I just returned from a three-day course, during which time I’d decided it was a good idea for me to disconnect from the wired life. So, for 3 days, except for briefly switching on my phone to see if anything urgent had arisen, I was literally offline, out of contact, incommunicado, for the entire period. A self-imposed news-blackout.You’d think that it wasn’t such a big deal. What could possibly happen in 3 days? Some of you may have signed up for something similar in the past; a silent retreat, meditation course, etc. But for those who haven’t, and without getting into my own intense learning experience over the course of these 3 days, too many distressing stories unfolded in the world outside my little cocoon in the interim. So much so, that a couple of news items unsettled me deeply when I finally resurfaced and the details began to sink in.
Headlines from the past few days in Ubud and Bangkok threatened to send me spiraling into the depths of worry and uncertainty. Instead, I checked Facebook and contacted close friends and acquaintances in both cities.
The details are less important than the lessons learned.
When my world was much smaller – say, comprised of family and friends in Canada, the US and Israel – and in the days before the internet, the circle of love was proportionally limited.
But then I traveled to the farthest reaches of the globe, and I lived in cities all over the map. As newly-formed bonds, both timeless and (for all intents and purposes) border-less, were created, so my circle inevitably expanded.
Although I’m much less of a newshound than I once was, relevant alerts and news headlines have a way of reaching my inbox. My first reaction is to freeze and try to digest the jumble of words that spring from the page.
Then, my mind morphs into something like a fireworks display, with neurons firing in every direction of the globe. Because any news that touches those whom I hold close to my heart – wherever they might live in the world, Bali, Thailand, Nepal, Spain or Cambodia – now has a way of rankling me as much as news from Canada, Israel or the US.
My world may have enlarged a little because of my travels and stints abroad; but even more so because of the friendships and conversations, the communities that have embraced me and the people who have touched my life.
My life has woven its many threads through the fabric of families whose lives and countries are markedly different than my own country of birth. Notwithstanding barriers of distance and dialect, and notwithstanding breaking news, we remain enmeshed in, and deeply concerned about, each others’ circles of life.
To those of you who tonight stand together in sadness and awe, in Bali, Bangkok or Brussels, I send a prayer, light and love. If only I could do more…
So true, Amit. As the world expands, so does the heart.