I awoke with little energy. I put my heavy feet on the carpeted flooring and wondered if it was a magic carpet as I felt like I was floating above something or was transported somewhere. I open my tired eyelids and discover I am still here for now. I am elsewhere in my mind.
Shit, another day in la- la land.
There is no reason for me to feel this way. I am not depressed. It is not my addiction that is rising its ugly head, it is not for any desires I have, it simply is this. “My serotonin and dopamine levels are very low. How do I know, I am 62 yrs. of age and have been studying myself since I was 36.
As I have aged I have become depleted of any hormones and hormone changes causes low levels of serotonin and neurotransmitter imbalances. Lack of sunlight also drops serotonin levels and since my return from Bali I have been packing to move as we are downsizing so that could be a cause, plus the stress of moving. (adrenal issue )
Dopamine is produced from amino acids from protein rich foods so I need to pay more attention to my food intake.
What does this all have to do with mental illness, PLENTY.
I am witnessing myself as I walk through this transition and I can see why my father and I drank. (and his father, and his father, and so on. )
If he was lacking these important chemicals and feeling like I feel, of course the alcohol would have given him the energy to wake up to another day. The liquid gold of the rum he so loved would have allowed him to not feel the dampness within, the dryness of his energy, the cloud in his brain. The drink would wake him up ,to stay awake he needed more.
Mental illness is not about, “stop drugs, stop drinking, stop abusing, it’s about, “Let’s get to the cause” “Lets wake up to mental Illness” “let’s stop judging”. Let’s find out why some people have less of these chemicals in their brain and others are more balanced. When we think of someone imbalanced we go to the negative, never considering they have a lack of a certain hormone or chemical.
The deaths of my brother and daughter to suicide was an eye opener to mental illness in our family. I did not acknowledge it from the alcoholism, abuse or anger in our family. I did not see it when I or our daughter was unable to move one foot in front of the other. I did however become aware of changes when Melanie was pregnant for her children. Her moods were ecstatic, happy and cheerful. She was a delight to be around for those nine months but after her children were born, within two weeks she was tired, depressed, went through erratic moods swings once again. These swings started when she was 12 yrs. old and going through adolescent. What we call “those teenage years”.
Today it is time I take time out. I am in need of rest, meditation, wholesome food, less sugar intake, exercise (although moving this body is an issue). I just need to close my eyes and allow the magic carpet ride to begin, one foot at a time. I am not in a race and will go at my own pace.
I write this for those of you reading . You may have had such experiences at some point in your life and it is important you understand you are not crazy.
For those of you who are balanced, stop judging us, that is crazy.
The World Of In -Between
Once I am in Canada , March 1st , John and I head to Florida for our yearly visit for two months.
During April’s full moon , I place one of my crystal’s outside on a table for cleansing. I leave it out there for a few days and on one of those days a dove comes to sit on it . I say to John, ”that’s strange, Prana is here , he has a message. His message is that he is not well and will be leaving soon. I need to stay in connection with his family. I do not email or text Wah or Mantra but a friend , Brooke Martin and Manqku Made. “Is Prana feeling well?” I ask. “Yes Ibu, he is a little tired and weak but he received natural medicine and he will be fine”. I check Prana and Wah’s astrology charts and Prana is not fine. I know in my gut he is leaving and I am burdened with this information. I cannot tell his family or anyone except for John and a close friend Lucia. In the next few months life goes on accordingly ,however I am still apprehensive. In May Prana’s family go on vacation , a rest but Prana does not join. I feel it in my body, the beginning of his demise. June 22, I receive text from Wah about his father’s health. He is being treated for low energy, appetite and general condition. There is also liquid around his heart. I begin a prayer group with those who have travelled to Bali with me. I call it Agung Prana’s Angels. I request prayers for Prana and his family. Mostly for acceptance for what is to come. The family is having difficult time when final results come in and they move him to another hospital hoping for better results. Three days later Prana leaves his body.
The planet has lost a King, Humanitarian , Visionary, Mentor, Entrepreneur, Companion, Father, Statesman, Mystic. Something inside me has shifted and changed. I weep. When my brother Dereck passed in 2000, I felt I loss a limb. When our daughter left , I lost my mind for a span of time, when my parents left within three yrs of Melanie, I lost my heart. With Prana’s passing , I cannot explain. There are no words in the English language to describe. Bits of my soul is missing , my limbs, mind and heart all together. It’s a slow progression putting them back together.
I leave for Bali to attend cremation ceremony July 16th and arrive on the 18th. I have missed the first of many sacred ceremonies. The Bathing Ceremony.
Mrs Prana,(Arine), Agung Wah, His brother, Mantra Bugus and Prana’s daughter Decy take Prana’s body to his home in Puri Taman Sari. They are not about to hand him over to just anyone or an undertaker as we would do in our culture. They have many ceremonies to prepare.
The Bathing Ceremony is held on Prana’s 70th birthday, July 12th. The village and Prana’ friends are invited to witness the family in this holy sacred ritual. The family lovingly hand bath his body with holy water, oils and spices. They then put him in dry ice and lay him in the sacred pavilion located next to his room. They construct a tower where many offerings are placed. These offerings, called canang sari (canang, roughly translated as ‘basket of flowers’ and sari meaning ‘essence’), are hand-sized, origami-like, carefully constructed open boxes, made of palm or banana leaves and most commonly filled with bright fresh flowers. Each flower is selected for its color and each color has a specific significance. Occasionally, money, a small bit of food, or a burning incense stick is placed on top of the offering. The tower is filled with many offerings to help Prana’s soul’s journey.
You must remember that houses are not like our homes in North America. Here they consists of bedroom, kitchen , dining, altars all outside in open concept.
Another procedural is called Mekarya Alam Tegak . The entire village is invited to prepare food for cremation ritual. Because they will be busy in the next few days with so many ceremonies they are asked to take food home for the next few days from what they are prepared.
In the evening another ceremony called Mesesalin Munggah tumpeng salu is preformed at 23:45hours. The main point of this ceremony is the changing of the sarong of the body with offerings.
The next day at 1:00pm we have the Manah Toya Ning. The villages, family parade to sacred river in village and collect holy , white and clean water to bring back to Prana’s body for future ceremony. As water is collected by the priest and family we and then in prayer of acceptance of this water. All together we are in ritual for a hour.
Later in the day at 3:00am we proceed and are witness to one of the most joy filled ,yest sorrow filled precessions. There is a huge parade with two huge chairs which sit two of Prana’s grandchildren. The holy water is blessed once again. When we return to compound, home of family, there is a song sung to sing goodbye to the body before its cremation the next day. It is the melancholiest song and sound I have ever heard. There are many tears and afterwards, 5 year old grandson begins to cry to his mother, “ why do I have to say goodbye to grandfather?” Those of us who witness this exchange are heartbroken and feel much compassion for this brave wee one.
Following this there is another ceremony for the grandchildren , this one is so that they will carry on their grandfathers vision into the future. With each ceremony there is holy water sprinkled on everyone as well as prayers said.
Towards the end of the day there is my favourite ceremony .The Miaspas Kajang.
This means the Purification of symbol of human body. The family prepares with the help of high priest on sacred cloth a likeness of body. This is done with Chinese coins and family is asked to come forward and stitch their energy into symbolic body on a cloth. I am grateful and filled with wonder to be asked to participate.
I have been invited to all the rituals the family is preforming. To be enmeshed into family like this is an honor and a privilege. I am considered family here as well as the Goodman’s from Tucson , Arizona. I wrote about them in another chapter. Bobbie Goodman came here two weeks prior to have ceremony of her husbands ashes in the Bali Sea in Permuteran. We joked that Allan , her husband came to pick Prana up. In life they were very close for the last twenty years. Bobbie has experienced the death of her husband in Nov and now our beloved Prana. It is not an easy time for her but she is a pillar of strength. I learn many spiritual lessons from this goddess of wisdom. One of them the importance of non attachment. Her energy is very Zen. A women filled with peace and acceptance.
July 21st, I awake at 4:00am to prepare for Cremation. It begins at 6:00 to pray , receive blessings ,move some of the many offerings, wreaths and posters that paid respect to this great man. There are literally hundreds of them.
I sit in peace and quiet as I observe and absorb all that is happening around me. The family seems to be doing well despite the sorrow in their hearts.
There are once again many rituals & prayers offered for family to prepare them .
We are ready to remove both Prana’s physical body and his soul body which we were able to add a stitch of ourselves yesterday. The soul body had been laid upon his physical body. The family lead the procession to cemetery. There are a least a thousand people present. As they lift bodies I notice that Prana’s sister in law , Arine’s sister begins to shake. I intuitively know that Prana is about to enter her. Boddie, myself & David, a friend of Bobbie’s who was also very close to Prana approach her to steady her balance. She grabs us by the hands and say’s “COME”
We walk very fast, and the procession widens to allow us to walk through. Yes, Prana is directing us . He leads us to four temples , we are not yet allowed to enter until the 12th day of mourning. We stand outside praying the Gayatri Mantra as we are instructed. I have not memorized this sacred Sanskrit chant yet but I pray every word as it is being challenged into me. Prana talks to us with messages that I do not wish to speak about here as it is very whole, holy, sacred and for our eyes, ears , soul only . To be with Prana before he leaves is one of the most exquisite , sacred, sorrow filled, joy filled experiences of my life. I do not expect anything to surpass this wonder in my lifetime. To those of you who have wondered or doubted that there is an in between , unseen world , trust me , this place exists. I have witnessed it. When we die , we have time on this earth in spirit form before we finally leave with the help of ceremonies to move to our next Karma . We in our culture have so much to learn from the Balinese. When our daughter passed away, she was cremated and her ashes given to her daughters. We did not have any other ceremonies to help Melanie with her transition. I was not able to grieve properly. I allowed myself to be in my own hell for almost five years. This hell planted itself into my body and hence the extra weight gain.
Now I understand why and once home I too will help our family with the correct way to grieve as I have been learning here. In our culture we know nothing about the soul and what really happens and how important it is to have ceremonies to release the deceased as well as ourselves. There is no death. We are on a journey of the soul. We enter the planet to serve and then we depart to return home to the divine to begin another existence.
At the cemetery, there are many prayers , offerings before Prana’s bodies(soul & physical) and his items that he loved are laid into the sacred bull. Once the fire begins it is here that the family struggles with their sorrow. Bobbie and I handhold and help where needed to offer our love and support.
Once body has purified into ashes , the same bits of bones remaining in ash are removed and the family , Bobbie, David and myself are asked to approach in yet another ceremony where we roll and help crush the remailing bones. We then proceed to river where all his ashes are released into the flow of life.
We return to home where we all share a meal together.
Wait, this is not the end of ceremonies.
The next morning we begin three days of walking to ceremony to break bread ,breakfast together with Prana. There is myself and a few members of family only. They place food for Prana on the ground where he was cremated to help nourish him while his soul is still walking the earth. After the third day this ritual stops and we go into quiet and mourning. I choose to eat nothing but soup at this time. We are in mourning until the twelfth day which will be August 2rd. I leave that day to return home but before I do , we have ceremony at sacred river to retrieve Prana’s soul. We then proceed back to crematory to pray and totally release Prana’s body to the heavens. When he is released he will follow his Karma and none of us know what that is. Such is alpha, omega. beginning, endings, light ,shadow, all is in balance. The family will continue with Prana’s Passion , his dreams and legacy . They will hurt when they think of him their sorrow will be lifted as they know Papa is now guiding them. Love never dies. Their heart is devoted and faithful to him. I also will be faithful, devoted to his dream, his family , his project, “Center of Hope.”
Footnote: In our culture we do honor our deceased. We lay them out and call it a wake , we sometimes cremate or have formal burial. Food is an important component as friends and neighbours bring us offerings to sustain us for the duration of grief week. Whenever there are tragic killings usually we rally together in candle lit environments to either pay tribute to the deceased or to protest the chaos. We are also in ceremony during these times, we are simply not aware that we are in ritual.
In the English dictionary mysticism is define
Agung Prana, Winner of 32 awards for Tourism , Coral Reef restoration , CNN Hero’s Award plus many more.
I arrive home late November from our spiritual journey to Bali with Andrew Harvey and 12 others.
I have a deep inner desire to return to Bali in January of 2018. There seems to be a rush to return but I have no idea why. I tell John it is to try and finish this book. He understands and I arrive Jan 26th for a month . I have no idea at the time the motivation for this trip. It will take me 5 months to recognize the significance.
When I first arrive I am making business plans with Agung Wah for “The Centre of Hope “and purchasing Villa number 26 and 27 for myself and Lucia. Wah’s personal baker comes to us in Puri and all arrangements are made. Bank account opened etc.
Another important compotent of this trip is that in the villas next to me are three people from Jarkata. They are Muslim , Jimmy, Wiwies and her husband, Yusnan. Yusnan is the CEO of Bali coin and Jimmy is their promotion manager. They are here to introduce Bali coin to businesses. Agung Prana is on board as well as others in the local area. Bali Coin is a Crypto Discount Voucher based on Ethereum ERC20 Blockchain Techologies , which can be used for Tourism.
It is cycled as a way for tourist to save on accommodations, purchases and other molarities. However, I am not interested in Bali coin to save money, I am attracted because I never again want to go to ATM or use credit card while here in Bali. Undoubtingly there is still shadow lurching and you will meet it when it comes to the ATM and using credit cards. I cannot tell you the number of times myself or the clients I taken here have run into problems. Not being able to withdraw moneys or having our Visa compromised. With Bali Coin, you no longer have to worry.
I hang out with these three Muslims for a week and learn about their religion. They have many symbols similar to catholic but under a difference name. I loved that when we are in temple together, we have Hindu, Muslim & Catholic all praying to the same GOD. It would be difficult to experience this in other parts of our planet. Why do I mention all of this, to allow you to feel that Bali is a culture of acceptance.
Most of the month is spent with Agung Prana. He encourages me to finish book and we discuss plans for Center of Hope. I begin to call “Center of Hope” , Prana’s Passion .
We meet for breakfast and dinner each day. In evening we go to temple to pray and receive blessings. I am astonished that he is spending so much time with me on this trip. I am very humbled and grateful that this wise mentor of mine has made the time. I take in his every word as if it is his last. I record him and his dreams on my Iphone with his permission. Sometimes we simply sit at his table overlooking the Bali sea and allow ourselves to simply BE. No words spoken, we communicate in silence. My love for this man has nothing to do with how we love in our culture. It is not physical, it is soul full. I am reminded that I am his soul sister. A Queen to his King. A servant to his humanity. You must remember at this time he has won 32 awards for his work . In April of 2018 , he wins the CNN Hero’s Award.
We leave Pemuteran together to return to Puri Tama Sari. Late in the evening I am invited to dine with Prana and his wife Arine who has cooked our delights herself . Our meal consists of traditional Balinese cuisine. Rice, tempe, curry chicken, and fish dishes. In Balinese tradition all is cooked in coconut oil and many spices are added , especially chili. If you have not eaten their condiment called Sambal matah you will not have experienced the best in Bali. This sambal is one of Bali’s most popular sambals. You can almost think of it as a salsa or finely sliced chilli salad. There are many variations but the basic sambal matah contains fresh red or green chilli, roasted shrimp paste, red shallots and shredded lime leaves mixed with coconut oil. It is particularly fabulous with seafood and grilled white meat.
The next day I visit Mankgu Made’s for Ocean , Moon, River & Lake ceremonies. This is a three day event. I hang out with a lovely young women from Australia, Brook Martin. Ocean ceremony is held in the Bali sea in Sanur. This ritual is to cleanse our aura’s and to open the third eye. Made will not allow you to leave ocean until he sees your aura clean and your third eye open. The next evening we attend Full Moon ceremony at his location in Desa Vayu. It is raining and I mean pouring with thunder and lightning as we trek our way down to the river for opening ritual. It is a downward walk for a least 1 ½ Kilometres. There are many to help us keep our balance as we silently journey to our location. First there is the sacrifice of a duck and a chicken. At first Brooke and I are alarmed but we remind ourselves not to judge as this is Balinese tradition. After sacrifice ceremony we wait for the lightening to subside so we can go into the river at midnight for another ceremony but alas the river is running wildly so we have ceremony on the river’s ledge. We then proceed up once again to top of hill to Desa Vayu and experience Moon ceremony. This ceremony is to enhance our abundance. Monetary and divinely. Made believes that if we are healthy we are wealthy in every since of the word. Health , wealth and happiness is our divine right.
The ceremony begins with prayers to the Gods , Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. asking permission for ceremony. Brahma, is the supreme force present within all things, Vishnu is the preserver of the universe and Shiva’s role is to destroy in order to re-create. We are all seated on individual stools in a row. His wife Nyoman gives us incense to pray over our individual huge clay pot in front of us. In the pot is holy water and sandalwood oil. Made approaches each one of us and pours out all the water via a sacred spoon and pours over our head until clay pot is empty. I have never been chilled during this experience and I have had many. Made explains that if your charka’s are in alignment you will not feel cold. You will only feel warmth and his is correct as I continue to feel this warmth throughout my body.
Our charka’s are energy wheels that rotate in us. There are seven in total. Chakras, by definition, are energy centers within the human body that help to regulate the immune system and our emotions. Seven chakras are positioned throughout your body, from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Each chakra has its own vibrational frequency, color, and governs specific functions that help make you, human. I am also learning from Made that these charka’s are also the planets that rotate in us. Mercury is our crown, Venus our third eye, Mars throat, Jupiter our heart, Saturn solar plexus, Uranus our sexual organs, and Neptune our root.
We are energy. All living things are created by and comprised of energy. As are the planets. The ability of your energy centers to function optimally is what keeps you psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually in balance.
It is three o’clock in the morning, it is still raining when we depart for our beds. I fall into a slumber of peace.
We awake in the morning to discover yet another ceremony. This one I have never experienced. It is called Lake Ceremony.
We trek our way to LakeTamblingan with Mankgu Made and his followers. We climb down over 150 steps. I am shocked once I reach the end. How I will get up those steps is to be seen by myself and the unseen. His devotees carry ceremony basket offerings to the lake. In a flash, everything is set in motion to begin. Made rings his sacred bell and begins praying to the gods of the lake for entry. It appears we are accepted and he quickly looks at us to see which face we have. We all are invited to enter the lake and Made gives us instructions and prayers.
There are a total of 8 faces .
First is :
- Balinese Pangkung, Dry River Bed, this is the face of someone who is lacking in energy and very tired.
- Telabah – creek face, this is face of low energy and finances
- Carik – rice paddy face, is someone who works hard for a living
- Tukad – river face, a person who is flowing and able to work and accomplish
- Kolam – pool face, face of somebody who has plenty but resistance to change and sharing
- Clebutan – spring face , a person who is an educator of spirituality and may have business
- Pasih – ocean face , someone who is filled with plenty and sharing their wealth with others
- Danu – lake face , In Bali thus far there was only one person Mankgu Made met who has Lake Face. This is a man who has many riches, shares with everyone and has balance in his life, both spirituality and monetary gain.
After our ceremony we make the long walk up the steps and I am helped by a young man. He is very patient with me as my knee from the fall I took a few years ago slows me down a wee bit. We drive to a compound where we are fed and Made waits to see who among us has changed . I am told that I had Spring face before ceremony and now I have ocean. It is not a coincidence that upon my return to Puri many ask what has changed in me. I also receive the same words upon my return home a few days later plus the loss of 6 lbs.
I return to my home in Puri for my last evening and am invited by Prana to join him and his family for a late Diner at his daughter Decy’s restaurant on the ocean in Sanur. Agung Mantra Bugus , Prana’s oldest son is there as well as Bali Coin Group. Prana and I share a fish platter together. Wah & Mia’s children are there to say goodbye to Grandma Lilly. Prana is in his jeans and shirt and I chuckle as I have not witnessed him in all our 15 years together in western attire . He walks me to the car that is to take me to airport and I sing him my goodbye . He laughs, “Until I see you again Ibu Lilly” .
It is the last time I will see Agung Prana in this lifetime. The date is February 23rd, 2018.
We love You Melanie
Some days the sorrow is too great to bear
I see and hear her everywhere
Her blessings became a burden
She did not know we knew or cared
Some days the sorrow is a window into the past
We weep for all that was
And all that could not last
Some days the sorrow is a blessing
A reminder of the pain, knowing a love so great
Is a gift from spirit below and above
Some days the sorrow is a passage
Into the suffering of others
That we are not alone
The path is lined with silver
A cord leading us home.
‘Just for today, Let the spirit of collective sorrow have us”
I saw something the other day that said, “turning tragedy to triumph.”
For the life of me I cannot begin turning your tragedy to triumph.
Writing Madness, Addiction & Love was a start. It was written to help others especially your children and their children. My hope was to help them understand what madness and addiction look like. The real chaos that takes place in families when their loved ones are hurting and decide to medicate with booze, control, bullying, over spending or the disease to please. You know it was not written to harm anyone only to tell the truth, our truth. It was written in hopes that we could stop this madness.
Tragedy to triumph is not something that happens overnight. It is a steady process of the integration of our mind, body and our spirit. Our cells still have so many memories. Sometimes these come up with a vengeance and I am still left with the hollow anguish of missing you.
That is not a victory which is another word for triumph. That is still painful, the awe of the raw. I go into that pain when needed. You are with me in that pain . You are with me when I am with your children playing and laughing. You are with me in my dreams and while I am planting new ideas, gardening or giving birth to a new project. You are with me when I am with your beloved father and that is almost daily now that he is retired. I suppose now that you are in spirit form you are with me and the rest of family more than when you were alive as you were in such pain, from the day of your premature birth to your premature death.
Our sacred Contracts, our pattern of behaviors is not to be taken for granted or judged by ourselves or anyone else. It is a passage into the unknown that only God and us really understand. It is here that we make our choices. It is here that we understand free will. God loved us that much, to allow us to find our way home. The mystic in us awakens when we are able to accept what is, that would be the rejoicing. The triumph.
To hear your voice one more time, to see you hold your children, walk with your dad, cuddle your beloved cats, cook your own unique steak is not going to happen right now. But in our hearts, the spirit of you lives in us forever. “Just for today, letting the love of you have us”
#madness #addiction #love
What a tumultuous mess we are in. Yes, you, me, our world.
Most of us on this planet (our home) are confused, muddled, puzzled, mystified, unruly, anarchic, disorderly, and for some, lawless. Where in the name of all that is holy is the heart & soul of who we are as a species? We have been gifted with life amid a blue planet that spins and gives us existence and still we are not satisfied or content. We quench for more. More money, more power, more control, more influence, more junk in our trunks, more stuff. We are a mess and have helped make an abyss of darkness on this heaven on earth. Our earth, there is only one and because we have helped destroy it, tree by tree, city by city, person by person we are now looking at how to find a home on Mars. What the hell? Why not find the tools to clean up this one? First ourselves, our environment, our animal kingdom. Let us serve and assist one another? Gather and learn a new perspective of empowering one another and discover lifelong skills to grow up, flourish, expand. We are in a dark night and it’s time to shed some light. This is a period in our time to feel the” awe of the raw “, not with fear but hope. What is the awe of the raw? It’s pain and discomfort that we are in and leaves us in so much anguish that we finally wake up and say” I’m alive”.
NOW, let us stop resisting, and start assisting.
Be aware, never afraid for a dark night can take us down and we need assistance so let’s get with it and get real, for ourselves, one another, and future generations.
You are asking, how do we do that? There are many systems, tools, traditions, structures & methods.
You are reading this book because I have found one that works. It has taken me on a lifetime journey half way around the globe to find it. But find it I did and it is holy, whole, delightful & heavenly. Come, let’s go together into the heart of Bali.
This book is written into two sections.
Section 1: how I discovered Bali and the absorbing lessons encountered when travelling with others on their own spiritual quest. In this section, you will come to believe in angels, synchronicities, and hope.
Section 2: how the Balinese culture teaches us to live in light and shadow so we are in harmony with the in between worlds.
In this section, you will learn how Agung Prana helped his community of Pemuteran in north Bali and why he has won over 32 awards worldwide. Awards such as CNN hero’s, National Geographic, and more.
You will also meet Mangku Made Subur , a mystic ,a shaman who is healing cancer.
You will also meet other mystics I and others have encountered alone the routes of empowerment.
Bali is indeed an island of mystery and mysticism.
Are you ready? Let us go together.
Are you interested in coming to Bali with us in fall 2018, let’s connect.