Like a lot of advice from my parents, there was an enormous delay until I “got it.” I know you can relate.
The “small packages” observation came to mind many years later when I met Neary Heng, because at under 5 feet tall, weighing not much more than 20 phone books, this little powerhouse blew my mind. After some warming up, she shared stories and life conditions that she endured during her early years in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge regime was in place, took over the nation and murdered millions of her fellow countrymen, women, and children. And to think, this happened in my lifetime. Her stories had me sitting on edge of my seat, oddly enough sometimes laughing my ass off, and at other times, literally wiping tears from my eyes. I was amazed that someone could go through so much adversity and not only overcome, but survive, despite so many challenges and still emerge to be the epitome of positivity and happiness.
The stories you are about to read are all real or based on true experiences that Neary personally experienced. Some of these stories are reminiscent of fiction stories that are developed into screenplays for the big screen in movie theaters. However, these stories and life lessons are based on real experiences virtually shared from her very rich life.
When Neary asked me to assist her in the development of this book, I interviewed her as I often do when so approached. When she first told me that her mission was to facilitate happiness in these “interesting times,”
I rolled my eyes in cynical judgment. But, my mom also taught me to be polite and caring, or at least polite and respectful. Happily, we were on the telephone and she didn’t see that! I mean, c’mon, “facilitate happiness”?
So I asked her some questions, expecting to get more of the “nicey nice, feel-good rhetoric,” but Neary surprised me. Instead, I got stories that showed me that Neary is not only substantive in her approach to dealing with adversity, but also pragmatically organized. What I mean by that is she has created strategies to not only cope and deal with adversity, but to also leverage and benefit from them.
What an honor it’s been assisting Neary to clarify the thoughts and recollections around her lessons. And in the process, I benefited beyond imagination from the gentle strength, humor, raw emotion, and wisdom beyond her years revealed in these stories and her tried-and-true, field-tested strategies.
In between our working sessions, I found myself thinking about and applying these strategies and was delighted to find that they are relevant and transferable in my life … and the results came rather quickly. I was impressed.
I’m grateful to Neary for sharing so openly and courageously some of the many unbelievably tough moments in her life.
I’m also grateful to my mom. Why? Because without her wisdom and advice, I could easily have blown Neary off and not seriously learned and benefited from her stories, her life path, her lessons, and her passion for life, love, and giving back.
It’s with great courage and love that Neary offers this book to you. I am proud to have the honor of introducing this remarkable woman and her book. The stories are real, and so is Neary’s upstanding character, determination, and devout sincerity in bringing them to you.
You will find within its pages the cascade of emotions which, if you are anything like me, will find you involved, motivated, inspired, and driven to apply each and every chapter’s lesson. And when you do, you will be in good company, along with many of the people who read this book and offered the powerful testimonials in its first few pages.
Neary Heng is a testament to the fact that good things come in small packages. How cool is it that this “small, under 5’ tall package” has motivated BIG motivators and educated BIG educators such as the ones her book’s testimonials? I expect that you will add your accolades to theirs after reading her wonderful story. Most importantly, I fully expect that you will leverage some of these rich lessons to achieve additional peace, purpose and prosperity in your life.