A note from Bert:

Regular readers of this blog (or monkeys, as I like to think of them) may recall that my coauthor Steve has identified three alternatives to control addiction. 
He calls them surrender, responsibility and intimacy.
And he believes they represent what is bravest and most grown-up in the human personality.
“To get good at the alternatives,” Steve says, “is as healthy as a human being gets.”
I’m lousy at all three. 
Naturally this embarrasses him, since he’s this big expert on control and all. 
So in an attempt to improve me (who’s controlling now, Steve?) he decided I should pay some attention to people who are better at these alternatives than I am.
And to help me with this, he created a new Monkeytraps feature, which starts today.
It’s a collection of articles, videos, interviews and whatever illustrating how people practice the three alternatives.
I asked him what these people have in common.
“Willingness to go beyond,” he said.
“Beyond what?”
“The ordinary, the safe, the predictable.  They’re willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something unfamiliar or risky.  To have a new experience.” 
He calls this collection Beyond Control.
I’ve seen some of the things he’s scheduled.  They’re kind of cool.
We hope you think so too. 
If you do, please write and say so.

* * *



And so when I moved to New York City after college and got completely sucker-punched in the face by depression, I did the only thing I could think of at the time. 

I wrote those same kind of letters that my mother had written me — for strangers — and tucked them all throughout the city, dozens and dozens of them.

I left them everywhere, in cafes and in libraries, at the U.N., everywhere. 

I blogged about those letters and the days when they were necessary, and I posed a kind of crazy promise to the Internet:

that if you asked me for a hand-written letter, I would write you one, no questions asked.

~ From Love letters to strangers 

by Hannah Brencher (4:53).

Here’s a newspaper article about Hannah’s letter-writing project:
For North Haven woman,
writing love letters a labor of love
And here’s her remarkable blog —
The world needs more love letters
— where she writes,
We’re going to tell you that we write and mail love letters, handwritten love letters, to strangers in need all over the world. We’re going to invite you to request a love letter for someone in your life who needs one. And we’re going to insist that you step out of your own shoes of Comfort & join us. You are going to think we are a bit crazy. A tad loopy. But you’ve been looking for a website that leaks love all this time… so we aren’t worried you’ll leave us.
It’s not about stamps. Not about stationery. It’s about your neighbor. The cracked parts of your own story & how you can use them to lift someone else. It’s about the stranger enveloped in sadness. The chance to pull off Twitter & step away from your networks to turn your best love letter into a lamp… a lantern… to light the path of someone who needs to read it tonight.

One response to “Beyond

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