Letter writing has become a mindful act for me.
Everything in our modern lives is about speed and efficiency and letter writing is a space for slowing down, appreciating, and connecting.
When I write I clear my space of distractions and electronics. I focus on my recipient and spend time selecting stationery, stamps, and pens that make me think fondly of the recipient and that I believe she will enjoy receiving.
Sometimes I write simply to brighten a friend’s day, to tell her how awesome she is. I enjoy finding just the right words to express that sentiment and often my inspiration comes from quotes that I pin on Pinterest or write down in my notebooks. I aim to find words that will encourage and support my loved ones, and express that although I can’t be with them in person, I am thinking about them. The slowness and intentionality continues as I sit with my thoughts and explore what I would like to share in the note.
Other times I write to share appreciation for moments in my day. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA so the seasons are still a novelty to me. Often times I share my excitement about nature’s seasonal surprises. And then of course there’s laughter. Although its quick and easy to shoot a friend a text about something that made me laugh it is really fun to save that little shared giggle and package it up in a note for the recipient to enjoy later. I choose to do the same thing with memories.
And other times, I write to connect. As Isabel mentioned in her post, I too have found that putting pen to paper allows me the time and space to express deeper thoughts and questions that I might not choose to share or dive into via text or email. I’ve found that my recipients feel the same way. Each letter exchanged between us reveals a new layer to our relationship firming up our foundation and opening us up to new thoughts and ideas.
The amazing thing with letters, forgive me for stating the obvious, is that they are tactile, physical objects that we can keep forever. Emails and texts are great, but they live on devices and even if we save them, they have a very different, much less personal feel to them. I like the idea that what I send and receive via snail mail will live on in all its physical glory, perhaps for centuries.
I also love imagining the slow moments that the act of receiving a letter generates. Leading up to receiving a note in the mail the behaviors are habitual, check the mailbox, sift through the day’s mail, perhaps throw away advertisements, but then, upon finding a special note, the whole experience shifts. It is no longer a daily chore, but a special moment to clear space for in your day, to take a seat with and enjoy every word as it washes over you. Each letter becomes a little gift, a gift of time, a gift of reflection, a gift of a smile.
I write to create these mindful moments, to slow down, to appreciate, and to stay connected to those friends both old and new.