As a child, one of my favorite feelings of anticipation was encountered daily as I stood in front of the mailbox at the end of the driveway that led to our farmhouse. An avid letter writer with dozens of pen pals from around the world, I treasured every letter that arrived almost as much as I valued the process of writing the responses! Written correspondence was a window to the world, a pathway for exploration of new ideas and thus a doorway to freedom.
I continued to write many letters while in college during the late 1980s, and even into the early 1990s as I began working around the country. But then, something happened. I’m not proud of it, but I must face the truth: The internet appeared, and I changed my habits! I still feel that no amount of email or skype time can compare to an artfully written, hand illustrated letter. Even as I mourn the loss of such epistles, I confess that in many ways the technology of internet is efficient and wonderful, allowing me to keep in touch with more people and with more frequency.
While my sense of anticipation for email is generally far less emotionally charged than what I felt at the old silver-sided mailed, every once in a while I experience a moment of hotmail heaven. I’ve recently known such an instance.
There it was: an email response from an individual whose podcasts have inspired me for several years. In a fit of intense gratitude for the insightful influence of a particularly inspirational insight meditation dharma talk, I had googled the speaker and within a few clicks on that dastardly information highway, I had secured an email address and then composed a brief note of thanks and appreciation for illuminating stories and creative wordplay that make the talks so engaging. I didn’t expect a response, but that didn’t prevent me from hoping for one! So perhaps you can imagine the way my heart skipped when I saw a digital reply resting at the top of the electronic “pile” of e-letters in my virtual mailbox! While clicking on a cartoon envelope icon lacks the visceral satisfaction of the process of opening a paper envelope — handling the pressed tree fiber, feeling its weight, identifying the type of pen used and noting the care with which the script is written, smelling the paper and ink, and then finally sliding the brass blade of my letter opener into the top corner of the licked flap — I somehow managed to rip into that virtual envelope with considerable vigor!
I’m happy to report that the digital volley of correspondence I have subsequently enjoyed with this teacher has been not only pleasant and uplifting, but it has also been wonderfully validating to discover that this person whom I’ve admired in podcast format transmits a kind, authentic aura via personal email correspondence, too! I’ve been delighted to learn that we both have connections to Kripalu School of Yoga, a discovery which inspired a second round of leaping in my heart. In the process of corresponding, I’ve learned first-hand that my teacher has the dedication to strive for mindfulness even in the midst of chemotherapy.
And so it is with great pleasure that I can pass along the wish I found in the latest digital volley I have received: May your heart be happy and may health and peace surround you as the sap rises in all of life this spring. Truly, this is how I feel in the spring, as our northern days get longer, the sun reappearing and burning its way through winters shroud of lake effect squall clouds! Human ingenuity and its resultant technology may sometimes cloud our awareness of mother earth, but of all the seasons, spring truly calls us back to her. Celebrate spring!