Dear 2021

Boy did you come with very unexpected surprises! Some pleasant, some not so pleasant. All in very interesting timing. You’ve inherited COVID with absolutely no choice, and it most likely will be part of our regular vernacular for years to come whether or not the pandemic dies down soon. I think by now, we’re all pretty exhausted, rattled and/or fed up. And yet, I still stand by what I said last year…there’s hope for something bigger than ourselves amidst all of this. 

Upon reflecting on the past year, I kept circling back to the notion that chaos is necessary to move things forward. We can see this manifested in nature, people, culture and so on. If we look at the labour market alone, remote working conditions are prioritized, top talents are choosing to leave their high-profile jobs to start their own ventures and conversations about what it means to be an effective leader in this day and age finally included traits like empathy. Sometimes we need a little chaos (or a lot depending on the situation) to shake things up and challenge our core. So if I had to choose, the word that comes to mind when I think about 2021, it would be chaos

In today’s definition, the word chaos means being in a state of confusion, disarray or disorder. Although the origins of the word are suggested to come from the Greek word cháos or an open formless space, an abyss or void. Interesting isn’t it? How meaning evolved to denote space and time into a feeling about something. And that something is often out of our control. It feels chaotic to us because we can’t control the outcome we want to have or expect to receive. It feels chaotic to us because we don’t understand what’s going on. But did we actually fully understand before? 

Chaos compels us to trust. To trust in God. To trust that He is in control. To trust that He is an immovable fortress. To trust ourselves enough to try to make wise choices, albeit perceived high or low risks. To trust that if something fails or is not completely what we expected that we won’t fall apart. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3

As 2021 comes to a close, let’s remember that the everlasting light that shines ever so bright will set us free from the chaos towards creation and abundance. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Chaos Theory + tabula rasa. 

Re: Like a force to be reckoned with

I stumbled upon a musician on Spotify while looking for a podcast about the different Enneagram types. Ryan O’Neal under the name Sleeping At Last produced an album celebrating all nine types of the Enneagram, telling stories of redemption through beautifully crafted music. 

If you haven’t heard of the Enneagram, the Enneagram is a model of understanding our diverse human personality types and psyche. Not necessarily a means for categorizing people in our lives or beyond, but a way for us to have more empathy and compassion with each other as we experience the world together. There are nine types numbered between one to nine, and three intelligent centres (body, mind and heart). By all means, I am no expert so please do take the time to research more about it. That said, after taking the test and reading more about the Enneagram I find myself identifying with the type two or type two wing three if you want to get specific. 

Listening to Ryan’s podcast about the songs he created for the nine enneagram types undeniably pulled on my heartstrings – hard. The intentionality with every instrument, every lyric, melody, tempo and so on. It inspired me more than enough to write this blogpost and share his podcast episodes amongst my friends. Most of all, his songs made me feel seen in a big way during a time of trying to combat my own fears and anxieties. The ebbs and flows of how I’ve reflected on my identity as a human being is evolving over the years. I am so grateful for incredible artists like Ryan who are able to convey stories of our humanity with all its parts. Our victories, brokenness, transitions and redemption. 

Admittedly I’m still reflecting on the lyrics Ryan used for the three songs I’ve connected with the most – Two, Three and Eight. The lyrics for the song Two hits home and so that’s how I’ll be signing off for this post. Below is a link to Ryan’s video of the song Two and right below that are the lyrics written out.

*All rights reserved to Sleeping At Last

Two

Sweetheart, you look a little tired
When did you last eat?
Come in and make yourself right at home
Stay as long as you need
Tell me, is something wrong?
If something’s wrong, you can count on me
You know I’ll take my heart clean apart if it helps yours beat

It’s okay if you can’t find the words
Let me take your coat
And this weight off of your shoulders

Like a force to be reckoned with
A mighty ocean or a gentle kiss
I will love you with every single thing I have
Like a tidal wave, I’ll make a mess
Or calm waters, if that serves you best
I will love you without any strings attached

It’s okay if you can’t catch your breath
You can take the oxygen straight out of my own chest

I know exactly how the rule goes
Put my mask on first
No, I don’t want to talk about myself
Tell me where it hurts
I just want to build you up, build you up
‘Til you’re good as new
And maybe one day I will get around to fixing myself too

I don’t even know where to start
Already tired of trying to recall when it all fell apart
I just want to love you, to love you, to love you well
I just want to learn how, somehow, to be loved myself

Like a force to be reckoned with
A mighty ocean or a gentle kiss
I will love you without any strings attached
And what a privilege it is to love
A great honor to hold you up

Like a force to be reckoned with
A mighty ocean or a gentle kiss

I will love you with every single thing I have
Like a tidal wave, I’ll make a mess
Or calm waters if that serves you best
I will love you without any strings attached
I will love you without a single string attached

Always, 

K

P.S. Water has many amazing properties and complex characteristics. It has the strength to tear down buildings, wear down organic and inorganic materials yet it’s equally a fuel for things to come alive and for animals to have a home. Assertive, playful, calming, transformative and sweet.

From the one who got away

You’ll see me live a joyful life without you. See me smile and hear me laugh. 

You’ll see the radiant woman that I’ve become at the most unexpected time. 

You’ll wonder why things didn’t work out. 

Was it really about you or was it because of me? 

Maybe it’s both? 

You’ll wish you could have treated me better yet continue with the same patterns. 

You’ll wish you could talk to me the way you used to. The way I understood you – accepted all of you.

You’ll wish you made different choices because you didn’t think that I’ll actually leave. 

What you didn’t realize is that committing to you was always a choice,

Not a necessity. 

Looking back now, would you rather have regrets or loss?

Would you rather have a home or a house? 

Would you rather fight than hear silence? 

Would you rather feel afraid or empty? 

Would you rather tell the ugly truth or transfixed in a beautiful lie?

Most of all, would you rather love than pretend? 

At the end of the day, you’ll see me as the one who got away. And sure, there might be moments when I would wonder what could have been… before it becomes a faded memory. Remembered, but not part of the reality. 

Always, 

K

P.S. “You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them. You can miss a person everyday and still be glad that they’re no longer in your life…

I think we do love a real disservice when we make it about control and power and changing people. That’s not what it is. You love people, you give them that for free. And you decide if that’s something that you want to have in your life. The alternative is to say, ‘Well, I’m going to change them and then I’ll have them in my life’. And that’s not love. That’s not what love is and that’s not what it does, and that’s not the power it has.” 

– Tara Westover

P.P.S. Because of some circumstances and choices, you may read this from the lens of “the one who got away” or “the one someone got away from”. Now, it doesn’t really matter which camp you’re in. What matters is you are continuing to live. God has a funny way of sorting things out. As my 23-year old self once said, “Forgive always, love and laugh endlessly and be bold with your endeavours.”

Dear 2020

When we think about 2020 years from now there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the first word that we might all be reminded of is coronavirus or COVID-19. You’ve (2020) descended upon us with the same jolly smiles on new year’s day only to completely shatter any notion of expectation of what the year ahead may turn out to be. How it continues to be. But we would all be remiss if we didn’t see the flip side. You gave us many gifts, one of which is compelling us to be still. Surfacing the things we value most. Rooting us in the comforts of our homes. Challenging us to develop a grateful heart despite of it all. And humbling us to hope for something bigger than ourselves because in the grand scheme of things, we’re really not that important. 

Reflecting on the last couple of days of 2020, the word that comes to my mind is forgiveness. It took me 28 years of existence to notice that forgiveness is actually made up of 3 words – ‘for’, ‘give’ and ‘ness’. I guess it’s not the kind of word or concept that I’ve meditated on deeply. After all, as children we’ve been taught to say sorry, to forgive then forget. Although as I’ve been schooled [the hard way] the past year, forgiveness is so much more than that. Pain precedes forgiveness, but so do choice and most of all, love. 

If we break down the 3 words that comprise forgiveness an incredible truth comes out. 

For – with the object or purpose of; intended to belong to or be used in connection with; suiting the purpose or needs of; in order to obtain, acquire or gain

Give – to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; to place in someone’s care; to make a gift or gifts

Ness – a headland; promontory (a high point of land or rock projecting into the sea or other water beyond the line of coast); cape

Nowhere in each word definitions require (or even in the literal definition of forgiveness as one word) reciprocation or reconciliation contrary to expected conventions. So what is forgiveness? Forgiveness is a purposeful gift that knows no bounds. And yes, I hear you when you say that it’s not that simple in practise. In fact, it’s probably the most costly gift that we all have the choice to give/receive especially when the pain runs deep, hope is depleted and trust annihilated. I get it. I have a hard time doing it too without anger or bitterness offering reasons why I shouldn’t. But who am I to withhold forgiveness when I have been forgiven?

Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongue, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words or knowledge are forgotten. 

1 Corinthians 13:8 (Passions Translation)

In a word, forgiveness is love. The kind of love that allowed for all of us to receive second, third, fourth, unlimited chances to correct our mistakes through Christ. The kind of unconditional love that sees and accepts us for all of who we are, come what may. So I ask again, how can I not extend the love that Christ freely gives me every single day? 

2020 may have reshaped our lives in ways we didn’t expect or wanted, and we may not know what 2021 may bring with new strains of the virus popping up. But this is all just part of experiencing real life – the bad, the painful, the beautiful, the fulfilling, the extraordinary. So thank you, 2020, for giving me marked moments. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5 (ESV)