Did you know that passing on messages to guide future generations is at least as old as the Old Testament? Jacob, one of the Torah’s patriarchs orally passed on values to his sons, reflected on some of their actions and/or traits, and made some predictions about their future. Had he written it down, we at WILLOW would have referred to it as a “Love Letter.”
At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses offered a lengthy farewell blessing to the people of Israel, which WILLOW calls a Heart Will.
I bet that neither Jacob nor Moses participated in any workshops to learn how to craft their messages. But it seems that 3,500 years ago, talking about death with family and community was not as taboo as it is now. I’m willing to wager that death denial was not a problem in biblical times.
But back to now
Anyone can sit down and write a Heart Will or Love Letter at any time in their life. But many people, even those who really want to, don’t. They get stuck. They get stuck because as a society, we tend not to talk about or even think about death.
Writing lasting messages to those you love requires you to face your mortality—something that almost never makes it on the “to do list” in our death-phobic world. What’s more, many will say, “I’m really busy with living this life. There’s tons of fun things I want to do and I don’t have time to think about death.”
Newsflash. Facing your mortality is code for purposeful living.
Attending a WILLOW Love Letters + Heart Wills workshop is about so much more than crafting those messages. It’s about uncovering the scope of your feelings around your inevitable death, reflecting on your life and how you want to be remembered, discovering who and what matter most to you, and considering seeking, bestowing, and accepting forgiveness.
We have now completed two sessions in our current Love Letters + Heart Wills six-week, drop-in series in Vancouver. Here are some of the reasons people said they came:
- They don’t want to live with regrets.
- They’ve experienced a serious illness and it got them to wake up and feel alive. They want to keep that feeling in their life.
- They’ve worked with dying people, and were inspired by the clarity that dying people have about who and what is important in their life.
- They’re comfortable with the idea of other people dying but not of their own mortality. They’re curious about that.
- They want to talk openly about death, but friends and family find it too uncomfortable.
- They’ve observed some awful experiences with death and want to help ‘do death differently’.
- They want to write but can’t seem to get started.
- They want to expand themselves.
- They value learning from others.
- They hope it will change their perspective and improve their life.
- They want to be “better” at being with someone who is dying.
- They want to wake up from their mythical “trance” that they are going to live forever.
- They want to raise or expand their consciousness.
One participant said, “It’s really how we live until we die that is making me love this conversation.”
It’s how we live until we die that makes this conversation so rich.
If you’re in Vancouver, and you want to write down what’s in your heart before it’s too late, while also contemplating your own mortality with our guidance, and with the loving support of others, please join us for one or more of the next four Wednesday evenings. More information here.
If you want some of this but you live elsewhere or workshops with strangers aren’t your thing, drop us a line and we can connect around 1:1 coaching, home salons and other ways to bring this conversation to you.
What about you?
What drives you to want to write lasting messages for future generations?
What’s your story about how facing your mortality led to purposeful living?
Join the discussion below this blog post. We’d love to hear from you.