Empathy

This practice will focus entirely on movement by taking an action for about 15 minutes. The below post relates to writing love letters for those in need (find more info here), but do whatever practice resonates with you, as long as it is dedicated to holding and creating space for others. This can include volunteering at a local organization or something as small as holding the door open for someone, calling a few loved ones and listening to how they are doing, or donating to a charitable organization that you care about. Whatever you do, make sure your action is motivated from a place of desiring well-being for yourself and others.

MOVE - Do something for someone else (about 15 minutes)

We often don’t realize the kindness that strangers are capable of until we experience it for ourselves. Recently, I went on a yoga retreat where I didn’t know a soul. I was sick, tired, and nervous about spending a week in the middle of a desert, a far cry from my usual 9-5 city life. But I was shocked how quickly the people I met on this retreat became dear friends. They supported me through the strenuous hikes we went on, brought me medicine and tea to keep my cold at bay, and were honest and vulnerable about what brought them to a retreat. I left with not only friends, but a renewed sense of hope that, as humans, we are more alike than different. I recently received the postcard that I wrote to myself while I was there, which said: “I hope you remember the kindness of strangers who became friends.”

December is a month that I love, not only for the holiday season, but also as a time to reflect on the year that has passed. This month, as I am wrapping up my yoga teacher training, much of my journaling and reflection has focused on how I can serve others, especially those who may be suffering in some way. As a result, I was delighted to see that The World Needs More Love Letters was doing its 12 Days of Love Letter Campaign from December 3 to 14.

More Love Letters (MLL) was founded by Hannah Brencher in 2011. Impressively, Hannah has gone from writing letters on her own to having a team and being a published author and TED speaker. Each month, the MLL team emails out letter requests received from friends and family members of those who have been nominated to receive the hand-delivered letters. The request includes a brief story of the recipient and details a trial or tribulation that they are currently experiencing. The stories are honest and heart-breaking, but are often very relatable at the same time. I find sending the letters to be such a reminder of the power in my own experience and the collective power we share when we support one another. Today’s story featured Chris who was nominated by her granddaughter to receive the letters.

If you are interested in participating, there’s still time! I encourage you to sign up for the emails and start writing. It takes about five minutes to put pen to page and seal the envelope, but it means the world to someone to know that souls capable of empathy are out there.

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, California