I want to make something clear today, with this short blog post written from a totally darling cafe in downtown Stockholm, Sweden.
The art of hand written correspondence is not dead.
Granted, maybe you haven't received a piece of personal mail in months. Or years. Or ever. (Oh that is so very sad! Let's do something about that.) Maybe you haven't sent a piece of hand written mail in a while. Or you only send birthday cards to a few people in your life.
This describes most people who I've spoken with. And it gives us a clue as to why many people think the art is dead! It most certainly is not.
Take me, for example: I send an average of 10 personal cards or letters every week. In one single day, my record is 80 letters. That's right. Still don't remember how that happened, but it did. One mug of steamy Earl Grey after another.
Heard of Mail More Love? They deliver a monthly assortment of cards and tools to create a world with more love in the mail. My kind o' people! And they've got lots of subscribers who know this art is alive and well.
Then there's my daughter. She's 4 years old and has already sent more than 100 hand-drawn pieces of mail in her life. She knows where the postage stamp goes, she knows not to draw all over the "address" side of the envelope. This girl costs me some real money on postage, especially now that we are in Sweden and 99% of our mail is sent to California! (That's about $2.40 USD per stamp.)
It is money very well spent. Thank goodness, the next generation seems to grasp the beauty of mail you can touch more than my generation.
I had to "push back" on this one. I hear someone say the art is dead every week or so, and it simply isn't. Be part of the joy. Write a letter today!
Stay tuned for a free recorded workshop I'm offering for the month of September called Love in Letters: Reviving the Art of Hand Written Correspondence. Yes, reviving. Because, sigh... anytime there is more love being shared in the world, it is a wonderful thing!
Over the course of my lifetime, I'd guess I have written somewhere between 1,000-10,000 cards and letters. Starting at age five, the art of hand written cards and letters became a devoted practice. My mom role modeled the way with her gorgeous, kind hearted penmanship and patient hands.
With every piece of mail I send, someone smiles on the other end. The receiver feels loved and valued, and I enjoy every part of the process: choosing paper or a card and a pen, the feel of the pen on the paper, making the envelope beautiful, however simple. It's all so yummy.
A hand written letter is a ritual of therapy and self-awareness for the writer. What a gift for this to be my lifelong art!
Until recently it never crossed my mind that I could be a professional letter writer. But the ease with which I write letters, I mean, it comes so naturally...
Plenty of people want to convey things they may not feel equipped to convey, without a little help.
Letters of feeling, letters of heart, letters that value relationships. Those are the kind of letters I write.
Letters that heal the self and extend forgiveness, truth and gratitude with others.
Letters that invite connection and understanding, without placing blame or extending dissonance.
After all, this is humanity's invitation today: to step into being in relationship in a way that reveals both our interdependence and our freedom. To step into relationships not from a place of fear and disconnection but from a place of love -- the universal force of goodness that is the most powerful force in the universe and spans all relationship types.
"You put into words exactly how I feel," a recent client said, "There's no way I would have come up with that. Your letter really moved me."
It is an enormous pleasure for me to share my lifelong love of letter writing, with others.
Send me an email to be in touch about my letter writing services.
On a 1997 solo trip to Kauai, I sat in the passenger seat of my new friend Tom's little old blue Toyota truck. He was in his 60s then, and deeply devoted to spiritual awareness in a way that had many people, including me, stand in admiration. We were headed to the hardware store for a tool he needed.
Feeling like it was a privilege to be in his company, I turned to him and said, "It's an honor to be with you."
He paused, turned to me and said, "Darling?"
I answered, "Yes?"
"We're family, right?" he asked.
"OK, then let's not play that game."
He was talking about the "special game." An ego game. The game where we make some people more special, more valuable, than ourselves or other people. Holier than thou, guru-esque, or the reverse: inferior, subpar, not worthy of admiration or attention. This simply isn't true in spirit, and he knew I would appreciate being reminded of that.
My ego was crushed; I felt like a dummy. But after that initial ego-ouch, a massive sense of calm washed over me and I was exceptionally grateful for his willingness to be so bold and fierce in showing love.
It sure hit home. That was one of the last times I put someone on a pedestal.
Relapsing into ego's allure years later while dating a famous man, I made up that he was pretty darned hot-ticket-special until one day my coach's words finally hit home: "He doesn't have a corner on the market. The source is within you." An echo of Tom's message, profound wisdom, which I eventually took to heart.
Years before that, I remember going to conferences where an influential, buzzingly brilliant someone would talk and I'd be riveted with inspiration, noticing the flock of audience members lining up after the speech, some with starry eyes, beneath which I could sense an inner emptiness, an I'm-special-if-I-say-something-smart-and-they-like-me sort of daze.
And I'd notice how complete it felt to just be inspired without needing to approach the person at the podium.
Putting someone on a pedestal or being put on one by somebody --> same dance. A misperception of the innate equality of all beings, the fact that we are all completely loved and lovable, despite appearances or circumstances.
If we want to be at peace, we aren't meant to buy into the separateness of Better-Than-Land. We are meant to look beyond it for what is fuller, stronger, true.
I couldn't really relate to how Tom felt about me putting him on a pedestal until I felt somebody put me on one. A sense of being judged for the imperfection of my humanity had me feeling perplexed, and I could only make up that somehow I had unintentionally conveyed that I'm Miss Goody Two Shoes.
I so am not.
Just because Love is my "religion" and I have been vocal about this for many years doesn't mean I don't slip-up regularly, swear and dive into dips, falling into ego thoughts of criticism, ignorance, depression, shame and frustration.
Being put on a pedestal means you will fall from one.
While dramatic and exciting in a roller-coaster sort of way, it is far more peaceful to rest in the humility of accepting this human experience the best we can, accepting that we are all equals in Spirit, and committing to the memory of who we really are, which is so strikingly beautiful and beyond our current awareness that a pedestal couldn't begin to hold it up.
One of the most mind-altering things I've ever done is write a living will.
As I started writing without thinking, just writing from my heart about what I would want people to know if I were to die young and unexpectedly, was deeply ego-crushing, heart-opening and refreshing.
Writing my own living will brought the most important things in life to the surface of my attention and allowed the unimportant things to simmer out of sight.
If you're looking for a way to paint your weekend with a touch of beautiful depth, consider writing your own Living Will. You don't need to get it notarized unless you want to. For now, it can just be an act of truth telling and a powerful way to listen to your clearest inner wisdom.
Pull out a piece of paper and a pen. Imagine yourself suddenly passing on, so tomorrow when the sun rises, you are no longer physically embodied in the lives of those who love you most.
At the top of the paper, write, "To the people who love me most in life..." and then continue writing whatever comes up in your mind.
Here are some prompts:
What is most important that they know about you?
How would you like them to remember you?
What hasn't been said that you'd like them to be aware of?
How would you like them to handle any of the material things you possess?
What are you grateful for, that they showed you, gave you, wanted for you?
How would you want to be remembered? What kind of celebration or ceremony would you want them to hold in your honor?
What is your wish for them in life?
It can be two paragraphs, 5 pages, whatever your heart genuinely wants to spill. And I would love to hear anything you'd like to share after writing your own Living Will. (You can email me.)
Kudos for taking a deep dive to let your inner wisdom be seen and, more than before, lived.
There is one thing we are all entitled to, and it is love. Why? I don't want to get into that right now, but I do feel like taking a stance in writing about this being so.
Walking around with your nose in the air as if you are superior? No, that isn't a healthy sense of entitlement. But knowing you are completely lovable without needing to do anything to earn love, yes, this is a genuinely healthy sense of entitlement.
I wholeheartedly support my friends and clients to step into this. Is it easy? Heck no. But is it simple? Yes. And the simplicity is easier to see from someone else's shoes, not our own. That's one reason why it is so helpful to lean into the support of friends, or your art, or meditation, when we're in a struggle, finding life difficult, an uphill climb.
If this appeals to you, grab your journal, your bike or your favorite buddy and set out on a conversation to entertain the question not of why, but... What is available to me right now, where can I be or who can I be with, more often... that has me feeling completely loved? And rock on with your amazing self. Lean into that. Because you are way beyond worth it.