Published Essay: Sweet Offerings

“If you want a love message to be heard, it has to be sent out.” ~Mother Teresa


(Original essay was written May 2015. A revised version of my essay was published in Bella Grace Magazine Issue 5 - September 2015)

Sweet love notes left on my pillow or tucked into the pocket of my coat. Encouraging words taped to the inside of my lunchbox or gently folded into the napkin on top. From a young age, my mother began this ritual of spreading love through handwritten notes that she left for me to discover. I would reciprocate with handmade cards cut from construction paper and love notes scrawled in crayon, then folded and taped to my mother’s mirror or under her pillow. When life felt chaotic or challenging, this one ritual reminded me that I was loved and connected to something greater than the struggle.  This ritual of exchanging heartfelt notes has continued into my adult life.

A couple of years ago, my beloved and I decided to grow our own ritual of connection. We set out to write an acknowledgment a day with an intention of sharing 365 expressions of our gratitude and love. We wrote our daily notes onto small 2-inch square sticky notes and posted them on a giant cork board as a visual reminder. Although it was ambitious and we certainly missed days, this ritual grew into almost 300 days of written declarations of our care and appreciation for one another. This ritual of daily acknowledgment helped us zoom in on the small, simple moments that nourished our relationship. Of the 600 plus notes between us, there were surprisingly few repeats in our sentiments.

From this process, we learned to pay attention to our love and relationship in ways that often go missed in the busy-ness of daily living.  We grew our capacity to notice the small ways in which we touch each other’s lives. And although our project ended, our ritual of connecting and voicing our appreciation and love has not.  Recently we pulled out our collection of sticky notes and re-read every single one aloud and were equally touched by the experience as when we wrote them.  We are more connected than ever and continue to engage in daily rituals of expressing our gratitude, joy, love and commitment.

In a time when quick communication is readily at our fingertips through texting and tweeting and emails, it feels like an anomaly to hand write a letter or note. But, when it comes to growing our capacity to love and connect, there is something magical about a ritual that comes from our hands and heart. Even the shortest sentiment squeezed onto the tiny space of a 2-inch sticky note, holds the profound message that we paused in our day long enough to put some heartfelt thoughts on the page. This simple gesture shows how we stepped away from our distractions and attended to a raw, touchable moment.  Writing our love in a visible place for our dear one to feel and find…I believe this gesture opens the door for reciprocity and cultivates rituals of mindful connection that can only deepen our sense of love and belonging.

From this belief, I cultivate ways to inspire mindful, openhearted connection. Whether through the pocket of a Communication Critter or a blank handcrafted card, it is my mission to contribute sweet offerings that encourage meaningful and lasting connections from the heart.

And I wonder what rituals of connection are being cultivated in other’s lives? In what ways is mindfulness integrated into your loving and living? What touches you at your heart center and moves you to act on that impulse? Whatever your ritual, whatever your way of expressing your heart…may you deepen your awareness of the simple pleasures and daily joys that bring you closer to those you love. May your own message of love be felt, seen and heard as you send your love out into the world.