The Magical Drugs Of Music And Dance Give Me Courage To Live Passionately

The Magical Drugs Of Music And Dance Give Me Courage To Live Passionately

Dance is my soul, my hobby and my life.


My life changed after I attended a family friend's wedding, and not because I had a sudden realization about the importance of love and unity and whatnot. In fact, it had nothing to do with that. I was a hyper 7-year-old who was looking for something interesting other than the exchange of vows. So when the music started playing and the dance floor opened up, I was surprised at how strongly my body reacted. It was as if I was possessed. All I wanted to do was rush onto the floor and get carried up in the high that came with the loud, festive music.

I looked around to see if the music had the same effect on others, but they all had the same nonchalant, indifferent expressions. I was confused. Why wasn't anyone else as excited as I was? That's when I realized the unique effect that music had on me and how powerful it was.

Music was like a drug. I wanted to experience the euphoric feelings that had coursed through my veins again, so I did what any 7-year-old addict would do: I forced my mom to sign me up for Indian classical dance lessons.

From then on, I would get ready 30 minutes early before my Thursday dance lessons. I went to class, befriended the other enthusiastic kids, learned the moves and came back home to practice before my next lesson. My teacher, impressed with my dedication and hard work, would place me front and center during recitals while my proud mother would videotape the performance from the front row. I eventually became a student teacher and taught Indian classical dance to a lower age group.

Much like how an addict's tolerance gradually increases, I soon became bored of Indian classical dance. Its strict hand gestures, graceful foot movements and intricate storytelling was no longer a challenge for me. I was a somewhat reticent child back then, always struggling to express my feelings publicly. In order to conquer that difficulty, I chose a new form of dance that would challenge me personally: Bollywood.

Unlike Indian Classical dance, Bollywood dance was not as disciplined. The instructor encouraged us to improvise and "add some energy" into our movements, something my stiff and structured nature could not comprehend. But as weeks went by, I started moving my hips more and really feeling the beat of the music so I could express myself the way I wanted to. Soon, I started storytelling again — my story — when dancing to the upbeat tunes. I found a sense of confidence, happiness and companionship within that dance studio.

If you fast forward to high school, you'll notice that I barely go to the studio anymore.

The time I used to spend happily communicating through melody was now used to complete homework. My sense of self dwindled. In a sea of sleep deprived adolescents, I was just another continuously functioning, mindless machine with nothing to look forward to. Or at least, that's what I had assumed.

One of the biggest events of our high scmhool is International Night, an evening where various cultures put together dance performances and food tastings. I attended for the first time during my sophomore year. As I learned Chinese folk dance and enjoyed Spanish guitar performances, I looked around at the faces of the crowd, watching them light up in awe and fascination. Then I observed the dancers on stage. They were panting heavily, but glowed with self satisfaction and assertiveness.

I realized that even though our life situations might drag us down from time to time, our inner sense of happiness comes from self expression through music. It has the ability to wake us up from a conformed society, administer purpose to our otherwise bland lifestyle and erase our insecurities. Music is the universal language that ties us all together under every skin color, ethnicity and belief. Without it, we would be missing a zest for life, a passion to live courageously — this I believe.

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You Are NOT Enough

We will never be enough, but God is always more than enough.


Society and even the church seem to constantly encourage us with the saying "You are enough," and their intentions behind this statement are totally innocent. Something about this phrase has always bothered me, though, but I never understood why. In a sermon I heard one Wednesday night a week or so ago, the verses Proverbs 30:7-9 were used, and these verses stood out to me in a big way.

Proverbs 30:7-9

7 "Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

The speaker was specifically focusing on verses 7-8, but the Holy Spirit kept drawing me to verse 9, even days and weeks after. So I decided to dig into it. This verse focuses on Agur (the speaker in the passage) and his tendency to sin. When he asked God to provide "only [his] daily bread," and then when he continued on to speak about the specific sins he was afraid of committing, Agur was completely and wholly surrendering his struggles with temptation and sin to God, because Agur knew he couldn't do it on his own.

Aren't we all like Agur? Because we are human, we mess up all the time and fall into sin more than we would like to admit, and many times because of this, we fall into guilt and shame. This is because, on our own, we aren't enough. If we were enough on our own, we wouldn't sin. If we were enough on our own, we would be able to save ourselves. If we were enough on our own, we wouldn't need God. But none of those statements are true, are they? In fact, it is the exact opposite because God is enough, he calls us out of sin. Because God is enough, He sent Jesus to save us from our sin. Because God is enough, He is with us in every situation because we call to Him.

How do we know that we aren't enough? Because no one is!

Every human sins, even great heroes of faith. David, one of the most well-known biblical figures: the one who killed Goliath and one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, said in Psalm 51:5--

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

The beauty in realizing that you aren't enough on your own is that you don't have to be! Never in the Bible does God call us to be "enough!" He never expected us to be enough because it is impossible. God does call us to depend on Him, though. This is because God is ultimately more than enough. When we depend on God to help us keep away from sin and put in the work necessary to keep away from sin, it will be much easier. We will never be enough, but if we continuously search for our identity in worldly things and not Christ, we will be upset when we realize that we are not enough. Guess what, though, when we find our identity in what Christ says about us, we will find peace and hope because just like 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:

9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

God is the only one who is enough. When we depend on God for everything we will begin to see that HE is enough, and that's all we need.

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.


While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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