by Elana Zaiman
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
Email. Text. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. With all the technological advances in communication, writing meaningful letters to connect with the people we care about has fallen by the wayside. One hundred and forty characters may work for communicating facts, necessary information, and quick expressions of love, but for many of us it's not enough. We feel somehow that the quality of our communication has diminished, that it is not as meaning-filled as it once was or as it can be. If this is an issue for you, consider writing a Forever Letter.
Let me be clear up front—a Forever Letter is not just a newsy note, an "I love you" letter, or a sharing of the day's doings. A Forever Letter is a heartfelt letter we write to the people who matter to us most—it's one of those special and memorable moments when we share our values, wisdom, appreciation, hopes, gratitude, and love, when we ask for forgiveness and forgive.
This may seem like a daunting task, especially if you're not a writer, but fear not. You don't have to be a writer to write a Forever Letter. You have only to be yourself. There are many reasons to write a Forever Letter. Here are three:
- Sometimes You Can Write What You Cannot Speak
You want so much to say something to someone you love, but each time you try, you feel the words stick in your throat. You wonder if your critical tone will get in the way. Or you're afraid you'll get too emotional when you talk about a particularly sensitive issue and you're worried this may make the person to whom you're speaking uncomfortable. Or you just have trouble communicating with a person you love.
In my book, The Forever Letter, I tell the story of Cora, who said that when she was in her teens she and her dad had trouble talking so she took to writing him letters and placing them in his suitcase before he went off on business trips. It worked. He always wrote from the road. Cora said that in their letters, they worked out a lot of issues.
When you sit down to write a Forever Letter, you may find that what you want to communicate is easier communicated in writing, at least initially. Perhaps this initial written communication changes the landscape for how you communicate in person. It could be that the words on the page open the door for an in-person conversation.
- The Process of Writing Can Take You to The Heart of The Matter
You start to write a speech or perhaps you're writing in your journal, and as you begin to write, you realize you're not writing about what you had thought you would write about, but you are writing about what you need to write. The very act of writing has taken you to a deeper place. You, the editor, are no longer in control. Your heart is.
This happened to Janine, a spunky eighty-one-year-old. Janine had been a triathlete in her younger years and sported a bumper sticker on her car (a gift from one of her daughters) that said, "Still running." When she reflected on her writing experience at the end of the workshop I facilitated, Janine said that she came to understand her bumper sticker in this new light: she has been running so much in her life, she needs to stop running and be more present to her relationships.
This can happen when you write a Forever Letter. A different way of thinking may emerge. Feelings may pour out that you didn't even know you had, and you may find yourself in a deeper, more honest place, seeing yourself as you truly are, not as the person you imagine yourself to be. Or, perhaps you find yourself seeing the person you're writing to as who that person really is, not as who you are imagining that person to be. This understanding is possible when we sit down to write with the intention of reflecting on ourselves, the person(s) we're writing to, and the relationship we share. If you're not sure where to begin, don't worry! The Forever Letter provides step-by-step guidance to get you going.
- A Loving Way to Ask for Forgiveness and to Forgive
Something's been bothering you about a family member, friend, colleague, or teacher for years. It darkens your heart like a storm cloud. Is it you who needs to ask for forgiveness for something you said or did? Or, are you the one who needs to forgive? Perhaps it's a little of both. So, what do you do? You have options. You can continue to carry this darkness within or you can move toward the light of healing.
A Forever Letter is a thoughtful way to move toward healing. It's often easier to ask for forgiveness or to forgive in a letter than it is in person. The writing process can often help us to understand the hurt and to process the past in a reflective way. We may even discover that before we can ask for forgiveness from another or forgive another we need to forgive ourselves first. Writing about forgiveness allows us the time to craft our words to say what we truly want them to say, to work on our tone, and to be sure our love shines through.
So, why write a Forever Letter? The three reasons just mentioned: sometimes you can write what you cannot speak; the process of writing can take you to the heart of the matter; and writing a Forever Letter is a loving way to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.
So, let go your fears. Set time aside to write, and let The Forever Letter: Writing What You Believe for Those You Love serve as your writing companion.
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2017. All rights reserved.
"Life happens. Life in the flow."
We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.
"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha
Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.
"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us." ~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder
Yoga is observation.
We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.
Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.
Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.
Yoga is love.
"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.
Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.
"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."