It has been well over a month since I last posted a blog post. A lot of changes and transitions, professionally and personally, have happened over a short amount of time that I needed to take some space to distance myself from blogging for a while. Frankly, every week I would plan on writing a blog post on a topic that I’ve chosen weeks or even months ahead but it has been very difficult to sit down and actually write the post. Part of the reason is because there are a lot of thoughts running around in my head, some of which are incomplete and utterly confusing. This evening I decided to sit down and write this post because in retrospect, I created this blog because I wanted to take you all along in my journey. And it’s not a straight path, far from it.
Granted, I still don’t feel like I’m in the same headspace that I was in 6 months ago, but I thought it was important for me to write about forgiveness. Over the weekend, I wondered how could God be so forgiving of our mistakes over and over again? Why is it so hard for us to forgive others at the same degree?
Being human makes us susceptible to failures, imperfections and innumerable mistakes. It is and can be very difficult to forgive those who have wronged us repeatedly and ourselves. Pain, anger, embarrassment, pride and insecurities often take over so much so that we forget that we are all similarly human. We crave the same degree of infinite forgiveness that others seek of us, yet we often decline to show the same kindness. The only answer I can come up with that addresses my question adequately is love. Love at its purest form is patient, kind, humble, and of course forgiving. An elusive verb and feeling.
I guess the trick is to not take love for granted, but strengthen it.
P.S. Always choose forgiveness, even when it’s difficult. Harbouring bad feelings just isn’t worth it. Besides, you can’t change people… you can only love them.
On my way to an appointment, I sat beside a lovely pregnant woman on the subway. The delectable aroma of the dark chocolate pieces she was munching on were enough for me to put my book down and remove my headphones. I leaned over and told her how wonderful those dark chocolate pieces smelled!
After a few stops we started casually chatting and sharing photos and videos of our nieces. She’s having her first child and, of course, was nervous about the new changes in her life that will very soon take place. Did I mention that she’s due in 3 weeks? I appreciated her positive attitude towards the new chapter she and her partner are about to embark on because it’s definitely not going to be an easy ride.
Later on, we started talking about career paths and the troubling observations she notices about young professionals. She said something like; “I have been in the [marketing] industry for about 10 years now. Young professionals like you are greatly undervalued by senior execs but with the changing digital landscape, you guys are actually extremely valuable because you are immersed in it. You know what’s going on and can provide context. They know that you’re young, and are probably doubting yourself, but don’t let them smell that. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you even if you doubt yourself from time to time. Your knowledge in the industry is valuable. Show them how much they need you.”
Needless to say, it was the best 30 seconds I spent on the subway. Seriously, what are the chances that I would sit next to this motivating woman who just happens to work in the same industry as me?
An antiquated method of communication to some, a meaningful gesture for others, letters carry much more than pieces of paper with handwritten words. They capture specific moments of our lives-micro stories-only shared with their recipients.
Initially, I wanted to create Project Love Letters for my own selfish reasons. I wanted to see how people would react when they are given a letter with a simple motivational quote. I hoped that it would bring them, well, motivation. But the more I talked to a few other people about my idea, the more I saw that doing that lost the very essence of why we used to write letters. Sure, it was probably the only form of communication back then, but we also did it to share our stories and love. I’m a bit of a romantic if you didn’t know already. Perhaps, that’s why this project may not come as a surprise for some close friends.
So, I changed the project. Each letter would still be handwritten, but instead of given out to strangers, the letters are written for specific people and prompted to write letters of their own to whomever they like. Bring on the inside jokes, poetry, and intimate micro stories because if we can’t even write letters to our friends and loved ones, who can we write letters for? No texts, emails, tweets, or Facebook message. Actual pen-to-paper letters with guess what? Stamps! (If needed, hand delivered when possible of course!)
Let’s see how this goes, shall we? 😉 Feel free to send me an email if you would like to receive a letter as well 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. When was the last time you wrote a letter? Christmas? Valentine’s Day? Share with us by leaving a comment below.
It was my second Forró dance class when my fellow beginner dance partner and I learned how to spin. After practicing the basics a few more times, it suddenly occurred to me that learning how to dance is closely similar to learning how to be in a harmonious relationship. You need open communication, trust, intimacy and confidence in yourself and each other to gracefully move around the dance floor. Granted, you may step on each other’s feet once or twice, literally, but that’s totally fine because it’s far more important to follow the same rhythm.
Before realizing this, I knew my own shortcomings when it comes to being in a romantic relationship. Though I must say, there were four key aspects that I clearly need to work on as a dancer and partner.
The Value of Taking a Pause
In Forró, the beat goes like this: 1, 2, 3, PAUSE, 1, 2, 3, PAUSE, 1, 2, 3, PAUSE. The pause may not seem like a significant thing when it’s written like this but it is. I learned this the hard way by not taking a pause and setting a pace that was faster than my dance partner’s. Our instructor says that, “you fall into the pause, it has a heavier weight while the other steps/beats are lighter.” Not taking that important pause made it more difficult for my partner and I to mirror each other’s steps, and since my pace was faster, I inevitably messed up our rhythm. I needed to slow down instead of anticipating my next step because my partner is supposed to be leading me not the other way around.
Relationships are similar in a sense that we fall in love with our partners slowly.
All of that attraction and desire is present within the first few months, but if we don’t slow down and take our time enjoying each other’s company and learning about one another beyond superficialities, that fire burns relatively quickly. Leaving thinking about what could have been instead of what is.
Letting Someone Else Take Control
Growing up I was taught to be self-sufficient and independent. If I was hungry, I’ll go get something to eat or cook for myself. If there’s an assignment that I need to get done, I’ll to do it myself. I hope you can immediately see how this can be a problem in a partner dance where the control is not entirely mine.
In Forró, the man is responsible for taking the lead, guiding the woman between bases and spins. There’s an unspoken communication between each other, a sort of letting go that I was initially reluctant to do. Part of it is learning to rely on someone else, trusting him. Both of which, I have a problem doing easily outside of dance. Thing is, the moment I let my dance partner take the lead was the exact moment I started to enjoy myself. It wasn’t just about learning how to dance anymore, I was dancing.
In a relationship, at times it may be difficult to trust your partner because trust is such a fragile thing. We’re emotionally invested and hopeful that the person we are choosing to trust will not take that gesture for granted. After all, we do not only trust them to take care of our toes, our hearts too.
Stop Thinking Too Much!
While the instructors were teaching us more complicated spins and steps, I found myself thinking too much about where my feet should go or if I’m spinning in the right direction or whether I was off beat again. Doing so made it more difficult for my body to actually learn the steps and spins.
Similarly, we can get so caught up with what’s in our heads instead of what’s in our hearts sometimes that soon enough we end up in a downward spiral. Questioning every little detail that may or may not matter as much as we think it does. If only we took the time to pause and recognize that all of the thoughts in our head are mere thoughts. They only stop being thoughts when we act on them.
Intimacy isn’t just a physical thing it’s a transcendent connection.
My dance partner and I would sway for a minute or so to get a sense of the rhythm of the song. Often times, you’ll see dancers close their eyes to feel the music and to let intimacy build with their partner. Creating this connection to the music and your partner keeps you in synch as you dance around the dance floor.
It’s a culmination of letting go of your inhibitions, trust, being receptive of open communication and building a connection.
By all means, I won’t be a great Forró dancer right away. It takes practice and changing habits to have the skill level I want to have. I’m also not shy to admit that I haven’t been the greatest girlfriend/partner either, but I’m working on it.
P.S. My apologies for the photos, our dance social kept going as it rained.