Love letters to the self

‘Love is all we need’

Lines that we know so well. When you read them, did you think of another person? That’s natural, it is our concept of love. But there is another kind of love, a love that exists only between you and yourself. It is self-love and perhaps the most important kind of love there is. For if we do not love and embrace ourselves wholly, how can we give that kind of love to anyone else?

Usually at our Letter Earthlings events, we get together to write letters of support and encouragement to strangers going through a tough time. At this event in Pune however, we decided to write letters of self-love to ourselves. Everyone present was invited to write two letters – one expressing appreciation to themselves for the person that they are and another to their future selves that we will post to them in 6 months. It was so lovely to have people from all age groups with us! From 10 year old Reet, to her grand mother Geeta.

Pournima, the lovely lady behind our Pune chapter, brought some magic to the event with her colourful fortune cookies. Each (handmade) cookie, had within it a self love related affirmation. We went around a circle, sharing the fortune we had received. They read lines like, ‘I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening and will happen because I know that everything is towards my highest good’, ‘I am full of joy and vitality – I am unstoppable’ etc. Most people shared that the message they received was exactly what they needed to hear 🙂

As always the evening left us with peaceful vibes. We’re glad to get to share these experience with community!

If you feel like you’d like to write a letter to your future self. Here’s a fun tool that will help you do just that!

Picture credits : Shutterbug Clickzzz

 

Letters of love, taking on cancer – Nagpur

“We are all just a car crash, a diagnosis, an unexpected phone call, a newfound love, or a broken heart away from becoming a completely different person. How beautifully fragile are we that so many things can take but a moment to alter who we are for forever?”

-Samuel Decker Thompson

Isn’t it amazing how simply yet beautifully Thompson talks about the unpredictability of our lives? We never know how an event will impact our life and change it forever. Cancer is one such experience that can alter a person’s personality and make her/him a completely different person.

In the Nagpur edition of Letter Earthlings, we thought why not take cancer and try to change the way people look at it. We wrote letters to cancer survivors, cancer patients and to the families who have lost their loved ones to cancer. ‘Why not use our positive and kind words to heal and soothe a cancer survivor’ was our main idea behind organizing this event.

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We live in a world that is divided by race, class, gender, but in this divided world, kindness and hope hold us together. Cancer is a disease that has confused the entire world, and the world is fighting cancer together. The one common element we found in every cancer survivor’s story was their strength and their will power to beat the disease and come out of it stronger. We wanted to write letters to cancer survivors to salute their ‘never say die’ spirit.

Chemotherapy and radiation are treatments that take a toll on a patient not only physically, but also psychologically; in such a critical time, it means a world to have someone by your side, someone who will make you believe in your inner strength. Constant support and a few positive words can make a huge difference to someone who is going through so much pain.

We often hear people saying one must always follow her/his dreams, come what may, but not many of us actually have the guts to do it. One of the survivor stories we read went on to prove that if you are really passionate about something, nothing can stop you. This middle aged woman is battling breast cancer, her daughter, who had requested a letter, wrote, how her mother’s love for music helped her cope up with her chemo and radiation. Today her mother is a stage performer!

Another instance that was heartwarming, was watching a tiny 12 year old patiently writing as many letters as she could. The care, love and compassion with which she was penning down each letter and personalizing it, was really touching!

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The event that was a huge success, gave all of us a new perspective to look at this negative disease. Reading the stories of cancer patients and survivors made us realize that optimism, love and will power can move mountains! The positive outlook of these cancer patients made us reflect on how we unnecessarily crib about little things and blow them out of proportion.

In a world that is so self-centred, it was overwhelming to see so many people join us selflessly for a good cause. If there is one thing I’m sure everyone took home with them, it was a wider world vision. In this age of selfies, this event taught us to look beyond ourselves.

Parcels, Post and Handwritten Letters.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone you love? When was the last time you wrote something that came straight out of that soft place within with no filters?

As I signed up to start the Mumbai Chapter of The Goodwill Tribe in Mumbai, I had one inherent feeling, I want to do more and give back more to life for all the abundance and gifts life gives me everyday! We, Grafleen and I, the organisers of the Bombay event organically picked the Letter Earthlings event to start the Bombay Chapter.
So we were asked, why this dying form of handwritten letters? We said, exactly why.

A handwritten letter apart from the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a close friend’s day with your efforts, science has linked expressive writing better mood, reduced stress and overall well-being. Apart from that writing a letter, putting pen to paper requires unplugging from all the technology you’re bombarded with! We all want to live in in NOW – well, here’s a secret! I discovered that letter-writing, just by sitting to write something special to someone – your thumbs won’t be able to scroll another one of those endless Facebook feeds which refresh by the second, hell you’d also have to put your texting and whatsapp aside to someone who actually will fill your mind space as you put your thoughts to paper! For those few minutes you’re in the NOW and nowhere else. I’m always craving for that ‘extra bandwidth’ and no I’m not referring to a slow Wifi connection. Go figure.

On 18th of March 2017, we kicked off the Letter Earthlings event and the overwhelming response to the event has me wondering – wow, how much love can we spread? The sky is the limit and more.

How did we go about it? We created events on Facebook, EventsHigh, Allevents, Little Black Book wrote about us, Mumbai Mirror also listed our event and we had a large turnout of about 20+ people and most of these were absolute strangers. So, in essence 20+ strangers came together to write letters to more strangers! The icing on the cake was the journo from DNA who turned up to take pictures and bytes, our little attempt will now probably make it to the papers, watch out for us!

Gratitude is such a powerful tool, it opens up the doors to the endless possibilities of the universe and I have to say all of this would be incomplete without Chandni and Sonia, the founders from Dubai – Chandni was there, helping us in the event. Thanks girls – for all the input, advice, ideas and for allowing us to run the event in a decentralised sort of way where we added our Mumbai flavour while retaining the overall feel of The Goodwill Tribe. Also Grafleen, my multi-talented co-organiser who designed artistic posters for the event, connected to DNA and Mumbai Mirror, organised the requests and so much more. We synced so organically while organising the event, it felt like we’d known each other for ages. More power to us girl, this is just the beginning!

Now for all you gifted people who attended, thanks for coming and making this extra special from Ravi who turned up very early and generously gifted us about 20 self-stamped envelopes, Harsh for helping out with some of the organising from space to table seating and then providing a request on short notice, Mann for wearing his Happy Hat, Shweta M, Shweta and Siddhant – the siblings, Prerna, Ujjwal, Tharangini and Anirudh, Ratnesh, Kavya and Harshita – the chirpy collegians, Niki and Shruti, Ashish – the composed writer, Suneet for his valuable feedback, Rashmi for helping us organise the letters with her neat labelling, Parthivi, Proscila, Bhavika for her post on Little Black Book which brought Grafleen and me together, Anubha and Ishita, Tejal and Priyanka – thanks you guys, for making our first event so special! All of your sharing and feedback is very important to us and we promise to keep you hooked. Watch this space for more!

The Goodwill Tribe and Letter Earthlings, thank you for inviting us to participate in a slice of immortality – long after we’re all gone, these letters will remain to be read, appreciated and preserved.

Letter Earthlings – Chennai

A group of 6 people joined us on Saturday evening at Semmozhi Park for our Letter Earthlings get together. All 6 were from various back grounds but came with the common intent of spreading kindness.

They wrote letters of love to the recipients and later shared that they loved the experience. They are looking forward to participating in any other kindness activities going forward.
It was World Suicide Prevention day and to honour the day we had a talk about suicide to deepen our awareness around it.

We wrapped the evening up by writing out messages of kindness and took fun pictures of ourselves holding the messages up. We hope sharing the pictures made people smile.

Overall, it was a well spent evening with beautiful people.

Letter Earthlings – Dubai

After a long summer break, we had a Letter Earthlings circle in the bright and warm space at Book Munch Café. 32 letters are now on their way to five amazing nominees!

Book Munch has got glass walls and passer-bys can looks inside. One of our favorite moments was when this lady stopped and looked into the café with curiosity. She smiled walked away and then did a double take and came in to chat with us. She loved the idea and left her details so she could join us the next time. The owner of the café joined our table and poured her heart into two letters. She expressed that it had been forever since she last wrote a letter to anyone! Another volunteer compared the feeling of writing letters to strangers with jumping out of a plane – but the thrill was similar. 🙂

It’s fun and a real beauty to watch people and observe their silent joy as they put pen to paper with the intention of sharing love with a stranger.

We had some real creative and funny art work too! Check out the pictures and do join us at our next event in one of our six cities!

 

Letter Earthlings – Pune

Some things remain close to your heart forever. A heartfelt compliment or a word of kindness definitely goes a long way. If these are combined with the art of writing letters, the classic mode of communication, I wonder how easily the world would turn into a better place.

Here in Pune, we had our very first event of Letter Earthlings, and boy wasn’t it the most fulfilling experience ever! It was a rainy afternoon and three very random friends of mine joined me at home and we spent about 4-5 hours writing letters. Soft music filled the room, accompanied by some hot chai with a dash of ginger (perfect for the weather). The ink on the paper flowed effortlessly as each one of us poured our feelings out. For the classic art, how could we miss our old-school fountain pens? The indigo used to take care of the other blues.

I feel writing is therapeutic, and the person writing learns so much as they make an effort to try and put themselves in the other person’s shoes. The people who came to attend the event expressed their gratification with spending a Sunday evening in a very constructive way. It was one of the most enriching gatherings I’ve attended and there was magic in the shared comfortable silence – the kinds that lightens up a soul and puts a smile on the person writing.