Chapter 1 / Chapter Notes

In the Mood for (Revolutionary) Love

February 2021 E-Letter to our Community

Words by: Courtney Chew 
Image via In The Mood for Love, by Wong Kar Wai


We’re already two months in to this year, continuing in its trend of change and heightened awareness from 2020… which realistically, was to be expected. Yet, when a New Year approaches, it brings along this honest and endearing naivety that the first day of the year will solve all holding concerns and inspire that burst of motivation to tackle those new resolutions and the list of things that we didn’t get to the year previous. Like so many, I’ve often felt that way; that a New Year brings along a lightness and a clean slate; an opportunity to ‘begin’ again however that shows up in the moment. But, the experience of 2020 brought an interesting shift in the meaning that January 1 can hold. Rather than thinking of it as a reset button, what if we considered the start of each New Year as building blocks of learnings from the previous, and look to each day ahead as opportunities to keep strengthening our foundation of learning and growing. It changes our relationship with how we start and continue our year and offers constant evolution driven not by fleeting desire, but instead by genuine curiosity, a humble pursuit of knowledge, and a vulnerable heart.

This shift in perspective then presents the challenge for how we respond and show up. There exists  the imminent need for all of us to be better, to do better, to learn and unlearn, and come together to action and drive positive change for our Earth and for humanity. Not just on day one, but also the 364 + that follow. We are living in a time where hate, judgement, and division are overwhelmingly existent; where the happiness and success of one body is perceived to hinder the happiness and success of the other. Where we believe there is only space for one to live and thrive, while the rest have to hide and survive. Too many communities of incredibly rooted culture, language, and color, are and have been targets of immeasurable violence and pain. And for myself, as a Chinese Canadian, seeing the heightened racism and discrimination towards the Chinese diaspora around the world has paralyzed me in a rollercoaster of emotions from devastation, sadness, worry, infuriation, and defeat. For a world that strives so hard to be ‘connected’ we are deeply disconnected from our environment, our community, our history, and ourselves. We take each other for granted and are almost desensitized to the extent of the impact that we each have. It’s crucial for us to recognize, that as humans, we share so much common ground — we all want to be accepted and welcomed, to feel respected and acknowledged, and to do the things with the people we love that make us happy and fulfilled. The parts of ourselves that categorize us as ‘other’ are actually what makes us the same; our differences are what we share and we have the humbling and powerful opportunity to bridge heritage and bridge people when we choose to see the world through the lens of empathy, compassion, kindness, and one human race. That no matter our culture, our background, our food, our language, we are the same in our desire to love and be loved, to achieve, to overcome, to live, and to dream.

The other day a friend asked me “Do you believe in hope?” I had to sit with this question for a minute, taking in everything that 2020 brought us and where 2021 is now, and how the pandemic and the ‘un-layering’ of the world has affected each of us on so many different levels. It’s a question that I feel grateful to have the privilege to even think about and answer in the way of, 

“Yes, I do believe in hope”. 

Hope offers us something to look towards. The light in the dark, the warmth when it’s cold, the momentum when things slow down. It offers us a motivation to hold on to, because when things feel wrong, it’s so much easier to slip and stay down. When there is hope, there is opportunity to choose to keep pushing, and to connect again with ourselves, our spirit, and our community. To me, with hope, we humanize each other and choose to listen and hear what our extended brothers and sisters are saying to us, with or without their actual words. Hope encourages presence and a conscious responsibility and accountability for our behaviour and our language. It also gives us the opportunity to lead with love — I don’t think hope can persevere without love. Love for ourselves, for our beginnings and our growth, for our environment, and most importantly, for each other. True, genuine, gracious, generous love, in all forms we give and receive. Valarie Kaur calls it Revolutionary love, and in her conversation with Baratunde Thurston on his podcast How to Citizen, she says: “Revolutionary love is when we are brave enough to see no strangers… what it means to practice in love, labour in love for the people and for ourselves.” 

Revolutionary love is when we are brave enough to see no strangers… what it means to practice in love, labour in love for the people and for ourselves.

Valarie Kaur

James Baldwin once said “Love has never been a popular movement… the world is held together, really it is held together, by the love and the passion of a very few people.” 

But, if the past year and a bit has taught us anything, it’s that when the few do come together we are greater and powerful. We become closer to the change we wish to see, for our Earth and all humanity.

So here’s to the next 321 days left of this year and beyond, continuing to learn from you, to inspire hope with you, and spread love with you — the strongest, most incredible, and resilient few. 

If this resonated with you, please sign up for our newsletter to continue reading these monthly e-letters. As always, I’d love to hear from you; your feedback, your thoughts, your feelings. My inbox is always open, or if you’re more comfortable, feel free to follow along, engage, and share with us over on our Instagram @ocin. And, if there is someone or an organization that you feel should be recognized in their involvement in making this world a more kind and warm place, please pass them our way — we’d love to spotlight them.

With gratitude and love,

Human, Friend, Ocean Lover, OCIN Founder