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Love Letters to the World: How to Cultivate Connection With the Stranger on the Park Bench

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
― Kurt Vonnegut


I’ve been hiding little love notes all over my city. I’ve been going through a lot of personal life changes lately, and have found my own form of support by indirectly connecting with random strangers. I want that woman who sits on the park bench after an exhausting day of work or a fight with her partner, to know that she is worthy, that she is not alone.

Sometimes we live so disconnected from others. We pass by people on the street and don’t even make eye contact. We live in our own heads, we live trapped in our own struggles and our own joys. We clutch onto them tightly and possessively, not wanting to let others in. We pass judgement and fear judgement. That haggard man stumbling down the street is labeled as just a drunk and an inconvenience, making invisible his traumas, his history, his struggles with classism and oppression, his strengths, his smile, his contributions, his humanity. This is an injustice.

We don’t stop to listen to other people’s stories, or allow the chance to share our own.

When we are asked “How are you, today?” by the cashier, we say “fine, thanks”, or make awkward small talk about the weather. We are at a loss for words. We cringe when others share too much of themselves.

Sometimes we think this is the way it’s supposed to be.  

Our society normalizes and encourages it. We are left to float and flounder on our own. We forget about the power of community and connection. We don’t have enough time or energy for  that anyhow, right?

*note: by “we”, I am not referring to myself or even any readers, rather I am speaking of our society as a whole. 

I cut up the small encouragements and the quotes and tucked them in a bright pink envelope. I carried them around with me for a week, stopping to tuck one into the Trivial Pursuit game in a small pub, or folded up on a park bench, or posted boldly on an community Events Board, or slipped within the colourful flower pots that line the street.

love, beer, and trivial pursuit. Sneakily hidden in an out-of-town pub.

Everything is so connected. 

As I started sending out messages of my own into the world, I started receiving them back in different ways. I was in need of support and guidance. Signs started appearing in my life – reassuring me that I was making the right decisions and was on the right path. I was not alone. Everything was falling into place. Without even asking, people showed up to offer me what I needed. I received so much love back.

I never really believed in these “Signs from the universe” before. I have personally never subscribed to any religion and don’t believe in any God, but I have been exploring and witnessing moments of Spirituality lately. The messages are there, if you are willing to see. If you have your eyes and heart wide open.

(I don’t normally write about spiritual matters, but hot damn!, these patterns that I was witnessing really stirred and shook my soul up! #^%@^!)

taped to a Community Event board downtown

The lovely ever-so-joyful website Kind Over Matter, calls gestures like this, Kind Bombs. It’s a really rad story and Amanda Oaks makes some really awesome free printables to share and distribute if anyone is interested in starting their own project.

Another really beautiful website and project I stumbled upon lately is The World Needs More Love Letters. In their mission statement, they explain:

 If you’ve ever felt trampled by loneliness, ambushed by depression, barreled over by negative body image, or just in need of good old fashioned lift, then you’ve known how it feels to need a love letter. Imagine finding one today…. Or better yet, imagine leaving a love letter today and having someone else find it at the perfect moment.

The World Needs More Love Letters is a community of “love letter writers” who write and leave letters across the map in hopes that the right people will pick them up. We leave them everywhere: books, coffee shops, coat pockets, trains. Love letter writers document the letter writing and dropping through photographs, blog posts, and social media. (http://www.moreloveletters.com/welcome/intro-love-letter/)

How do you spread your love with the world? What is holding you back?

Love and connection,

xo.

11 thoughts on “Love Letters to the World: How to Cultivate Connection With the Stranger on the Park Bench

    • Thanks!! This is the first time I’ve done something like this on a somewhat grander scale. I had a million more ideas afterwards too, but haven’t followed up yet…sometimes the frantic nagging of your own life gets in the way. I love your reaction though – becoming more mindful of our surroundings is so important for our sense of peace. It would be a sweet bonus to stumble upon a random little gift though! xo.

  1. You continually amaze & inspire me, woman!!!! This is something I have wanted to do & show my kids. –these random acts of kindness. We were just going to create bags for homeless people who are on the side of the road (water, power bars, etc & a note). Now I am filled with so many other beautiful ideas! Thank you! :)

    • You are gorgeous!! Thanks so much for your words (they mean a whole ton). Definitely follow through with all your own beautiful ideas *high five*! It’s all about the power of connection xo.

  2. Pingback: Rising Above Myself « free to be courageous

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