Hello Stranger

HELLO, STRANGER: Valerie by Helena Vallée

Location: New York City

Work field: Leadership coach, educator and retreat leader, Principal of Lead Smart Coaching (www. leadsmartcoaching. com)

Activity: Concert at the Nicholas Roerich Museum, in the Upper West Side. This museum is a haven of peacefulness and beauty. A short opera was performed by a local ensemble.


“What drives me is faithfulness.  Not religious faith, but faithfulness to oneself, one's vision, and to share this with others. A willingness to be courageous enough to live in the world, to really and fully live, is an act of faithfulness. It’s easy to fall into despair and sentimentality, but with integrity and a sense of wholeness in our faithfulness, we can save the world.”

“Hope lies in being alive. Many people are walking dead people, and conform to what other people want. It is an act of wisdom, authenticity and wholeheartedness to be alive, to move through the world and not take this for granted. Choosing to be alive is a daily practice.”


Click here for more information on the project Hello, Stranger

HELLO, STRANGER : Martin by Helena Vallée

Place: New York City

Work field: Activist, writer at TheRules.org

Activity: Sunday morning meditation at Kadampa Meditation Center . It was a great place to take a break from the Manhattan madness,  breathe, and re-focus!


" Hope lies in human nature. Capitalism goes against the grain of human nature; it is focused almost exclusively on extrinsic, material values which are all about getting power and status for ourselves. By contrast, mature love, spiritual growth, a world of beauty... These are intrinsic, sometimes called"bigger than self" values. Everyone has them, and we find them inherently satisfying to pursue in our daily, intimate lives. But the system does not value them. It treats them as irrelevant and demands we all orient our lives around the selfish 'me me me' values. This is not true to human nature because it reduces us to only our desires to have and consume, and scoffs at things like empathy and care for others. Just look at how much advertising it takes to keep us dissatisfied enough with ourselves and our situation to be forever shopping!  And it's certainly not sustainable because it powers our endless need to extract from the earth, and each other.  If we can remember some of those intrinsic values at a societal level and reconnect them into the system, there is hope. "

"I strive to be the best, most effective person that I can be. To blossom in my own, authentic self is the best way that I can help others." 


Click here for more information on the project Hello, Stranger

HELLO, STRANGER: Marie-Hélène by Helena Vallée

Lieu de la rencontre: Café-Coop Touski, à Montréal.

Milieu de travail: Gestion de médicaments pour assurances collectives

Activité: Elle m'a invité à danser du Bollywood, sa passion,  dans un petit studio privé, et de découvrir une très jolie chorégraphie qu'elle a récemment crée. J'ai tenté de la suivre autant que possible! Son amour de la danse semblait s'étendre à la culture indienne en général, qu'elle explore en profondeur.

Je vous invite à la rencontrer à votre tour, par ces quelques extraits de notre conversation: 

« Je veux toujours tout savoir, c’est (la curiosité) qui me drive.

 J’adore lire et en apprendre sur d’autres perspectives, les voyages, la danse… (…) La danse a vraiment fait une grosse différence pour moi (dans la connexion à mon corps)… Quand j’étais petite je rêvais de devenir danseuse, mais à l’adolescence j’étais déjà ronde et me suis mise à me limiter. Maintenant je m’en fous. » 


« Je n’ai pas de plan à long terme. 

Je me demande est-ce que ca vaut la peine d’épargner pour ma retraite?...Est-ce qu’on va tous être morts d’ici 100 ans? Peut-être. Avec ce qui se passe aux États-Unis, je vois les choses d’un point de vue assez pessimiste.

Ce qui est un peu mon espoir (pour l'environnement) c’est que la technologie, petit à petit, peut améliorer les choses. Est-ce que c’est comme ça, au bout de découvertes, qu’on va arriver à du changement? Je l’espère. Mais à long terme je ne suis pas super optimiste, alors en attendant j’essaie de profiter de la vie, de faire tout ce que j’aime. D'être une bonne personne. » 



Cliquez ici pour plus d'informations sur le projet Hello, Stranger


Place: at the Café-Coop Touski, in Montreal. 

Work field: Group management in group insurance

Activity: Marie-Hélène introduced me to the Bollywood dance, her passion, in a studio nearby. She showed me a beautiful choreography that she had recently created, and I tried to follow her as best I could. Her love of the dance extended to a deep curiosity and love for indian culture. 

I invite you now to meet her through excerpts of our conversation: 

"I always want to learn everything. Curiosity drives me. 

I love to read and learn about different perspectives, to travel, to dance (...) Dance has helped me a lot (in connecting with my body). When I was a kid I wanted to become a dancer, but as a teenager, I was chubby and I started setting limits for myself. Now I don't care." 

"I don't have any long-term plans. 

I ask myself : Is it worth it to put something aside for my retirement? ...Will we all be gone in a 100 years? Maybe. With the current situation in the US,  I tend to see things in a pessimistic way.

My small hope (for the environment) is that technology does develop new, helpful tools.  Maybe through inventions, little by little, things will change... I hope so. But in a long-term vision, I am not very optimistic, so meanwhile, I try to enjoy life and do what I love. To be a good person."


Click here for more information on the project Hello, Stranger