Dyah: A Paragon of Kindness
One of the most meaningful blessings of running our small fermentary is that we get to rub elbows with most amazing souls. I have known Dyah, a single mother of two and the co-owner of Kopitoko coffee shops in Seminyak, Sanur, and Ubud, Bali, through our kids’ friendships in 2013.
Dyah’s life path was not always smooth. I watched with extreme pains when her personal life was spiraling out of sync. I silently cried for her and wished in secret that similar fate would not befall me nor my other friends. But then I also watched her emerge from ashes like a majestic phoenix and awed by her quality under enormous pressure.
I know it is hard to imagine just by reading this, but with Dyah, her kind-heartedness, authenticity and talents emanate and rub on positivity to anything she touches. In fact, in the timespan I have known Dyah, she rarely uttered negative remarks, even during unfortunate circumstances she was forced to face. Quite remarkable in a world where a lot of people pretend to be someone else or something they are not, speaking of kindness just for a show, without intentions of executing it. But she is not one of those -she stands out; Dyah is like a beautiful flower blooming in the harshest place refusing to succumb to ugliness. Her authenticity touches my heart.
I realize that it is impossible to illuminate the whole essence of her quality in a 5-minute read, but here is a little glimpse of Dyah. Read on.
Heal: Walking into Kopitoko feels like walking into a warm and welcoming living room, with the inviting aroma of fresh coffee. Can you share a bit of how Kopitoko was born and how you and your partners managed to create such a lovely atmosphere?
Heal: And now it has flourished to three coffee shops and a roastery. What were some of the challenges these past 4 years and what other projects are coming?
Heal: I knew you as a potter first. In fact, I use your handmade mugs for my coffee and think of you often as I sip my morning coffee from your handmade mugs. How did you discover your love for pottery?
Returning as a fresh graduate from New Zealand in 1998, I was intrigued by a ceramic class I attended in Jakarta held by the late Mr. Liem Keng Sien. Mr Liem was one prominent Indonesian potter and as I continued to feed my inner curiosity for the art form, I ended up working for Mr. Liem for several months in his art studio -the one he called ‘The University of Rest and Relax’. In the past 20 years, my love for pottery has been one of the constant things in my life that grounded me. Every time I sit in front of the wheel, I am reminded of the importance of patience and trust in the process.
Heal: Your move to Bali was abrupt and sudden, surprising even your inner circle. What made you decide to leave?
My heart knew that my kids and I needed to remove ourselves from the unfavorable environment and circumstances we were facing in Jakarta at that time. I knew we had to move forward, so I dared myself to relocate to another city. No clear plans, yet all I wanted was to do right by my kids. So, we simply packed some luggage and readied up, that was all. Then again, born in Jakarta, my two kids had never lived anywhere else, so you can imagine the fears and anxieties of moving to a completely new town with no friends around, not knowing what the next steps would have been. We were fortunate to have the extensive support of family and friends, many of whom opened their hearts and home as we transitioned into finding a home, enrolling in schools, and settling in Bali. Yes, honestly, it was a big leap of faith, and I just lived my life one day at a time.
Heal: How did you decide Bali to be your safe haven?
Bali is renowned for its positive healing energy, a place where we can easily connect with mother earth to reground, reconnect, and recharge mind and souls. This was exactly what Bali has done for my kids and me, and Bali life was precisely the change we needed. When asked, my children said that their favorite thing about Bali was the humble and friendly people of Bali, and they could not see themselves living anywhere else. In retrospect, we felt like we had arrived at home the first time we stepped foot here.
Heal: Oh Dyah, I could not remember the last time you spoke badly of someone, even during the heights of the ill moment. How do you remain so positive?
I think it just goes back to perspective and intentions. We always have a choice to see everything with a negative or positive lens. There is this saying, before fixing what you are looking at, check what you are looking through. So, it is a conscious choice for me. It is not always easy and I fail sometimes, too. But if we set out with good intentions, I believe whatever happens will be okay. I think it also helps that I love what I do and where I am in life now, so I wake up grateful and I can focus on the path I am supposed to be on.
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Dyah’s story shows the power of a trusting heart and kind intentions. Dyah possesses a deep understanding that the obstacles laid in front of us are never insurmountable to handle. Bali is still very much suffering because of the ongoing pandemic, yet she perseveres and looks ahead, and while doing so always chooses kindness over spitefulness. She embraces others. She constantly tries to lift others and builds herself all the while. She pours her authenticity and offers her big heart in everything she creates. Effortlessly, it appears, yet I know it takes an amazingly strong woman to be able to stay kind during hardships and make it look so effortless. These remarkable qualities are exactly the things that inspire me and these qualities overflow into Kopitoko and her potteries. But please do not take my word -stop by one or all her places and you will see what I have been trying to make you see.
And yes, Dyah, we hear you: we all can always choose kindness over spite. We are all given that conscious choice every time, and that seemingly meaningless choice might be the master key to a kinder, softer, and better world and we thank you for being a real-life paragon of kindness.
Follow her on Instagram, @kopitokobali and @dyahpottery