I’ve been thinking a lot about connections.
Connecting letters to make words, connecting words to make sentences, connecting hearts to make contact and connecting contacts to make communication.
Last week I volunteered as a presentation trainer and communication coach for a new group of Community Leaders who are working on the front lines – in the mosques, in living rooms, and in neighbourhood centres, doing the important work of community dialogue.
These dedicated people were from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Morocco, and all had to start a new life here from scratch. Although I came to the Netherlands for totally different reasons, we connected deeply and fast on what it’s like to feel alone in a strange place where you can’t speak the language and only know 3 people. It was an honour to help them create meaningful dialogues on gender and cultural equality and although I was the teacher, I think I learned the most.
Then it was Memorial Day and Liberation Day here in the Netherlands, on May 4 and 5. These days mean a lot to me. Seeing the thousands of people standing in solidarity, silence and solemnness on Dam Square, honouring war victims and heroes, both living and dead, always moves me to tears. I thought about the way people treat each other and sent love to people I thought really needed it.
Then I sent this tweet.
I was overwhelmed by all the reactions. So much love flowed into my timeline (and my heart). And then the hate came. I had to block so many people who sent me messages that I was a ‘refugee enabler’ and that I was making the problem worse. I tried to hard to send them love too, but blocking them on Twitter worked a lot faster. 🙂
I truly believe that you don’t have any control over the length of your life.
But you DO have absolute control over how deep you can go.
Communicate. Connect. Share. Get vulnerable. Get honest.
Take that risk.
That’s where the gold is.
Sending you a flashlight and a hard hat,