Before there was texting and e-mail..

.. we actually wrote letters. We even collected those scented stationery sets. Remember Betsy Clark? They came in beautiful hard boxes and were imported from the US. Then there were pads and this thing we called postalettes. They were foldable tri-fold cards that were lined on the inside for you to write on, and it folded into a self mailing card that you sealed with a sticker and put a stamp on the front to mail. (I can hear the millennials wondering what am I talking about!)

HandwrittenI collected them and traded them with friends who collected the same. We never really wrote on the pieces that were part of our collection, but we bought specific sets for us to write letters on. We wrote letters to friends and even got an oocasional request to write a “Palanca letter” to someone attending a spiritual retreat. These were words of encouragement or spiritual guidance which were given by friends and family to those attending a retreat at the end of their journey of introspection and enlightenment.

But on a day-to-day basis, we wrote letters among us friends and exchanged these in person, even if we were classmates and saw each other practically everyday. There was no email and we didn’t have cellphones yet. Things we didn’t get to say to each other when we were together were said in writing. The letters themselves were part of a continuing conversation between friends.

I kept those letters for the longest time. While I had thrown away most of them with the moves I’ve made in the last two decades, I still see one or two pop up amongst old things I had managed to hold on to.

These days we email, message via text or chat and only write business letters — and only when needed. Letter writing is slowly disappearing. Sadly.

I still say that nothing beats holding a letter in your hands and being able to go back to it later to read and hold those words and feelings close again. Sure, you can go into your inbox and go through your emails and read them– but it isn’t quite the same.

When was the last time you got a letter? A real letter– not just a card.. At the start of 2019, I cam up with my usual list — 19 for 2019 —  I wanted to be able to write a letter a month, and I’m 8 letters behind. Time to get writing then, I guess.. won’t you write me one?

Monday Musings: Summer

Monday musings in paper and inkThis was really meant to be last week’s Monday post but I got busy working on my new section avatar. I am actually trying to work on it still, but why postpone the post for the graphic?

I usually try to begin the week with a post listing a set of blurbs which are like snippets of what’s running through my head at the start of the week, instead of writing a full blown post. Sometimes one or two actually get written as a full entry later on, but I like the mental exercise of putting shorter paragraphs together without the pressure of developing the idea running through my head. It’s like a mini-workout..

I don’t remember now what I had hoped to write so let’s try to pull this Monday’s mini headlines forming in my head.

Weekend work around. I don’t normally work on weekends unless I have to or am requested to, but yesterday, I purposely set aside time to get started on a document I hope to work on some more today. In my mind, I wanted to manage my stress levels by not having to start from scratch on what are usually hectic Mondays. I set a time limit of sorts and told myself I will only do this task and only this. And I stuck with it. As soon as the task was done, I didn’t linger and shut down. I resumed my weekend. And in more ways than one, I think that helped. I’m on the bus and just got to the city and while I already got some emails that means it’ll be me grabbing coffee and then working away, I have one less source of stress. I’m at east a half hour ahead with the work I completed– and that gives me some breathing room. The important thing is, I didn’t spend the weekend working. I just completed a task.

Sometimes you just need to go with the flow. This Monday was busier than busy but I tried to just go with it and not fight it. I was writing stickies in my head . Reminder(s) to self.

Choosing to be nice. Salad line. You walk towards the end of the line where an acquaintance is waiting her turn. Now I try not to be presumptuous when in a social/work environ such as the cafeteria. So I don’t say hello figuring she was busy on her iPhone. She gets her turn and I get mine and between the two helpers trying to pull our orders together, I know she knew it was me. Still no hello. I go about my business and I walk to the dressing where we were practically face to face. I respect her choice not to be sociable and to pretend like we don’t know each other. Sometime it’s better that way. I’m not mad at her but she just became a statistic in my “not nice” list of people. Wouldn’t it have been just easier to be nice instead of putting so much effort into not being?

Former bestie at work now totally avoids me even when his work means I’m one of his clients. Friendship and professionalism are not the same. You may lose the friendship but you always have to maintain a certain work ethic where you work. I don’t like everyone I work with but I always try and do my job as best I can, no matter who is on the receiving end. I choose to be nice.

I treasure the happy times. Last week, I afforded myself an indulgence and went for a coffee break treat and a lunch adventure. It was a very busy week but I had much to be grateful for. So even when some things didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped they would, I just kept replaying the “happy ” in my mind, and the truth of the matter is, it was way more than whatever negative moments came my way. I had a warm big hug to the heart and I hold that close and just bask in the warm and fuzzy.

I’m exhausted but I’m smiling at the thought of the warm and fuzzy.. and I know I’m probably making sense only to myself, but that’s why I write.
57th Avenue. Looking towards the west side

#Happy

HappySo August is here. Another month just rolled away and now we are officially on the tail end of the third quarter of 2019. How time has flown.

I try to start my Mondays on a positive note, no matter how busy or chaotic things shape up to be when I glance at my calendar. I’m not a runner but I liken it to what I would be doing if I were psyching myself up for a sprint or a jog. There’s that visual of brightness and energy.

I’ve come to rely on whatever resources I can find to put me on that positive track. While I haven’t meditated much of late, I know that it’s a helpful tool. I work on imbibing positive energy through external stimuli and my own workings. I visualize. I reach deep down inside me to pull the positivity to the surface. I find my “happy”.

Don’t you just love it when a thought or a memory brings you there? More so when there are days when you need those short bursts of “good” and “happy” — be it in the form of laughter, a smile or a snapshot in your mind. Those are the real moments that matter. Why else do we have photographs and souvenirs to remember things by. We want to bring ourselves back through the memories those pieces trigger.

It seems that life has gotten busier and busier as the years have gone by. It takes a more determined effort to carve out moments to bask in a bit of happy in your mind, but the truth of the matter is, those moments don’t always have to be all that grand or big.

Have you ever tried to search for #happy on Instagram or Twitter? On IG alone, there are 535 million posts tagged with that single word. So you should have inspiration aplenty with what makes others happy. You shouldn’t have such a difficult time finding a #happy worthy moment.

Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, muster a smile, and picture the word “happy” and see what comes to mind. Then let that vision linger for 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 seconds. If it’s a memory, let that clip roll in your mind and loop it if you want or just be there in the moment again.

Just be.

Don’t even go to how that feeling was from so long ago, or is of a different place and time, or is no longer real. It was when it happened and that is what you hang on to.

Stay with the happy. No if’s, no buts. Just be.

Lightening the load

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My Monday kicked off to a busy start. There are Monday’s that start off slowly and build up– and there are those where I literally hit the ground running. Today was one of the latter, but it was also a day of distractions. Still, I tried.

I managed to hold my tongue when I felt compelled to say something to someone who had made me feel bad. Sometimes, I need to remind myself that some battles are won with silence and by being still, instead of waging war head on.

I have always been headstrong and outspoken. Often, my emotions get the better of me even now when I consider myself to have mellowed with age. Where others would think the so-called wisdom of the years would’ve calmed a firebrand like me, the years seem to have further fired up the quickness of my temper at the slightest provocation. It’s in the extremes.

At times, I surprise myself with my ability to just take things in stride and let it pass with nary a reaction from me. Or how I would shrug off a transgression and just chalk it up to a loss on the part of the other person. I have learned to let go when I can muster the composure to do it. But I am human. I still fall prey to the fangs of anger and my horns pop out and I am transformed.

I make no apologies, but I continue to try to be a better me. more so for the young boy whose spirit I have tried to nurture with kindness and generosity, so that he might imbibe the same traits. I try not to be so emotionally charged, or be quick to anger. The operative word there being “try”.

I end the day trying to find a sense of balance so that I can quietly and gently find myself deep in slumber tonight. I tell myself the day is done, and whatever challenges or worries plague me here, I must leave it at my desk and head home with as little as possible of that burden. I remind myself that there are words that are better left unspoken– because they will only stir up rancor and will not help me to feel better. So I hold it in. I delete the text I was typing. I choose silence. I write here.

One thing that I am always grateful for is that I can always find the words to let my pent up feelings out. In these lines, I find my release. And I am hopefully able to walk out with a lighter load.