“Hello friend. How are you doing?”

During the COVID-19 crisis this little message – both sent and received – from friends all over the world has become the lifeline to our shared humanity, struggle, anxiety and curious wonder at what is happening around the world. The expat community always feels like its own world. Our friendships are the glue that hold us together across the miles and the constant uncertainty of this lifestyle. Expats know from experience how to come together and foster support and understanding during the best of times and also in crisis. Right now, these 6 little words are my twinkling stars of promise in the unfamiliar terrain of our already somewhat-strange lives. 

From Turkey to Japan, Oman to Arizona, Bangkok to Washington, DC – it’s the same back and forth. How are you holding up? How’s homeschooling? What strange thing happened today in your corner of the world? We’re living in a sci-fi movie as it’s being written, trying to pair up our scripts, the main characters, and the plot lines to weave together something that will actually make sense.

Hello friend. Like a line of Morse Code stamped out into the heavens. Are you still there? I’ve always felt really drawn to the word friend and use it quite liberally, but now it means all so much more. To have someone call you friend when you’re not sure if tomorrow will change who you think you are, grounds you in what’s real. I am a part of something. Even behind these walls, I’m still someone you’d call friend. And you are still mine.

How are you doing? We typically throw this line around like it’s nothing and pay little attention to the response. But right now, the “how” means so much more. Literally – HOW?! How are you feeding your kids, managing your own work schedule, homeschooling, shopping, handling the worry you feel for loved ones back home? How are you staying healthy and sane? 

Despite the upheaval, I’m seeing so much centered awareness, love and compassion. The conversations I’ve had over the past week have been deeply steeped in learning and connection. There is a collective gentleness happening – even in the way in which we’re taking a few minutes to type out “Hello friend. How are you doing?”

Now more than ever is the time to push aside those silly, relationship-damning phrases of insecurity that sometimes creep into our minds. Will I bother her? Should I call again? Right now is not the moment to fear bothering a friend, calling at the wrong time or showing your vulnerability. Put everything out into the words. Hello Friend. How are you doing?

And so, even as we find ourselves navigating the half-finished screenplay of a science fiction movie we never hoped we’d have to witness – we can hold on to all these little bits of light. These tiny beeps on the radar, connecting via satellite around the world. They are gifts in a time of strangeness. We are each others’ gifts in a time like no other.

Pick up the phone. Schedule the call. Send the email. No hugs, but that’s okay.

Hello friend.

One More Thing

If you’re looking for connections right now or finding yourself diving deep in to what it means to live through times like these, I have some services and resources that might be exactly what you need.

My Globally Mindful Facebook Group is an online community of expats who are practicing, or learning to practice, mindfulness. During the COVID-19 Crisis I’m offering weekly mindfulness meetups via Zoom to members of the group.

I’m also continuing to accept Take Your Leap participants. This program is a reduced rate coaching scholarship programs for individuals interested in focusing in on goal, challenge or task over the course of one month.

During the COVID-19 Crisis I’m offering my Mantra Builder Online Course at 50% off with code HALFOFFMANTRA. This course is an online version of one of my most-loved coaching programs. Complete the entire program in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace and create a personal mantra to guide you during times of transition, uncertainty and upheaval.

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