Wellness — December 20, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Messages from the Heart

by

By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer & Graphic Designer

Since the moment I was able to type a note on my iPhone, I’ve felt a bit like someone with a foothold in two totally different worlds. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t feel compelled to write in a journal, when I didn’t relish the detail in scrap-booking, when I didn’t have the desire to capture the world through a camera lens, or when I didn’t feel a rush of nostalgia looking through mementos I’ve hidden away in a box.

I’ve always felt a kinship with documenting life’s many moments. Call me a romantic or sentimental but I’ve realized the reason why I’m forever tied to these practices. Each provides a connection to who I am and contains a piece of me because I was part of their creation.

No email, no Tweet or text message will ever have the same depth of feeling and purpose simply because they aren’t tangible. We are sensory beings, and it’s no secret that those senses tie us to our memories. To remember, one must connect, but also, one must take time. These forms of instant, electronic communication between individuals will never have the same visceral effect as a hand-written note or letter, and the reason being is time. It’s an absolute; a commodity in our world today, so what we choose to do with it says a lot about who we are.

Take your pick of idioms like walking the walk, instead of talking the talk, or choosing quality over quantity. A hand-written piece calls both the writer and the recipient to pause, to invest, and to experience. The very action of putting pen to paper and writing is not only more beneficial for retention as well as memory, but it actually activates more parts of the human brain than its electronic counterparts.

Add to this the transference of pure emotion that takes place through a letter or gratitude note, and you’ve hit the connectivity jackpot. There’s the sense of sharing in that moment, knowing that the other has touched that piece of paper just a short time before, that they chose those words specifically and shared those feelings for you. Writing exemplifies a level of thoughtfulness that the hurried multitude of today’s communications just aren’t built to touch.

There’s a reason we call them devices; things created or adapted for the purpose of making communication easier and faster, however somewhere in the din of all the electronic exchanges we’ve confused communicating for connection. Yes, technology has provided a far-reaching communication platform no other generation has ever seen before, but with biproducts of distraction and separation, it will always fall short of providing that intrinsic human connection that only tangible creation can. We’re forgetting what true connectivity feels like, and we’re no longer leaving behind traces of our stories. I’ll be the first person to champion for our responsible impact on the planet, but let’s find a balance so we don’t end up erasing our footprint altogether.

Writing and depiction has shaped our history, passing down wisdom and historical accounts for millennia. It shares love, lineage and life, and I cannot imagine a world without it. There is a time and, more than ever, a need for the hand-written word. So, whether it’s fancy, inspiring stationery or a scrap of paper, your favourite pen or your finger on a steamy mirror, take the time to write something for someone from the heart, not the cloud.

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the information presented is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is a personal account and individual experiences may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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