I am a BIG fan of the handwritten note and still have many analogue tendencies that are revealing themselves in 2015 as being quite strange. For example, I still keep a Filofax calendar to set all my appointments. If I don't write it down with pen and ink, I cannot remember a thing. I also write out grocery lists and to do lists on index cards....a habit my grandfather used to do and I simply adopted it when I was a child. As much as I'm a Facebook and Instagram junky, I also toggle the analogue world with reverence and glee.
In the technological age of digital and social media, however, the art of the handwritten note is a craft fast becoming obsolete. And yet, it is still one of the most welcoming and powerful modes of communication. When receiving a handwritten note, we have a tendency to pay attention. There is thought and feeling and intention behind the delivery and it's quite sweet, and nowadays, rare, which makes the reception that much more enticing.
Perhaps because it is so personal and heartfelt to write a note and the process also requires patience, time and materials. Materials like pen or pencil and paper or card. There is an effort that is embedded so beautifully and organically in this plan of sharing thoughts and experiences, gratitude and thankfulness.
It is different than the immediacy of writing a text or email. When writing and sending and then receiving a hand written note or letter, there is the quality of time and attention to details that are considered. It takes TIME to choose the card, reflect on the words, write the note, seal and address the envelope, place the stamp, and mail the package. On the receiving end, there is also the time it takes for the post to be delivered.
It is an exchange and a form of communication that is timeless and exquisite and I invite you to practice your skill set and see how it feels to send some notes out into the world. Choose one person each week and send a "thinking of you" note to them and see what happens.
As I was writing this post, I was curious about the history of the handwritten note and this is what I discovered : Click here to read about it.
And then I also was reminded of a postcard that came to me hand written from Costa Rica a couple of years ago. It was never signed and so I have no idea who sent it to me. But it serves as a reminder to me of the importance of sending postcards, notes and cards to friends, lovers, family and strangers, too. It is also a reminder of the sweetness of messages that come through in unexpected ways.
Write with your hand and your heart and send it out to someone today. It may be the most profound message that someone receives.
"You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important."
This is a quote from a book and movie called The Help.
It's a story. Just like any other story. Basically, it's about African American housekeepers who work for White Southern housewives in the 1960's and in this one story there are many stories : lessons and teachings and heart tales that make up our humanness. It's a story that pulls at the heart strings and reveals the truths of life in a way where you feel your heart skip a beat, laugh, break, heal and grow. This is a story of time past and yet still relevant to time present even though the historical circumstances are different. The overall quality of the human condition remains.
This is how the story of life and the life of story works. We live our lives each day from the time we are born until the time that we die experiencing love, loss, fear, passion, injustice, jealousy, greed, compassion, longing, adventure, generosity, fun, tears, joy and every human quality that exists. From sunrise to sunset for as long as we are alive, we are in a story. The story of our life. And it's powerful because our story is embedded with shared meaning and connection.
It's important to share. One way we learn and grow and understand are from the stories of our elders and the stories of our times. A lot of our personal meaning making is derived from stories and sharing tales. And I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on different aspects of your life to find the story and the message that is aching to be told.
A dear friend of mine whom I call my sister, Leza Lowitz, is an American born writer living in Japan with her husband and son and she is about to publish her memoir : Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras. I was with her at the beginning of this process years ago when she was very nervous about sharing certain aspects of her truth and yet she felt equally compelled to get her message out to the world. It's a GREAT read and perhaps you will be inspired in reading her story, to share your own.
You have a story to share. And it's important. Your life is valid and your experiences are valuable and your perspective is worthy of offering to the world. With the rise of social media, we are able to share our stories more readily and easily. And one thing I am noticing more recently is that people are sharing ALL of their story and not just the good and happy parts but also the tough and suffering aspects of life that are equally, if not more at times, empowering and inspiring.
Do you journal? Do you take note of occurrences? How do you share your gifts, your unique teachings, and the lessons of your life with others? Other people truly depend on your perspective and your gifts, so please tell your story.
And check out Leza's book. It's a great read and perhaps you will be inspired to share your own life or aspect of your life, too. If you are uncertain or afraid of something, it's a natural part of the transformation process to feel uncomfortable. Just go for it!
'Cuz please remember : "You is important."
Your Future Self is Calling You
Every person you meet in the course of your lifetime has an impact on you. There are those people, that when you meet, you have no idea that your life will be changed in some way forever. There are those people that come and go quickly never to be seen again. There are those people that you meet and think you will not see again and they become the most important people in your life. There are those people that are in your circle of love forever and move in and out of your daily life like the tides of the ocean. There are those people that you feel will be with you always and they disappear unexpectedly or circumstantially. There are those people.. .you fill in the blank. People are important. Honor the people in your life. All of them.
People people people are what make the heart heal and break and grow and love and learn. It is people who influence and experiences and shape your path in ways that are both subtle and profound. It is in the meeting and the sharing that is the present moment. Savor it and appreciate it. Love it and adore it. Breathe in each person as if they have a new part of your life to unfold for you.
It is in paying attention to the connections and opening to curiosity as that of a child that the magic and power of Presence and People will be revealed. Over time, the connections and reflections give pause to understanding and inspire the respect for each encounter.
I am reminded of T.S Eliot's Four Quartets:
You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
In contemplation and gratitude, here is another poem for the sharing offered to me recently by my college professor, Michael Glaser, who has had SUCH an overwhelmingly and unexpected influence in my life it is beyond explicable and I am forever indebted to his generosity and graciousness in how he shares his passion for the human condition of love and loss and extraordinary living.
No, no there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
-- Wendell Berry --
Are you Ready?
In New York City there is always someone doing something amazing, off-the-charts, innovative, out-of-this-world, gorgeous, connected, and well, just BIG! And living in New York City now for over 20 years, I have noticed the cycles of creativity and the rhythm of flow and there are seasons for everything.
There are moments in our lives when we feel that nothing is happening. We are bored, flat-lined, depressed, out of sorts, not motivated.
And then comes the existential wondering :s What am I doing with my life? What's the big picture? or maybe you consider questions of happiness .... What's going to make me happy? Is what I'm doing now bringing me joy?
The cycle of inquisition and reflections starts and the mind, the heart and the body start to move in all sorts of directions. What's is all about? And what am I supposed to do now?
Wherever you go with this cycle, it often-times may feel like it is a state that lasts too long and yet, this "flat-line" time period may be the most important times of your life. Pay attention to them. And watch and listen and take action. One conscious step at a time.
When it feels like there is NOTHING happening in your life is precisely the time when you need to PREPARE and PLAN for the moment when something IS going to happen.
Because when the Dalai Lama calls for you, you want to be ready!
And you don't know when that time will come. SO get ready.
The time you need to go deep is during that downtime when there is no creativity flowing, when the world feels dull, when the days are long and you feel lonely and disconnected from your source.
This is the time you need to go deep and it looks a little different than you might expect. Maybe it is going on that yoga retreat or meditation weekend or writing or getting the therapy appointment on the books. But, if you've been down this road a couple of times, you know, those activities may be good for a short-term fix but then the duldroms creep back into your life. So what makes real change?
It's not what you think. Ready?
Get organized with your external space and your internal space will miraculously shift, too.
Here's your homework:
Clean the closets, wipe down the counters, organize the pictures and the mail, sit for longer meditations, stock the pantry with food, sweep the floor, buy candles and incense, do the laundry, clear out the cobwebs and button up the shirts! In other words, PREPARE for your magic day. And do it with purpose and intention and clarity for as long as it takes until you have the moment when you get the call from the Dalai Lama. And it will come.
And You will be ready! YES!
The "call from the Dalai Lama" is code for the opportunity that you've been waiting to arise. And when that opportunity comes, you want to be ready. And furthermore, you want to be ready to CHOOSE if you wish to engage and receive it or not.
Our preparation leads us to the awakening to more opportunities. And these opportunities are happening in every day many times a day. When we are busy with other circumstances and conflicted with extraneous noise, some opportunities do not have a place yet and we have to wait for an opening.
When you get skilled at this preparation practice, you will notice that you may sometimes desire the periods of flat-lining to return again so there is time to relax and renew and reassess values, goals, intentions and quality of attention. Then the time comes and we start again.
This flow is not always so smooth. There are big waves and small waves and obstacles and setbacks, but the important thing to remember is to continue to prepare for the future that is awaiting you. And when opportunity knocks you can say, "I'm Ready!" and choose if it is what you wish to create or wait for the next opportunity that comes.
It is in the preparation that we have the power of choice.
And that is ultimate power : self responsibility, self accountability and freedom of choice!
So make your bed, take a bath, fold the laundry, do the dishes, sweep the floor, fluff the pillows, prepare the flowers, pour the tea and sit.
Your opportunity will come and you will be ready!
I discovered iMovie on my iPad and it's been so much fun exploring different elements and aspects of life to share in different ways of mood and temperament that come together in harmony. This is my second insta-film. Hope you enjoy it!
This insta-film is about my dear friend, Pitango.
We met in 2010 on Prince Street where he sold his rings. He was a street vendor there for 20 years and I walked by him for 20 years before I actually "saw" him. When we met, it was a friendship from the soul and heart that will last forever.
He is a great teacher of life and love and laughter.
Please share on social media!