Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Heart Strings - #friends #connections #expatriate

 Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

As many of you may already know, I’m an expatriate. Although I am originally from the U.S., I’ve lived in Southeast Asia (I’d rather not say which country) for more than a decade.

For the most part, I love my adopted home. My DH and I have a far better quality of life than we could ever afford back in America. I have work that inspires and challenges me. My apartment, located in the heart of the metropolis so we don’t need a car, is roughly the size of the house we sold when we moved here and has a garden, exercise room and small swimming pool. I feel a kinship with the people around me, who value friendship, family, good food, good times and a peaceful frame of mind more than money or power. Asia is incredibly dynamic, changing and growing while the Western world seems to be sinking into grumpy lethargy. By moving here, I have at least partially escaped a government that’s totally without compassion and a society where senseless mass murder with automatic weapons has become commonplace.

There’s one drawback to my situation, though. I’m half a world away from many of the people I love. While I’ve been here, I’ve lost both my parents. Because of the distance and the cost, I couldn’t attend their funerals (though I did manage to spend time with each of them not long before they died). I’ve still got a brother and sister in the States, plus an elderly aunt and a passel of cousins. Then there are my friends, including a handful I’ve known for three or four decades.

I miss all these folks. Email, Skype, Facebook and relatively cheap international phone rates allow me to keep in touch to some extent, but years can go by before we get the chance to meet face to face.

Sometimes I ache for the sound of their voices (unfiltered by electronics) or the touch of their hands. All in all, though, our separations don’t bother me as much as they might. Despite the distance – even when we don’t communicate for weeks or months – I feel connected to my dear ones.

Every morning I spend ten or fifteen minutes in what I will loosely call meditation, trying to center myself before facing the events of the day. Part of this discipline includes calling people to mind and sending them blessings – holding them in the light, as the Quakers say. I sometimes refer to these individuals as being on my prayer list, but that’s not exactly right. What I’m doing is affirming and strengthening the psychic and emotional bonds between us. In my mind and heart, I draw them close and surround them with my love. I know this sounds like New Age mystical crap, but the ritual soothes the pain of being apart, for me. Meanwhile, I believe my positive thoughts do have a beneficial effect on the ones to whom they are directed.

Because of this practice, I feel myself enmeshed in a web of invisible connections, a tangle of heart strings. Love flows like electricity along those links. I think of my beloved family, friends and colleagues, and I glow.

My connections with my author friends are surprisingly strong. Yes, you’re on my morning list. I’ve known many of you for years. I’ve even met some of you. Those physical encounters are not what binds us, though. I know you, know your hearts and souls, through your writing.

I sometimes fantasize about throwing a party for my beloved erotic author colleagues, where we could all get together, drink a glass of wine or two, and talk, instead of having to write everything down. The geographic realities dictate an infinitesimal probability that this will ever occur. You’re all invited to Southeast Asia, of course. If you can handle a twenty hour plane flight...

Still, I’m not sure that meeting you in the flesh would make much difference in how I feel about you. We are and always will be connected, by our mutual love of the written word, our curiosity about the human condition, our fascination with desire. In some sense, you are as much my brothers and sisters as my siblings back in the country I no longer call home. 


Larry Archer said...

Great post Lisabet and I know how you feel. While growing up in East Texas is certainly not as exotic as the Far East but we have trailer houses and pickups! Family is one thing that I was always taught to revere and treasure. We lead two separate lives with two sets of friends and with few exceptions one group never learns about the other. What I've discovered in the Lifestyle is that you are far closer to those friends than the straight friends, who you keep at arms length. Always treasure your friends and family.

Fiona McGier said...

Aww! Lizbeth, you almost made me cry! And you reminded me that a friend is having a test done today, and I just texted her to let her know that I'm thinking of her and sending her "light".

But I've felt like at least a participant in both of your blogs, for many years. I tell all of you things that my husband would be very upset to learn that I mention, but it's my life I'm talking about, not his. And as a writer, I communicate with words...even when they're pixels on a computer screen. Thanks for making me feel so welcome in your world. XO

Lisabet Sarai said...

Larry & Fiona - I love you both. Thank you for being part of my life.


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