It’s been four years since I wrote my Heart Will, a lasting message for people I love and future generations. While I’ve been soul searching most of my life, the events of 2020, and in particular the much-needed spotlight on systemic racism, has accelerated my inquiry into high gear.
- I’m more open and expressive of my love and appreciation with people every day.
- I have more intimacy and understanding in my marriage.
- I feel light. I’m ready to enter death, whenever it comes, mindfully without any sense of angst about my relationships.
- If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, the people who matter most will know in no uncertain terms, how important they are to me.
These are some of the ways Catherine’s life has changed by working through Willow’s curriculum for writing Love Letters and Heart Wills. The exploration brought her and some friends together to delve into the scope of their personal feelings about the fact that someday and they don’t know when, they’re each going to die and whether they are intentional about it or not, they’ll each leave a legacy. Moving through the process, they soon discovered or confirmed who and what matter most in their lives.
Catherine’s Heart Will includes her life story and lessons to pass onto people she loves and future generations. Exploring the questions in the How to Write Your Heart Will guide with her friends and on her own, and then writing her Heart Will, affirmed for Catherine that she’s on track with how she wants to live her life.
“It’s helped me say yes to what’s important in my life and no to what’s not. For example I used to get irritable and stressed when I felt compromised for time. If activities were too close together I would end up not enjoying either, even though I wanted to do both. I’m getting better at saying no to one if it might compromise my ability to be present to both.”
A Surprise Gift
One of the most impactful moments for Catherine, she explained, was when she learned that her husband would want to go into the mountains by himself if ever discovered he had limited time to live. Feeling shocked and abandoned at first, she soon relaxed into the idea that she could actually support his wishes. She’s so grateful to have explored this possible future scenario and feels she’ll be better prepared to support her husband and take care of herself if that situation ever occurred.
In addition to her Heart Will, Catherine wrote eight letters (of love and gratitude) to family members and close friends. Five of those were emails and some were just a few paragraphs that didn’t take long at all. She didn’t write them with the desire nor need to get responses. She did, however, receive some responses and they cracked her heart open in the very best way.
“Why wait until you know you’re going to die? Why not enrich your relationships now?”
Exploring who and what matter most and writing lasting messages to those you love is available to you now.
- Choose someone who matters to you.
- Begin with Dear “name” and write as if you are speaking directly to them.
- Set a timer to five minutes.
- Complete these phrase with as many words as you need, and with what comes to mind freely.
- Thank you for …
- What I love / appreciate about you is …
- I forgive you for …
- Please forgive me for …
- My hopes and dreams for you are….
To learn about the origins of Love Letters and Heart Wills take a look at How to Live Until you Die.
What about you?
How has writing a Heart Will or Love Letter changed you?
What are you waiting for to begin writing?