Joel and Clara Marasigan

Spreading the Love


canada-lineThe other day, I took the Canada Line downtown to get my haircut at a long-time friend and fellow dancer’s hair salon:  Kanai Hairstyling.  It was a fun little trip.  I felt like I was on vacation, because whenever I take the subway anywhere, it’s usually when I’m a tourist in another city, like Toronto, London, Paris or Tokyo.  Having the new subway in Vancouver makes me feel like I’m a tourist in my own town.  It’s great!

 While I was on the train, I overheard a conversation between a local Vancouverite and a couple of tourists.  He was telling them all about the new Canada Line and pretty much acting as a tour guide for these two lucky ladies.  Then, as he got off the train, I noticed him stop by the side and direct another couple who looked like they didn’t know where they were going.  I thought to myself, ‘Boy!  This guy is really something!’  He is so nice to take the time to help out these complete strangers, asking nothing in return. 

grand_central_station_nyI remember going to New York for the first time two years ago.  Joel and I were in the train station, searching for directions on where to go.  A gentleman quickly appeared in front of us and offered to help.  I thought to myself, ‘That’s really nice of this guy!’  What a good Samaritan for helping out a couple of confused tourists.  What I didn’t realize until afterwards, was that he expected us to give him a tip!  He hung around, kept on yammering, and wouldn’t go away until we gave him a few bucks.  Unbelievable!

 What is it that makes people put extra effort in to help others, without expecting anything in return?  I don’t know what it was for the man on the Canada Line that I saw the other day, but if I were to make a guess, I would say that it’s a combination of extreme pride in our city and tremendous compassion for the fellow human being.  How great is it that we have these kinds of people walking the streets of Vancouver?

 pay_it_forwardWhen I meet generous and passionate people like that, I feel that it rubs off on me and I want to do the same for someone else.  Remember that movie:  ‘Pay it forward‘?  That was a great movie.  Even though it was surrounded by tragic circumstances, it delivered a very positive and inspiring message.  The movie was centred around a 12-year old boy, whose school project was to make a change in the world.  Hopefully, the movie taught people that doing good and passing it forward to others is a rewarding gift that will make the world a better place to live.  Idealistic?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.     

 There are so many things out there that people are passionate about and will fight for and/or promote to no end.  People fight for causes like Breast Cancer, Environmental Issues or Animal Rights; others hold strong beliefs in Religion or Politics and wish to spread it to as many people as they can; and there are still others whose passion is centred around certain activities such as Music, Sports, Cooking or Dancing.     

Of course nobody has to guess what my passion is.  However, sometimes I think to myself…  how can I compare my passion for Dance to the battle against Cancer or Poverty?  It seems rather silly and unimportant…  But then, we can’t really control what we are passionate about, can we?  What I’ve learnt over the years, is that if dancing is what it is for me, then I have to go for it!  I have not chosen it; in fact, it has chosen me. 

 jcteachingtangoYes I know, it sounds cheesy…  However, I believe that my calling (so to speak) is to explore, learn, and pass forward my love of dance to others.  Whether it be through teaching my students, through meeting people and just talking about dance, through demonstrating and showing people the art of dance, or just experiencing the music and the movement with people socially, it’s all a part of passing it forward to others.  

 When we become consumed by something, it makes us want to spread it to the world and infect as many people as possible.  In fact, that’s the spirit that causes many of the volunteer organizations around the world to exist.  For you, your thing might be the fight against Breast Cancer or Discrimination, or the promotion and participation in Dragonboat or Opera.  Whatever it may be, it’s important because it’s important to you and it’s what you truly believe in.

 So if you haven’t found it already, go out there and find whatever it is that drives you insane and Pay it Forward!  Expect nothing in return.  Just do it for the love of doing it, and that itself will be your reward!  And if you haven’t seen the movie ‘Pay it Forward’, go see it!

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