I originally wrote this post clear back in late May/early June of 2014. It was to be my first blog post on my new blog, but it ended up not launching until late December 2014. Though I didn’t officially launch my blog as anticipated at the time, after writing this post, it did inspire me to write a few additional unpublished blogs that are slowly, one by one, finding their way onto my “official” blog you’re now reading, as well as a series of notes that did make their way to Facebook as they were written at the time.
This blog came to mind over the past couple days, I think, because I’m often reminded how important gratitude and perspective are. I’m also attending the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, which reminds me of all the times I walked past the New York City branch of the college when I lived in New York, and in turn reminds me of Mudra, who inspired this post. And so, I thought it was finally time to move forward with sharing it. I have not edited it to represent present day, so it still represents my thoughts during a snapshot of time in the past; though with the exception of the dates and specifics around timing mentioned, the premise is still relevant for me today.
Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading!
Starting a new blog has been on my “cloud” list of items to initiate in the near future. I’m a writer at heart, and I’ve been asked to share my words on several occasions. My ongoing list of topics (and very awesomely cool titles 😉 ) keep flowing (and growing), so here I am… but little did I know less than 48 hours ago that what would inspire this first blog would be news that shocked and stunned me from the inside out.
I will be traveling to New York City later in June, so a couple nights ago, I was researching where I wanted to stay and what I wanted to do and my friend Mudra popped into my mind. Mudra and I had known each other since my move to Houston in 2001. We both worked for the same company at the time, though she was located in Hoboken right outside of NYC, and I was in Houston. We met because she called me (right after I started working for the company) to address an HR issue that was actually outside of my client scope, so I pointed her in the right direction. It was one of those “coincidental” meetings (though as you get to know me, you’ll realize I don’t believe in coincidences). She had thanked me for the help, and somehow, within a couple weeks, we met in person on one of her trips to Houston. We hit it off and spent a lot of time together on her trips to Houston and my visits to New York, and had plenty of conversations on the phone and via email (before texting was so popular 🙂 ).
Through the years, as our lives evolved, we stayed in touch and remained friends. We had one of those friendships where you might not talk for a while–a couple years even–but when you did connect, it was like you hadn’t missed a beat. She was amazing and had such a huge heart with so much Love and warmth.
So the other night when I was thinking of her, I went to connect with her on Facebook, and what I read hit me like a ton of bricks–though they sort of stopped in mid-air, as if moving in slow motion, before they actually hit… and when they hit, they sort of just hung out for a while until the morning, when the reality of what I read really sunk in, and the brinks crumbled away to allow the tears to begin to flow. Mudra had passed away last August. As I was scrolling down her Facebook page, I saw photos of her posted by others, and all of these comments about how everyone was missing her…
What? No? This can’t be right? But???
As I looked at the dates, I saw that her last post was on August 6th, and the posts of prayers and condolences began around August 9th. It seemed whatever happened had been sudden and unexpected, and I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I wouldn’t be able to reach out and call her and hear her voice for this trip to NYC… or ever again while still on this earth.
I know this might seem like a rather depressing blog for my first post, but there is a greater purpose and inspiration to it. You see, Mudra was this brightness in everyone’s life. If you scroll down her Facebook page, you’ll see how much she was loved and the impact she had on people’s lives, including mine.
Early on, when we first met, we shared a lot about our lives with each other. She was the kind of person that presented that “safe” space, and I guess, so was I. It was shortly into our friendship that I shared with Mudra that I had been in a rather abusive marriage and was currently going through a divorce. I remember clearly her jaw literally dropping, followed by her saying, “I would’ve never guessed that about you.” In summary, she shared that I didn’t give off the kind of vibe that anything was wrong, or that I was a statistic of marital abuse. I’m not sure exactly what my response was at the time, but I know I think back to that moment frequently, and was thinking about it even recently. Her willingness to share was significant to me, and has been a reminder throughout the years when I’m going through anything tough, or helping others who might be going through the perceived “downs” of life, that we get to choose how we show up and react to those “down” times.
Mudra’s perspective and sharing at that time has stayed with me, and reminds me of my strength and the importance and significance of choice. And when I speak of choice, it might sound silly, but I guess I didn’t realize there was any other option than to move through things and stay positive at the time–I didn’t know any better–but based on her comment, it was evident that she’d experienced different reactions from others going through tough times in life (though she looked virtually the same age as me, she had about 10 years of life experience on me). I guess the latter is where I began to realize our perspective really matters when it comes to navigating this adventure we call life.
I realized early on that no matter how tough life might feel to me, I could look around and find someone who had it tougher. Through illness, abuse, divorce and then some, somehow, I had the tenacity, perseverance and strength to keep moving and keep a healthy perspective (OK, so it might have taken a little time to learn how to “live” the healthy perspective, and I’m definitely still learning on a daily basis)–and I know I didn’t do it alone. It has been friends like Mudra who have been there for me, supported me, and loved me through thick and thin, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it would have been more challenging without them (not to mention, life would’ve been a whole lot less fun).
And what’s interesting about Mudra’s comment is that she was similar, but seemed to not realize it. She always had a smile on her face, a sense of humor that could make anyone laugh, and this outlook on life that it would all somehow be OK, even though she, too, had her own life challenges she went through throughout the years. She was contemplative and open. She was able to stick to and honor her own values and perspectives without imposing or intimidating others. She was a light who loved and protected her family and friends, and it was a light so present that I can only imagine the sense of loss her family and close friends who saw her and interacted with her frequently have felt for the past few months.
After realizing Mudra was no longer with us in human form, I was able to locate her sister–who’d I’d met a few times in Houston–on Facebook. I sent her a message to share my condolences. She kindly responded by the next morning. It turns out that Mudra had a ruptured aorta. She was fine one minute, went to the hospital because she wasn’t feeling well, and within a few hours, she was gone.
So once again, as I don’t believe in coincidences, I know it was timely for me to just now find out about Mudra’s passing–as I’m at this point of self-exploration, transformation and sharing that’s different, yet similar, to when Mudra and I first met. It’s also in finding out about this loss, that it presents me (and hopefully anyone reading this) with the reminder that while we are here in human form, we are connected and impact each other more than we realize. Our words, our actions, and our interactions are profound–no matter how insignificant they may seem. And we have the opportunity daily to show our gratitude, love and appreciation for our family and friends (and others), and my hope is we can live this daily with compassion and understanding.
Thank you, Mudra, for your continued Love.
I’m grateful you came into my life on this earth. I know I spoke of the above conversation with you more than once, and as the tears continue to flow for me, I hope it came across how much you meant–and still mean–to me. I love you lots.
Lots of Love–
Additional update: When I speak of keeping things in perspective when going through the “downs” of life, I’m not implying that it’s not important to allow yourself to feel or go through the emotions that life might bring your way–actually, I believe it’s essential to accept where we’re at at any given time and to allow ourselves to feel in order to move through things faster and to maintain our health. Often, though, a healthy perspective will help us appreciate where we’re at more, and gives us the opportunity to be honest with ourselves. It’s OK to have to get back up and wipe off our knees in life (I’ve had to do it plenty), what’s important is that we DO get back up, wipe off our knees, learn from the fall, and then keep moving forward. 🙂 MWAH!