To Mindfully Communicate

A handwritten letter says what nothing else can,

A handwritten letter offers something deeper than what we’ve become accustomed to in this era of instant communication.

Yes, we tap out quick missives in reply to today’s email and text messages. We respond, with a sentence or series of words, to a social media post, but it is always more reaction than interaction.

The width and breadth of a traditional handwritten letter goes deeper and wider. A few lines, a couple of pages, perhaps a bit of history or update on a current reality; each letter of every word contains something you just don’t get from an email.

Correspondence — communication in handwritten form — is to be appreciated and respected for exactly what it is; a truthful rendering on a person’s thoughts, feelings, or theories. There is a certain intimacy involved in the inherent honesty of a letter.

You write differently, perhaps more truthfully, when you commit words to a page by pen or pencil. You forgo the convenience of a keyboard and bypass the spellcheck and cut-and-paste familiarity of this virtual realm we live in.

You tell the story of an adventure, or future plans, in greater detail when you write by hand. Between the salutation and the sign-off, the words on the page take on a life of their own. There is a change in the tense, the texture, and the tone of how, and what, we write.

Outside of the eraser on a pencil (the original word processor) which allows you to catch the occasional error or slightly modify a sentence, words land on the page as you think and as you go.

You read differently, more observantly, when you look over the pages of a handwritten letter. The brain, overly-accustomed to the increased amount of text we consume in a single day, has to process the information in what has become an unfamiliar manner.

The eyes register the information more keenly — with less physical strain on the eyeball than what is required to read off an illuminated screen — and follow each curve and line of every letter, at times struggling with the varied uniformity of each person’s interpretation of the alphabet. It can be a challenge to read someone else’s handwriting, but there is an appreciation that another human being took the time to mindfully communicate.

A handwritten letter takes time. Thoughts captured on paper one day could take days or weeks to arrive at the intended destination. There is not the immediacy of electronic communication, but there is not the need.

A handwritten letter is timeless.

 

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