Before I went to Bali, I thought it a little trite when people called it the heart chakra of the world. Like they say Hawaii is the land of aloha. Hrm, smells like marketing.

Perhaps, just like me, you think yourself too clever for marketing. You know what it really is. It's the island's tourism board selling it to more tourists.

Everyone's selling something, even in the heart chakra of the world. Touring temples during an excursion on my yoga retreat on Bali, I felt like I'd come to the hawking chakra of the world, too.

At the Tirta Empul, a group of us wrapped ourselves in sarongs -- traditional temple-wear -- and wandered through statues of fierce Hindu gods. This site is sacred because of the spring there, which is said to have healing powers and the ability to cleanse people of curses and evil.

An evil detox? I don't know that I believed it, but there I was, at this temple of sacred waters on Bali, and hell, I need all the help I can get.

The cleansing pool's waters sent a chill through me as I stepped onto the slick stones and approached the first of a series of spigots issuing from the sacred spring. Each spigot was for a specific thing, a particular evil, but I couldn't read the Balinese signs. I just knew there was one at the end I should avoid because it's for the dead, not the living.

The living. Is living the frenetic yet zombie-like stare I sport at my desk? Is it this life I've made so hectic that I forget my basic humanity and yours? I tailgate slow cars when I'm late for yoga class and check texts rather than pay full attention when someone I love is talking to me. And those are the nice examples, not the evil ones.


The spring water wasn't chilly when I cupped it, closed my eyes and doused it over my head. It was cooling, calming, a moment to wonder how I could be different, how I could be more cool and calm and alive.

After a friend and I visited every spigot for the living and retreated, dripping but smiling, toward our driver's car, we discovered that the clever Balinese had created a maze of a market at the temple's exit.

"Sarongs! T-shirts! Two dollar!" they called.

Because in the heart chakra of the world, where there are springs that cleanse your evil, you still have to hawk to eat.

-- Jenn Fields