by Beth Lowell
“You Should Have Just Said Something!”
How many times have you heard that? Maybe you were really stressed after over-extending yourself but still honored your commitment. Or you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Or you didn’t want to fail at any cost.
An imaginary standard of perfection seems to take over sometimes which defies all reason, creating a rigidity that upon later reflection borders on the absurd. In hindsight, we can laugh at the situation, learn from it, or kick ourselves for being so pig-headedly stupid.
“Why didn’t I say something?”
How many times have you said or thought these words? Maybe your words could have helped or encouraged someone, or in your mind prevented some terrible tragedy. Sometimes you think you have all the time in the world, and suddenly the person you wanted to thank, or express sympathy to, or tell them that you miss them is gone. So now it’s too late. And then comes the regret and the guilt.
Do you hear the bell of self-compassion ringing? Your intentions were probably good even if misguided, or thwarted by circumstance. Give yourself a break. And then take action.
One way to do this is to put your feelings in writing. Journaling daily works wonders to set your intentions and goals, clear your thoughts and clarify your emotions in a way that’s personal and for your eyes only. Looking back on your journal in a year’s time after diligent writing is a concrete way to see how much you’ve progressed in all areas of life. In this way, it’s a way to use writing to heal.
Writing things down gets them out of your head and off your chest. That’s why productivity experts recommend writing your to-do list for the following day before you go to bed so your mind can be free of anxiety and you can sleep soundly.
Another way to free yourself of nagging thoughts or doubts is through letter writing.
- Write a letter to your former self showering yourself with all the love and understanding you deserve.
- Write a letter, as recommended by Julia Cameron in her groundbreaking work The Artist’s Way, The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, to someone who was a naysayer along your personal path. This can include family and teachers, friends and mentors, anyone who discouraged your dreams, or someone who has upset or angered you. Mail this not to the person or people, but to yourself. The act of writing it will get those unresolved feelings off your chest. You can save it for the future and open it on a rainy day.
Writing such letters:
- Eliminates fear of expressing yourself or repercussions
- Helps you heal through releasing anger
- Is an act of compassion for others who would love nothing more than to hear from you as well as an act of self-compassion, validating your deepest thoughts and feelings
- Keeps you honest
- Allows you to experience humility with grace and grasp the true nature of how little we are in control of
Sound familiar? If you’ve studied Reiki, this may sound similar to the Reiki precepts. Yeah, funny how those precepts work!
If it’s not too late, (it’s never too late in my book) write a letter to a loved one. Why not email? People read email these days just about as much as they answer the home phone. In an age where texts and tweets serve as primary forms of communication, a hand-written letter stands head and shoulders above and is a beautiful gift to both yourself (because the act of writing forces you to slow down and breathe) and to the recipient, whose mailbox is likely to be filled with little other than circulars, bills and junk mail aside from birthday or holiday cards whose popularity has waned with the onset of electronic communication.
If the person you wish to address is no longer living or has disappeared from your radar and can’t be located you have yet another option.
Join the What I Never Told You (Winty for short) project to give you the chance to write to a person who may never be able to receive your note. It’s about healing and sometimes letting go.
The end result of this collaborative project is the creation and exhibition of a beautiful mosaic-like paper quilt created from the shreds of letters from all over the world, which can travel and grow over time and which will carry forth all of the good intentions of the writers.
Participating is easy. Write your letter and mail it to Winty’s PO Box. If you wish to be mentioned in the catalogue that will accompany this exhibition, simply include your return address on the envelope.
You may type the letter if you prefer–no email is accepted for this project. Your letters will not be read, but shredded and combined with all of the other letters received (with all of their different colored paper and envelopes, handwriting styles and beautiful stamps) into a very large paper quilt.
You can follow the project’s blog or sign up for the newsletter to keep up with the progress of the project. If you include your mailing address I’ll send you a handwritten thank you on a postcard, and include an affirmation created just for you.
Writing letters is different than having a conversation. Writing allows you the time to have your say uninterrupted, and it allows you to cross out, edit, trash and start again all over. It’s a way of communication that lets you gather your thoughts and allow the other person to savor them. Writing to heal can become both a meditative and respectful process.
The project assumes that whoever and wherever the recipients of these letters are on their path of existence, living or dead, that they will energetically receive and appreciate the messages and that their authors will be a little lighter of heart and spirit for having participated.
Write your letter
Mail it to WINTY PO Box 281, Morristown NJ 07963
Follow the Blog at www.nevertoldu.com or sign up for the newsletter
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Beth Lowell is an artist and Reiki practitioner with a specialization in pets located in Morristown, NJ