Letters by Kenny Mah

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A joyful Sunday of revelations

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March 23, 2014

Hey you,

I begin the day with a smile on my face. It’s Sunday; why wouldn’t I? Some stretching to warm my body up, followed by a few rounds of sun salutations. My joints are creaky and my mind admonishes me, Why have you abandoned your yoga practice for so many years already? But my heart is too full of joy to care. I’m moving from pose to pose now, now quite fluid yet, but I am moving.

Oh yes, I am moving.

While I was sleeping, you were exploring your new city. I receive your messages; you’ve discovered a Chinatown in Luanda. Your pictures of your haul from the market — bottles of sesame oil and oyster sauce, bags of dried chillies — make me chuckle. Oh what treasures you’ve found!

I tell this to the friendly baristas at our neighbourhood cafĂ©; they laugh and nod. They can’t wait for you to come back too, they tell me, with a twinkle in their eyes. They tell me they’re thinking of adding new items to their menu so I google a few recipes for them. Something tells me I’ll be a guinea pig soon for their attempts at banana bread and carrot cake. (My waistline protests but I shush it.)

The sunlight is so awesome after dreary weeks of haze — so amazing! — when I come across this poem, The Journey by Mary Oliver:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

I am determined to be happy. I am thankful for every new day, every fresh opportunity to live fully and to love without reservations. There is no point in saving a smile for a special occasion or to hoard my time for a worthy project.

Every minute we are alive is special; everything we do is worthy.

Ain’t that the greatest thing ever?

Yours always and always,

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