My title 

I knew I could paint but who would have thought I could sing!

by: Oana Deac on

It was two years ago when I came to that point in my life when I was feeling stuck and not able to take a decision about my next step in life, about my future, about moving towards happiness. I knew it existed and I knew it was up to me to go for it, but I guess I was not ready for it yet.

My days in Amsterdam were getting darker and darker, in all aspects, and I could not find any substitute for the light and the sun I was missing so badly from my external and internal existence. Too long in the same corporate company having to cope with the politics, a personal relationship going wrong, insomnia and severe back problems, the all inclusive package, like it was Christmas in hell.

We all have our limits I guess, our timing and we’re all quite different in that matter. It took me one year to realize I had to stop complaining and do something. But what?

I knew I had to leave my life in Amsterdam but I wasn’t prepared for the journey. I could not imagine letting my guard down by making the wrong decision and disappointing everyone, failing, as that was a possibility and my brain tended to hang onto that negative thought.

But then a sense of surrender came over me and I knew it was time and OK to ask for help, so I got myself a coach. After only two sessions the word painting jumped out of my notes and brought me back to my childhood when I saw myself as an artist, only to be told that success wasn’t easy to reach in that world. I used to love drawing, dancing and even singing sometimes. Where did all those joys go? Who scared them away?

And so I joined a painting class and from then on I felt that it was my own movie and I was writing the script at the same time. My first step in the studio was firm and in a hurry, afraid that I might waist even seconds from my time for painting. I knew I had reached that moment when good energy was picking up by minute and building up a strength in me. I enjoyed each and every class and at some point painting became my meditation. As it was an intuitive painting class, we were painting with our hands, even dancing and singing in the same time. There was color in the sounds, in the moves, in the visual space, there was color everywhere and I LOVED IT!

Close to the end of the course I knew I wanted more of what my life was missing, it was COLORS. Loud vibrant radiantly striking colors! I knew they were inside, I just needed some sun to get them blooming. At the same time something got triggered in me at a deeper level and suddenly my fear was gone. I remember the moment of acknowledging not having that heavy feeling of “what if” anymore and next thing I knew that I was ready to leave.

When telling one of my best friends about my plans, he nodded “This is it, you’re on your way! This is the type of passionate energy that drives you and you just need to ride and pay attention. From now on it will be all a pleasant journey”. And so it was and so still is. Bali here I come

I was in love with Bali even before I landed, as “I love Bali” became my mantra when logging in at work every day for my last two months of work. I am sure the Island of the Gods shared the same feelings as she saluted me with a strong earthquake the next day I stepped on her beautiful fields. What a welcome that was!

Sometimes I feel there are no words of describing the beauty of this place. I paint with joy and I breathe it all in, as Bali is my forever green canvas, which changes by light, sounds, smells from a day to the other. Every day is a new painting for me and I absorb and take it all in with gratefulness.

I had the chance to work with painters from Bali, walk into their studios and absorb the knowledge they have to offer and they do it so openly. One of my teachers, I Wayan Karja, has opened his door for me in such a humble way, that I feel honored to be so lucky and have him as my mentor.

But my journey didn’t just get the painting flavor though, as Bali seems to be one of the most abundant places when it comes to expressive arts. People sing, people dance, people create a lot here!

And yes, I never thought I could sing the way I sing. I figured that out when joining the Singabout choir for a week and a new type of energy fueled my body. I did toy around with kirtan for a while since I came to live in Bali, but apart from a one time lifting experience, not too much happened around it, or not enough to get me wanting more of it.

Singing in a choir was empowering, it was lifting, it was joyful and above all meaningful. I felt I was  part of a higher power, maybe of the group, maybe of the Gods within us. I could hardly sleep that week, because of the excitement and high elevations I was exposed too. But still, the energy to do it over and over again every day was there. And what got me more, was the fact that I could hear my voice and I could hear I can sing, something I would have never considered I can do well.

I used to be judgmental about gospel before, but this entire experience delivered music to me in another type of envelope. The joy of singing for God was somehow different when being part of the group. Or maybe it was because I realized I was singing to myself, to my God, to Me God.

I’ll keep that singing week in my mind as a great experience, which nourished my soul, my voice and my inner voice. It helped me express a different part of the artist in me and I am grateful for that.

So here I am, living my life in Bali the way I want, painting and creating, investing time and energy in what I love to do and what has always been inside me waiting to come out and smile to the world. I feel lucky enough to have met and worked with people who believe in me and encourage me to go on, I feel like I have started all over again.

What my story has taught me is that the truth can’t be held down and sooner or later it’s taking you over and brings you to where you belong, HOME.

Living in Bali now seems so natural like I have been doing this all my life. I guess I have been living here all the , in my imaginary mind.

I am thankful each and every day for my choice, for rediscovering painting, dancing and singing and finding the space in Bali to become what I always wanted to become, an artist.

Maybe you don't have to be as radical as I was but I really recommend that you go out and find the artist within you, it was the best decision I have ever made!

Love Oana xx

Bali Blessings: Day ten

by: Jennifer Richardson on


Nyepi, a day of silence. a day of quiet reflection, a day to discover who you are, according to what a Balinese man said the night before.

I lay down relishing in the sounds of nature. Pure uninterrupted sounds that are mesmerizing. Sounds of water moving through the fish pond, gurgling, splashing and jumping fish.  Birds whistling, chirping, frantic sounds of two sets of wings flapping around each other darting in and away from each other faster and faster then departing from each like they had never met. Slight rustling of leaves and more chirping.

The sound of my own breath in and out through my nostrils and then a sigh.

Sari the cat meows briefly for food, eats disappears to sleep.

The dog, Rooney knows the rules so it seems. Not one bark today, not one arrrhoo only the scuttle of her long claws on her delicate paws on the floor after she changes to another sleeping position reminding me she needs a manicure and pedicure.

Another bird sounding like a pigeon warbling and chirps from further afar. A cacophony of sounds.

Back to the breathe and a heart beating.  

The night comes, no lights are on its dark moon and so quiet. Occasional pulsing rhythms from frogs, different pitches get louder and fade away. The stars come out to play and so do the fireflies, I take a glance and at first cannot determine which is the sky or firefly closer to earth. Stillness on the land. No human interference of sound. No one can be heard. Quiet.  The whole island of 3 million people plus tourists are quiet.

Rest oh how glorious it is.

What if everywhere in the world stopped just 24 hours and meditated. Long enough to think about what quality their relationships were with people during the year, long enough to rest their bodies and simply be. Long enough to rest their frantic minds and just listen to nature.

The month before Nyepi male youths in all the 100's of communities around the island design and build monsters, Ogah ogahs', based on Hindu mythical monsters. Each community trying to outdo each other with the biggest, the scariest. The night before Nyepi the monsters were brought out, lit up and fought each other, among thousands of people screaming and frantic clanging and banging.

Evil spirits were cast off the island. It was then followed by everyone going indoors and keeping dark, no lights were on, no cooking, no flames were lit. The island goes quiet to prevent the evil spirits re entering.

The day of contemplation follows. 

Bali Blessings: Day nine

by: Jennifer Richardson on

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.

Brian Tracy

I like this quote. It is a blessing to have an attitude of gratitude. A few months ago my work contract with my main source of income fell through. When it happened it was traumatic because I wasn't sure how I would survive, but now I am grateful because I can now go forth and do what I love. I now 'have a life that works' and am based in a place (Bali) that understands and supports this lifestyle of the entrepreneurial gypsy.

Singabout started up 10 years ago as a hobby. I wanted to go out and discover new tribes, to dance the dances and sing their songs. It has been an incredible learning and I am so very grateful to all of you who came on that original journey and those who continue to come on these magical journeys. You have all taught me so much. I look forward to the next 10 years.

Jen xx

Photo: 2004 Singing in Tuscany group with Rachel Hore and Kavisha Mazzella.

Bali Blessings: Day eight

by: Jennifer Richardson on

A day off work to celebrate Oana's birthday at a beautiful semi-deserted beach just near where we will be holding our workshop with Anita Daulne in November.

Soaking up sun, swimming and relaxing with friends. Now that is another cool way to feel blessed.

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
Mark Twain 

Bali Blessing: Day seven

by: Jennifer Richardson on

OK a different type of blessing and this is not in Bali it is in Italy but I watched in Bali so I am blessed in Bali!

Bali Blessings: Day six - Peia sings

by: Jennifer Richardson on

Blessed by the Bali Spirit Festival this weekend and the lovely Peia sings Blessed We Are.


Bali Blessings: Day five

by: Jennifer Richardson on

 Feeling blessed at every step we take....

Bali Blessings: Day four

by: Jennifer Richardson on

Not a bad way to start the working day!


Bali Blessings: Day three House blessing ceremony

by: Jennifer Richardson on

My apologies for not posting yesterday, I have just moved into my new house and had no internet.

I'll make up for it now with 2 posts in one on the 'heart' warming, 'house' warming blessing ceremony that took place before I could enter and live in the new home.

This collage of pics is of 2 gorgeous women who took part. I am so blessed!


Bali Blessings: Day two Saraswati Day

by: Jennifer Richardson on


Saraswati day offerings left on the footpath. This is in gratitude of getting an education. Where I come from children whinge about going to school.