How to Live Until You Die

by , | Mar 24, 2017

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 behaviours and traits, and made some predictions about their future. His lasting messages were, in essence, oral Love Letters.  

At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses offered a lengthy farewell blessing to the people of Israel. Willow uses the term Heart Will to describe this lasting message intended for one’s community and beyond.  

I bet that neither Jacob nor Moses participated in any workshops to learn how to craft their lasting 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.

Exploring the reality of your mortality and taking steps to craft these sort of messages will also lead you to uncover the scope of your feelings around your inevitable death, reflect on your life and how you want to be remembered, discover who and what matter most to you, and consider seeking, bestowing, and accepting forgiveness.   

Here are some of the reasons people gave for choosing to invest time and energy into the a recent offering of Willow’s Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills curriculum: 

  • 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.

Download these free tools to help you write lasting message to those you love and future generations:  Five-Minute Love Letter Exercise, How to Write Your Heart Will Guide.

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?

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