes me smile, it is the subtle field of love that makes it such a unique place on the planet.
I remember when I first traveled to Bali, 7 years ago, just for one week and found myself in tears while walking on a small path in the rice fields, I cried of joy and never felt happier in my life.
Why? I have no logical reason for it, as I was not only broke financially but in debt after losing a business and was calculating every penny for food.
At that point I was a trainee in a multinational company, working from Jakarta, they were paying me just enough to cover living expenses and was having a long distance relationship with my partner at the time.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this island changed my perception of everything I considered to be of value up to that point. I said to myself “there is no other place like Ubud on the planet, I’m gonna work, save and move here one day”, which I did, 4 years later. Best decision of my life.
So what is it? I wish I could give an answer that doesn’t sound like spiritual bullshit, as I’ve been reluctant myself to the entire new age concepts, but I’ll share what I feel, exactly as it is: I see Ubud as a powerful mirror of truth, a place that pulls out the best and the worst in me every day, confronts me with my lies and my truths, amplifies all emotions, experiences, and therefore forces me to grow.
It’s like finding yourself in the arms of a strict, but very loving mother.
Bali is known for being one of the two spots where the two ley lines of our planet Earth cross and Ubud, in particular, is known among the people living here for carrying funneled energy eliciting awareness and change.
There are so many wonderful places on this planet, I was lucky to live in quite a few during my five years of travels, but none has gifted me so many profound experiences as this place did.
Tell me more, please, about the differences and similarities between Bali and any other exotic islands? Why I would choose Ubud, Bali to travel, live or fall in love?
Because there is more to Ubud than the bare eye can see.
It raises you to a higher power and literally is heart pulsating in the rhythm of transformation and love.
Be it for the belief in ley lines, be it for the energy the locals create here through their daily ceremonies and offerings – coming to Ubud you feel the difference and special energy, even if you believe in nothing at all.
You cannot escape the magic of its touch. It captures you from the first breath, takes you on a journey of emotions, brings you closer to yourself, no matter how brief your moment in its embrace is.
It is easy to fall in love here, it actually ignites you to fall in love, first with yourself, then with life and eventually with another, if you’re not already experiencing that truly.
You have a new project and I love it very very much. Why it’s so special to you? Please, tell me all the details.
The concept was born deep inside of me when I was moving through divorce, after 10 years of sharing life with my former partner, and walked into redefining who I was and realizing that the impact of separation into one’s life is huge: it can either be the beginning of a joyful new chapter, or, as it happened in the case of my own parents, it can truly break one into pieces.
I lost my mother to suicide when I was 12, during a painful process of divorce from my father.
Reaching the age of 32, I watched a video of my mom from a family gathering – her last recorded memory – looked at the date and realized that my mother was exactly my age when she decided to take her life. What struck me the most was that she seemed to be utterly happy on screen, but was deeply broken within, she could not imagine life without my dad, which led to depression and determined her to see suicide as the only way to end her profound suffering.
That event has impacted me throughout my entire life and having just gone through a divorce myself, I got to discover how I could finally do something for others since I was way too young to be a pillar of support for my mom or to even understand what was happening to her in those moments.
I realized that I want to dedicate myself to supporting others to overcome the demanding challenges that separation brings.
So I resigned my management position with no second thoughts and started building YOUniverse Revival.
My vision is to revive the sense of purpose into people’s lives and give a new meaning to life after divorce or separation.
Can you tell us a surprising story about your new project?
Let’s go straight to the surprise: I encourage the concept of divorce celebration.
Splitting up is never easy, you basically transform a way of being that you have formed with another into a totally new way of living, of existing. So calling the change in relating quitting can be tough because it implies that you are losing something.
While in truth, you are gaining a brand new life and get to create your entire experience as you wish and this is something worth celebrating.
People have been celebrating new beginnings since forever. We honor births with birthdays, marriages with ceremonies, enjoy weddings, engagement parties, and graduations. Why do we do that in the first place? Because we want to mark a new beginning or a milestone with joy and we feel that the best way to do that is by inviting our loved ones to be part of it and share our joy with them.
Divorce is no failure, as – in all honesty – no thing in life is.
All and everything simply is an experience. An experience that expands your horizon and makes you richer on the path that you walk on this earth.
After my divorce was officially pronounced, I felt I want to be surrounded by my loved ones in a loving closure ceremony, followed by a celebration – that became a tribute to a meaningful new chapter. I now remember the event with lots of joy, I truly feel that this celebration came as a change of perception. Here is a short video from my divorce ceremony:
What is your best memory from Bali, which you cherish deeply?
After my divorce, I was starting to integrate that massive change of scenery. My days were flowing between my job at the time and spending time on my own. Then the news came from my former company – they were sending someone to work with me for a week from Bali to set up the strategy for a new project that they were launching.
I was kind of angry, as I was not in the mood for any social interaction, but had no choice.
Then Javier showed up in my garden in Ubud on a sunny Monday with a big smile and lovely presents for me and my “husband”, as he heard that I was married since I did not reveal my change of status to my co-workers.
He was a lawyer from Argentina. He rode a motorbike, traveled the world for 7 years just like me, he was handsome, in a sleepy extra-masculine kind of way, and lived like a rebellious rascal.
What struck me the most about him was his honesty and vulnerability. Just my kind of man. He was also a very spiritual guy, although he despised that attribute, and wise before his time in many ways.
That night I hopped onto the back of his motorbike and we went to a cacao ceremony. The next day he told me that he is in love with me. That’s where our romance started… the most intense I’ve ever experienced in my life. And it continues until this day.
What is your biggest struggle right now?
Setting up my priorities and taking it one thing at a time. I tend to get lost in details.
What is your biggest dream?
To have two kids.
If you could have one thing in the whole world, what would you want most?
To retain my physical and mental health until the last breath.
What is your greatest gift to the world?
My enthusiasm towards life and through that – supporting others to see challenges as opportunities for growth.
Cristina said: “You cannot escape the magic of its touch.” Bali is unique and mysterious and full of magic. Exactly as she is.