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Improve Your Handwriting, Improve Your Life

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

When dealing with your day to day, how often are you pausing to reflect on just how amazing your body is? Do you make time to feel grateful for the breath of life, the warmth of fire or hot water, or feeling satisfied by a good meal? How about your ability to stand up and walk to a different room? How about your ability to hold a pen?

I’m sure there are some of you reading this who are living with the consequences of chronic illness or disability. My love to you of course, and may you find comfort in each day. I am also sure that there are some who are reading this who may be contemplating this for the first time. Historically I have taken much for granted, but a few things have happened to expand my perspective.

About 5 years ago, my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she lost her battle over the weekend, I want to talk about her determination in how she lived, not how she died.

One thing to know about my cousin Leslie is that she had immaculate handwriting. Absolutely perfect. Her excellent penmanship was part of her reputation, and it was important to her that if it was going on paper, it better look great. She was very generous with her words too and had an amazing sense of humor and compassion.

One thing to know about me is that I have illegible handwriting. To the point where my kids can’t even read their birthday cards. It has vaguely bothered me over the years, but when I Googled “ways to improve your handwriting” I quickly discovered that it requires daily practice. There was no easy & effortless fix, and I decided to give up before I even started. Frankly I was lazy.

Fast forward a few years, and the cancer spread to Leslie’s brain. Her dexterity has decreased substantially, due to the cancer itself as well as the various treatments to save her life. One day, she posted a picture on her Facebook of a page from her notebook. It was filled with letters and words written by shaky hands.

Despite not knowing how much time she had left, or whether her dexterity would even recover, she still made time to practice because it was important to her. The effort she put in to living, despite the fact that she was dying, was and is inspiring.

Seeing this caused me to question the following: what exactly is my excuse not to practice? It never occurred to me that the ability to hold a pen and write is literally a gift.

Reinterpreting this ability as a gift has brought so much more depth and meaning to the goal of improving my handwriting. So much so, that I have found motivation to work on it.

It’s something I have done daily for decades, and never once stopped to appreciate that it’s something I CAN do. I had never considered that writing is something some people cannot do because of their respective circumstances. I felt the weight of scrapping this goal because I was too lazy to even try.

Until Leslie enlightened me in a very unexpected way. No more excuses, I have been putting in some effort!

The truth is, you don’t have to specifically improve your handwriting to improve your life. Consider “handwriting” as more of a placeholder for a specific goal that you’ve been putting off working on. We all have our reasons & excuses, it’s part of being human. But very few things compare to the satisfaction of going after something and earning it. It’s time to start living with intention, and having honest conversations with yourself about where you CAN do better.

Maybe you’ve been wanting to start working out. But going to the gym is boring and it’s hard to find the time in between obligations. Does it add meaning and priority for you to consider that there are folks out there who have physical limitations that prevent them from working out? Are you taking for granted the ability to exercise your body? Does that help get you motivated?

Or maybe you have been wanting to develop a cleaning routine, but the kids have sports practice and you’ve picked up extra shifts to make ends meet. Does it add meaning and priority for you to know that there are folks out there who physically cannot clean? Are you taking it for granted that you’re able to clean your home? Does that help get you motivated?

The point here is that we have time for what we make time for. It’s a lot easier to sink into the familiarity of excuses than it is to break through our self-imposed limitations and get some work done. And it’s hard to stay motivated, particularly when there is no guarantee of instant gratification.

But there is a lot of positive transformation available to you when you start to look at mundane tasks or hard work as a gift.

Being able to do the dishes is a gift. It means that you had food, and it means that you are well enough to cook & clean. Being able to do the laundry is a gift. It means that you are fortunate enough to have clothes to wear and have access to conveniences such as a washer/dryer.

So next time you find yourself complaining, or giving in to excuses, I challenge you to reframe your perspective. Live with intention and start becoming aware of just how many blessings you have which you don’t even realize yet. Most importantly, take action towards being healthier, having a cleaner home, getting a better job, winning that race, writing that book, improving your relationships, or having better handwriting. Whatever it is, if you CAN start, then start.

There are many among us who would love the opportunity to build the life of their dreams, but are simply not able to. If you’re able to take action, my suggestion is to start taking advantage of this gift.

Memento mori, memento vivere.

All my love

Jill Alders

Reiki Master Teacher

(508) 864-3353

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