No this is not some stunt to help the postal service I work for. It is, however a great exercise to develop introspection, appreciate how far you have come, what you have accomplished and to set your focus and determination for future goals. How can all this be accomplished? By writing two simple letters. Here is the idea, you can do it all at once, or break it into two separate ideas. Pick a moment when you will not be pressured by time. Sit down with a pen and a sheet of paper, or in front of a blank document on your computer. Those of you who are regular readers of this site will know I urge you to go with the pen and paper because it creates more of a mind-body connection and helps you take time to focus your thoughts, but the main idea is to do the activity so whatever you feel most comfortable with, go with that one. Ok, here you are in a quiet room or busy Starbucks, wherever it is you do your best thinking. You are either staring down at a blank computer screen, or a blank sheet of paper. now what? Think back to a time when you were a very young child. Say three or four when you were just starting to comprehend your way around the world. You have already learned to walk and most of us to talk pretty well, though after a few cocktails I still doubt that ability in myself. Think of that child and everything they have to face in that period of their life. What advice would you give them? What do you wish you would have known growing up at that age? What were you most proud of? What things do you most regret? Just start writing. Spill out all of your thoughts and feelings. Remember you are writing this letter to you, so feel free to be perfectly honest. Who should you have been kinder to? Who should you have avoided? Now move ahead a few years. You are ten or eleven, just starting to leave childhood behind and have your first glimpse of what being an adult might be like. Think of what you thought you knew then, and what you wish you would have known. Remember as you moved through your teenage years all the heartbreak you would suffer and disappointment you would feel. What kind of encouragement would you have given yourself? When you felt like you wouldn’t have made it, like you wanted to give up. If only you could have shown yourself that you did make it through and that you would make it through even tougher struggles. Continue this letter all the way up through your life yesterday. What would you have told yourself if you could have seen tomorrow? Was it to hug someone a moment longer, or to end that argument far sooner? Ok, sign your letter “Love me” if this feels odd to you, remember you must love yourself. At the end of the day, no matter how much we love someone we are always left with ourselves. We must give complete love to ourselves in order to give it to others.
Now, perhaps you wish to save this step for another day. find yourself in that same place where you do all of your great inner contemplation. begin another letter to yourself, but this time think of what you might want to say to yourself the moment before you pass away. If you had only moments left before your life expired what would you want to share? Would you ask questions? Maybe apologize for wasting so much time in anger and sadness instead of enjoying the life you had? Would you regret a dream you did not chase? A goal you did not achieve? Perhaps you may regret spending all of your time trying to achieve goals and failing to notice and appreciate the beauty around you? Who would you miss? Who do you wish you would have said “I Love you” to one more time? How about “I’m sorry” or “thank you”? what parting words would you leave yourself with? Take care old pal? See you on the other side? or just a simple I love you? Now put these letters in separate envelopes labeled ‘past’ and ‘future’ or ‘young’ and ‘old’ however you care to do it. then store them somewhere safe. In a diary or a special book. A locked drawer. Wherever is special to you. Then when your life feels unsure, when you feel defeated, like there is no way to make it through the struggle you are facing. Pull them out and read them. Think of what an older you may say to you years down the road. Or what a younger you may think of how you are moving along. This can be a very emotional and revealing process, but it can also be a very healing process. just give all of you to it and you will be amazed at what it gives back.