Eat, Pray, Bali Boy

Posted on in On Our Radar by Lisa Daron Grossman

Whale of a Tale of
Spiritual Romance


My most recent relationship ended with a whale emoticon. Yes, an emoticon. Of a whale. The guy’s name was Bali Boy, and he was a feminist, a liberal, and listened to enlightening podcasts. If you know me, you might think that this Buddhist shrink surfing yogi would be my perfect match—that we would connect heart chakras, and our inner children would be best friends.

I thought so too, which is why on our first date, when he began talking about having dated the daughter of his cult’s guru, I let it slide. Why? Because he wasn’t in said cult anymore, and it’s not like he was dating the guru herself. Also, the universe brought us together, right? By the end of our first date I was sure we had a past-life karmic thing where maybe we were married in medieval times and he saved me from being burned at the stake. A bit dramatic, I know. But Bali Boy felt the same, and he told me via text after date number two.

The first night he stayed over, as we were lying in bed, he whispered, “I can see my inner child. He is hiding under your desk.” Now don’t get me wron—I think it’s fantastic that he can see his inner child, but what in hell is he doing under my desk? Way to ruin the mood, Bali Boy. I tried to say something supportive like, “Do you think you should ask him to leave?” But Bali Boy, who was all about connection and intimacy, decided to communicate with his mini-me right then and there.

With his eyes closed and lips moving, he proceeded to converse with his small self under the desk. I’m surprised he didn’t crack open Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and begin reading aloud. When he was done, he opened his eyes with a smile and said, “I’m exhausted”—then rolled over to sleep.

When I awoke he wasn’t in bed. It was 6 a.m., and he was seated in a meditation pose. His eyes were closed, his back straight—so straight it frightened me. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wait for his imaginary meditation bell before talking, but I felt awkward so I blurted, “Good morning? You really know how to sit upright.” He grinned with his eyes still closed and announced, “I want a soy chai latte.”

man on the coast

I was taken aback that he needed a soy chai latte at 6 a.m., but nothing would interfere with his morning routine—not even being in bed with his medieval lover.

When he finally opened his eyes, he spotted my brand-new juicer. His face lit up and with a huge smile he exclaimed, “Is that a juicer?!”

“It is,” I said, before sending him out to get his soy chai latte.

I was in spiritual dating heaven, which wasn’t turning out to be all heart chakras and happy faces. In fact, he never looked at me quite like he looked at my juicer.

Things changed one day. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” he said one morning over gluten-free toast. “I’m moving to Bali to surf, meditate, and do yoga—you know, to eat, pray, love.”

He actually said the words eat, pray, love! Here was the man I had been waiting for and he was leaving to eat, pray, and love on a beach in Bali? I began to wonder, had Bali Boy known the whole time? Had he seduced me with his Indian chants just to get some sugar before Lama liberation on the Balinese sands?

Possibly. But Bali Boy convinced me not to overanalyze, to be in the present moment and enjoy what we have while we have it. I think he might have even said, “Be here now,” and ripped it off as his own. All his spiritual intricacies that once seemed super connected started to feel super annoying. One night over dinner, during a disagreement that I’m almost positive I didn’t start, Bali Boy said, “If I know one thing in life, it’s about interpersonal dynamics. In a relationship at least one person needs to be sane. If we are both crazy, it can never work. And I’m not crazy.”

What he was saying was that I was crazy. I never denied this; however, receiving this diagnosis from a man who dated the guru’s daughter from a notorious cult was ominous. Finally, it occurred to me that he was trying to end it before he Bali’d. It worked.

I realized, in my moment of spiritual clarity, that the universe was sending me a sign. If I was not planning to eat, pray, and devote myself to Bali Boy, I should just let him get his sugar before he puts on his monk robe and deems himself enlightened.

Right before he left, he gifted me his most prized possession: an orchid he had kept next to his bed over the past year. “It’s the most meaningful thing in my life,” he whispered. The day he flew off, the orchid began to turn yellow and wilt. Maybe it was lacking Bali Boy’s divine energy, or maybe it was the universe chiming in: “He’s not the one.”

When Bali Boy landed, he sent a final text. “I think you’re a cool person. Bali is beautiful.” At the end of the text was an emoticon of a whale—my parting gift from his inner child.

Lisa Daron Grossman is a professional creativity and empowerment coach, encouraging people to be empowered by their narratives. She believes in turning inspiration into action.

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