2014 lessons, successes & memories, part 1

Indulge me while, over the next few posts, I’ll take a stroll through 2014, learn its lessons, smile at its successes and remember its most memorable moments, most of them exquisitely good but one, awfully sad…

I lost my beloved Dad a year ago, 25.1.14.  He was 89 years old.  I’m not going to tell you tales of what a wonderful man he was or how deep the loss is.  Not here, not now.  But I will explain a little of how being in Bali helped me deal with my emotions.

Harry Edward John Silvester, my Dad

Harry Edward John Silvester, my Dad at 88 yrs old eating his favourite pie and mash

You see I’ve come to a realisation… I believe there is no such thing as ‘death’.

I believe that the essence of who Dad was, the essence of who we all are, is ‘energy’.

You cannot create, nor destroy ‘energy’ but,
energy can, and does, change…
from one form to another.
In a similar way that water can become ice – can become steam.

I believe we are all ‘energy’ currently housed in flesh and bones and when our bodies returns to dust and ashes, our essence, our ‘energy’, will continue on a journey that we cannot currently comprehend.

Like one realm closing, in order for another realm to open.

I miss you Dad, in this realm, but I know you still exist in some unknowable way and I take comfort from that.  And, my oh my, what an amazing legacy of fabulous memories, love, advice, jokes and anecdotes you’ve left us with – so it is as if part of you is still here.

Thank you Dad.
1924 – 2014

Dad as a young man working in the London docks

Dad as a young man working in the London docks


Musical poetry at Dragonfly Village

In the midst of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival I performed poetry, along with Yaniq http://yaniq1.wordpress.com/ who played guitar.  This was part of a ‘Spiritual Creative Writing Day’ held at the beautiful retreat, ‘Dragonfly Village’ out in the rice fields.

On arrival we walked past the swimming pool, where the golden flames of a giant bonfire were dancing against a moonlit sky.

Barefoot, we climbed the stairs into the natural bamboo and wood framed building and reclined on comfortable floor chairs (well, they were legless – and no, I don’t mean drunk, as this village is a health retreat and they don’t even serve beer!)

Yaniq singing 'Ticket to Paradise'

Yaniq singing ‘Ticket to Paradise’

Our host, Eagle, welcomed us next to the flower petal mandala she had made on the floor.   The pink, cerise and purple heart had Balinese offerings (canang) inside.

Next to the flower petal mandala

Singing next to the flower petal mandala

We chatted about Eagle’s successful day which had already featured talks, via skype on the big screen, from authors around the world – America, Canada, France, Thailand and then there was myself from England and Yaniq from Bali, Indonesia.

Her other guests for our evening session were Italian, German, English and American – a small, but multi-national, group.

I read poems that fitted with the spiritual theme… ‘Valley of Meditation’, ‘Stone Buddha’, ‘Alternatives’, Who Is It’, Living Consciously’ and ‘I am a Bridge’.

Are you ready for a poem?

Are you ready for another poem?

Yaniq then joined me for musical poetry that we performed together called, ‘TMTTT’ (Meditating), and then he continued to play and sing for us with his own new material, ‘Smile’, ‘Ticket to Paradise’, ‘Lost in a Hammock’, ‘B’cos of You’ and more.

It was a lovely evening and I was pleased that my friends, Sandeh and Ulrika had joined us as well as Karen, who works for the British Embassy in Jakarta.

Karen was here to promote a campaign called, ‘Great’ (putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain).  It’s about encouraging people from Indonesia to study the creative arts and do business in Great Britain.  I couldn’t help suggesting that a reciprocal link would be a good idea too – i.e. get people from the UK to visit Indonesia, and Bali in particular, in order to study the incredible range of arts and culture here, and bring some much needed funds into Indonesia!

Anyway, we gave away free smiles 🙂 during the evening, – if you would like one, just click here.

Images from Galungan Day

Galungan Day is a cause for big celebrations in Bali and it happened on Wednesday, 1 February 2012 (and is about to occur again on 29 August 2012 – and again on 23 Oct 2013).

Decorative bamboo penjors line the streets

Decorative bamboo penjors line the streets

The streets are lined with beautifully decorated bamboo poles called Penjor.  Feasts are prepared throughout the island and Barongs are paraded through the streets by children who play traditional music and collect donations from holidaymakers and Balinese alike – all money goes to the temples.

Childrens Barong dancing in Devilicious Warung

Childrens Barong dancing in Devilicious Warung

During the 10 days between Galungan Day and Kuningan Day the Balinese welcome their gods who ‘descend to earthly realms for the celebrations’.

What do they know

What do they know
that I don’t

How come a whole island
turns up to pray

Where do they get
their belief from

Could it be true
that gods visit Bali
on Galungan Day

Lower part of the penjor outside Savannah Moon restaurant

Lamak and lower part of the penjor outside Savannah Moon restaurant

They certainly get
a royal welcome

Penjors and a
colourful display

Of fruits
representing a mountain

On heads of women –
beautiful ladies
who say

Om swastyastu
in greeting

Om shanti shanti shanti Om
in goodbyes

Wishing the world
peace, always

And balance
through each night
and sunrise

Selamat hari raya Galungan dan Kuningan

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