A photo of the beautiful Tegalalang Rice Field, just one of the beautiful things Bali has to offer
I’ll be starting my yoga / meditation retreat today
Watch the video brah
I’ve been feeling lost in balancing striving after something with being present.
I’m making an intention for this retreat to find my balance between these two, along with a couple other things.
If You’d like some background on why you would want to go to a yoga retreat in the first place, read below
I’m sitting here in Ubud, Bali
In the literal mecca of digital nomads. A place I heard stories about back in 2016, a place where people worked online in a tropical paradise.
I’m incredibly lucky to be where I’m at, but there’s something missing, an emptiness. I’ve been feeling burnt out from travel (and life in general) and I’m hoping to fix that here in Bali.
But I’ve Made It Man
In 2016, I was afraid to even dream about living the life I now have. After all, I was sleeping on my buddies couch, no job, no marketing skills, no money, no car (learn more about my story to digital nomading here).
I knew I loved traveling and wanted a real career, but I didn’t know anyone who worked remote online. Hell, I didn’t have any friends who had a white collar job, much less one that allowed them to travel the world.
But I had one thing back then, I had a fire within me.
I remember back in May of 2016, the first morning I returned from Vietnam to the United States (read more about my story here). It was the first time I woke up in the morning excited to start the day in months.
At the end of my time in Vietnam I hated getting up. The only time I was happy was when I was sleeping with a stranger, or literally sleeping.
But that first morning back in the US was different.
I can remember bouncing out of that couch, and rushing out the front door to the crisp morning air in Colorado.
It was May but even then, the mornings are a bit chilly in Colorado.
I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, but I had hope again.
I had a plan
- ✅ First let’s get my bike out of the storage so I have transportation
- ✅ Then let’s work on getting a job
- ✅ After that, I can save up and get an actual room to stay in
Talking about it now I can feel the excitement building in my stomach up into my chest.
I almost feel weightless thinking about it. Effort feels effortless when you have a reason to get out of bed, a purpose.
A picture of me from back in the days when I had this intense drive. Bartending at a restaurant and doing digital marketing for free to gain experience. I was driven, but man I was a dick, I’ve thought a lot about being motivated without having to be a dick.
On the other hand when you’re unclear about why you’re doing things, and you lack a purpose everything feels difficult.
My body feels heavier, steps up the stairs feel harder, getting out of bed feels like a workout.
I’ve been in and out of this state for a while now.
I don’t have a purpose, a driver, a reason to keep chugging along.
While the girl I thought wasn’t going to come to Bali ended up coming, lately I’ve still had this intense drive to find random women to sleep with.
I know this stems from my desire to find a goal to achieve, to feel alive in the striving after that goal.
Chasing after random attractive women to sleep with is a great short term strategy to satiate that drive to strive, to achieve, to succeed.
Thankfully, I haven’t given into this drive, fortunately my time trying to be celibate has helped me a lot in being more conscious of these drives.
So I have this drive to strive, to achieve, to chase after something, and without that my life doesn’t feel as complete.
But Should I Keep Striving At All?
The 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, his quote below outlines the root of my concern.
Why continue striving after something that I think will make me happy when I know life is a present moment that’s always vanishing until it’s over?
It’s easy to read buddhist text with this same pessimism and believe that all striving is the root of dissatisfaction.
That if I can stop striving I’ll feel satisfied.
I’ve been diving deeper into becoming (what I think) is a more complete version of myself. This more complete version of myself is (trying to be) more mindful and live in the moment.
I’ve believed for a while now that to be happy, I need to stop striving for the next goal, the next high, the next shiny object.
However, I think I’ve taken the non-striving too far
In attempting to rid myself of striving I’ve created this emptiness within me, and a pessimism.
A pessimism that tells me “what’s the point in striving after more, you’re never going to be complete. You’re chasing after things that will only offer you a temporary high.
While that may be true, striving is who I am and it’s what I need to feel alive.
After all, life is temporary if I base my decisions on only chasing after the permanent I wouldn’t do anything at all man.
I’m An Achiever
It’s who I am
Maybe it’s because my mom showed me more love and attention when I was succeeding.
Maybe it’s because I want to prove to my Dad that I’m worthy and that he made a mistake when he left us.
Maybe I have a series of genes that predispose me to being more sensitive to the dopaminergic drive to chase after a goal.
Maybe it’s a mix of all of those things.
Or maybe it’s none of them at all.
Whatever the reason is this is who I am
And I’m fucking sick and tired of feeling like there’s something wrong with me, that I need to dive into my childhood, or my hormone levels, or whatever psycho-social / biological reason is the hot topic of the day to explain, and fix my behavior.
I’m fucking over it man, and I’m over trying to mitigate the aspects of myself that have gotten me where I am today.
While I’m not perfectly happy, my quality of life in aggregate is much higher than it was before, and I owe a decent portion of that to me striving for a better life.
Maybe the answer isn’t mitigating my strengths, rather keeping those strengths where they are, while building up my weaker points
That feels like the right answer to me.
Hi, my name is Loren and I’m type A. If you don’t like it, fuck off.
Alright, maybe that last line was a little extreme 😂
Going into the retreat, I’ll be focusing on this balance between striving and presence.
My Yoga / Meditation Retreat
While I was planning to do a 10 day, fully silent Vipassana retreat without a phone, nor even a pen, to sit in silence, meditating 10 – 12 hours a day, my business is not ready for me to be unplugged for 10 days straight so I ultimately decided against it, and found a 4 day retreat based around yoga meditation & workshops.
Yes, I do feel like a failure for not doing the most intense retreat I could fine (Vipassana), but for now this is what’s best for me and my business, and I know someday I will do a Vipassana retreat, it’s in my destiny!
Where I’m Going
I’m heading to Blooming Lotus Yoga in Ubud, Bali
Why Did I pick them?
- For the value, it felt like the best deal. You get 2 – 4 hours of meditation as well as a couple workshops while there
- I can also bring my laptop and work in the evenings and early mornings
- Their retreats start every Wednesday and Sunday – so it’s easy to register and there are quite a few people at each retreat, so there’s a real community vibe that’s nice.
I found most other places where either extremely regimented, where you couldn’t bring labtops / phones or they were far too relaxed with little to no schedule for meditation / yoga.
What Will My Average Day Look Like At This Yoga Retreat?
- 7:30 – 9:30 am Yoga & Meditation
- 9:30 – 10:30 pm Breakfast
- 10:30 – 11:30 pm Yin Yoga Class
- 11:30 – 4:30 – Free time or excursions to temples / misc. events
- 4:30 – 6:30 pm Yoga & Meditation
- 6:30 pm Group Dinner
What Are My Intentions?
- To find my middle path between being present & striving
- To find a direction & goal for my business. One that fuels me, and ideally is a bit bigger than just serving purely selfish desires.
- To find a sustainable, daily meditation technique that is more effective in building space between my thoughts and actions.
- To build a deeper appreciation & understanding of yoga so I can practice it 2 – 3x a week for the rest of my life. Whether that’s by myself in a hotel room, or with a group in a yoga center.