Ni Made Dresning

Bening (Ni Made Dresning)
From Munduk, Besdala
Lives in Ubud
53 years old
This is who I am in the world….
I am still finding out who I am and what I am doing on this planet in my meditation!
I am the woman who is very lucky right now. I question how I have gotten in this position in this life right now. I feel so so happy. I came from a very tough and very difficult journey. To be here right now, I feel like a real human being.
I was born in a very poor family in a very poor village with seven siblings. My parents were rice farmers in the North of Bali where it is very dry with no water and difficult to receive benefits from the field. My mum had to go to another village to work in a coffee plantation for a very small salary so she could buy food for all of us.
I could only go up to Year 6 at school as my parents couldn’t pay for me to stay, even though I wanted a good education. I would go out to find a job and see my friends going to school with nice shoes. Things that I couldn’t have. I moved to Denpassar in the South to work as a Pembuntu (helper) for a wealthy family from Jakarta, cooking, cleaning and attending to the children. Aged between 13 to 15 years, this gave me the experience of being an independent girl, even though the salary was very small and the work tough.
I then returned to my family, where my mother had a problem with her boss. She had collected fish, rice, and peanuts from him and tried to sell it to our village. Given that 75 percent of the village were very poor, they took from my mother and didn’t pay, meaning that she couldn’t pay her boss back. I worked for my mother’s boss for three years to release her of her debt. I received no pay of my own and the working conditions were not good for my mental health.
When I was 17 years old, my older sister married and moved to Badung, also in the South. Without a phone, this was like her moving to America. My sister was not comfortable with her husband’s family and cried a lot. I was sent to live with my sister and her husband in his family compound. While my sister and her husband travelled a lot for his work, I was left at the compound with her mother in law who would take my allowance and not provide food.
When my sister had babies, she no longer needed me to be there as she had company. At 19 years old, I looked for a job in Denpassar. I made friends and had a Balinese boyfriend. We played table tennis and he was wealthy and studying to be a doctor. I was in an accident while borrowing his motorbike and I was in hospital. The other woman in the accident almost died and my boyfriend did not want the responsibility of my predicament, leaving me without support.
A very nice, yet old police man came and offered to help me. He then wanted to marry me without a law. For the third time, I gave my life to someone else as I married him. When I got pregnant , despite him being a tough man with an unkind family, I couldn’t handle it anymore after spending my life attending to everyone else and I broke the rule and left. Eventually, I managed to get a divorce, which was a rare thing to do, for a woman, in those days - and in many cases still is today. Unfortunately, under Balinese cultural rules, it’s bad to have a child and not be married and together with a husband - I had no choice but to give away my baby daughter, in order to save the honour of my entire family.
My daughter “Putri” was taken in by one of my older sister’s family, where she grew up as one of theirs.
After yet another very traumatic experience, which took every bit of my life energy, I returned to Ubud and was so lucky to meet foreigners, who taught me about living an independent life, about healing myself and moving away from trauma. I learned a lot from tourists, expats and other foreigners about life, independence, self-discovery, meditation, yoga and how to be open minded. I met a couple who took me to Perth, Australia and I got a job there. I was like “wow! This Universe is so big!”. I thought it was this small island, and then it’s actually very nice!
The couple sponsored me with food and a room and I worked for them two hours daily. As I looked for other work, I was happy. I then had some money.
I returned to Bali and started a small property and tour business. I also went to Singapore. I met a very talented woman from France, who showed me how to make jam. As I focussed, the woman brought me to the same level as women who had been to school and University and who had lived a good life. She taught me the trade and about business to very strict French standards. And, I became a business woman!
The woman later decided to return to France, and I took over her business, giving me the chance to change my life even more. The whole Jam making business is now much bigger, we have a new production facility and a Fresh Fruit shop and Bistro. Our products are sold in major hotels around the island and we ship small amounts of our products outside Indonesia.
I believe in karma and I believe that the Universe opened a door for me. I also met my real love. I now know what real love is. Where my life was bitter and flat before, with no sun, I now feel the wind, and the atmosphere. I met him when we were both volunteering at a charity. I prayed that I wanted to meet real love, someone who really loved me and I really love him. I meditated about the man I wanted to meet and where I wanted to meet him.
And then life answered my prayer! It’s no surprise to me that he is a foreigner, too. He supports everything in my life and my business. We are already happily married for over 5 years now. I am eternally grateful for how my life has transformed,
I am a strong woman, talented, tough, and I am so proud of myself. I can pass in this life very well. I have a good relationship with my family, despite everything, and I am so glad and thankful to anybody who is a part of my journey. I was blocked from seeing my daughter from four and five years, until she was 16 years of age. It is made difficult for women to see their children when they separate from the father and many people must first agree. If one says no, the woman cannot see her children. My daughter now works in my business and still lives with my sister’s family, but everything is much better now.
I support local farmers through my business by buying their produce for my jams, fresh Fruit shop and Bistro. I have 32 flavours of jam that are made from local fruit and ingredients . I now teach foreigners who visit about the local fruit and produce.
I also have been able to travel more and have visited some European countries, especially my husband’s family and friends, which was a very special experience for me, because now I have a father and mother again, since my own parents have both died already.
This is the transformation story I would like next written for other women, in similar situations …….
Of course, it is different for different women, with different stories, characters, and karma. We have to be strong and independent. It is special and difficult for Balinese women to be independent and to resist giving the responsibility of our life to others. Balinese women tend to be scared to go anywhere and to be independent. It is a big process to move from the cultural limitations and gender restrictions to becoming a more self-assured, confident and possibly successful (business) woman. Luckily, in my opinion, today’s new generation of young girls are in a much better position to find opportunities and self expression.
However, If we want to be in a good position, we need to fight for it. We can’t sit in the chair and wait for it to happen. It’s all worth it though, when we can become proud of how far we have come. I never went to school, I never learned about business, and now I manage everything for my staff, my business, I go to Jakarta for meetings, and I am in a community filled with business women.
Balinese women do not have the space to think, live, and feel for themselves as they are so worried about what others will say and in living for others, by means of our traditional family and village structures. Occasionally we wake up and live for ourselves.
This is the story I would like to next write for myself….
I do not ask for lots of money or a big house. I want to be happy, kind and patient. I am here now and I don’t want to be somebody else or somewhere else. I am happy with what I am now.
This is my dream! It’s here. I’m just following it very gently, like it’s a river. I’m not asking the universe to “give me”, I just surrender and tell it I’m ready for what it wants to give me now. I’m happy with my husband, and my business is going well. I have kept locals employed and I can share my business profits with them and also give some to my family.
Would I want my own house and not renting, a little more money so I don’t need to work so hard anymore, the pandemic to be over for more traveling and seeing other countries? Of course! I’d love to go to Austria and play and ski in the snow! Of course! Everybody needs dreams like this….
This is why we say “Terima Kasih” as a means to say “Thank you”– ‘Terima’ translates to receive and ‘Kasih’ to give. This means that what the Universe gives, we also give back. We do not have one without the other.
So, therefore I’m very grateful to have been able to give my story in this place. I hope and wish to inspire and give strength to other women, who can surely do many things like I have done. Everything in life is possible, with deep passion, self belief and focus. My story is proof that I am speaking the truth.

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