THE LOST ART OF LETTER WRITING

What were we doing when we were writing letters?

Many of us remember those old days when we used to hand write letters. Is there anything that we lost along with the habit of writing letters?

THE OLD DAYS

I used to write long, very long letters.  It was not an unusual habit in those days for people of my generation, to write 3,5 and keep counting, pages letters…by hand.

I remember writing to my friends in grade school, sharing everything I was doing on our vacation.

I remember too, many years later in my 20’s, writing long letters to my sister that had gone abroad for 6 months, and to one of my best friends that had moved to Spain for a while.

And then there was the patient wait for the reply.  I knew I had to wait so many days for sure -the time it would take for the letter to get there, to be delivered, the days the person would take to reply, the time it would take to for that letter to travel and be delivered to me- before I started to wonder when their letter would reach me.  We knew how to wait.  And the reward that the mail person would deliver was so well deserved and enjoyed!!

Then in my 30’s I moved to the US and it became a daily routine.  I had my long list of people I wanted to write to, no because I was on vacation or they had left the country for a while, but because I had left everyone behind and writing letters was my way to stay in touch.  

I would cross out the name on top of the list when the letter was finished and moved it to the bottom of the list where it would wait its turn to be written to again.  

When my daughter was born, it became my activity while she would nap.

WHAT WRITNG THOSE LETTERS MEANT TO ME

We did not have cellphones back in the day, overseas phone calls were expensive and reserved for special occasions like birthdays so writing those long letters was my way to visiting with the people I loved.

It was a ritual.  It was an important moment shared, an intimate moment to share myself fully and genuinely. I was wholly present to myself, my thoughts and my emotions as I communicated with the also fully present person that would receive it on the other end, open heartedly.

It was a true communion of souls that kept our relationship strong, updated and as intimate as ever.

The actual handwriting added to the experience as I rushed in paragraphs where my thoughts would pour out as a waterfall or stopped as my hand waited for my brain to come up with the best way to convey my emotions.  The paper I could touch and my favorite pen between my fingers helped crafting this piece of art, custom created for that special one. Each stroke of my handwriting gave my personal touch to the letter. The ritual of sitting down to read the letter received, also handwritten, was yet another intimate moment and encounter, that started as soon as I saw the envelope with my handwritten name by which I knew who the author was.  I enjoyed so much going through the pages, slowly, to make them last to prolong the visit and the special moment. All in all, it was the connection that mattered and the feeding of my relationships and in turn, my soul being nurtured.

TODAY

I do not write those long letters anymore.  I don’t even write long letters on the computer. But I do have ways of keeping alive what happened when I used to write those letters. 

I rely on other ways to stay close to people I love and care for when a personal visit is not possible, such as audio messages and WhatsApp and zoom calls.

I cannot do without connection with others, especially with those I love and love me, or my soul would starve.

Texts and emails are ok, but to me they don’t allow for the same closeness that two hearts need to meet in a profound way.  The reader is not usually in that state of mind that allows the internal pause to make space to receive, with open heart, what is to be shared.  If an email must be the way for different reasons, I let the person know in advance so they can get ready to an unusual one.

Do you have a favorite way of connecting other than in person?

How do you connect deeply nowadays when face to face is not possible?

WHAT ANYTHING LOST?

Something was lost though along with the handwriting letters…

May be not lost, but there is an element that is no longer present in the ways I connect with my friends and family from far away.

The present way of connecting kind of makes the physical distance disappear in a way.  Listening to the voice, seeing the face, the ability to reach out in real time and no delay, makes me feel they are much closer physically.

When I wrote those letters, there was an underlying emotional context, because the person was really far away.

I think I would name that missing element nostalgia….

   

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Maria Wilson
Bio: ICF (International Coach Federation) Certified Coach Associate Certified Pranic Healer. Passionate about human relationships- starting with oneself – as a key element in our quest for a meaningful and happy life.
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