The 17th of august is a very special day in my life. I feel very blessed that the universe brought me to Bali, Indonesia on this 17th of august, 2016, the day Indonesia celebrates Independence.
My parents got married on the 17th of august. They had to make the difficult decision to get married because my mother was pregnant. With me. My father and mother made the best they knew how, to create a life, make a living. A marriage in which 6 children were born and 2 children died after een couple of days. It was a time in human development and culture, where it was thought as impossible for a woman alone to raise a child. And my father is a man who takes his respons abilities, so they married. It was a time in human development and culture in which it was not “done”, to talk about emotions, feelings, needs or show what you experience. It was august 1955 in the Netherlands.
Everything in that period was focused on rebuilding the country, building houses, creating jobs, rebuilding families and surviving, after the “Second World War”. The culture was not focussed on evaluation or on healing and emotions. And we as a “Nation” had not addressed, let alone feel the pains, heal the pains from this war, the holocaust, the colonization and independence of Indonesia. It was all very ‘practical’ and there are many stories to tell about how “we” “welcomed back” the jewish people who had survived and how “we” ” welcomed” the Indonesian Dutch and Dutch people who had to leave Indonesia.
My mother was severely traumatized by the war and her childhood. Many many many many people were. And my mother became a mother. As a child, being a very sensitive and empathic soul, and not practical at all, I experienced the first years of my childhood as a very grey period, as my parents were very challenged by life, a compulsory marriage, after 6 months a daughter, and soon 2 babies died. They had no idea how to heal. And so the energy of my youth was filled with the darkness of unhealed trauma, grieve, secrets, anxiety.
What it could be like and how it would feel like to have a happy house, full of laughter. To experience curiosity and excitement for life and knowledge, music and real conversations; that I experienced ironacly with Indonesian families in my homevillage and town.
Just today I feel this deep understanding and resonation why I love to be around Indonesian people so much. I already did as a small child. How blessed I am that Bali called me. The Indonesian families of my childhood showed me another way of living, not only different from my parents, but different from other white Dutch families. They showed ways of being and living that resonates deeply with my soul and heart. And who knows, perhaps my soul lived here before, who knows?
It is Bali that gives a deeper experience of healing conscious and unconscious wounds, from my own experience, my family, “my” country, as Bali has suffered severe from Dutch colonialization and war crimes****.
These wounds blocked my connection to my soul. And the universe gave me the opportunity of Bali where I can feel and express how my soul was crying for finally sharing the wisdom of living my freedom, peace, love and light, truths; letting it shine by peeling of 60 years of depression.
That is the power of Bali, that so many people speak about. Bali heals souls. Bali gives people a change to open up to ourselves and others, exploring different conversations, to heal old wounds. Bali helps us remembering that we first and foremost are a soul in a body. Sharing insights why perhaps my soul has chosen this life, these parents.
Not, as I assimilated western culture, that we are just a mind, a working mind to produce, a mind who happens to have a functional relationship with our body in which we just put stuff from a factory. Some people think that this is such a great way of living, that they even implement this way of living all over the world, even in Bali, as producers or as consumers.
It so wonderful though, to live in a time where more and more people are aware that female knowledge and strategies will lead our human development to another level in which compassion, receiving, care for each other, mother Earth and all creatures, is vital.
Conscious living, also as a tourist, temporary living in Bali, is a challenge. But it is this transformation and the many opportunities that Bali offers for transformation, that leads my soul into so many moments of deep connection with other souls. Slowing down to consciously, compassionate and courageous living gives daily experience so much depth.
Bali is precious and special on this planet, offering us humans these opportunities.
In healing wounds in the past, I had done a fair part of healing my Dutch wounds about the colonization of Indonesia. The universe had given me many interesting encounters with wise Indonesian and Dutch people who lived in Indonesia during colonization and war. With them I could talk about it from the heart. Encounters in which I mostly listened; as every human has her and his personal experiences and stories. Also about the colonization of Indonesia. Not one of the stories is the same.
I had read about the “cruel”, perhaps the most unconscious parts of the colonization. New stories show up almost every day. Still untill today. As those who have esperienced it want to heal, want to experience recognition for their pain*
Which the Dutch governement refuses.
I had read Multatuli’s book “Max Havelaar**”. I needed to know about this story of Max Havelaar in a period in my life where I was working for the Dutch Government, as Max Havelaar and the writer of the book Multatuli were.
One of my dearest friends who is a KNIL, Dutch Military veteran and had lived in Indonesia untill he had to leave the country, warned me not to become ‘a Max Havelaar’.
As by adressing the circumstances of the native people in Indonesia Multatuli also created his own professional downfall. I had to know what his story was about, as I was facing deep inner struggle about what I was ordered to do as a civil servant working for the Dutch Government, my people; as Max Havelaar had.
While all other people in the same position did not mind what was going on, or did not want to know, choosing for the safety of their job. Nobody wanted to listen about injustice being done, as Max Havelaar had experienced.
In that period of time during Colonial administration, the so-called ” whistleblowers” were not appreciated, as they still are not appreciated by society today.
This human experience of having the awareness to be a leading part of a process in my country that demonstrated a deep lack of compassion with a huge impact for the future of my countries people. Experiencing that I was not able to address this outside the Government and that I could not stop it or change it. That internal struggle is still my deepest wound and made my physical and mental body sick.
As Max Havelaar could not stop the cruelty of racism and colonization in Indonesia and was not able to keep his personal future safe. By the time his book was published though it was the beginning of awareness and transformation and “Max Havelaar” is still a profound inspiration for a fair trade world.
Max Havelaar was not Martin Luther King or Gandhi. As I was not. Perhaps Multatuli did not have the skills, the response abilities to choose most effective strategies to mobilize the Dutch people about what was going on and gain respect. That make souls like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela so extra ordinary.
As a country I feel we have not healed from colonization, from Holocaust, from warcrimes. But as individuals we can. As I have witnessed with different people on an individual level. In the last parts of somebodies life, the soul wants to get healed from these expriences. People are severe suffering because they feel that they can not dy, not transform, when these experiences have not healed.That is I quess, why we now hear all these stories of crimes inflicted on Indonesian people, people can not leave their bodies without sharing all these painfull memories and asking for forgiveness. Such a beautiful mechanism that we want to be healed before we transform.
The deepest teaching for me from Colonization is that we are all one, that the pain that “we” inflicted on other beings and have not healed, is integrated in our own being. As some say that our biography becomes our biology. Weather if we are aware of it or not. Cause our soul can not ly. Our soul feels that we are all one soul.
How I feel and experience that we as a country are not yet willing to heal pain from the past is by not willing to face what we inflict on other creatures today. As “we” as a nation are not able to feel deep appreciation for our sick old grandparents and parents. The way we all accept their suffering as a society, the way we lock the old and sick people out of physical and psychological comfort. They are hurting. We know that. They are in the last phase of this physical experience and their soul wants to heal all the suffering they have endured. Especially this generation of elderly, as they all experienced the deep wounds of the second world war, holocoust, colonialization.
They rebuild our country and created prosperity for newer generations. Our hearts can only feel compassion and greatfulness for them and my heart feels they should be honoured and celebrated and cared for now that they are helplessly depending on our care. We are not marching the streets to demand physical and psychological comfort and safety for them.
” We” as a Dutch society have lost the compassion for our daughters, our Government tells us that 1 out of 3 of our daughters is experiencing sexual harassment. And we are not marching the streets to demand physical and psychosocial comfort and safety for our own daughters.
We lost compassion for the cows and pigs, the bees. “We” as a society are so stressed, so full of pain that we do not want to feel what we eat. But we are now starting to march the streets to demand physical and psychological comfort and safety for all animals as they are, like us, souls in a body.
It feels that the time is right to address the ‘National’ pain of Colonialisation, tso we can heal and move on in our development and transformation as human beings. And make more whole loving decisions in the present.
Healing the pain is not an individual process and nobody has to do it alone. The world is full of healers, it could be a friend, a soul mate, a dog, a cat, a cow, a horse, an island…
We are all souls and we are all one and we can all help each every minute to remember that we are all souls, just by looking in each others eyes, seeing the soul in that other body. Yes healing means allowing to experience emotions and energy that we call pain. It is unpleasant. But from experience I can share that living while keeping all this “pain” under the carpet is more painfull than releasing the pain, crying hot tears untill the heart opens up again.
We did it before, first keeping our pain inside, all of us having this idea that it was just me, and then came together, shared, cried, released the power of anger by taking the streets demanding equal rights for women, for gay people. Sharing love, compassion, joy for life, feeling united, part of a movement to bring human development to a higher level.
And we can do that again and we are doing that again, bringing human development to a higher level, aligning with the deep love and respect for mother Earth and all her creatures, as we are all interdependent. We might choose different forms, by meditating, creating new businesses based on fair trade and organic products, signing petions 6 minutes a day.
But it might be right timing to unite and walk the streets again and demand physical and psychological safety and comfort for those that depend the most on our decisions, mother Earth herself, the sick and elderly people, our daughters and all living creatures on this planet.
Yes I let the tears run on my cheaks today, letting go of a connection of pain and shame with Indonesia that was not created by me but its wounds were in me all along. Letting go of all the stories I had heard and experienced.
I quess that every Dutch person has an Indonesian person in our surroundings, as a colleque at work, a family living in our neighbourhood. We are still very connected. We might eat nassi goreng once a week, without realising the story behind this lovely meal.
We might have grandparents who do not receive a full elderly payment (AOW), as the man refused to go to Indonesia in 1945 and was severely punished by the Dutch governement, some untill today. The resistance was huge among the people from the area in Holland were I was born. I did not know that so many resisted, I did not know how they were and some are punished, untill today.***
My heart is expanding as I pledge forgiveness, opening up to gratefulness that the universe gave me the opportunity to experience this very special Independence Day of Indonesia in Ubud, Bali. Opening up to a new level of joy and connection as I play with the Balinese women and kids. We are all one.
Independence Day, 17th of August. from “Healing 60 years of depression, essays and observations, while creating a Life as a Soul in a Body”.
*Tineke Bennema. Waar de polder de oost ontmoet.www.tinekebennema.nl. 22-05-2016
**Multatuli was the chosen speudonym by writer and civil servant of the Netherlands, Eduard Douwes Dekker, just a Soul in a body.
**** Anne-Lot Hoek, bloedbaden op Bali, 13-11-2013 Vrij Nederland.