Gift Culture: Love Letters to your Deepest Darkest Self

by Lakshmi Gunashekar

I believe in people and the unique gifts each and every one of us has to make this world a more beautiful place to live in. Many a times, we have thoughts of doing something that is considered ‘bad’ or ‘evil’, thoughts that we keep pushing away; thoughts that block us from accessing our gifts. We could act on these thoughts and possibly regret them later, but we refuse to stay with them and find out where they come from. We might just find that there might be a deep, genuine need behind them, nothing bad.

I used be really angry with abusers (sexual abusers). I had put them in the category of “bad” people. Recently, in my workshop, we were talking about the things that are tabooed in society around sex and sexuality, things like how one has been abused, or how one was always told that thinking about sex is wrong, etc. We were only talking about victims. Suddenly, one of the participants talked about how they have this rapist instinct in them, and then it hit me! She/he did not want to do such a thing; it emerged from a genuine need to be loved! I felt that if I was able to create such an open space for sharing once, I should certainly create more.

That’s when I came up with “Love Letters to Your Deepest Darkest Self”. It is an activity where you simply write a love letter to that side of yours, which you’ve been pushing away. You acknowledge it, embrace it, stay with it and/or try to understand it. I don’t know exactly how but omething magically starts to happen with this dark side, simply by writing a couple of letters like this and/or talking to a trusted friend! You can also come up with creative ways of addressing your needs with your friends, family, counsellors or your community.

So what do I get out of this?

The pleasure of sharing a tool that has helped me find myself and accept that part of me which is not the most desirable in society, and work on it. Sharing this tool has really helped me grow both mentally and spiritually, and understand human nature. It has helped me see the beauty in someone who has a very hard and ugly mask which is difficult to break. It has helped me see the importance of forgiveness- forgiving myself, and others.

So far there has been one such workshop at the Learning Societies UnConference. Other than that, I share it everywhere I go, with people who find it interesting and necessary. I’m currently working on developing this into a tool.

One of the participants wrote to me later:

Talking about sex is very scary to me. Like one of the guys in session said, “we get into abuse because of excitement, and so frequently, suppressing that has created anger, an urge to get it more, and make you desperate too.

Talking about this in the open space could let me come out of the suppression and abuse, and I’m a guy. Forget about discussing it with others, we can’t even discuss this with ourselves; spirituality has been a medium of suppressing it rather than coming out of it for me. Thank you for creating such a space. I’d like to cheer you for your courage.

Love and respect,