No ceremony in Lombok

Seseh, Bali, Indonesia.

I spent the last 3 days with my brother on Lombok, an island that is 20 minutes by plane from Bali. Or 6 hours by fast ferry but taking boats, buses and trains just doesn’t seem to happen that much. Flying has become too cheap to feel guilty about taking the easy way.

Lombok is different from Bali. It is dry and a lot more rugged, has a desert-like feel to it. It is also a lot poorer; it felt like flying 60 years back in time. And it is Islamic and not Hindu. Not very strict, I think. The island doesn’t feel as spiritual as Bali. When I asked 20-year-old girl if she was Muslim he said yes and when I asked it she would eat halal food she said yes. “So no bacon?” I asked her. She giggled and said “sometimes”.

It was cool to do a trip with my big little brother. He has been living in Bali for 6.5 years now and speaks the language very well. He has always been good at picking up new languages. We rented motorbikes and went to a different beach every day. The beaches are gorgeous on Lombok. They have the white sand and the turquoise water.

There were very few tourists; if we saw people on the beach they were local. Other beaches were completely deserted. But when we were spotted by a group of locals we got the movie star treatment: they all wanted their picture taken with the huge white men from overseas. I had the impression that when they go on a day trip, they go with the whole ‘banjar’ or village. So they want a group picture and then all them want a separate picture. I would take us almost an hour or so to get the job done. This included posing with babies, children and the ‘macho’ men of the banjar. We had our 50 minutes of fame.

Satya had given me some homework. She had suggested that I should improvise a small ceremony for my deceased father. I thought it was a good idea to do this with my brother since it was his father too, of course. My father didn’t exactly live a life filled with good deeds and heartwarming moments before he died in 2006. He was never around since my 4th year and I saw him for the first time when I was 24. I saw him only 3 times in my life.

One of the key things in Satya’s teaching is healing the family lineage. If we don’t fully accept and embrace where we come from we can never fully accept and embrace who we are. Even if our parents were less then perfect we have to learn to fully accept them. It is not so easy. When we start our path we find out pretty soon that most of our destructive beliefs and patterns are inherited from and installed by our parents. But when we don’t forgive we can’t heal. But we also can’t fake forgiveness; if we pretend to forgive by denying that we feel resentment we are violating ourselves. This makes us miss the point.  Forgiving is not burying our pain in an anonymous grave and pretending it never happened. We can only forgive when we truly and completely acknowledge the damage done and then see that the perpetrator really could not have done any better (and would have done better if he could). Then we can drop the load. Damaged people cause damage, healed people heal people. By getting rid of our load we can stop repeating the inherited patterns.

I know the value of forgiveness. And I really felt that I had become clean with my father (although not until after his death). But Satya told me his soul is suffering and asked me if I could do something. To set free a tormented soul sounds like a good and compassionate thing to do and to keep punishing my father for the things he has done or didn’t do after his death by deliberately not helping him seems too harsh. Also not unimportant: by freeing my father I free parts of myself and hopefully also in all the other family members affected by him.

But I didn’t do the ceremony. Yet. I didn’t have the courage nor the confidence to do this with my brother. Our communication is not of the smoothest kind and he doesn’t seem to be too interested in what I do or try to do. In some sense we are on the same wavelength, in another sense we are not. Not only is my path different than my brother’s path, also his history with our father is a bit more complicated than mine. Also the circumstances on Lombok were no too favorable. I find this a very difficult assignment. I find it more important to have a good relationship with my brother than with my now deceased and formerly absent father. I don’t want to impose weird spiritual fluffy bunny stuff on my brother. At the same time it seems very important to create closure of these old family wounds together with him and and it seems very beneficial for all others involved too. As my brother said two days ago: “it is hard to be who you are”. Everybody needs all the support available.

I have 48 hours to find courage and inspiration. This is the right time. There is something going on with spirits in Bali at this time. They are going back on Friday and I am leaving myself on Saturday morning. I will do my best.

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  1. says

    It is nice to see your smile in this picture! It’s kind of a “is this really happening, this is pretty funny, I’m just gonna go with it” kind of a smile. Love it. I am very interested in your ceremony, I hope you post how it goes, when you end up actually doing it. It sure does make sense. I haven’t done anything like this for my deceased and estranged father either, so I am anxious to hear how you feel after. I can understand Satya’s point and can see how the ceremony could release him and you. From my heart, I hope it works for you. Let us know!

  2. Mam says

    Lieve mannen van me, wat staan die baby’s jullie goed! Wat zou het heerlijk zijn als jullie allebei de juiste vrouw eens vonden en ik dan na verloop van tijd een heel eigen kleinkind in m’n armen zou kunnen houden ….. I’ll keep on dreaming and praying. Love you!

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