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The "Wu Word" Blog

January 2018

Cosmic Forces

I have always loved snail mail.  I have always loved cards and letters.  There is nothing more sweet and endearing to receive a HANDWRITTEN letter or card in the mail that is exponentially and essentially personal and personalized, laced with the words that hold immense power to bring out emotions of joy and a smile or even sadness and tears.  As HANDWRITTEN cards and letters are dying in the technology world we live in or have basically died with a RIP tombstone, my love has only grown deeper and stronger with a firm belief that there is kindness in cards/letters that fulfills people's ingrain desire and wish that he/she matters and are remembered and cared about. 
My love affair for cards started way back in 1 and 2 grade.  I remember cafeteria trays of sprinkled sand, and I would stick my fingers in the sand to outline the loops and curves of letters that formed words, stringed sentences, and then made magic that could touch people in the worst and best of ways.  I vaguely remember going in and out of the hospital as a child, losing out on those school days that are the starting point of childhood.  Most of all, I remember receiving a huge box of cards from my classmates in the second grade that was orchestrated by my second grade teacher Mrs. G.  Her thought turned into a project for her class/my classmates made me feel like I was 'someone' who mattered and perked me up to getting better and stronger.  The only three things I recall about Mrs. G was her shoulder-length dark blonde hair, her warmth, and how she was the one who gathered all my classmates to send me a box of heartfelt and handmade cards to cheer me up when I was at one of my lowest or sickest points. 
Imagine my surprise when I saw Mrs. G’s address in my address book. 
I must confess that I am very meticulous about my address books.  Note: BOOKS.  I have two address books.  One that is a portable felted red one.  Another that is a funky electric blue one that my sister got for me ages ago.  These books are written proof of how life constantly changes and about people who have come, gone, and stayed in my life.  As the years have gone by, there have been more white-outs and cross-outs. At the end of 2017 and this 2018 year, I was armed with packages of white-outs to do a massive contemplation and clean-up of people as I have become increasingly selective with my time, energy, and postage.
When I saw Mrs. G’s address, I wondered how I even had this address in my address books.  I could have sworn I sent her a Christmas card once, but I never heard from her.  For the heck of it and just because I believed in the kindness of cards, I dug out one of my Christmas cards and included my email address and phone #.  Not even two weeks went by and I received a beautiful card from her that was filled to the brim inside of her loopy and exquisite handwriting commending me on how far I had come since I was a little sick girl in second grade.  She ended her message with her email address.  Without hesitation, I emailed her back right away.  Not even a day went by and she emailed me back.  We agreed to meet. 
I did not even remember what Mrs. G looked like, but she remembered me.  She was waiting outside in the biting cold.  She boomed out my first and last name and then wrapped me in the warmest and longest hug.  We slurped up soups and gobbled up crusty hot bread.  We talked for over two hours about our lives and the meaning of life.   Mrs. G kept saying it was “Cosmic Forces” that brought us together again.  She said it the unexplainable.  I believe that it was the “cards” and how the “stars align,” because life is full of the crazy cosmic and stars that will bounce all over the place in chaos and then somehow, someway, everything just aligns at the right time.  Timing is everything in life.   
You never know who you will meet again and how you will meet again.   People say that the doors close and chapters end.  I believe we do go separate ways with some people, but separation is not a termination.  We go through high and low tides and waves with people, dependent on the highs and lows in our life.  It is just the places you are in your life that call for certain people at certain times.  Even when you think and are convinced of the ending, there is always some kind of beginning.  When have you experienced ‘Cosmic Forces’?  When were you convinced of an ending when there turned out to be a new beginning?  Is there truth in “Good-Bye” or is it more so “Until we meet again” in life?   When has someone's actions or words made you feel like you really matter and are cared about and remembered?  
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-)

P.S.  Thank you Mrs. G for introducing me to the “cosmic forces” and magic that started with a box of cards when I was 8-years-old and cards that brought us together again over twenty years later.  Thank you for making me feel like I matter.   

The Messenger

Through a series of unexpected and unplanned events, I was put in a position just these past couple of weeks to tell a good friend of mine that his friend had died.  I had never been put in this position to have to deliver bad and breaking news.  I had never had to tell someone I care for about the death of a loved one.
I was always the receiver of breaking best news and breaking bad news.  Most often, the news was about was my health that would be the polar opposites of the best news ever that left me high on life or the worst news ever that completely brought time to a standstill and my world crashing to the ground.   I was the recipient of news of divorced parents and a mother that left, deaths of loved ones and in the transplant community that I hold so dear and fierce to me, professional and personal gains and losses, births, deaths, birthdays, funerals, pain, suffering, beauty, ugly, and the glories and stories of life.  I have received lots of news in my lifetime thus far.  Some news was given to me bluntly.  Other news was given slowly and shyly.  There was definitely an art to being a messenger.  I was never really the messenger—until now.       
Needless to say, I was numb and raw to this place I was put into.  I only had a mere passing questioned thought of: “Do I really have to be the one to tell this news?”  Without a moment hesitation, there was a resounding, “Yes, you have to be the one.”  Then, my next question was, “Crap…how do I tell this person?”  I thought about all the times people are put into unpleasant and extremely unwanted positions of having to deliver bad news, like doctors/nurses, police officers, or those individuals  from organ procurement organizations who come in at the worst and most tragic moments in life to ask about donating a loved one’s organs.  How did they do it?  How was I going to do this? 
First of all, I knew I could not do this through text message or email.  I could not leave a voicemail message.   I had to speak with my friend.  As soon as I found out the news, I called up my friend only to hear his friendly voicemail recording and me having to leave a message.  I left a message as cool and calm as possible.  I waited two whole days to hear back from him.  It was a painful and felt like a much longer wait to me because I just wanted to get this bad news over with.
When my friend and I were finally on the phone, I wanted nothing more to be in person and wrap him up in one of the biggest and warmest hugs.  I stammered my way through niceties of “How are you?  Haven’t spoken to you in awhile.” and “Oh, I’m fine.”  Then, there was the pause.  Then, I took a deep breath.  I suddenly felt like I was on the swim block before I dove into the pool.  I finally said softly, slowly, and as gently as I could, “Yes, we found out that he died.”
Another pause.  I let the words sink in.  And, as the words and truth sank in, I really just wanted to be a receiver than the messenger in life—yet, at the same time, I felt and thought what a privilege and power that comes with being the messenger that cannot be abused or taken lightly and must be executed sensitively and gently. 
My friend confessed that he was not surprised and this was incredibly and horribly sad to hear, but it was better to know the truth.  He said he was thankful for my sensitivity and for me to be the one to tell him over the phone.  He was full of grateful sadness. Meanwhile, I was still reeling from the series of strange events that had occurred that led me to have to ‘own’ up and be the messenger. 
The older we get, the more we are put in the most difficult, sensitive, and responsible of positions where we must deliver breaking, bad news.  We are put in places where we must take responsibility and know our places of when and when not to say something and, most of all, how to say it.  As you get older, you learn through life lessons what your unspoken responsibilities and places are and are not.  As you get older, you realize that you are shoved into roles where you must be messenger and receiver too many times because of the responsibility that comes with adulthood.    What is the most difficult or breaking news that you had to receive?  What is the difficult news that you had to message out?  When have you been the messenger? 
Keep smilin’,

Mary ;-) 


There she was—looking perfect, as always.  Perfect long dark hair.   Wide and innocent eyes with fringed long lashes that could get her anything with just a simple blink.  Full-time job at a top notch and famous employer.  New car.  Loving and devoted boyfriend.  Living all on her own.  Not a flaw to be found.  Not an imperfection to be seen.  She seemed to have it all AND all together. 
Every other year or so, I give myself pep talks to ‘be good’ to meet up with her.  I meet with her out of duty, obligation, and loyalty, as we have strong ties that cannot ever be fully severed—even if I wanted them to.  I meet with her to still show my love and care, but my love and care is from a distance with walls, boundaries, and limitations.  There are just some people you must love from a distance.  I am not sure when she had the appearance of perfection, but this façade made me want to spend less and less time with her.  I was not jealous of her.  I just could not read or understand her as to what her flaws were.  Usually, I can read and see people’s weaknesses and ‘stuff’ over time, but, year after year, there was not any baggage, tote bags, or ‘stuff’ that could be shown or seen.  Suffice to say, I am much more cautious and mistrustful of those who SEEM too perfect because, if it is too good to be true, then it is.  There are some people who seem to have it all AND who seem to have it so easy without a struggle in sight.  Then again, we only see people’s public successes and not their private struggles and ferocious, hidden fights. 
For the life of me, I could not figure out her ‘kryptonite.’
I was first introduced to the term “Kryptonite” a couple years ago when a good a good friend and I were listening and head bopping to the song “Kryptonite” by “3 Doors Downs.”  I asked her: “What is kryptonite?”
She explained it was the famous DC Comics Superman’s ultimate weakness.   I thought to myself that even the greatest and strongest of people on the outside have kryptonite—weaknesses and vulnerabilities that we cannot see to the naked eye.  Then, something clicked in me with this person who appeared so perfect and who I saw every couple years and with all the strong superheroes on the outside.  Her kryptonite was, indeed, perfection.  How much pressure and how the world weighed on her to appear so perfect and to have it ‘all together’ and not be able to show her vulnerabilities and weaknesses, or not being able to trust a single soul to reveal her real. How lonely and lonesome.  How stifling and oppressive. How very, very sad, I thought to myself. 
One time I said to her, “You know, if you ever want to talk to someone, I’m here to listen.” 
She smiled sweetly without a flinch or any emotion, and almost robot-like, “Thank you.  I’ll keep that in mind.” 

Last time, I checked, we are only human, though I fear we are becoming more and more robotic and like robots.
The most perfect of people on the surface and the greatest and strongest of superheroes on the outside have a kryptonite.  We all have weaknesses.  No one is perfect.  Truth be told, I rather spend time with those who reveal their real and make their kryptonite known rather than those who appear to have undergone a frontal lobotomy without a kryptonite in sight.  Haven’t we all met someone who we met who seems so perfect?  Who seems to have it all AND who seemed to have it so easy and simple?  Have you ever wondered or even deciphered what their kryptonite is?  What is your kryptonite?    
Keep smilin’,
Mary ;-)


Skim the Fat

Every start of January, without fail, there are more people than ever at my gym.  It has reached a point for me that I fight to find and zip my car into a parking spot and battle swim lanes with a newbie who has the same new year resolution as me to ‘Lose the Weight’ from the packed on pounds that came from sweets galore over the holidays.    A place that is meant to decompress, debrief, and destress has turned into a war zone of huffing and puffing, beads of sweat, and skyrocketing motivation and inspiration to ‘be better’ and ‘do better’ this year even if that means knocking someone aside and saying “No, this is my swim lane” or “That spinning bike and treadmill was mine.”  How many times have you heard ‘Good-bye previous year and Hello new year…please let it be better,” ?  Sometimes, I look around and wonder if we are really better? 
Beginning about five years ago or so, I stopped making New Year Resolutions with my #1 resolution to lose weight.  I started seeing that it should not take a new year to be my motivation, but it should be a year round phenomenon.  I also started contemplating on how my years had been.  So, now, just about every New Year’s Eve, I really reflect on how the year went and all that I did and who played positive and/or negative impacts in my year.  All of these little bit mean a whole lot going forward to a future that remains a mystery and question mark for us all.   
At the very core of my reflections is about ‘better.’  We typically think of ‘better’ as more or bigger, but as each and every year is passing by, I am finding that ‘better’ is actually less, the bare minimum, and ‘less is more.’ Less doing.  Less saying and speaking to make room and balance out listening and hearing that leads to the ultimate of learning.  Less ‘things.’  Spending time with less people and those select few people who really mean the most and who really care about you and come through for you.  Less often requires us to ‘leave’ or ‘let go’ something old to welcome the new that often comes unexpected.  I have more so been the recipient of being left and rarely the one who leaves, but towards the end of 2017 and on the brink of 2018, I came to realize that sometimes you have no choice but to leave and let go and to do with less to ‘be better.’  It is when we have less and little to nothing that we really see how plentiful we really and truly are and what and who matters and what and who does not.
 ‘Skim the fat’ is about being better through ‘less as more,’ which often requires us to leave behind and let go.  I may not be spending each year gung-ho on losing the physical packed on pounds, but I am certainly spending time on ‘skimming the fat,’ or the excess, of what is not needed or the less that is needed to make room for what truly is. 
Are you into New Year’s Resolutions?  What situations have you been in where you had no choice but to ‘skim the fat’?    
Happy & Healthy 2018 with safety and peace to all!
Keep smilin’,
Mary ;-)

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