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Dear Sweet Talker: Acknowledge others. Daily. Find one person to compliment, affirm, smile at, to be kind to. Compliment the cashier, toll booth person, bow to the mail deliverer and say thank you. Look someone in the eye. Speak sweetly. One word, maybe two. See them. What color are their eyes? It will take only a moment to find the kindness there, and soften their day. You simply greet them, namaste them, and gently move on. Kindergarten teaches this. We forget. Do this for many, but at least that one person daily. Yourself too. Be corny, be kind. Love, You.
Dear Collector: Let Go. Really. One item a day. Daily. You have too much stuff. It doesn't matter if you have enough space for it. Don't leave it for someone else to deal with. It is yours. If you have not worn it, used it, shown it off, read it, wrote in it, laundered it or even looked at it in a while, especially one year, let it go. Keep what is ESSENTIAL and MEANINGFUL. Okay, some memorabilia is fun for life review when you are 100, but you don't need 16 coffee mugs. Get going. Do it. Love, You.
Dear Dancer: Dance more. No one is watching. No one cares. Be uncoordinated. Plug up your ears to music and move around the house and shimmy. Dance can be joyful. It invites self-consciousness so you can break through self-consciousness. Break a sweat. Even if you don't, simply move around and feel the flow of your one precious body. Feel the flow of your mood. Dance when you are sad or mad or wondering. Donít dance the feelings away. Let them move with you. Dance with your grief. Dance with all your feelings. Let them lead. Love, Me.
Dear Couples: Be silent. One day each month, speak not one word to another. Put down your phone, texting, podcasting, social media, television. One day each month be in partnership with no words, no distractions. This is one secret to a sweet relationship. No words. Savor morning coffee, cook, walk, hold hands, breathe. Make love, breathe, putz around, do art, play chess. Write little notes to each other. Be. This is a recipe from a lovely Australian couple met at a silent meditation retreat who taught a formula for success. Turn off the world. Turn on the relationship. Love, Me.
Dear Young One: Don't Grow Up. Stay young always. Play checkers. Go on a swing when you see a swing. Make snow angels. Be corny and a bit crass. Laugh. No rush to get old. No need to be so mature about life. Wear it well. Wear it like the loose garment that it is. Chiffon. Silk. Baggy pajamas. Shawls. Hug a teddy. Sit on a stoop. All this to say, do not grow up too fast. Grow old in slow motion. Promise yourself to not be in a hurry to get to the mountain top. Go slow. Love, You.
Dear American: Be Patriotic. As bizarre as the political climate is and will continue to be, keep your inner climate calm. Riots disguised as protests will happen. Lack of balance and equality will happen. Injustices on the left, injustices on the right, injustices in the middle. Hold hope that, on the whole, there is progress. However small. Hope hope that there are ways to take action so insanity doesnít have a seat in the White House. Hold hope that there will be a Department of Peace. In the meantime, be kind to all parties. Wave your flag. Love, You.
Dear Student: Be teachable. No one likes hanging around a know-it-all. Use "I" or "we" vs "you." Everything ever taught, was learned. Rarely is there an original thought or concept. No one wants to be lectured to or talked at or power pointed. Show, don't tell. Think of how it makes you feel if there is a downward glance or arrogant stance. Yeah, that feeling. It feels like dictation or like a dictator. Like right now. So... when one shares from their own humble "experience, strength and hope," people lean in. Read the room. Speak softly. Love, You.
Dear Sleepyhead: Dream. When the day turns into night, turn off the news that rinses and repeats murders, fires and furies. Take 7 or 27 minutes and settle down your sleepy self. What would that look like? Well, no snacking. Instead: wash up, brush teeth, floss. Quiet down. Stop, really, stop laying the phone by your bedside. Let yourself listen to the sound of your exhale as you lay it down for the day. Breathe. Read a prayer, a book on self-compassion or a Sufi poem. Let your breathing silence the day. Let a dream come uninterrupted. Love, You.
Dear Nagger: Don't Nag. It is counter-productive. It is psych 101 intel and, yet, it is a most challenging thing to remember. It doesn't work. Even if there are serious matters that need to change or things to do. Nagging won't do the trick. Go ahead, keep your list of what "they" need to do around the house or to better "their" lives or what "they" need to stop or start doing. Your should list is not theirs. Nag? If it was a productive three letter word, go for it. It is not. Sorry. Focus on you. Love, You.
Dear younger self: Walk. Nature is your medicine. The solace you need. Trees are wiser than me. Stand near one daily. Walk often. Less concrete, more trails. That is some of what you will hear from this serene, crinkled, quiet, older self, when you fret in moments of dismay or despair. With great compassion, I beg of you to laugh more, lay under a tree, gaze at river, breathe. As if you have control over a global pandemic, the president or any person. So, sweet young thing: buck up, chin up, look up, find the moon, hum, hike. Love, you.
This is a collection of 100 words, days, squares. It takes the form of letters. Letter writing is a tool I use with clients as a therapist, and personally. Powerful healing happens. So, gathered here are 100 letters from my future 100 year old self. Using my imagination, I ponder what that fabulous old lady might have to say in exactly 100 words. She writes boldly, and offers keen insights, humor, unsolicited advice and doesn't let me get away with taking one thing for granted. Why? Aging is a privilege and from her perch, nothing matters, and everything matters. Enjoy.
Dear worried one. Fret less. Imagine your mind as a movie camera. Rewind. Everything you fretted about ended up as a memory or a moment. Right? Now, do the math. Calculate the fret time in months, days, hours and minutes that your mind imagined horrific scenarios. Even the most horrific stuff healed a bit. Whatever you deemed as horrific wasnít so horrific. Right? Sweet worrier, of course you get to fret and chew on matters of the heart, but take smaller bites. Nibble. Shrug. Lose it. C'est la vie it. Netflix it. Journal it. Stop it. Okay? Love, you.
Dear Seeker: Keep Seeking. Curiosity is a rare trait. Always seek solutions, justice, love, tolerance, peace and growth. Know-it-all-ism is not a good look for you. Cynicism is ugly. "So what" is deadly. Frankly, it's arrogant. So stay perked, perched, brow perplexed. Always question authority. A seeker observes. Asks questions. Keep asking. When you know enough you are boring. You will never know enough. There is always an issue to be resolved in the world and in your heart. Seeking personal growth keeps you alive. So, I ask: who's your favorites writer these days? Curious. Love, me.
Dear wise one: Trust yourself. There will a million forms of this message and a million reminders. Get used to it. Okay, so you can gather all the intel you need from the troops and passengers in your life -- but the voice that matters most is your own. You are the driver. You are your own inner authority, inner sponsor, inner therapist, inner guru. Remember any urgency to make a decision is often manufactured -- so remember to seek some quiet and get still. Trust what you hear there. Ask yourself "what do I need?" YOU know. Trust yourself. Love, You.
Dear sweetheart: Donít Linger. Move on and don't hang out with remorse, regret or the ridiculous. Drop any self criticism and over thinking. Make a mistake? Who cares. Try this: "so what, now what?" Meaning: get on with it!! Donít linger in the woulda, coulda, shoulda stuff. Linger only in the present moment, forward moment, all moments. The longer you wrap your head around minutia of the past, the more perplexed your brow. When you are old, you'll reflect on whether you were living the life you noted in all those calendars. Don't squander your days. Love, You.
Dear Music Lover: Sing. Sing far and wide. Always stay in a community of singers. Hum. Sing your heart out. Donít judge that scratchy voice. Play songs loud. Walk with songs in your heart. Dance to songs in your home and with your loved ones. Waltz and swing and two-step and three-step. Never stop using music as a remedy for your soul and spirit. Take all the lyrics of your favorite songs and pretend they are instructions for life. What you will see is they are all saying the same thing: let go and feel. Love, You.
Dear Swimmer: Stay afloat. Especially when you feel a sweet, ethereal thing called serenity. This is when you come up against the dreaded undertow. Donít spiral down. Even the buoys are confining. They aim to keep you in your place and don't allow you to go you outside the familiar shores. Well, dear swimmer, doggy paddling, back stroking, swan diving, lover of water. Here's the thing. Happiness is allowed. Stay afloat. Donít go near the undertows. Stay happy. Go outside the ropes and cut the buoys. Especially when you are serenely floating upstream. It's just water. Love, You.
Dear Vulnerable One: Go where it is warm. As much as you are guided to trust your inner guide, it is wise to bring your vulnerabilities to warm people and places at times. Don't sit solo with all things solemn or conflicts, or deep sadnesses. Vulnerability is strength. Though one must go where it is warm. Be mindful always where you bring your heart, and this will grow you and heal you. With true feelings, be sure it is the safest, coziest of all places. YOUR heart is warmest of all, but there are other warm hearts too. Love, You.
Dear tender one: Grace always. Offer up grace to yourself when you are feeling blue. It lifts. It is just blue. Mood happens, and when it rises up inside you, it is there to be held with grace. It is not to be shooed away or should-ed away. What you do with blue is hold still under its changing hues. Meet it with grace, ease and take it to tea or take it for a walk. What you do with blue is sit still and invite it to speak. Or whisper. Or cry. Simply be with it. Love, You.
Dear Addict: Stay Alert. Addiction is bigger than you. You know it and you live clean, but in surprising moments when you are not on your guard, it lurks. It is standing just outside the door of your life. A creeping, lurking force with a growl that speaks to you in your own voice. Especially when you thrive. So watch for that prowling monster. As long as you are on the lookout and humble, you are golden. When you remember the lives it steals and families it destroys, you are golden. So stay alert. Remember. It is spying. Love, You.
Dear Friend: Know Your People. Always keep a list of your people near and far. Ask yourself who would show up at your hospital bedside. Who would cook you warm homemade soup if you canít manage it. This list of names are the friends and family you would do the same for. Keep that list handy and up to date and near by. That inner circle is your everything. That inner circle is who nurtures you and who you nurture. It sounds morbid and messy to keep such a list ó but it is your compass of connection. Love, You.
Dear Coffee Lover: Sip. There are a million tips on health and wellness and things to NOT indulge in, please leave coffee alone. Enjoy the rituals with that warm cup of richness. Seep with the robust, creamy hotness. French press that dark roast. Have fun with the making of it. Donít even entertain letting it go. Sit down and gaze out whatever window nearest to you. Hold the warm cup up against your chest and feel the energy level rise up just a bit. Smile. Sip it like the little cup of pure joy that it is. Love, You.
Dear Talker: Be quiet. Okay, so this is not to say that you lose your robust personality and articulate capacity to communicate your thoughts, feelings and activities of life. By no means is there any expectation that you ever will lose your pizazz for social butterfly-ness. Hereís the thing: there is much to be gained when you access the quieter side of yourself. Have a retreat day, hour or weekend of some silence. It might be much harder than using your words, but it is exactly what will open up your senses and a deeper tranquility. Love, You.
Dear Restless One: Be patient. As of this writing, over 300,000 people have died in the United States of Covid and there is an average of one death every 40 seconds. So all this masking up and hunkering down is the only thing you have any control over. You want to get to a ripe old age of 100. Heed the warnings and sit tight. When the world opens, you will miss the simplicity. Donít for one minute feel sorry for your self. If you can breathe even one easy breath, you are blessed. Patience please. Love, You.
Dear Bird Lover: Look Around. Stay still long enough to see the beauty of the inevitable birds nearby. If you are steady enough, you will see. You will hear. Even in the busy streets of the city. Wait for them to swarm or flit. Be in awe of the red wing of the cardinal, the coo of a mourning dove, the eager sparrow. Look for an eagle even if you know they will not come on demand. Donít take one bird for granted. Feed them. Stand still for them and they will do the same for you. Love, Me.
Dear Beloved One: Take Vows. Vows are not just for marriage. Vows are commitments to yourself to have and to hold. To covet your own life. Vow to take ownership of your own serenity, your own richness and poverty in pocket or spirit. Take vows to treat yourself with dignity and integrity. Take vows to stay on course. When your are off-course, vow for self-compassion and humor. When you take vows daily, you are recommitting to wed your own heart. That marriage will not fail you. People may fail you. A self-nurtured heart will not. Love, You.
Dear Curious One: Look deep. These days curiosity is a precious commodity. There is less curiosity going around. Think of the people that are most interesting.. They are interested in the world. Not jaded. Inquisitive. Remember Harriet The Spy? That young adult book back in the day. Harriet, the maven of mischief. With her notebook, binoculars, a pen -- all hooked onto her belt. Venturing out into her day. Prepared for anything. Everything. Creating stories. Collecting stories. Asking questions. Spending time pondering. So, wonder about people and the storyline of their lives. See the universe that resides within them. Love, You.
Dear Thinker: Lighten up. Remember the mind needs rest. The brain needs chill. Take breaks from the news of the world and the storylines in your mind. Take these light excursions regularly, at least a daily dose. Remember fiction novels. Remember gossip TV shows. Remember mindless word games or a puzzle or some brain candy that quiets the chattering mind. Donít live forever in these little escape hatches, but please get thee to a comedy every so often and lighten up. Brighten up! Laughter and lightness is the best cosmetic on the market. You wear it well. Love, You.
Dear Sun Worshipper: Follow the Sun. That strip of light that lands on your living room floor. Lay there and bask in it on cold winter mornings. When the sun shines into a hammock, bask in it. The sun rises and it falls. Feelings rise and they fall. Treat feelings like little bits of light that are there to enlighten you. Allow yourself to be sun-kissed by your joys, disappointments, sorrows, sweetnesses and malaise. Allow yourself to sit with all. Even when feelings are behind clouds. Sit still long enough for them to emerge. Be lit up. Love, You.
Dear Pen Pal: Write. Keep writing letters. With all the typos and grammar flaws and flops. Keep writing. Write good ideas, crazy ideas, lame ideas, creative ideas. Write ideas about ideas. Write letters often. Write postcards. Keep stamps nearby. Keep old letters and new letters. Write to your young self, to your elderly self. To friends, lovers, family. Donít edit and donít spellcheck and donít care what others think about your writing. Don't care if they don't write back. Write yourself juicy love letters. Little leaflets of your life. Strokes of silliness. Imperfect prose. Truth. Love, You.
Dear Gracious One: Be grateful. Stand with your shoulders back. Your eyes open. Look closely at your hands. Ten fingers and what they can hold. Feel your body and the ability it has to transport you. Your eyes. Look around from sky to earth and take nothing for granted. Even your tasks and sorrows. Have a gratitude practice. Write a list of 12 things. Memorize them. Record your voice: out loud. Meditate on them. Listen to your gratitude podcast. You will rarely find anything to complain about. Think of Maslow's hierarchy of need. You likely have them all. Love, You.
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