I went through yesterday’s mail this morning. Bunch of bills, unwanted credit card offers, and an envelope addressed to me in my own handwriting. Huh? With my foggy, harried, pre-Christmas brain, it took me a minute to figure out why I was getting a card from myself; usually the only times that happens are for my mammogram reminders and our dog’s license from the town. I then remembered that I wrote it during a Self Esteem Through Art class I co-taught with Pamela Pinter-Parsons last December! Self-love was a large part of the class and I was extremely curious about what I said to myself in that letter.
In all honesty, I hesitated before opening it. Did the year turn out as I had planned in 2012? What did I say one year ago as I scribed to my future self? Had I been prophetic or pushy? Wise or wishful? Would I be uplifted by the power of my own words or discouraged by them?
Turns out, I was pretty much RIGHT ON THE MONEY. Reading my words from one year ago, my own personal prophecy scribed in my own hand, was really powerful and made me take pause this morning. My words gave me hope, chipped away at the underlying self-doubt that badgers me from time to time, and reminded me in a gentle and loving way of where my priorities lie. My eyes filled up, just for a moment, because whether or not I allow myself to believe it every minute of every day — I am a tremendously powerful human being with tremendously admirable and worthy goals. My self-addressed note reminded me that I am not yet where I intend to be, but I am inching closer every day, every week, and every year. And, I matter. My work, my heart, my soul — all of it matters.
In my own words, this is what I said:
This is the year you truly and consistently do things that make your soul stir. You are a visionary, a guiding compass for many, and a constant ray of light and comfort. This is probably going to be the year that pain, joy, and authenticity collide; and that is okay. Think big, be fearless, fight hard for what you believe in, and listen to your soul. Get that tattoo, write that book, and sing your own song. Lead Brenna and Shaylagh by example and be gentle with Bobby. Take care of you and the rest will follow.
Set the course and follow your compass.
You are so very loved,
As it turns out, I gave myself a tremendous gift in writing this letter. Because I realized that I am finally giving myself the advice that I would give to anyone else that matters to me. The advice I give to the kids I teach, the women I coach, and the people I love. If I look to the deeper and more significant message in all of this, it means that I have grown tremendously – and I continue to grow as a person. Five years ago, I would have probably berated myself with some sort of self-depricating message, thinly veiled as satirical humor. I probably would have written a very goal-intensive letter about how I needed to lose weight, save more money, and clear out the clutter.
In being more gentle with myself, I am now more gentle with those around me. In being more heart-centered as opposed to more goal-oriented and deadline driven, I am more at peace. In allowing myself to be a work in progress as opposed to a perfectionist robot, I can allow myself to grow, to change course, and to be all around more fluid. It’s a more peaceful mode of existence and I am really pleased with the words I wrote during that few minutes of deliberately carved out introspection in Pamela’s studio.
There is comfort in knowing that, for the most part, I really am leading by example.
I see a new tradition being born. Anyone else care to join me? If you’ve written a letter like this to yourself (especially if you were part of last year’s class), please share what you wrote and your thoughts about it in the comments below.
P.S. If you are interested in taking classes that have lasting impact, sign up for the Self Esteem Through Art newsletter and make time to join me in 2014.