สายใย

 

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The connections I feel with the people here are unlike anything I have ever felt before. I don’t know if it’s due to Thai people specifically, my perceptions of connection changing by circumstance and place, more letting in and more letting go, increased sensitivity to connection, increased appreciation for it, or all of the above. All I know is that I have never felt so fulfilled by everyday interactions before.

They told us at staging, a lifetime ago, and all throughout PST that Thailand is a high-context culture. I think I am finally starting to feel what that actually means. Not to understand it, but to feel it, at long last.

These tiny interactions, microscopic in scale, blooming into infinity. It’s so unbelievable to me that an interaction lasting all of five seconds can make me feel so much. Like an infinite glowing warmth in my chest, a river of light without source or mouth, a lightness that makes me feel as if I may just float away, as if my heart has melted into warm air to lift me up off the ground. And from such simple, every day things, too. Acts of love, acts of kindness, acts of familiar intimacy.

The purest, most gentle force in the universe — I want to know you. I want to be close to you. A drawing forth. A wanting. 

We experience it in so many different forms, from so many different people — from a friend, from a brother, sister, mother, father, from a total stranger, from a lover, from a mentor, from a teacher, from a child. The string that binds us all together laid bare for all to see, the connection obvious and stark and clear for that one moment, and lost again among the noise of life, the static, the thoughts and concerns of being.

The heat fades, but it’s still there. The string is always there even when we think we can’t feel it. It’s there behind every conversation, every sweep of the hand, every intertwining of fingers, every inhale and exhale, every head on a shoulder, every smile, every pulsing beat of our hearts, like a grand symphony of connection.

Pushing it away feels so wrong, but I don’t want to pull it in too far either, to grasp it, because it doesn’t belong to me, or to any of us. Can I let it float there in front of me without grasping it?

It is a privilege to be able to miss people, and to be missed.

I struggle with this some days, because the Thai people I know seem to be so much better at not forcing these connections in the same way that I often feel compelled to. They seem to be much calmer about missing and being missed, much more comforted in the knowledge that we will meet again at some point. That’s not to say that they don’t miss, they just seem much more at peace with it than I feel. Then again, there is undoubtedly a lot there that I never see. There is undoubtedly so much context there I have yet to feel.

I am reminded often of the different kinds of love. Some loves are flashy. Some only last for five minutes. Some are secret loves, unspoken but very much felt. Some are brand new, and bring with them all of the raw emotions that new love stirs within us. Others burn slowly. They don’t flash or create intense bursts of heat, they don’t dazzle or amaze, but we know they won’t go out easily. They will continue to burn long after we are there to stoke them.

It’s always there, whether we feel it or not. Sometimes the string feels taut, and other times it feels slack, but it’s always there.

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