Once again we are on the cusp of a new year—2020. What will the new year bring? Well, I’m wishing for the best just like every other human on planet earth. Regardless, the coming year will have its share of ups and downs and what each of us will need most is the courage and insight to deal with all of that. For me, 2020 is best approached by reflecting on what I’ve learned in 2019.
Reflection can be described as ‘serious thought or consideration’ but it can also mean ‘an image that bounces back from a reflective surface’. Both kinds of reflection have provided me with profound lessons this past year.
Writing a book is a solitary pastime. You sit alone with your thoughts, mine your deepest emotions, explore your creativity, give voice to some very personal heartbreak/joy/ecstasy/agony—all the while never knowing how other people will react to it. You cannot imagine what will happen when this book—this piece of your soul—leaves your writing room and ventures out into the world.
At the beginning of November people all over the world began to connect with the pages of my book. And something happened that I had never imagined—my book became a unique mirror, a reflection, for each reader. How do I know this?
Slowly and steadily I started to receive emails, messages, phone calls, and comments filled with reactions to my 324 pages of blood, sweat, and tears. To my delight (to date) almost all of the reactions and reviews have been positive. There have been the usual general remarks about how much readers enjoyed the journey, how people couldn’t put the book down once they started, or how they enjoyed all the ‘travel bits’. But there was something beyond this that began to surface.
Each person had a visceral reaction to different sections of the book. Some have told me how they once again felt the wounds of betrayal by someone they held close as they read about mine or once again experienced the feeling of alienation upon re-entry into their culture of origin. Others rode a vicarious magic carpet as they travelled through distant lands with me and some identified with all the family anguish, elation, conflict and ultimate healing.
As well, within those comments, I could see that individuals had brought themselves to the book and my words were mirroring their personal perceptions. A couple of very private people loved the travel sections but felt that the rest of the book was too personal, others loved reading about my personal journey but skipped the travel sections because they had already ‘been there’. Some wanted to read more about the scandals and a few men were more interested in Wayne’s UN job than my spiritual transformation. There were so many revelations of character in these views.
Nine Years in Bangkok: Lessons Learned was written from my heart. I had never imagined that it would impact people so personally, mirroring some of their deepest values, fears, and beliefs. This is a very humbling experience and I look forward to continuing feedback in 2020—both positive and negative. Such a great study of humanity—the readers’ and mine.
Happy New Year!
Life events connect in mysterious ways to light our paths.Sharon Bazant, Nine Years in Bangkok: Lessons Learned