Expatria · Prague · Spirituality · Third Culture Kids · Travel · United Nations

The Ties That Bind

Five years ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, I met an amazing Californian Phillipina woman and we became fast friends, seeing in each other kindred spirits. Interestingly enough, it was the same year I met Paolo Coelho who told me: “Always keep your heart open; it will bleed, but it will heal.” While the WEF was only 10 days long, she and I kept in touch over the years, sharing the new developments in our lives and remaining spiritually connected even though both of our travels took us to opposite sides of this planet. Finally, after all these years, we re-connected in person here in Prague and she spent the last couple days staying with us and exploring our town.

People who aren’t Third Culture Kids might find this story a bit strange, i.e. how can you call someone your friend when you’ve only spent 10 days of your life with them? But for me, and many others, this is one of the more natural aspects of our somewhat rootless existences. These chance encounters where we meet and truly connect with another individual on a level deep enough to trancend time and physical separation. Seeing my friend again after so long, and experiencing the easy familiarity and comfort of being together in spite of how little actual time we’ve ever spent in person was a beautiful reminder of how valuable these soul connections are; an affirmation that this is a good way to be, in spite of how few people really are like this, and how difficult it can be sometimes to live with an open heart.

Being open to forge these spiritual bonds with almost strangers does come with its sharp edge, and my husband has been witness to that: episodes where I’ve opened up, as I always do, to people who were not reciprocal in their sincerity, and I’ve ended up disappointed, disillusioned, hurt and wondering if it’s really worthwhile to continue walking around this life with my heart outstretched in my palm. This recent re-kindling has proven to me that indeed you can’t win them all, but the connections we make that are good and strong will always be there. Regardless of the years that pass, or the miles of seperation. When you open yourself up to really connect, it’s a bond stronger than mithril, and nothing that can break it.

After these couple days, I am reminded that the ties that bind people together are far more than the obvious things, like family, location, or amount of time shared in person. I feel far closer to Cee than I do to either of my younger sisters who I spent 18 years of my life with, and in fact I absolutely think of her as extended family, my spiritual relation, a true sister. She is someone I have chosen to be a part of the soul family that I have created in all these years of sharing, connecting and loving people. While so many of the other people I also consider my chosen family, my soul relations, are far, far, far away from me, I am resting easy in the knowledge that the love and friendship I have with them is strong, true and real, even if I never have the chance to see them in person again.