When you read a letter from someone, we are immediately transferred into their world, experience, and physical reality. You can capture the same feeling by writing letters to yourself or about other people in your journal. Letter writing is the easiest form to use in journaling. On occasion, you might have already dabbled in writing letters in your journal.
There are three major benefits to journaling with letters. First, the experience helps organize the event more clearly in our mind. Second, letter writing makes it easier to see cause and affect sequences of our actions. Third, because of its intimacy, it loosens up our writing style.
Whether you have or haven’t experienced letter writing previously, here are a few ways you can expand the experience.
Step 1: Compile a list of people who you want to write a letter to. You can do this as a journal entry and mark the page with a post-it note.
Step 2: Select a letter style, purpose, before you begin writing. Since there are various types of letter writing styles, let me present four types that I have found most helpful and have received the most positive feedback in my workshops.
Style 1: Milestone letters. Writing about milestones is about picking an event that changed your life. Whether the milestone was minor one or one that turned you around 360 degrees does not matter. Even the smallest ones have truth to be released. The milestone will have either altered your way of thinking, change your relationship with yourself or others, or even shaken your physical or spiritual being-ness.
By writing about a milestone, you weed through and determine what is important in your life. Additionally, the exercise helps you understand what formed the person you are today and explains what shifted that path.
Style 2: Release letters. Release letters allow you to vent and express your deepest emotions. This style frees buried energy, in turn, allowing you to think and feel through things, rather than keeping it corked. Please note that your experience may not always lead to a resolution, however, it does lead to change. You can’t help but clean house of those leftovers.
Here are a few examples on how you can use release letters.
Example: Have you ever finished a conversation with someone that ruffled your feathers or left you still hearing their words like sounds of chalk going backwards across a blackboard? The conversation tumbles repeatedly in your mind for hours, even days. This is a perfect time to write a release letter. Set a timer for 10 minutes and let it rip across the page.
What you do with the release letter afterwards isn’t important. If you feel comfortable leaving it in your journal, do so. If you prefer to use separate paper and burn it, do so. If you prefer to tear it out of your journal later, do so.
Example: You can use this same exercise to curb over spending. This process came to me years ago when I was an accountant giving advice on how to curb over spending.
Have you ever been in the position of feeling you just “got to buy” something. Let’s say you are watching television and you see something you “got to have.” Alternatively, maybe a friend recommends a book and you still have 10 others to read but the recommendation is haunting you. How about seeing something, someone else has that you just “got to have.” The urge, just doesn’t want to relinquish its grip even with conscious “fighting it” thoughts. By writing a release letter, you can release this urge at least the majority of the time.
You can also use release letters to move you past the urge to eat something that isn’t on your food plan.
After several release letters you can even see what need is expressing itself and triggering these reactions. Once you identify the trigger, the process need usually subsides. There is no guarantee that this will work all the time; however, you will probably find it provides the release the majority of the time.
Style 3: Wisdom letters. A wisdom letter is writing to your wisdom self. A wisdom letter works well after a release letter because it enables the process of moving on. The experience allows the wisdom transition into learning and usually into a more positive light.
Adding dialogue, either in part or as the whole letter, is an excellent way to enhance the experience. Initials will help you transition between wisdom self to other self.
Style 4: Thank you letters. Since my parents passed, I’m always coming across things I want to thank them for. Even the small things seemed important to share. Now, in hindsight and wisdom, I can see how even the small things rippled through my life. These letters are also a special way for keeping their memory alive.
We both know that an attitude of gratitude is a peaceful place to be and thank you letters is one avenue you can use to be on that path. Our gratitude feelings fuel our spiritual connections with the universe and with all living things. Peacefulness is attractive to others and what we want to manifest in life.
You can also use one of these letter styles to let go of the “wish I had said that instead” thoughts and feelings or to share unfulfilled wishes and dreams that no longer fit but can’t seem to move on.
Letter writing is an excellent way to find closure or complete unfinished business in order to heal or learn. Whether you have or haven’t already been using letter writing in your journal, dedicate a whole week or two to the exercise. You might think that when you finish one letter, there isn’t another reason to write another. Be patient, another will probably appear because you have uncovered what was on top. When you get tired of the exercise, stop, and switch to another technique.