Spiritual Housekeeping

Welcome to the second installment of “In My Own Words.”

Foreword by Christopher Laursen

Cat Wheeler, better known in Ubud, Bali, as ‘Ibu Kat’ (Mother Kat), has been living on the Indonesian island since 2000.  A Canadian expatriate who was raised in Vancouver, she is a writer, social activist and Reiki Master.  Her book Bali Daze (previously published as Dragons in the Bath) is a lively series of brief anecdotes about living there, building her own house, adjusting to the way of being on the island and even having the occasional encounter with strange things.  Bali Daze is required reading for anyone considering resettling in Bali, and it is well worth reading for all who are coming to visit.  It sets the scene for the nuances of Hindu-Balinese culture that is truly unlike any other in the world.  Cat writes about how one must become more flexible to live there, respecting and adapting to the ways of the Balinese people, sharing their own knowledge while maintaining one’s own personal integrity.  She writes a column, Greenspeak, for the expatriate English language newspaper the Bali Advertiser, and actively converses with people – locals and those from afar – sharing their lives and the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis.  For Cat, writing on the environment extends concerns of preserving nature, land use, and pollution to virtually everything that may impact a person in the place where they live.

I sat down and had tea with Cat one cool, rainy season afternoon at her shady home in Ubud which is situated on the edge of a ravine – the place where an alternate dimension exists, where the Orang Sungei – the River People live.  She writes in her book, “The River People are generally friendly and sociable, but have been known to become angry when people throw rubbish down the riverbanks.  Then they will drag the polluter down, sometimes to his death.”  One of her dogs, Kasey, had met such an unfortunate fate in the gorge beside her home.  Afterward, Cat recalled to me, she would dream of him and record these dreams – to find out that her housekeeper Wayan Manis had shared the same dream.  In Bali Daze, she recounts the joys and frustrations of living on the island, of taking care of rescued animals, of growing gardens, and the friendship and humour she’s shared with her Balinese staff, Wayan Manis and Nyoman.

Cat shared several extraordinary incidents that she experienced over the past 20 years, both in Singapore – where she lived in the 1990s – and since moving to Bali.  Here, she shares six of these moments.  What I find striking about them is the variety of experiences.  Encounters with sword-wielding apparitions, shoe-throwing energies, things going mysteriously missing, a moment of transoceanic synchronicity that led to a friendship, and possessed schoolgirls….. continues



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