For Thanksgiving, I spent 2 weeks traveling all over Indonesia. It was amazing – amazing food, culture, and people.
My travels took me from the traffic jams of Jakarta to the deep jungles of Sumatra where I got to see orangutans. (I also had a monkey steal my lunch.) But one of the best parts of my trip was going to Bali.
But it wasn’t for the beaches that it’s so famous for. The best part of Bali was the rice paddies.
They were a piece of paradise.
I mean, just look at the picture below and you’ll see why this was the highlight of my trip.
The Jatiluwih (announced “Jah Tea Louie”) rice terraces are a UNESCO heritage site, and have been around in some form or another since the 9th century!
When you see the terraces, you honestly can’t believe how green everything is. And every shade of green you see after experiencing the rice terraces all seem a little more muted.
To fully appreciate the scenery, I went on a bike ride up for a few hours up and down the terraces. It was so hard (coz of how hot and humid it was), but a meditative experience. There were very few people (specifically tourists) around other than the villagers and locals.
Throughout the day, I’d stop and marvel at my surroundings. (I’d also stop coz I’d bike up hills that felt like 90 degree angles.) And as I stared at the vast fields, I kept thinking the same thing:
“How did this all get here?”
And the answer was right in my hands…grains of rice!
The moment I realized this, the more impressive the rice terraces were.
Think about it – these tiny grains are the reasons for some of the most awe-inspiring landscape you’ll ever see.
Not only that, these rice paddies are feeding families in over 14 villages, and have been doing so for over a thousand years.
But none of it would be possible with the rice grain.
It’s a reminder that the smallest things do have a huge impact.
Your goals and dreams are like the Jatiluwih rice paddies – they take time and energy to harvest and care for, but all of that hard work will pay off.
However, you won’t grow anything without your grain of rice – your first step, your small win. You have to plant your rice before you can ever grow it.
So if you’re waiting for the right moment or feel like the tiniest effort is insignificant, don’t. Take your grain of rice and stick it into the mud. Something beautiful is waiting to grow out of it.
Because if you just hold on to that grain of rice instead of planting it, you’ll just be throwing away a piece of paradise.