Step AWAY From Your Keyboard (but first read this)

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I have a question for you — when was the last time you picked up a favorite pen and wrote a letter by hand? How long has it been since you connected through something other than a keyboard and your fingertips?

Last weekend, I attended a workshop on The Art of Letter Writing. But it was about more than the composition of letters — it was also about the physical act of writing, and how that differs from the writing we construct in our computers and phones.

If you spend time journaling or writing anything in longhand, you know it feels differnt in your body. Another set of synapses fire in your nervous system. Your breath deepens and shifts as your hand moves down the page. There is level of care and focus that occurs as you naturally strive to make your writing legible and clear, just as you strive to make your words express your thoughts clearly.

The word calligraphy literally means beautiful writing. It doesn’t necessarily mean “write just like this.” One of the things we explored during our time together was our relationship with our own beautiful writing — no matter what it looks like, it is a unique expression of who we are.

Text and email are fast, fast, fast forms of communication. And as wonderful as that immediacy can be, something is lost in it, too.

  • A sense of connection to our deeper creativity.
  • An understanding that a swift reply is not necessarily the best one.
  • Realizing that “getting something out of the way” doesn’t always make space for something more satisfying to come in.

So your contemplation and challenge is this:

Make time to find your favorite pen and fine paper or card stock and write a letter to someone. It doesn’t have to be long. It can be to someone who is no longer living or whom you’ve never met. You can either send it or not, depending on what you need to say and to whom. The idea is to express yourself freely and fully, in your own beautiful writing, perhaps embellishing it with some doodles or drawings.

You might even want to write to yourself, either in the past or the future. Then consider taking it one step further: seal it in an envelope, stamp and address it, and ask a trusted friend to mail it to you in a few months. What wisdom might you share with your tender self, dear one?