I met him when I was 26 years old and we married at 28.
By 42, I was a suicide widow and single mom to two children.
Post-loss, I found healing in somatic and family therapy, yoga, meditation and other spiritual practices. I also turned to writing, which was where I found solace as a child when life upset or brought me down.

In the course of my self-prescribed writing therapy, two things happened. First, I met a woman who specifically worked with people to “Heal Through Writing” and offered guidance to write through emotional blockages and grief. Second, I learned about Non-Dominant hand writing.

What is Non-Dominant Hand writing? It is the practice of writing out reflective questions with your dominant hand (in my case, my right hand because I’m right-handed) and then switching the pen or pencil to your non-dominant hand (my left hand) to formulate the words and thoughts in answer to the question. The purpose of this, research shows, is that non-dominant hand writing not only forces you to slow down and write with intention as opposed to writing from auto-pilot, it also allows greater access to the right hemisphere brain functions such as feelings, intuition and inner wisdom, regardless if a person is left-hand dominant already. I have even experienced what some might argue as connecting with my higher self and Inner Child in practicing this modality.
So at 45 years old, I was encouraged to write a letter from my 55 year old self, 10 years fast forwarded, all while using my non-dominant hand.
Coincidentally I found this letter last week and wanted to share it in the hopes that the message inspires anyone who needs it and/or stirs curiosity to try non-dominant hand writing for themself.

What would 55 year old Lisa want me to know? [Right hand]

It is going to be ok. Better than ok. It won’t always be easy or happy but it will be ok. Time will go faster than you think or realize. Stay present to every moment as much as you can. Enjoy the sad moments so you appreciate the joyful ones even more.
Your social circle will get smaller and in the process, grow richer. Don’t be afraid of that. Size doesn’t matter. At least not here.
You will find your dream home full of space, love, warmth and family. In fact, I’m writing to you from the reading room you’ve always wanted, drinking the Americano from the Espresso machine in your kitchen. (It’s delicious!)
I want you to know that love will find you again. Be patient. Nurture your kids and yourself first. Sometimes there is an order to things that need to fall into place.
Travel will happen! It really took off a couple years ago when you hit 52. The world adventures – they’re coming! I know you’re restless but timing is key. To everything.
Between now and 55, you grow A LOT. Growth is not linear. Life journeys are rarely linear but you know that already. Sometimes it will feel like you take 10 steps forward, only to fall 50 steps back. And then you catapult 1,000 steps ahead. It’s quite the ride. Nothing worse than you’ve already experienced – just other challenges along the way. You’ll see.
Slow down every chance you get. Speeding through life won’t get you anywhere faster. If anything, you’ll just hit dead ends harder and sooner. There is no point in that.
Your surroundings will quiet down. Literally and metaphorically. You will value the quiet so much it will become mandatory in your life. Most likely by the time you’re 48. [I’m now 48 and it is so true!]
By then you will make peace with Steve which will contribute to your inner quiet. Leading up to it, you will cry and mourn at deeper levels and it will be the breakdown your soul is needing. Not dramatic. Just cleansing. I look forward to that for you.
Remember. Through all of it, it will be ok.
[as written by the left hand]

To find and re-visit this letter was awe-inspiring because it proved to be a tangible reminder that when we get quiet, intentional and choose to listen, our best encouragement, wisdom and healing can come from within. It just needs to channel out.

 

I can’t wait to meet up with 55 year old me.

About 

After losing her husband of 14 years to suicide, Lisa Kumagai Sung inadvertently embarked on her widow’s journey in late 2015. Healing from the trauma of loss is challenging. The complexities of mental illness that contributed to a violent end to what was, at one point, a hopeful and beautiful once-upon-a-time add layers that make the path back to peace often tortuous. Still, through somatic therapy, spiritual practices like yoga, meditation, and Reiki as well as the love and support of family and friends, Lisa chooses to see this phase of her life as a late-blooming, coming-of-age journey that sometimes awkwardly parallels her two teenage children’s lives, especially in matters of finding herself and love again. Through writing and sharing her story, Lisa hopes to connect and build community with others traversing their journey through loss, healing, and transformation.