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my hands holding things

Hi friends, 

I’ve spent this past week finally allowing myself to surrender to the comfort of familiarity. Every time I’m back home in Toronto, I fall into my old patterns. I'm writing this to you from my forever favourite coffee shop. It’s been renovated a bit since I used to frequent it, but its bones and beans remain unchanged. It still smells and tastes the same, and as I sit at its beloved marble table and take in my surroundings, I realise how much this table has supported me over the years. I often treated it like an extension of my former studio, that was a mere 50 meters away. I think of the countless articles, emails and applications written here and how many stories it must have heard over all the coffees with friends. This table breathes energy into my life in ways that continue to surprise me. 

Last week’s ailments have forced rest, readjustments and (slight) recovery, and in lieu of attending to my ongoing to-do list, I’ve been allowing my mind to spread and wander even more than usual. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be humble and how to actively practice humility in various parts of my life. To be honest, I don’t know if I actually practice humility as much as I think I do. I think I often mask my insecurities under the guise of humility, and while that may temporarily trick my outer self, my inner self knows the truth.

For a long time, I’ve struggled with not feeling like I am enough, leading me to seek validity from others and myself in unrealistic ways. I’m now realising that insecurities can sometimes breed vanity when we fall into the patterns of believing that others are as occupied with our insecurities as we are, or even failing to see that there are problems that are bigger than our own. I don’t know why I continue to be consumed with feelings of self-doubt, but what I do know is that I’ve gotten in the habit of suppressing this as a forethought as much as possible, refusing to believe its reality.

Humility seems easier when I think of it from the eyes of my favourite table that I continue to occupy. It seems to just be present, is supportive and is able to offer what’s needed at the given time. It’s not the most prominent, but it’s constant and stable. It’s like an open palm, reaching out and ready to hold (or be held). It’s confident. Furniture is able to just exist in our world so honestly in a way that I can’t help but simultaneously admire and envy.

I admit to not knowing too much about humility, but what I’m learning is that there seems to be two recurring elements that are necessary for it to be fostered, and those are mindfulness and honesty. It’s not always easy being honest with ourselves, and I’ve learned that when I begin to doubt my intentions, it’s important to check in with my senses as a means of being more mindful. It’s in these moments when I seek pillars of familiarity to guide me. I often lack balance when it comes to emotional feeling, as I can easily fall into bouts of numbness broken up by stretches of over-stimulation or sensitivity, but I fall back on my sense of touch to guide me and to be a clear reminder. 

Not all things that can hold need to.

Our hands hold the present, but they also carry the past. Sometimes, they seemingly hold nothing, but it’s in those moments when I’m trying to focus on the space in between my palms and fingertips. Perhaps our limbs, though they act like endpoints of our bodies, are more so the crucial points that allow us to feel and connect to what’s around us. They’re perhaps points that remind us about the importance of perspective. I’m realising that I’m quick to judge others based off of my assumptions, but I’m even quicker to validate myself based off of my intentions, failing to realise that sometimes our intentions miss the point. 

Endpoints, I find, always prompt reflection. The past eight weeks of this sharing have challenged, drained, renewed, and surprised me in ways that I will likely continue to experience. Coupled with this calendar year and decade coming to a close, the notion and pressure of endings rings so prominently in my mind. I don’t really know how to “end” this because facing this final (news)letter made me realise how much has still been left unsaid. But I’ll refrain, and instead take this moment to pause and breathe into the spaces between the fingertips of this sharing, allowing them to spread so they can fill with and gather gratitude.

Wishing you love and light today and always,



compress(ed memory foam) is a series of ongoing sharings and suggestions in relation to built environments, care, the practice of preserving and following through.

This weekly (news)letter will run from 1 November through 20 December and is hosted by Juliane Foronda as part of A Spoon is the Safest Vessel at Glasgow Women's Library.
Copyright © 2019 Juliane Foronda, All rights reserved.

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