On Stands Now
July 2024

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From the Heart

Steven Petrow writes in his book: Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old – “Sending missives into the future, telling your loved ones how you feel about them, or writing letters to be read on the dates of specific milestones is one of the most precious things you can give.”

I recently decided it was time to write a “life” letter from mother to daughter. This letter to my daughter will take some time to write as I relate the adventures and philosophies of life, as well as share some stories about family and friends. This is quite the journey for my heart and mind, and brings up long lost memories and deep complex and beautiful feelings about one’s own life. This process has helped me to remember what it is like to sit down with a pen in hand and write from the heart to someone I care about. Not a text with an emoji heart, but a real hand written letter that speaks to another from a deeper part of our being. Thoughtful words written with care and caring.

Written words can be savored and re-read at any time. Writing by hand a letter or a note to someone important in your life is a much greater offering of your sincerity than on electronic media platforms. Each of us has our own style of writing and speaking that is a personal expression of ourselves being shared with another being. For many years I carried a letter from my grandmother who had a very unique way of writing because she was self-taught. I cherished and was comforted seeing her words long after she had gone.

In our tech fast moving pace of communication, we can lose the personal touch. A quick text, a short email decorated with a little emoji or a heart, which is very popular to say “I love you” in tech speak, is probably the most expedient and yet mechanical way to communicate in our time. But what of the in depth meaning of something greater than an emoji heart, our own words in our own handwriting.
During the recent past quarantine, there was research done about the gifts of hand writing a letter. It seems that hand writing a letter is linked to mental health benefits. There is a feeling of accomplishment, a quieting of the mind to exist in the moment. It nurtures creativity and connection. It takes time and effort to hand write a letter and there is a relationship to our hearts and our desire for social bonding that is met while writing. If you are the recipient of the letter, you may feel that the writer sincerely cares about you. When the letter is to someone you love, then the words hold a deeper meaning when they can be re-read and savored.

By expressing gratitude through your writing in a thank you note can help the brain release dopamine and serotonin which are our “feel good” chemicals. This message of gratitude has the ability to take our thoughts from negative to positive. And when we are positive, we are nurturing the potential for greater health and wellbeing.