A Love of Letters

Summon Your Inner Scribe

Think about the last time you received a handwritten note in your mailbox. It may have been a while, but I bet you remember it well.

In this age of digital domination, a handwritten note delivered to your home feels like a homemade meal wrapped in a hand-knit sweater.

Handwriting is so personal – every “t” is the same on the keyboard but tells a unique story when handwritten. Did the horizontal line slant up or down? Did the writer loop the vertical line, curve it upwards, or make it straight? Handwriting is a signature style that reminds us of the hand that penned it. And after not being able to hold the hands of our loved ones for so long, it feels good to grasp something they touched while thinking of you. Perhaps lilting cursive loops remind you of a playful nature; maybe straight slashed lines speak with urgency or sincerity.

The act of writing things down allows us to tap into a feeling state and let thoughts flow from our heads to our hands. “It brings feelings of nostalgia,” says Miraval Arizona Integrative Health Specialist Lyndi Rivers. “We are more likely to keep a handwritten note rather than an email on the screen.”

Letters are tangible things we can keep and revisit, even in our secret spaces where screens go dark. Writing notes shows that someone took an extra step of sitting down, gathering their thoughts, selecting paper and pen, and expressing themselves with intention. You can’t just hit backspace on paper, so you have to allow for errors and trust the flow of your ideas.

It’s a great way to organize our thoughts and feelings in a form that is free but not without purpose. Lyndi points out that when we receive something that shows effort was put into it, “it makes us feel valued in the eye of the writer.”

Lyndi teaches a class at Miraval Arizona called the Gift of Gratitude, where she asks everyone to write a letter of gratitude after a short meditation. People often comment that they never thought about writing a thank-you letter unless it was for a gift or a particular act. 

It’s a novel idea in modern society to send a note telling someone you appreciate them, especially when there is no established occasion calling for it. “When you write with a focus on gratitude,” says Lyndi, “It activates reward centers in the brain and decreases our stress responses.”

Lyndi reminds her audiences of that great teacher many of us were blessed to grow up with, Mister Rogers. In 1997, when he won a Lifetime Achievement Award Emmy, his acceptance speech highlighted the people who have shaped us, or as he put it, the “special ones who have loved us into being.” He asked everyone listening to take ten seconds to think of the people who have helped us become who we are.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Because we all have someone or many someones who loved us into being, and just thinking about them can make us tear up a little.

Maybe today is a good day to write a letter to let that person know it.

Ask yourself these two questions
before you begin:

Who loved you into being?

How does that love ground and support you today?

7 steps to summon your inner scribe

1. Find paper that appeals to you. If you don’t own stationery, upcycle. Use the back of a map, wrapping paper, old postcards, candy wrappers, or ephemera.

2. Ask yourself the two questions above and begin freewriting. It’s ok to make mistakes. No one is judging your grammar—they’re just happy to hear from you.

3. Find a pen or pencil that makes you happy. Introduce color, and allow room for creativity through your tools.

4. Have fun picking out postage stamps—there are so many cool ones right now. Buy a book of stamps, so you have them available whenever the mood to write strikes.

5. Don’t skip the last step: mail or hand-deliver your note. Sometimes we do everything leading up to the thing—except the thing itself.

6. Do it again. Make it a goal to send one love note each month or quarter or whatever timetable works for you.

7. Post a picture of your envelope or your note and share it with us at @miravalresorts and use #miravalresorts.

*Source material from Miraval Arizona Integrative Health Specialist Lyndi Rivers. Click here for Lyndi’s offerings in brain health, mindfulness & pleasure, self-love, pelvic floor wellness, and living in balance.

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