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  • Vanessa Rae

my world, connected

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Last night, before bed, I laid down on the floor in front of our wood stove and took some deep breaths.

I don't pray, at least not in the traditional sense, but I felt called to do my own version last night. With my toes wiggling in the warm, radiant heat from the fire, I thought of my loved ones, all around the world.

First, to my family, of course, who live in New Hampshire. My mother taking care of my 92-year old grandmother, and my stepdad, who is a doctor, facing the front lines of healthcare in their small community. My father, now working from his apartment in Tampa, Florida, and enjoying happy hour with others from around the building as they all sit out on their porches.

Then, to friends. To Australia, where one of my oldest, dearest friend lives, who just survived the wildfires only to come to this.

To the tiny fishing village in Madagascar where I lived for two years, and all the people I grew to love there. May their days continue to be peaceful and abundant in fish, as they have little to no resources available as this pandemic spreads worldwide.

To Japan, to the sweet, patient folks I met when I traveled with Up With People back in 1998. That year they showed bravery in ways I could never fathom.

To Guinea and Mali and Senegal, home to some of the most joyful dancers and drummers and teachers I've met throughout twenty years of attending West African dance workshops and classes.

To Norway, Sweden, Finland: the women I met while studying abroad in Australia. To the beautiful people I sang with when I was 19 years old.

To Germany and Switzerland, where so many amazing human beings live. I still keep in touch with most on Facebook, all accomplishing incredible things in such a wide variety of professions. To the host families who gave me shelter, delicious food and kindness in 1998 when I'd never been outside the US before.

To Italy, to my old boyfriend who lives in Rome, on quarantine for almost a month.

To Belgium and the Netherlands. Places I passed through briefly, memories of intricate waterways, waffles, bikes everywhere, the kindest of folks.

To Thailand: the hot, humid climate, my exceptionally patient and thoughtful Thai massage instructors, the sleepless nights next to booming night clubs, the rice fields stretching as far as the eye can see.

To a friend in Singapore, who has three small children. She and I got lost in Rome together at 2 in the morning, and lived to tell the tale.

To Canada, where some of my friends sing harmonies together as a family, and others raise gorgeous, hockey-loving kids and eat Tim Hortons doughnuts.

To Brazil, home to drummers and dancers with talent and musicianship the likes of which I had never experienced before, until I attended Brazil Camp.

And to nearly each and every state in the United States. Friends near and far. Friends I sang with in high school. Friends I worked with in Montana, Alaska, Arizona, Utah. Family in Texas and Illinois and California. People I've known since kindergarten. The dearest circle of women in Virginia and North Carolina.

And lastly, to all my clients in this one teeny tiny town: Bend, Oregon, USA.

What a tapestry of humanity, just within my one humble circle. I prayed for all of you last night, in my own funny way. I held you in my heart with warmth and light and love and gratitude.

May you know peace.

May you know health.

May you know love.

May we all remember our interconnectedness as a strength, and not something to be feared.

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