My epiphany came when I was sat waiting for my already delayed train to depart from Liverpool Lime Street station. It was rush hour, the weir of workers had been dismissed and the streets of the city had swiftly morphed into a chaotic chasm of bustling, hot-tempered humans eager to once more escape reality and put their taxing days at work to rest. As I scanned the equidistant platform edge I couldn’t help but notice that every single waiting passenger was engulfed by the screen of their phone. Eyes down, presence void, awareness null. Oblivious to each other and the breathtaking beauty that surrounded them.
That was the tipping point for me. When I realised that physically, we are here, but not really present. We currently live in a culture of global horizons; influenced by ideas and commodities from all four corners of the world. It’s becoming clear that sometimes we don’t all use our smartphones with intention. Instead, we look to them for comfort in times when we feel unfulfilled. We ponder the musings and exchanges we’ve had or are yet to have on our smartphones. Perhaps we yearn for small escapes in our daily routine. But those escapes fritter our attention, which is our most precious commodity. By giving our attention away so carelessly, day after day, we aren’t able to live as meaningfully.
So much of our time is consumed by fear and uncertainty. If we’re not contemplating what the future may hold, we are caught in the trap of living in the past. Many feel a desperation and hopelessness in the face of so much uncertainty instead of embracing what is already here; the simplicity of the true nature of how things are.
Our attention is captured in so many ways by technology, and this doesn’t feel very simple. There’s a reactivity we have with technology, the buzz from our phone when we get notifications and messages makes us jump into robo-mode straight away, rather than intentionally deciding what to place our attention on. I ask, how many things are we notified by? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, email lists etc. For me, simplicity is about making space to fully encounter the richness of life. To be able to be open to my experience, each day, with a sense of curiosity and wonder.
I want to live life with purpose and intention, rather than letting time go by with no real sense of where I’m going or what I want to do. If life is too crowded or overly complex, it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed and to keep this sense of openness and purpose.
This life is both short and very precious, a beautiful gift to be cherished. We cannot avoid sickness, old age and death, and we don’t know how much time we have. Whatever we choose to do with our lives – from the small day-to-day actions to much bigger choices we make – this has an impact on ourselves, others and our environment. So we need to make wise choices and focus on that which really matters. Simplifying our lives makes space so we can live intentionally, cultivate positive emotions and connect more deeply with others, and it is this which I wish to instigate through my project: To The Power Of A Letter.
Whilst technology can be a great expeditor of virtue, it can also manifest solitude. It can impel isolation and make us emotionally distant. Ironic, isn’t it? That a device that was made to ease communications can actually end up being a hindrance to talking with others in real life. One small notification or thing we see on social media can instantly shift our mood, we empower it to direct how our day pans out.
With this knowledge, and my deep-rooted desire to help people and inflict a positive change in the world I began to write. But not in today’s conventional way of punching digital keys. No. I began to write with a pen and paper. From letters, postcards and memos to post-it notes. I granted my creativity the freedom to write. The second my pen makes contact with the paper I am able to express every ounce of my positive energy, I then pass this on. I started writing memoirs of hope, quotes of positivity and reminders of beauty. Neatly folded, I’d leave them behind on bus seats, on the back of toilet cubicle doors, on the walls of the subway, stuck to the wing mirrors of cars. On aeroplanes, in train stations and on trees. Everywhere. I leave behind me a trail of positivity. A ray of hope in life’s darkest of places. A flicker of beauty and a reminder of the light within. For although at times our flame can be dimmed, it will never extinguish. Just a small gesture of kindness from me to a stranger. Anonymous.
We can all be missing in action from time to time, drawn into life’s whirlwind of happenings. But it’s good sometimes to be reminded that we all have a purpose here. That we are all significant. And loved beyond measure. Sometimes we need a little pick-me-up. When things aren’t going our way, when we are faced with hardship and our courage is tested in the face of adversity. When we don’t want to be a burden and inflict our problems on someone else, but could really do with a little encouragement. A knowing that we are not alone in this world.
As one of my wisest teachers affirms; “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world”. I am not expecting to change the world, but if I can make someone smile and remind them of just how worthy and precious they are in existence then I will be extremely grateful.
So it was there, waiting to depart the platform that I learned to appreciate all the moments and experiences that really matter – those unique fleeting moments that bring us joy among the chaos and clutter of life. And from that, came To The Power Of A Letter.
If you are feeling down, are hitting a mid-life crisis, are in the depths of despair or swimming in a sea of uncertainty. If you are happy and content but could do with a small pick-me-up and a reminder of how precious you are. Or simply, even if none of these things apply. Maybe you just fancy something to read, or a keepsake to treasure and look back on when the next rainy day hits.
To request a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below. Please provide a little description for the purpose of your request and the address you wish to receive your letter. There is full confidentiality and the information you enclose will not be shared with anyone but myself nor used for any purpose other than me mailing your letter. *Please note that all emails will be deleted following letter mail outs.
Love and Light,
This life you must know
As the tiny splash of a raindrop;
A thing of beauty that disappears
Even as it comes into being.
Therefore set your goal and
Make use of every day and night
To achieve it.