Christchurch, New Zealand 4-18 January 2010
Congress Update & News
Daily Congress Diary
Arrived bleary eyed, 3.00 a.m., at Christchurch Airport, after an unexpected extra delay at Brisbane. An amazing welcome! How the four members of the Reception Team managed to be so bright and friendly during the graveyard shift is astounding. Two of them have been working on the Congress Team for a year, and here they were ready to guide me to a shuttle and see me safely on my way. Hammond P. even helpfully swapped a few of my old left over US$ for NZ cash to cover my shuttle fare. I’m looking forward to his Lord of the Rings tour next week, to see where the movie was made and hear Hammond’s recollections of life on the movie set.
I’m staying at Oaks on Cashel Street, part of a comfortable chain of hotels and just a short walk to the free city shuttle and a brisk 10 min walk to the Convention Centre. The walk has only been at the stage of good intentions so far.
The nearby Reception Centre at the Caledonian Hall constantly buzzes with new arrivals, busyness, and many meetings and greetings over cups of coffee and cakes at Ro’s Cafe. Peter Jenkins last week had queried how Australian members would be able to get in contact with each other, with many opting for new SIMS mobile phone cards over stacking up calls at International rates. We had wondered about notice boards, and with thanks to many helpful Registration Team members, a large poster was organised on the entrance wall as an ’Australian Contact Corner’, for just this purpose.
Delegates often talk of the coincidences and synchronicities around Congress, and this was my experience as I explored a back street and unwittingly came in through the Convention Centre back entrance, just in time for Women’s Latihan. Maybe 100 people gathered in a very large room with soaring ceiling – perfect for offering up thanks and to begin the Latihan journey inwards in a new land. The energy was strong and I was grateful for the easy landing.
Later there was a kedjiwaan session which promoted inclusion, open heartedness and reaching out, especially to newer members. We shared a little about ourselves to allow comfort at sharing and to help us form connections. Such beautiful stories on different ways of coming to Subud. There were three new members in my small group of 15, from USA, Israel and our own Brisbane, and with an age range from early 20’s to 65 years – all buzzing with the energy and touched and in awe at being here. In another kedjiwaan, one member had been opened in the preceding 24 hours and her freshness and wonder was still palpable. I am reminded of the Zen phrase, ‘Beginner’s mind’, and how we all can benefit from stripping away expectations and past experiences to begin afresh with each Latihan.
Free wiifi is available from Calendonian Hall, and it’s a nice way to conduct personal business over a cuppa and eats. Chatted to Sean A (Melb) and Harry A., who clowned for the website camera, swapping name tags to confuse you all. Both lamented the lack of good quality coffee in NZ. Harry said he’d been traumatised by the Emirates plane from Sydney landing before the movie was finished, and he had thought the pilot should have, at the very least, graciously circled Christchurch until the movie had run to credits.
Sean is trying to work out how best to display his Art book at Congress, having been limited in the number of copies he could fly over due to weight restrictions. We chatted on what a wonderful opportunity Congress offers to see what others are also doing and to have one’s work seen widely.
Harry shared that his first Latihan seemed very heavy, but he often finds this the way at Congresses, as people from all over the world arrive, each with their various baggage, and this takes time to settle. He also had met up with Renee G. (Bris), who had asked him to host the 1000 day Celebrations for Ludwig tomorrow, and for this he feels grateful as Ludwig was a close and valued friend.
After an amazing impromptu breakfast, (Halimah R is a wiz cook), we three grabbed a taxi to catch the 8.30 a.m. Latihan, again in the Congress Hall. The hall filled quickly and a rough count totalled 230 female delegates. The later morning kedgiwan focussed on feeling how our Latihan experience changes by varying the frequency and by varying the level of our surrender to a Higher Life Force.
Today a young computer boffin sitting in Ro’s Cafe got the blank screen of my new Notebook functioning – so easy when you know how, and have the skills and no inhibitions around trying out a range of possible solutions. So although late, stories can now begin to appear on our website.
There is such richness in sharing with friends. Ridwan V. Spoke of how Latihan to him is like the spiral road to God, as in a book title he had read many years ago, and how as understanding and experience of the Latihan evolves it seems to progress in slowly rising circles. He said that you may then come across a point that seems familiar or where you have passed before, but we are in fact looking at this point from a slightly higher perspective, a different bend in the road.
I lunched at the Town Hall’s open terrace, set in lush gardens with ponds and three dandelion puff fountains spilling water in continuous sprays – smaller versions of Sydney’s Kings Cross, El Alamain. Just beyond is the Avon River, which was filled with playful brown ducks and young men in suspenders and boater hats ferrying passengers up and down the shallow stream, using gondolier’s poles. Christchurch is so picturesque and reminiscent of Adelaide, with a central garden square, old stone churches and life at a comfortable flow.
Today was the celebration of Ludwig Goetz’s 1000 days of passing. We gathered at 4.00 pm in the Boater’s Lounge, a large glass- walled room in the Town Hall, overlooking the Avon. Harry Armitage led the simple ceremony and silence to pay respects to Ludwig, a quiet, gentle man, who had touched so many with his big heart, creativity and altruism. Harry spoke of Ludwig’s wonderful life, remembering his strength and peacefulness. Together with Karim McDonald, Dahlan Simpson and Harry, Ludwig had served as a National Helper in the late 1990’s, and when many difficult decisions were made, it was Ludwig they gathered behind, his strength that of a lion as he bravely acted as the spearhead, fronting the problem, and, Harry added, behind which the other three were protected.
Others spoke of Ludwig’s altruism with children in Africa, projects dear to the heart of Ludwig and Renee, who now brushes aside the thanks as, in her words, ‘ it was just something that just needed to be done’. And so was Ludwig also remembered for his humbleness, his lack of seeking acclaim.
Others remembered Ludwig’s sense of humour; his welcoming of youth and creating of a family feeling for young family friends travelling overseas; his strength, creativity and innovation as an architect; his total faith in God’s guidance. Others spoke of his warmth and love, his genuine and heartfelt hugs.
In speaking with Renee afterwards, she remarked how supportive the gathering had been for her, the love she had felt from everyone, her gratitude to Harry who had led the celebration and to Halimah R who had organised it so capably in a few short hours. A number of people independently spoke to Renee later of feeling Ludwig’s presence, happy with the gathering of dear friends. He will long be remembered and his contribution and generosity to Subud projects is continued through Renee’s integral support of ICDP in Australia.
Today’s Kedjiwaan took us further into body testing, feeling the subtleties of physical sensation and presence that grows over our practice of the latihan. We also tested how our latihan experiences change with regularity and intensity of practice, with use of a quiet time before and after the period of movement, and how we can stay tuned to the energy in our lives outside the physical latihan practice period.
Other activities in the day’s program included rehearsals for the classical concert chorus and for tonight’s Welcome Ceremony, and MSF Trustees Meetings and testing.
The evening Welcome Ceremony was a skilful blend of visual delights, synchronised with images of New Zealand’s beauty on a large screen projection. The traditional Indigenous welcoming by people of Maori and Pakeha cultures was varied and stunning, incorporating the male haka greeting and challenge, with respects paid by the WSA and Congress Team, ’so we don’t have to go to war’ we were later jokingly informed. There was a graceful twirling Poi dance by the women, later bravely joined by a dozen audience member Poi students. Then Maori men taught a dozen male audience members the Haka, with the scene being stolen by the total commitment of one 4 yr old to the energetic face pulling and thigh slapping. This section of the event ended with a lilting love song and the parting words of ‘Ma te wah’, or ‘See you in the future’.
Hammond Peak as Master of Ceremonies, acknowledged and saluted all those who had made this performance possible, likening near-neighbour Australia as the powerhouse, but New Zealand as the ‘Land of Feelings’. Hammond taught us all to ‘speak like a Kiwi’, although the phrases sounded very Aussie to Australian ears, so liberal borrowing has obviously happened both ways.
And so the 13th World Congress was officially opened by WSA Chair, Osanna Vaughan with nine Choral Group voices delighting us in song. Osanna gave the official welcome to Ibu Rahayu, the honoured official guest of the Congress and the audience joined in prolonged clapping as all the delegates in turn stood up as the name of their country was called. It was very moving to see 61 countries represented from Argentina to Zambia, and with the Congo recognised for only failing to attend due to visas being denied. It is a sober reminder of how many of our brothers and sisters live without the freedoms we take so easily for granted.
Osanna acknowledged that the Congress is as much for those who were present as for those who couldn’t make it here, and urged us to inform our friends back home to watch the news clips on TV as www.subud.tv, with Ibu’s talks going to air shortly after delivery.
The very full evening closed with a film of the Bina Citra Utama School Choir singing “What a Wonderful World”, young voices rising in hope and joy, lit by spontaneous smiles.
Comments by delegates:
“I especially liked the Haka, and the strong voices and energy of the women – a very powerful image. And I loved the inclusivity of the many countries which showed how scattered we are around the world”. Savana S. (Syd).
“’Sweet as’, moving”. Musalin (Syd)
“Very good. It has all been wonderful, and getting better and better. I’ve loved meeting everyone from all over the world”. Rohan S. (Perth)
A special message from Osanna ,to Australians not able to be with us here:
“I’m very sorry you can’t be with us here in the host country of New Zealand, but I hope you will join us in simultaneous latihan, the times of which are available on the Congress website. We send our love to you all and know that you are here with us in Spirit”.
Each day begins and ends with Latihan opportunities, the women using the huge, 3 rooms opened into one, in the Convention Centre in the morning and in the evening, swapping with the men to use two Town Hall upstairs rooms, which is the building directly opposite. By Day 3 the women’s morning Latihan numbers have swelled to over 300 and more than fill the chairs around the perimeter of this huge hall, which would cover 6 tennis courts in size. The energy is palpable, yet there is still room to move with ease.
The Yes Quest began today, with an opening session for 17 young people who have come from around the globe to take part. This is organised by Peter J. (Australia’s National Chair), Marcus Mc. (Canberra), Lilliana G. (now in UK), Marlena B (Gunnebah) and Sofiah McKay (Canberra). Read more details on the website at www.yesquest.org. A second open session, ‘Yes Quest for All’, was run by Lilliana and Marlena after lunch, with folk of all ages joining a room full of energetic young people in a single session of free dance, warm up games and interactive exercises. Using a powerful futuring exercise, Lilliana encouraged us to take responsibility to clarify what we want from Congress, what we need to do to enable this to happen, and what barriers, expectations and familiar patterns we might put in place to inhibit us achieving these goals. By experiencing the imagined positive and negative end of Congress scenarios, when we had either fully got what we had come for or not, it was then easier to concretise what actions we need to take in the present to ensure we get what we want from Congress.
The WSA Plenary Session was opened by Ibu Rahayu, and translated. Some gems reported back by Halimah R from Melbourne: “Ibu spoke of life’s difficulties and sorrows and joys and ups and downs. She said, ‘take those difficult experiences as Life’s teachers, so that we can correct as our own selves, and be more mature’.” Halimah reports: “Ibu thanked the Organisers, complimented them on a fine venue, one that had a peaceful feeling about it. She encouraged us to work well and to remember to work in a harmonious way by maintaining a family feeling”.
Zone Meetings began their work and testing for new International Helpers also began today.
In the afternoon, the first day of an open Song Tales session commenced, with an open microphone given to musicians, poets, writers and story tellers, sharing in a mutually supportive environment to encourage new approaches and to develop talent. Afterwards, young people spilled out onto the street, still strumming guitars and singing in groups.
Ibu Rahayu’s Talk in the evening drew a full audience in the spacious, two floored Town Hall auditorium. At one point Ibu urged us to keep our Latihan alive and vital. She said, ‘doing the Latihan is essential. It is the process and where we develop this spiritual training”. “If you only do Latihan from time to time or only when you feel like it, you won’t make progress. Progress can only happen when you do it regularly. Even if you only do it once a month, then do it every month.’ Ibu’s talk is available on line at the www.subud.tv site.
WSA Plenary – Testing for WSA Chair. Four candidates tested for World Subud Association Chair. Osanna V. from Germany, Luke P. from Canada, Ruslan F. from USA and Sugandi from Indonesia (prev. International Helper), while a second Indonesian candidate was unable to attend the session. Each candidate spoke on their relevant background and experience and what they saw as the areas in which they could contribute. Testing was on capability and capacity, with ability to meet and address the needs of WSA members also considered. After much consultation, the candidate from Canada, Luke Penseney, was chosen and will take up his duties at the end of Congress. It was a respectful process and well attended by delegates from different countries, keen to witness and support the selection of the Chair who will respond to the needs of Subud members and Groups from around the world over the next 4 years.
I ran into Lavinia S (Perth) after lunch, with her close Subud sister, Rasjida D from Port Macquarie via Darwin. They recommended a Korean-Japanese restaurant, “Mum’s 24” for a great meal and were staying at nearby Crown Plaza for comfort and ease, as befits our more senior citizens. Lavinia had more recently arrived at Congress and was still recovering from jet lag. She had attended the WSA testing for World Chair and said she had found some comments made by the candidates moving. As well she expressed surprise that there were only 4 candidates standing and that all had seemed capable.
Brianna and Harvey R. (Perth)are here with their two children, Pamela and Reuben, enjoying the time as a family as well as the opportunity to attend workshops. They commented on a session run on the third day, by Sachlan F. (Melb) on “Finding My Talent, The Key to Opening the Outer Door”. Harvey commented on it being ‘A brilliant session!’ on finding and using your talent or natural gifts. He felt inspired and challenged, “To open up on a completely different level, acting without self-interest, to explore and follow the direction of the Latihan in our outer lives”. Harvey said he felt that in the 1.5 hour session he was just getting a glimpse and was looking forward to a follow up session.
In the afternoon, Ruth and Marcus Mc from Canberra were very satisfied with a session by Ruslan F. on “Practical Wisdom For a Changing World”. Through a selection of sharing and looking for central themes, three ‘life wisdoms’ were selected by the group as a point of focus. These were, ‘practicing loving kindness, living courageously and having fun’! Certainly they sounded like wonderful skills to practice and use as guideposts and the process of workshopping served to make them clearer and more meaningful.
Marcus answered my questions on the progress of the ‘Yes Quest’, stating that 17 young people from a range of countries were participating, clarifying the projects they will begin here at Congress to then take back to their own countries to implement. The ideas include starting a cultural centre, a musical about food, working with prisoners in rehabilitation and collecting Subud Youth stories. The project has to be practical to implement and then people need to be sourced who can support the implementation phase. The themes are developed over 6 workshops at Congress with a 4 day camp at the end, which will include, good food, good vibes and FUN!
I had been gifted a lunch ticket to the Town Hall upstairs dining room and so lunched with Howard B and Elliott Gfrom Perth. Elliott, at 17 years and son of Amaliah G, is requesting to be opened – an exciting time! Hilton from Brisbane also shared with us and spoke on his fascinating work in Osteopathy. Later we were joined by Howard’s wife, Aiysha and their two girls dropped by briefly.
Very exciting was the beginning of Working Parties endorsed by WSA and set up with clear briefs. I joined the one on Presence and External Relations, facilitated by Alicia T and Amaliah R, both from UK. The initial discussion proposal had arisen from Stefan Freedman’s work, who unfortunately was unable to be present to see it through further. I was struck by the range of life experience and social and political competence in the large and smaller groups that came from this workshop, and continue to marvel at the richness in backgrounds and occupations among Subud members. It is a great learning experience and I am thrilled at the potential of what may develop from this work.
Photos will come later, as I was rudderless without a camera for 2 days. Luckily wonderful Rizal F. has helped me work out a new camera program with the new Notebook. Thanks Rizal!
Chatted to Harris M. (Syd) in the outdoor Town Hall Coffee Shop, as he checked through over 400 emails in 3 days, most being adverts for Viagra, he joked. The heady and sweet aroma of kretek cigarettes wafted with each breeze, slightly soporific. Amaliah and An Dien M (both Sydney) joined us with coffee, and Ludmilla S (Adelaide)and Frances M. (Syd) came by to chat. Frances had a sheet of music she was practising for a later performance.
Was lucky to get into one of the Yoga Laughter workshops run by Honalee Hunter, which was a delight and pure fun and silliness, laughing at nothing and sending ’feel good’ endorphins racing through the brain and body. Honalee remarked how laughter can benefit us by helping us let go of things that no longer serve us and by opening us to joyfulness in our lives. The photos of Rizal F. (Perth), Maria I. (Perth) and Natasha (Melb), show them post-workshop, relaxed, shiny eyed and so happy. “Fantastic!” was Rizal’s comment. “How wonderful it is that people can let go and join in” – Natasha. “It was so good. We come out feeling joyful’ – Maria.
In the Conference Centre ground floor open exhibition space, the Sun Ovens for Africa rug making and silent auction has been erected. I’m including photos of each rug, made by 5 different Australian Groups. Vivienne from Sydney is the originator of the project, which encouraged groups to make a communal rug for auction in order to raise money for sun oven use and promotion in under-developed countries. This form of cooking uses the sun’s radiant energy and reflection of rays to cook food slowly over the day. It is fuel efficient, non-polluting, retains nutrition, and frees women from the very time consuming and soil eroding practice of collecting wood. This allows more time for crucial intimate relationships with their children, and by undertaking new economic endeavours they can become self sufficient and rise above the cycle of poverty in which many villagers live.
The rugs have reserve prices of between $100 to $600 and bidding will end at midday NZ time on 14thJanuary. Some of the rugs have been made by one or two members, while Perth’s rug was the collaboration of 23 members (men included) under the artistic direction of Rohana H, and its making helped strengthen community feeling and sense of belonging. In this way the rug making project has brought value to the creators and those who will benefit from the end product of a new sun-oven.
Melina P. (Canberra) is studying Textiles at University and would love to be involved in any future project. She has found the finished rugs to be very inspiring.
The Caledonian rocked on Friday night to an amazing R&R band, with ‘The Rooster’as front man vocals and piano. So many young people up dancing at the alcohol free venue, with families joining in and older members too. A musical night is planned for each evening, with various cultural events also on display.
The Caledonian has now been set up as an Internet Cafe, now that registration is finished. Any hour you can see 10-12 people tapping away at lit screens checking emails or surfing, while others apply themselves to their laptops and Notebooks. It’s a vibrant place to visit for impromptu meetings, coffee, cake, low budget food, and is a favourite alcohol-free hangout for young people.
Met some wonderful Kiwis today, Marina and Michael B from Auckland, who have been residents in a number of Australian cities over the last 20 years. Michael is a raconteur extraordinaire, and a man who trusts life enough to be spontaneous in decisions around jobs and geography, and so has had a varied career, including time in Real Estate and as a tour guide in Alice Springs. He is currently Christchurch Chair and with his wife, Marina, a Helper, are part of the staff team here at the Congress.
Marina also introduced me to Maynard McD. who does PR for Christchurch, and Cynthia, a NZ journalist, who is considering a new direction in life after a series of testing sessions helped her to recognise her many talents and interests. All are similarly interested in broadening the inclusivity of language used in Subud.
Chatting with Leanne D (Perth) – she has been blown away by working with Helpers from all over the world in kedjiwaan sessions and finding a similarity of response and answers, regardless if the people are from Chile, Ukraine, Washington DC or Australia. Due to the large amount of work for International Helpers, all local and National Helpers have been asked to assist with the constant stream of requests for personal testing and kedjiwaan activities. Leanne has signed up each afternoon and is loving the variety of work and the harmony she is experiencing with people from all over the world. She feels it has enabled her to make friends quickly and at a deep level. Leanne said despite loving being here she was missing her family back in Perth very much, but is finding skype extremely helpful to enable her to see and chat with them all.
Rohan S. (Perth). Rohan spoke enthusiastically about a session on Reconnective Healing, given by Miranda W of Los Angeles, as developed by Eric Pearl, a Chiropractor. It involved a channelling of healing without actual touch, and Miranda reported that many miraculous healings have been documented using an “all-inclusive spectrum of healing frequencies”. Rohan also has experienced synchronistic meetings with members of the public, who have heard indirectly about Subud, or seen delegates with name tags, and stopped him to chat, leading to two now wanting to talk to Helpers.
Many delegates report on the warmth and friendliness of the Christchurch shop assistants and taxi drivers, some who plan to visit the Convention Centre to find out more.
Sitting outside in a sheltered part of the coffee garden was Lailani (Bris), Rochmana (Melb), and Luqman (Bris).The smell of cloves fills the air, kreteks being the preferred cigarette of many Subudians, especially those who have spent any time in Indonesia.
Mursalin S., along with 20-30 others, attended a workshop on Subudwiki, which is the one-month-old Subud expansion of Facebook, cum a collaborative encyclopaedia, and more than a normal Forum site. See www.subudwiki.com instigated by Salman Samson R. from UK, who has met and dealt with many internet hurdles while also having a long involvement in UK Youth activities. Salmon is more of a professional scientist than a techie, but has gained WSA’s tick of approval for the site, which has been 3 years in the planning. Mursalin was enthusiastic about the possibilities.
Lord of the Rings Tour, (often shortened to LOTR), with Hammond P. as host. What an amazing day! 58 of us packed into a large tour bus and overflow 4xwd, drove out to a hidden river valley, 2 hours East of Christchurch, on Mt Potts high country station. Rising from the valley floor, and twined around by a glistening braided river, is Mt Sunday, a rocky outcrop flanked by gentle slopes, and transformed in the film to the mystical Edoras, city of the Rohan people.
The rocky outcrops and walls on its Northern side looked intrepid, and with a movie set that took 8 months to build, became a mountain fortress of central castle, surrounding wooden houses and strong containing wall, with houses on the lower slopes digitally created in the film. Building was hampered by winter winds that can reach 125 kph, requiring steel rods immersed into the rock to prevent the whole set blowing away, and a diagonal stance of 45 degrees in order to remain standing.
The remoteness also posed logistical problems for feeding a large film crew, and so filming days were long, with everyone bused in and back daily from Christchurch. The total crew of 1,500 was often spread across 4 simultaneously filming locations, with both the North and South Islands used for more than a dozen sets.
Hammond was responsible for the film’s sound production, that won an Oscar, and with gracious generosity Hammond said that he felt this belonged to all of the New Zealand people. This was due to the red tape that was waived, special permits and assistance given, and how in this small country of two islands and 4 million people, the whole population either worked on the set, made or loaned items or else knew someone connected with the movie production. And so Kiwis took the movie into their hearts, knowing how much benefit was being derived for employment, skill acquisition and from the tremendous tourist publicity, not otherwise affordable.
Being a Subud tour meant we were given special privileges, with Hammond sharing his scrap book, collated over the two years in which the movie trilogy was produced, and also generously passing his Oscar around for us to hold. Movies and behind the scenes interviews and shorts played on the bus’ overhead screen, and we also had the opportunity to play with swords and axes used in the film.
Although it was cold and rainy over most of the South Island, we playfully used strong intention to bring a bubble of fine weather and no wind into the valley for the 3 hours we were there. On the screed plains, larks sang without ceasing in the low scrub and grasses, accompanied by the soothing sound of hidden steams and snow melt. The silence and space and the cool, pure air was a welcome break from our full-on Congress timetable. So ,although tired from the long day and walk up the Edoras mountain, we returned refreshed.
Rungan Sari Sewing Project, initiated by Isti J. (Gunnebah), involves an open sewing palette for anyone to contribute with material scraps, or by sewing or appliquéing fabric, lace and cut out shapes onto a large material backdrop of vibrant colour. The project will continue for all of Congress, and end with a Dutch auction to finance the wages of a sewing teacher for this remote corner of our Subud world.
Ran into Nahum (Perth), who is enjoying the Latihans and who witnessed Elliott’s opening yesterday. He said it was a clear and strong opening and he is looking forward to Elliott joining us for Latihans back in Perth on his return.
Congratulations to Hadrian F. (Melb), who is the new Zone Chair for Australia. He was enthusiastic about the fantastic venue, with the Town Hall and Conference Centre so accessible and connected. Aisiah B. (Perth) was bubbling over with the recurring synchronicity of ‘accidentally’ meeting people who seem to be ‘just the right person at the right time’ for her to speak to. Halimah F. has been warmed by meeting up with many old friends, and remarked that she felt the testing for WSA Chair was ‘flowing and well done’.
Attended a gentle but strong workshop on connectedness, run by Cedar B, USA, who is a Hakomi Psychotherapist. The work was subtle but penetrating, and quickly helped us identify when we are in a mood of connecting or one of quieter reflection. As we walked around the room we watched how this varied with each new person we met and in response to their mood and our expectations. Later deeper work entailed talking in pairs and in trios, telling stories of personal joy or difficulty, and noticing how the other person’s attention and emotional space affected our own awareness and telling. It was amazing how sensitive we are in fact, and how we may pick up this information but never actually articulate it. We also learnt how to connect with intimacy without letting the other’s story, or possible sad or overwhelming content, be a weight. Everyone left feeling expanded and positive.
Had a good laugh with Asariah T., Simon and Alfiah B, and with Bethany B. introducing me to another young person, Malcolm from UK. Asariah, (now called Arifa), said that since her glasses have broken, she now looks years younger when she looks in the mirror. She has particularly loved the workshops on Living Well and Dying Well, led by Hermoine E. from UK and I caught her just as she was on her way to the Indonesian evening, with performances of dance and song at the Town Hall.
Bethany B. has been working as crew, serving behind the counter at the Caledonian, a great place for young people to meet others from around the world. Simon is running a workshop tomorrow on Art and Spirituality, using illustrations from 3 centuries to discuss cultural shifts in the 21st century and the experience of Subud artists.
Today was the last of 4 working party sessions on External Relations, with the Zones meeting later in the afternoon to consider the proposals before these are passed up to WSA Executive for ratification. 24 people from 11 countries persisted on the task till this last session, including 5 from USA, 4 from UK, 3 each from Australia and Russia, 2 each from Austria and Canada, and one rep each from Germany, Japan, Mexico, NZ and France. The sessions were very capably facilitated by Alicia Thom and Amalia Rasheed, both from UK, who created a fine balance between allowing all voices in the large group to be heard, and yet creating sufficient space so the small groups could develop central ideas into firm proposals.
The thrust of the proposal suggested that a study be undertaken on Subud’s external relations at all levels, to identify issues, global forums, events and networks of mutual interest with other bodies. Additionally it was proposed that a review and development of WSA resources and tools be undertaken, to support external relations and with changes in language to create wider inclusivity.
Everyone is talking about the new smoke and coffee therapy to remove heavy metals, mainly mercury, from the body system. Although the therapy and knowledge has been around for 20 years, it is now beginning to have scientific papers published and is probably spreading by word of mouth more than through any other medium.
Indonesian Cultural Evening. Lilliana G. provided the photos from this event and reported that the evening included Balinese dancers, a new modern presentation of traditional dance and that a lot of effort had been made with costumes. A highlight for many was Ibu Rahayu singing a Javanese version of ‘Susila Budhi Dharma’ with a translation given after each verse. The event was well attended.