I’m in! #1000Speak

I’m in!
Why do I think this can make a difference?
On a mass level:  In 1993, The Global Peace Initiative conducted a strictly controlled experiment, where 800-1400 volunteer Sidhas engaged in mass, simultaneous meditation in Washington DC, accompanied by other unofficial participants from all over the world. Crime dropped by 23%, attributable to nothing else but the meditation. Before the experiment, the police chief had been quoted as saying that the only thing that would make crime drop by 20% was 20 inches of snow. Ta-daah! Meditation…even stronger than Mother Nature?
Or part of Mother Nature?
More and more, science is learning that thoughts are things. They have force, they have power, they may even have mass of some sort. When we persist in looking at the world a certain way, that is what we will see. When we optimistically expect that everything will be all right on a consistent basis – everything is all right. Some people call this luck. Some call it faith. Others call it magic, real magic, not bibbity-bobbity-boo stuff.
I call it…reality.
It doesn’t have to be meditation. Not everyone meditates, but everyone practices their own form of sending will and desire out into the Universe. It is a prayer, it is a candle on an altar, it is a spell. It is a wish on dandelion fluff, or a lucky shirt, or a personal ritual, or a smile for a stranger, or a random act of kindness. It is that fervent “Oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease” accompanying a midterm or a biopsy. It is a blog post.
When we focus our thoughts and our will and send them out with intent and purpose, it creates a ripple of energy throughout the aether. When we join with others to focus energy and intent on a common goal, the results can be wonderful and amazing.

It makes my heart melt a little that #1000Speak exists.

I’m in.

Tarcio Saraiva, used under Creative Commons License

Drowning in a Sea of Books

Dear dedicated readership of maybe 10 people:
Please know that I may be a bit scarce. This quarter at school is trying to kill me with reading. Trying.
I’m not complaining. I love being back in school, and I love to read, and I love to learn, so doing all three simultaneously is my definition of a good time. Well, one of them. All of my classes this quarter require a lot of reading, and learning to read, write, and speak another language is particularly time-consuming. I am grade-motivated and protective of my GPA, notwithstanding the fact that Sadistics…er, Statistics…tried to tank it.

Photo by austinevan on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.
In fact, my only real complaint is that I was unable to finish I, Claudius. I tried, but Graves’ fiction is quite academic, a bit ponderous and lacking in dialogue compared to bestseller fluff. After two weeks I hadn’t even made it to Caligula’s assassination, and the machinations of Imperial Rome were interfering with my absorption of the finer points of the Greco-Persian Wars. Perhaps I’ll give it another shot during the summer break.
Still, I may surprise you. An idea may take hold of me and not let me sleep, or I may be unable to sleep and end up scribbling something out. It’s happened before.

Back to Attic tragedy…

A Lost Art

I have recently regained something I hadn’t known I’d lost.
When I was 11 and my family moved halfway across the country, I would spend hours sprawled on my bed, writing letters to the friends I’d left behind. Throughout high school, if I was staying at my grandparents’ for the summer or if other friends were gone, I wrote letters. On one of those occasions, I asked my grandpa for an envelope and a stamp. He said, “Sure, whatcha got?” and frowned the tiniest frown when I held out the letter to my very bestest friend ever, scrawl-covered, scraggly-edged paper torn from a spiral notebook. Grandpa mailed my letter for me without further comment. But when I got back to the house the next day, arrayed on my bed were three different boxes of pretty writing paper, matching envelopes, and an elegant pen. “A lady,” Grandpa said, “writes her correspondence on proper stationery.” I never forgot that. I still have the pen.
I never forgot it, but it got left behind. I drifted away from all of those friends. My letter writing was confined to one or two hastily written pages (on proper lined writing paper, you can be sure, Grandpa) tucked inside annual Christmas cards. With the advent of the computer that annual letter became a Dear Everybody newsletter, typed in a festive font and printed off on elf-decorated copy stock.
Eventually, during one of my many moves, I got tired of lugging around the various boxes of stationery and notecards I’d collected over the years, never used now, and donated them somewhere.
If I had to hand-write a letter now, all I’d have on hand is a spiral notebook.
Even more than stationery was lost; also lost was the art of writing the letter itself. Technology is wonderful, but it buries things, too. As I was getting ready to sign and send Christmas cards recently, I realized that I had nothing to say, not really, even in a short note on the blank side of the card itself. With Facebook and texting and blogging and Tweeting and other things I’ve never heard of, all the people we are connected to know what’s going on with us already. It might be that they know too much. Would I include in a letter that I enjoyed a raspberry tart at a French bakery yesterday? Possibly; it’s a snapshot of life some recipients might enjoy. But thanks to social media, everyone already knows it, and they probably saw a picture of it too.

On the other hand, how much would most of the people I connect with through social media really want to read a lengthy letter? Our lives are not what they were, walking to the mailbox, spying familiar handwriting while sorting through the envelopes, sitting on the porch to savor the news. All of this technology was supposed to have made our lives easier. It may have, but it’s made them busier too. Between emails and texts and faxes and junk mail and tweets and telemarketers and Facebook statuses and spam and all the other noise of modern life, who has time to sit and read a letter anymore? Or to write one?

It’s a lost art.

I might never have seen this but for the gift of recently establishing a correspondence with my birthmother. It has been a joy to connect with a stranger whose heartbeat I once shared. Writing a letter is one of the things she is very good at, and I have had the additional happiness of rediscovering what smiles are borne from both writing and receiving a good old-fashioned letter. Kathleen and I are not connected online; we are not as in-your-face as the rest of life is in the cypersphere. I smile and take my time with each letter, picking and choosing what parts of myself to share this time, finding the perfect words to paint a picture of myself and my life. Her words, on the hand, strike me as effortless, but she has always been rather mythical to me. Reading her words to me brings the same beauty slowly revealed, like the unfurling petals of a spring flower. Effortless or not, it means so much. Both the sending and receiving are things to take slowly and savor.

But that’s only one of the best parts. I’d forgotten the mundane pleasure of walking to the post office and choosing a postage stamp I like. I used to be picky about my stamps; they had to have a design I thought was attractive and meaningful. It was even better if I could find one that somehow matched the stationery I’d painstakingly picked out, because I certainly couldn’t write to the same person on the same letter paper twice. It’s like wearing the same dress to two proms – it is Simply Not Done. What with being able to do everything online, from paying bills to licensing my dog, I hadn’t bought a stamp since they cost a quarter. I think. It’s been quite some time. I’d forgotten the irrevocability of dropping the letter in the post box. I’d forgotten how I like picturing my letter shuffling and sliding among hundreds and thousands of others, from mail bin to sorting machine to transport bin to loading dock to sorting machine to postal carrier to the waiting hands of the one person on the planet it’s meant for. And in the back of my mind as I make my way through my days is the promise of a reply making its magical way back to me. The anticipation!

The silly things I fill my mind with.

But I’m not alone. Perhaps it’s even genetic. Kathleen tells me that letters are her favored form of communication, and she keeps the ones she receives tied in ribbon. The thought of someone keeping the me I share, safely tied inside a silky bow, almost makes me want to swoon.
I will keep her letters to me bound in ribbon too, as soon as I go pick some out. Nobody keeps ribbon on hand anymore, either.

Photo credit, in order of appearance:
Letters in Ribbon: Karen Cox, Flickr/ Creative Commons License
Fountain pen: Power of Words by Antonio Littorio, Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike Unported License