When you read this title, what is the first thing that leaps out at you?
It is a little odd, isn't it? Maybe.
This little task is another trademark activity of mine that I scatter through my work when guiding people on the journey. It came to me over 20 years ago in an odd assignment given to me by a counselor.
At the time, indeed, I thought it was crazy. 'I am not going to write a love letter to myself!'
At the time I didn't have much love for myself. I didn't think of one thing I could possibly say to myself that could be helpful. I fought it in every moment this assignment got pushed on me, until I finally wrote it. In anger and haste, as a joke to the person asking I essentially did exactly what they were asking of me to do.
The final piece was another very unique aspect my personal letter writing today, that if you have ever received a note from me, you know what I am talking about. She asked me to address the envelope in a way to compliment myself. 'What?!' I just couldn't handle this getting any crazier than it had. 'Fine, whatever, I will just do it to get over with.'
Well, when I least expected it one day, I opened my post office box on my way home from an exceptionally long tiring day at work. My spirits were pretty low, for it was a period where I was deep into my illness (anorexia) at the time. I pulled out the mail and read: 'To the Beautiful, Strong and Courageous Andrea'
Wow. I was not feeling any of these compliments in that moment. But, I read them. I took them in. And in that moment, I wanted to believe them. I wanted to remember that somewhere inside of me there was beauty I needed to embrace and own. I wanted to believe with everything in me that I was stronger than the debilitating illness that was killing my spirit and my body at the time. I wanted to own the courage that I so desperately needed to keep going.
The letter itself was something that I took in quietly and for days to come. But those three words on the envelope I would hold close to me for years to come. It wasn't the first letter I wrote to myself, and it won't be the last.
So, a few weeks ago, I sat down with my kids and I made them write a letter to themselves. They are already used to their mom's quirky ways as we are the house that makes weekly affirmation cards, keep monthly vision boards focused and always doing one form of meditation or another.
I asked them to think about what they might want to hear from their heart as school was getting started. Would they need encouragement, hope or even laughter? Whatever they needed, to write it down and not think twice. It wasn't supposed to be hard, long or involved. Then I asked them to seal it up WITHOUT me or anyone else reading it. They addressed it in their own writing and handed it back to me. I stopped and said to them, 'not so fast.' Yes, I made them address their envelope in their own unique way, however they felt they needed or wanted to read. I wouldn't tell them when I would mail them, and soon they forgot all about it until last week when they arrived in the mail box.
I watched as their faces lit up. They each went their separate ways into their rooms and nothing more was said. Once they read their letter they seemed lighter after coming home from school with reasonable stress. There was a glimmer. There was a joy.
My work here was done.
What are you waiting for? Go get writing!