Healing Arts Report

Practices for an Evolving Life

They Don't Tell You How

“You need to love yourself more.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Always put other people first. Don’t be selfish.” The one thing that is missing from all this good advice is telling you HOW to do it. We introduce you to practical tools using your own character traits to support you in creating practical answers to those questions. Read more here.

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Two memoirs tell about times of extreme personal growth in the author’s life. Sunny Side Up is a window into the early 70s when certain young adults were searching for a way to head off society’s path bent on materialism. The Transparent Feather tells of a dying author passing the torch of writing to her new friend cum student.

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You can love yourself and other people as well. At Healing Arts Report we explore fulfilling personal development that at the same time serves to create the shift to a peaceful new world paradigm.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―C.G. Jung

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Have You Heard Of An Ethical Will? Part II

Last week when Beth Raps, author of the Raising Clarity blog asked me to give some guidelines about writing an ethical will I researched others’ ideas about how to do so and found a website called Celebrations of Life.  Their motto is “Live your life as you wish to be remembered.”

The site touches on the history of the ethical will as mentioned in the bible and offers products such as workbooks and services including workshops geared toward organizations and clients. They also offer a training program for becoming a facilitator of ethical will workshops. What i thought was most valuable for those of us interested in the topic were the examples of ethical wills.

The writers are people who have families, who don’t, who are 100 years old, or who knew they were dying at the age of 29. It’s the variety of examples that are so inspiring. They demonstrate that there is no one model we need copy in order to do it right, but rather seeing how each person comes to their own way of expressing themselves.

It reminds me of the wonderful meetings at the homes of our local garden club. Each member’s soil, interests, available space, and personality were different. Inspiration came from seeing how each person walked to the beat of a different drummer and the differences created a rich variety of possibility.

What I learned from the process of writing my memoirs was the value of the struggle to define the purpose of each book. Neither of the two memoirs was a journal simply recording the activities of a period of time, in one case learning about writing from a dying author and in the other, attending a spiritually demanding school, something like a monastery, where the daily schedule and exercises constantly challenged us to see more clearly.

I felt a strong sense of gratitude for each experience despite not feeling very accomplished during the process. In both cases, the rewards were easier to see after time passed, allowing me the opportunity to apply what I learned. The gift for the writer is in ruminating on experiences in order to discover and then express and share the significance of them.

Knowing that my ancestors fled from a country where life was precarious because of disease and war is important but knowing stories of how they survived enters the heart more deeply.  My second cousin’s son told me this story about his grandfather Jack:

my late second cousin Bea

my late second cousin Bea

During the famous WWI Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, Jack, a 22-year old combat engineer was exhausted after four days of shelling and rain. He became separated from his unit and lay down in the straw of a barn at the edge of the battlefield, soon falling into a sound sleep.

Suddenly, Jack’s long-dead grandfather Lipa, my great grandfather, appeared to Jack in a dream, and exclaimed: Jack! Get out! Get out! Jack, startled, jumped up and raced outside. Within seconds, a German shell made a direct hit on the barn, obliterating it.

Jack lived to tell the story to his daughter Bea, my second cousin, who in turn passed it on to her children and grandchildren.

What experiences of your life taught you something or are in some way so meaningful that you wish to pass them on to the people you love?

Click here for a series of questions to help you get started.

Click here for three approaches on writing an ethical will.

PRACTICE: Make a short list of three values you want to pass on to your descendants and write an example of how each value manifested in your life, whether you were the recipient or the provider of it.

Contact. If you’re still not sure about how to get started writing an ethical will, contact me for a free twenty-minute consultation. We can brainstorm about a way for you to comfortable begin your writing.


2 Responses to “Have You Heard Of An Ethical Will? Part II”

  1. BJ, thank you! For the mention of our blog, and for the loving detail of this post. I clicked on the how-to links at the end of the post, which were useful, but what really convicts me of the vitality of this idea are three ethical wills I read just now from the “examples” link you give in the 2nd paragraph of this post. These were the three I chose:
    Beatrice/Bracha, the 100-year-old (born 1902) (whose Hebrew name means “blessed,” which is so clear! but it’s not explained in the text; Bettina, the 29-year-old; and Martha Bird’s ethical will book, which was wonderful to be able to page through as though holding it in hand.
    Each of these was so moving I wanted to write a post about it! I may not, though, so I will for now simply affirm the beauty of what you have encouraged we consider doing ourselves.

    Posted by Beth Raps, RAISING CLARITY | ,
  2. This is a wonderful thing to do. Several years ago, on my birthday, I started a letter to my granddaughter which someday she may or may not want to read, but it has been a chance for me to write down information and stories about our family. In it I have also written about myself, my values, my hopes and dreams. It is fun to review a life this way.
    Lovely website, BJ. Thank you!

    Posted by Mary Jane | ,

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