On Friday, March 17, Marius Harold and I traveled to Boise, Idaho from Portland and Seattle airports on early flights so we could have a chance to visit and do latihan with Sofyan Brugger in the morning. The Bruggers turned one of their 3 car garages into a small, nicely carpeted latihan space. It has a ramp so that Sofyan’s electric wheel chair can motor over to the space.
After latihan and lunch, Halimah took Marius and me down to the Boise River, a 10 minute walk from their house. The river was dramatically high, flooding part of the river public greenbelt walk that runs along the bank next to it. The water ran swiftly over the submerged roots of popular trees lining its shore.
Friday was a sunny day that kept us out of our Portland and Seattle sweaters until a cool breeze came up in the shade. Still, I found it warmer than the Seattle area.
In the afternoon we met Leyle, a long time Subud member and Dennis, her husband who had asked to be opened. We provided Dennis the opportunity to ask any questions he might have about Subud. In a short Dennis was ready and we did the opening with me officiating.
They both stayed for our evening meal and latihan. Dennis is a retired army nurse and physiotherapist. Before dinner he provided Sofyan with some exercise opportunities. They worked hard with Sofyan doing 3 loops walking around his deck – which is sizeable – while using his walker.
For the evening Halimah had an Indonesian friend prepare a Selamatan meal for us. This was augmented with salad and fruit from Halimah and Giesela MacDonagh who came with her husband Don. We also had nice desserts afterwards.
We then had latihan with the men using the Brugger’s living room and the women having the latihan room. Afterwards we had the opportunity for Dennis to ask any questions he might have about the experience with a larger group of local men.
Later we all shared with each other stories of our experiences in Subud over the years as well as stories of our youth before being opened. Sofyan was opened when he was 17 at Coombe Springs. In his 20’s he left his job at the BBC in the Indonesian translation department to work in the early days of the Secretariat translating Bapak’s correspondence from Indonesian to English.
Saturday morning Marius and I had the chance for another walk by the river and an opportunity to get to know each other. We’d both been to many Subud events at the same time. Marius was one of the national helpers who’d tested with me when I decided to become a regional helper. It was great to just have time to get to know each other.
Saturday afternoon everyone was invited to the Lockhart’s in Star, Idaho about 30 minutes from the Bruggers for lunch. We had a bountiful lunch of pasta and pizza and had a chance to learn more about Leyle and Dennis’ life together including their time in Germany when Dennis worked at the Army Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. We returned to the Bruggers for an afternoon break.
Everyone was invited for a meal and latihan that evening. The MacDonaghs and Caleb Chung joined the Bruggers, Marius and myself for dinner of fresh baked salmon and the remaining food from the Selamatan.
After dinner we had latihan again. I felt the strength that came from the men doing latihan together that night. This was reaffirmed by some testing that the members asked to do after the latihan was over. The experience of doing latihan with these men was one of those break-through latihans for me. I was able to surrender more deeply than I ever have before. I have kept that surrender with me in my journey back to Seattle where it touches me still.
During that latihan I felt that Boise has the capacity to become a larger group than is currently doing latihan and that if it did the latihan would have the opportunity to touch more people in the Boise area. Don and Caleb both said that they were open to this opportunity and willing see what might be done. Who knows what might take place?
I described my visit to the rest of our regional helper team when I returned and spoke of the groups desire to grow. We I stand ready to support their desire to grow in whatever way I can. Perhaps another visit, by both a man and woman regional helper, is in the future?
I am grateful to the members of Subud Boise for their attendance at this gathering and to the Bruggers for hosting the event. I send my prayers for their success in having regular group latihans and for opportunities to grow together.
With Love, Oswald Norton
Subud PNW Regional Helper