Sunday, April 13, 2014

A letter

A year ago, in the last session of the mindfulness group I attended through Health and Counselling at my university, the facilitator asked each of us to write a letter to ourselves. He then mailed them, a few months later. I didn't open mine right away; in the usual paper-shuffle of grad school, it fell behind the printer.

Today, on a hunt for scrap paper, I found a little brown envelope, addressed, in my own purple-gel-pen handwriting, to me. It was the best thing I could have read, and I wish I'd found it earlier in the week. It refers to comps, which I am presently writing - I'd optimistically planned to complete comps in the fall, when this letter was initially mailed. The sentiment here may be a bit trite, but today, it's exactly what I needed.

"Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello, Me!

There is no deadline for healing, no time after which it must be OK. That is OK. Everything comes with time, patience, and self-love. Pain hurts, but it can be safe if I let myself remember love. Things are what they are.
I need to share with myself the love I have for others; focus on the present, however it feels, and let go of the fear of the future that is not yet here, the fear of the past that cannot come back. Time cannot own me. 
As an historian, fearing and hating the past closes so many opportunities to accept it for what it was. Wishing for what could have been, obsessing over how it could have hurt less, is ahistorical. There are some analyses that ought not be made. Some things will always hurt, but they have less power if I look myself in the eye and let go, surf the emotions, then put them away.
When this letter arrives, comps will be looming. I have survived bigger trials, and will make it through this one, too. Self-care is critical, whatever pressures other people place, whatever the time constraints are. With silence, stillness, and stretching, there will be pieces of peace.


Now, I am tempted to write myself nice letters when I'm having a good day, and hide them behind the printer. Or the sofa, whatever.

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