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On Falling in Love

John Steinbeck wrote this letter to his son in 1958.
What beautiful advice.

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Love,

Fa

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Jason Silva explains this phenomenon in 2m30s

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This song pierces my heart every time I hear it.

The tango was written in 1935 by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo le Pera.  Gardel wrote the music and le Pera wrote the lyrics.  Both died later that year (June 24, 1935) when the plane they were travelling in crashed in Medellin, Colombia.

Por Una Cabeza means “by a head” in Spanish.  It is a horse-racing term referring to a horse winning a race by the length of it’s head.

Tangotodo.com writes that Por Una Cabeza is “A beautiful tango that tells us, with disdain and pride, about the life of a loner. A man trapped between two fires: his passion for race horses and an excessive attraction towards a beautiful and evil woman who lies to him and rejects him. The turf is a metaphor where everything is included: hopes, bets, falls and misfortune, both in races and in love”.

Here is the original remastered video that includes Gardel & le Pera :

Here is my favourite instrumental version performed by Itzhak Perlman (tears always start flowing at 5:53):

Here are the lyrics in Spanish:

Por una cabeza
de un noble potrillo
que justo en la raya
afloja al llegar,
y que al regresar
parece decir:
No olvidés, hermano,
vos sabés, no hay que jugar.
Por una cabeza,
metejón de un día
de aquella coqueta
y burlona mujer,
que al jurar sonriendo
el amor que está mintiendo,
quema en una hoguera
todo mi querer.

Por una cabeza,
todas las locuras.
Su boca que besa,
borra la tristeza,
calma la amargura.
Por una cabeza,
si ella me olvida
qué importa perderme
mil veces la vida,
para qué vivir.

Cuántos desengaños,
por una cabeza.
Yo juré mil veces,
no vuelvo a insistir.
Pero si un mirar
me hiere al pasar,
sus labios de fuego
otra vez quiero besar.
Basta de carreras,
se acabó la timba.
¡Un final reñido
ya no vuelvo a ver!
Pero si algún pingo
llega a ser fija el domingo,
yo me juego entero.
¡Qué le voy a hacer.

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Your Task

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

― Rumi

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Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back – a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

– Anaïs Nin (1903 – 1977)

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“One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea and talking about life and love. His friend asked: ‘How come you never married?’

‘Well,’ said Nasruddin, ‘to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no common interests. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then one day, I met her; beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had very much in common. In fact, she was perfect!’

‘So, what happened?’ asked Nasruddin’s friend, ‘Why didn’t you marry her?’

Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘it’s really the sad story of my life…. It seemed that she was looking for the perfect man…’ “

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“Deprived of one, he wanted to be with them all at the same time, which is what he always wanted whenever he was fearful.  For even during his most difficult times and at his worst moments, he had maintained some link, no matter how weak, with his countless lovers of so many years: he always kept track of their lives.

And so that night he remembered Rosalba, the very first one, who had carried off the prize of his virginity and whose memory was still as painful as it had been the first day.  He had only to close his eyes to see her in her muslin dress and her hat with the long silk ribbons, rocking her child’s cage on the deck of the boat.  Several times in the course of the numberous years of his life he had been ready to set out in search of her, withought knowing where, or her last name, or if she was the one he was looking for, but certain of finding her somewhere among groves of orchids.

He remembered the Widow Nazaret. He was more understanding of her than of any of the others, because she was the only one who radiated enough tenderness to compensate for Fermina Daza despite her sluggishness in bed.  But she had the inclinations of an alleycat, which were more indomitable that the strength of her tenderness, and this meant that both of them were codemned to infidelity.  Still, they continued to be intermittent lovers for almost thirty years, thanks to their musketeers’ motto:  Unfaithful but not disloyal.  She was also the one for whom Florentio Ariza assumed any responsibility:  when he heard that she had died and was going to a pauper’s grave, he buried her at his own expense and was the only mourner at the funeral.

He remembered Angeles Alfaro, the most ephemeral and best loved of them all, who came for six months to teach string instruments at the Music School and who spent moonlit nights with him on the flat roof of her house, as naked as the day she was born, playing the most beautiful suites in all music on a cello whose voice became human between her golden thighs.  From the first moonlit night, both of them broke their hearts in the fierce love of inexperiene.  But Angeles Alfaro left as she had come, with her tender sex on her sinner’s cello, on an ocean liner that flew the flag of oblivion, and all that remained of her on the moonlit roofs was a fluttered farewell with a white handkerchief like a solitary sad dove on the hoizon, as if she were a verse from the Poteic Festival.  With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it:  that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them.

Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger:  “My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.”  He wept copious tears at the grief of parting.  But as soon as the ship had disappeared over the horizon, the memory of Fermina Daza once again occupied all his space.”

— The memories of Florentino Ariza
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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