V-Day Reflection: On Barbara's Project Love Notes
It was December something and the cold had not yet delivered snow. Turning the small silver key in hand, I opened up my mailbox in the basement of my apartment building. Leaning against the metal siding was another Christmas card addressed to me. A happy greeting on the front, jubilant imagery of a playful snowman on the cover. Lifting it open, I saw the sender had scrawled out a simple greeting and signed their name.
In that moment, I was so grateful to have something that was handwritten and intentionally mailed to me: licked, stamped, addressed, and all. As a transplant in Minnesota, those kind moments have a real power to them. I was also curious why I had a slight sink of my heart, as though a flutter of disappointment had taken hold of my chest cavity. What was my body trying to tell me?
This, of course, got me thinking.
So often, we send and receive micro-moments. Cards for the holiday with a well wish within it. A quick text to say hello or I love you or ask what’s for dinner. A greeting and a handshake whilst on the way to another thing. It’s all written in 140 characters or less, in captions on Instagram, in DMs on Facebook.
I don't know exactly what clicked for me the day of the Christmas-card-that-looked-like-all-the-others, but I realized that I wanted to say and receive more than a scrawling signature. I wanted others to feel loved, special, and unique no matter where they were in life, what they were experiencing, and how different their life may be to mine. I wanted to send out into the world the love that I, too, wanted to receive.
I did what I know best: I began to write.
I wrote letters to dear and close friends of mine, telling them how special our friendship was and what they meant to me. It got me thinking about the journey of life we’ve been on and these remarkable, unshakeable friendships. It also got me thinking about the friendships I had lost, seemingly never to recover.
I wrote letters to people I had met along the way, but we rarely-if-ever speak. I told them what I knew and saw within them and told them they, too, were loved. It got me thinking about the brevity of life and her moments. In the short time we are on this planet, we meet a kaleidoscope of people. How often do we celebrate their passage through our earthly experience?
And then, I wrote a handful of letters to strangers. People who saw my invitation to receive a love note whom I had never met. These are my favorite notes to send. I imagine the goodness and love that this person has. In health coaching, we talk a lot about inner wisdom. Each person is a sacred example of light and love, unique to them. We all have the innate ability to change for the better, to tune into our higher selves, and create magic in our lives (whatever “magic” might mean to each of us). I want my notes to share that sentiment in some way, as limiting yet as descriptive words are.
Sending out love notes is not something that takes up a massive amount of time, either. I spend about an hour a week, sometimes all at once and sometimes split into shorter increments, to write. Going beyond myself and taking more-than-a-micro-moment to pen a thoughtful note has been fuel for my soul, my heart, my peace of mind. It’s a mindfulness project that I wasn’t expecting to supercharge me in the ways that it has. I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon - it really has just begun.
My question to is: What can you do to share love that is authentic?
To help you decide, there are 5 different love languages. These are ways in which we receive and give emotional love. Unsurprisingly, many of us receive love differently than our partners or close friends. It can cause heartache and discord when we aren’t tuned into it. And, it can create symmetry and joy when it’s known! It’s worth it to be aware how you receive love, how you give love, and how your partner both gives and receives it!
So here you have it, the Five Love Languages:
1) Words of Affirmation: Sending Love Notes or telling someone how much you care
2) Physical Touch: Hugs, massages, cuddles, Netflix and Chill
3) Acts of Service: Running errands for or doing chores to make life easier for the other
4) Gifts: Tokens of true affection, appreciation, thoughtfulness
5) Quality Time: Spending alone time together in a thoughtful way, perhaps more Netflix and Chill
Of course, my love language is words of affirmation. I also emotionally thrive from physical touch, but you probably won’t see me going around and hugging everyone I meet! There is too much in the world that is shallow, sour, sneaky, strange, and scary. We can all choose to share a world that is shinier, simple, sacred, soothing, and serene. We can do that by sharing love.
And I simply love love.
GET INVOLVED: If you would like a Love Note or know someone who would like one, email your address to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her on Instagram @the_daybetween or @notquitesunday. For anyone who sends or receives a letter, you can use #projectlovenotes to spread the kind word.
“True love always brings joy to ourselves and to the one we love. If our love does not bring joy to both of us, it is not true love.” - Thich Nhat Hanh aka “The Father of Mindfulness”