The evolution of WOW

As you know from reading the story of the "Origin of WOW", the first time that I said the words "it's really too bad that you feel this way, because I wish you only well" was in a moment of extreme stress. Amazingly, those words changed the course of my life in ways that I am still discovering nearly twenty years later.

The immediate consequence at that time was that the bullying and threats ceased. For months I had endured, avoided and retaliated but that night, by letting go, it was all over. What could anyone say to that? I mean, there he was wishing me dead and fully expecting me to retaliate since there were so many people and he couldn't hurt me, but instead, I was wishing him only well. He was totally disarmed...the war ended.

Great first step, right? So you'd think that after all this time, I'd be a master at WOW. Well, not quite.

For years, I only said those words when I referred to that night. Everyone was always amazed by that story, but I never really thought about it. In fact, I can say that I almost forgot about it altogether, until about 3 years ago. It's a long story, but the gist of it was that I was looking for an acronym for WOW, something that would express positivity, love of life, and unity. Suddenly, the story came back to me, and as I said it I realized that the within the last five words was the key: I wish you only well....WOW!

I corresponded and met with several prominent people. Everyone agreed that WOW was a great idea, and wished me well with the project. Some helped tremendously.

WOW is online since June 13, 1996. I later found out it was Saint Anthony of Padova Day, and I learned that he was a shy recluse who became an extraordinary motivator.

The response to WOW is tremendous. I always knew that there is good in people, and this project is the proof. The letters I receive daily are testimony to the goodness of humankind. I'm proud to share this beautiful world with you.

WOW started out as a few pages and is now over 500 pages. A selection of the letters I receive are split into sections, and the WOW list will have to be split's so big! Thank you all for joining me on this project, on this wonderful adventure and experience. We can and are wishing each other only well. We can share it with others and most importantly, with our children.

I was at a PTA meeting a few months ago. I presented the WOW site to them, and offered their children a page on the WOW site to express themselves and reach out to other kids around the world. I answered questions for nearly an hour, and then a woman who seemed set against the idea from the beginning asked if I had children. I said no. Her next question floored me: she asked: "then why are you doing this?

I am not judgmental, but anyone who has to ask a question like that is beyond me. She insisted that I had no responsibility towards our youth because I was not a parent. Funny world.

Like you, I am just as responsible as anyone for our world. We can learn to let go of hate, fear, prejudices, tension, stress. We can learn a new way of being by recognizing our connection with every living thing in this universe. We are all one, because we are all created by the same creator, whatever we may call him. We all come from the same place, the same source. That's why by wishing others well, we are doing the same for ourselves...because whether we realize it or not, we affect one another.

The invitation is still out there to any school that wishes to submit a page created by a group of students or exchange links with WOW. My old high school responded very quickly. Many of you seem to think that WOW is a good idea. Perhaps as parents and concerned citizens, we can suggest integrating Wishing Only Well into the education system and spread the attitude around..

For me, WOW feels like what I was born to do. I always knew I was a collector, and my greatest treasures are displayed on this site. The beautiful thing about it is that so many of you contribute on a daily basis. That's why WOW is not just my project, it's everybody's project...because it's everybody's world. We are creating a collection that makes us all proud.

That's the WOW story so far, but I have a feeling it's just the beginning. As more people get involved, there will be a positive change. If we want to change the world, we have to begin by changing ourselves. There's a beautiful African proverb that says: If you want God (life) to place a diamond in your hand, you have to let go of the stones...

Let's be open to receive good in our lives. If you like the WOW idea and would like to help spread it, add to your email signature. Tell your family, children, friends, schools, police, institutions, hospitals, boss, anyone you can think of about WOW. Remember that as you help others, you help yourself.

Thanks for your participation, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Wishing only well,

Carmen Colombo
May 1, 1998
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