Forget medicine, sleep, and alcohol. The cure to all that ails you is a love letter. The kind of letter that turns crumpled and soft from hours of rereading. A letter that gives flight to a flock of butterflies in your belly – their tiny wings hitting every bone and muscle. A note that warms you on the coldest day and gives you hope for the next.
I have received beautiful poetry via text, I Love You’s hidden in the pages of my notebook, surprise cards in the mail, and messages written on napkins – both romantic and platonic. Each leaving me buoyant with happiness – a smile expanding my lips.
In my readings today, I came across The World Needs More Love Letters, a movement imploring people to send more love. After an earth shattering move to New York, founder Hannah Brencher suffered from depression and needed a way to overcome and cope with the darkness. Like anyone in search of love, she gave it. Hannah left love notes in strangers’ pockets, on the lonely subways, and in busy libraries.
Her small expressions of love have now reached thousands of people – each note uplifting a soul. Through her website, she takes requests for letters from those in the throes of need. While helping herself and others, Hannah’s beautiful journey has been noticed by Oprah and been a subject on TED.
So why don’t we send more love letters?
Are we scared that we won’t get back what we give? Scared to express ourselves in case our words come back to haunt us, or in case the recipient takes it the wrong way.
Well that’s silly. Give without expectation. Give without wanting anything in return. Wear your heart on your sleeve and write your thoughts down in public. Unprompted gestures of affection and appreciation are more valuable than the most sparkling diamond. Forget about repercussions. Brighten someone’s day. Send a message of love or praise. To a lover, a friend, a stranger, an object of fancy, a neighbour.
If you should be so lucky to receive such a note, yet are at a loss of words… I find “Thank you” usually works. Simple. Easy. Gratitude.
And if you can’t write love notes to others, write them to yourself.
Last Valentine’s Day I sat at a bar with two dear single (at the time) girlfriends. We wrote ourselves postcards of praise, which were then mailed by one of us when least expected. There was nothing better than cracking open my mailbox and seeing those words jump out at me.
Write a letter. String together a sentence. Or just send out an ILY.
Read this note from Marlon Brando to a stewardess.
Or this one from Ansel Adams to a dear friend.