From E-mail to "G"-mail...
My new morning ritual in my spiritual practice is to read my e-mail, working to receive the feelings and needs of the sender and then responding to them from the heart. Framing it as a spiritual practice has moved email, the chore, to "G"-mail! That's "Gratitude mail" or "Generative mail". After all, email at the root level is a strategy for connection, right?
I begin with my intention: what are my hopes and dreams as I open my laptop and log on? What needs am I fulfilling? I want to pay attention to the presence of any demand energy within me that says I "have to" do anything related to this practice. If I notice that, I want to train myself to pause in self-empathy, connecting with the deeper feelings needs under the surface of the "have to" thoughts. I want to savor the life behind that demand energy, than choose once again, opening my self to the vast possibilities of how I might want to move forward in this moment.
If "G"-mail is alive in me, I want to move there with an openness to connect. Scanning through the inbox, who calls to me?
Reading the first mail, imagining what this person looks like as they wrote it, reaching out with empathy across cyberspace and time to connect with another human being who has chosen to send me a "love note", an offering of connection or gratitude, all with the potential to contribute to someone's well being. I have seen and felt the power of words delivered to my inbox. Some "G"-mail moves me to laughter, others, to tears, a few to despair. I want to savor the feelings and needs that come alive in me as I connect.
If the "G"-mail I'm reading ends on a clear and present request, I am likely to respond immediately. Otherwise, I choose to either "let it go", silently thanking the person for considering to include me, or I "flag" it for later response. I usually tuck all received "G"-mails into folders in case I want to re-connect later.
When responding to "G"-mails, I am working to begin with whole-hearted, sincere gratitude, wondering and connecting with what need or needs of mine have been met in relation to this email, either right now in the present moment, or echoing from the past into the present. I start by expressing this gratitude, imagining in my minds eye the person on the receiving end of the "G"-mail savoring with me how they have contributed to my well-being. I tell them specifically what they have done that contributed to me, what need of mine they helped me to meet, and how I feel about it right now. I move from this resourceful space into the body of my g-mail, expressing with honesty what is alive in me, perhaps related to my unmet needs, ending on a clear and present request.
Then, I want to train myself to stop, if even for a moment, to savor. My intention was to meet my need for contribution when I pressed "SEND". I want to feel that feeling that comes with intending to contribute to another's well being. From this space of generative empathy for myself and others, I scan my needs, and choose once again...
And, in this moment, I am imagining you reading this, hoping that it has contributed to your well-being. Would you be willing to let me know by making a "Comment" or writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org?