I belong to several groups of women, and I am fortunate enough to be in spaces where conversations are real. We don't focus on small talk but rather, we work on ourselves, getting to the roots of what drives our behavior, and what gets in the way of our growth.
From talking to other women, I understand that this doesn't happen in all places and I know how lucky I am to have found such supportive places to grow into the best version of me.
What I know from these groups is that everyone struggles. There isn't a person I have run into whose life is perfect and nothing interferes with the trajectory they have planned for their life. We live in a challenging world where people have been wounded, either in body, mind or spirit. Sometimes those wounds end up on other people because as a society, we are afraid to talk about the hard things.
This is the reason I have encouragement cards in my collections. I want us to begin conversations that are hard, and be present to the pain of another's story. I want us to learn to hold space for pain, because that same space can hold our deepest joy.
The easiest way I know how to reach across this distance is with a card. My cards are blank on purpose, because two sentences of true compassion and support from you can make the biggest difference.
I discovered wishing trees when I was in England. This particular tree is a weeping willow, and it is covered in ribbons, trinkets, and hand-written prayers. It is said that when the wind blows, all the prayers and wishes shared at the base of the tree are carried to heaven.
Here is what I would say in the card.
I know that life is challenging for you in this moment. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Know that you do not walk this path alone. I can see the angels surrounding you.
I wrote the countless stars poem at the funeral of a friend. Instead of being sad, I felt this overwhelming sense of joy. My friend was no longer struggling in a body wrought with cancer. Her spirit was set free and she could be anywhere she wanted to be. I felt her close in my heart.
Here are things I write in a condolence cards:
I am sorry for your loss. I do believe that love never ends, and neither does the relationship we have with our loved ones. It shifts and while it takes time, we learn to see our loved one's presence in a different way.
Wishing you peace at this challenging time. Allow yourself all the time you need to grieve. Do not stop the tears, nor the laughter of shared memories. Feel all the feels. Your loved one is closer than you know.
I love sending cards when someone is up against something hard at work, in parenting, in relationships, or in life. It is a good way to let them know there is someone on their team, backing them up.
I can see how resilient you are as you stand up to the challenge you face. Remember how strong you really are. All of your experiences to this point have prepared you for this. And know I am standing strong with you. We can do hard things together.
I know you are struggling right now because life isn’t easy. But what I see is all the light you are sharing even as you walk this difficult path. You are giving courage to others who also struggle. Thanks for your resiliency.
I know you are afraid, but you have everything within you to succeed. Trust yourself, take a step, readjust and step again. You will find a way to fly!
Even though you are facing a tough situation, I am here to remind you that you are loved, you are not alone, and you have the strength and wisdom within you to create a positive outcome. Trust your intuition and rely on that to get you through. I believe in you.
Thinking of you today and wanting you to know how much you are loved. I am grateful for who you are in my life.
Any of these sentences will add a personal touch to your card, and remind your friends that you are truly thinking of them. Send more love and joy into the world, and watch love and joy come back to you tenfold!