We arrive of Fiji’s Malalo Island and they serenade us with a welcome song as they greet us with a ‘Welcome Home.” The Home part is significant and heartfelt.
It’s more than commercial schmaltz in a developing island nation that relies so heavily on tourism – it feels as genuine as the smiles and the hearty shouts of Bula, Bula as we cross paths over the course of a week (damn that week went quick)!
In Fiji time (no hurry, no worry) there is plenty of time for pleasantries and more importantly there is the time and the desire for authentic connection (and I get that we’re the privileged tourists and they are the disadvantaged locals).
Meanwhile back in the real world Britain votes to leave the EU, but we’re oblivious to the news of Brexit and left shocked and saddened on our return.
First Trump’s wall, now Britain’s barricade. What next in our world?
And let’s face it things don’t get any better do they.
We (mercifully) also miss the last week of the campaign for an election that totally divides Australia and sees the scary return of the right-wing politics of racism.
Divided we fall.
Together in Fiji we celebrate my Mum’s 70th birthday. We get together as a group of guests and staff for games. We join together in song. We bond.
The kids sport those beaded braids that all kids get when they holiday in a tropical place – Little Yang just four little braids in his short, fine hair while Miss Yin opts for four corn braid strands, long and woven into once side of her head – each strand pulled so tight that nothing could ever break the bonds that thread them together.
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet across time, space and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
This ancient Chinese proverb inspired and uplifted us as we choose the path of adoption and tugged on the heartstrings that join us to our two kids.
But I can’t help thinking that the threads that join us as communities today are unraveling and while I know that Fiji has its divisions and political issues, there seems to be so much connection, so much openness to difference. At least four of the staff we encounter at the resort (amongst the 30 or so we meet) are openly gay men – they all popped an hibiscus flower behind an ear and got on with the job and everyone seemed to get along.
Here we have opposition to same-sex marriage and opposition to Muslims and opposition to people that don’t look and think like ‘us’ (Pauline Hanson I’m not in your ‘us’ thank you very much).
I’m not a political person, but I would like to register the love party (and no, it’s not about a political orgy).
Instead I guide my yin yoga students in a beautiful heart-opening sequence – designed to open them up to compassion and love and physically targeting opening in the chest, shoulders, arms and upper spine.
We hunch our shoulders as though we carry the weight of the world (and granted the world has some heavy things going on) instead of opening our hearts and our arms to others. We clench a fist with our hands.
We fail to breathe deeply to open and expand our ribs as though we are locking our hearts in a closed cage and not letting in anyone.
We fail to understand the meaning of Namaste – the divine love in me salutes the divine love in you, and when we are both in that loving place, we are one.
We are created as individuals, each of us originals, but are hardwired for connection. We don’t sacrifice who we are, our own sense of originality, creativity and our values when we genuinely connect – we only enhance them.
In finding things in common we discover who we really are – but only if we find those things through love and compassion, not in sharing a common hatred.
Politics is by nature divisive, but the politics of division now days have taken things to whole new ugly levels – expect perhaps in Canada (Oh Canada, I miss you).
As much as I hope for a more connected world (and not just via the internet) and dream of a more compassionate one, right now I’ll simply settle for more tolerance.
Can we at least tolerate each other. Surely not too much to ask.
And I’ll open my heart – you? Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.