Thursday, December 28, 2006
Over the years, I've read most all of Stafford's poems as well as several books about him and his work. After his death, I joined Friends of William Stafford and have participated in a number of readings done locally each year on the occasion of his birthday in January. (NOTE: The birthday reading in Eugene will be on Sunday, Jan. 28 at Tsunami Books for 2 - 4 p.m.).
In the current newsletter from Friends, I came across Stafford's "The Way It Is" poem (from his book by the same name) which is one of my favorites. The poem was recently inscribed in a stone placed in the new Stafford Commons (2nd Ave. & B St.) in the poet's adopted home town of Lake Oswego, Oregon. Here's a link to the short poem:
The Way It Is -- William Stafford
Are you aware of the "thread" in your life? Is it at the heart of your life legacy? Something to ponder during this new year ... and the rest of your life.
May you be blessed in 2007 with life experiences that create the legacy you desire!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Memory books are deeply moving little volumes written by people with AIDS for their children so that they will have something to remember their parents by. Mankell writes that "these memory books could prove to be the most important documents our time has produced."
Here's a link to a Plan USA web page about the book (Plan USA is a preeminent child-centered organization working to help the world's poorest children):
Memoir features memory book project
I'm currently reading the book and will share my learnings in a future blog post.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Together at the End
As a hospice volunteer, I encourage you to become a part of such a hospital-based program or a hospice in your area. Not only will you help assure that "no one dies alone" in your community, the experience will teach you about death in ways that will allow you to face your own death with grace (and live your life with more joy and delight!).
Monday, December 11, 2006
"Years ago I had a conversation with a man who told me that the most important truth he had learned was to be kind. He learned this, he recounted, during a cab ride in . As he was paying the driver, he said, "Thank you, sir." At this, the driver leaped, ran around the back of the cab, and opened the door for his passenger. Startled, the man got out and said to the cab driver, "You didn't have to do that," to which the driver responded, "I wanted to. You are the first person in this country to honor me by calling me sir, and I thank you for that respect." The man had never before considered the power inherent in a respectful gesture, but from then on, kindness became the pillar on which he built his life and the legacy he hoped to pass on to his children. That exchange, he said, changed his life."
— Caroline Myss in Invisible Acts of Power: Personal Choices That Create Miracles
Kindness is one of the values I have practiced in my life which I would like to pass on to my children and grandchildren. I learned the importance of kindness the hard way as a child -- from a father and a few (mostly male) school teachers who were very unkind to me. Their gestures were not only disrespectful to me, they were downright mean and abusive. Even so, in a backhanded (literally!) way, these "negative" experiences taught me the value of kindness. Once I had forgiven those who were unkind to me, I could finally see how they had changed my life for the better -- teaching me how important it is to be kind to everyone I encounter in the world.
What life experiences have you had that changed you and the values you would like to pass on to future generations of your family?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Marty and I shared our "paths" to legacy work, both of which started with hospice experiences in our lives -- his with a family member and mine as a hospice volunteer. Marty wrote a book about his sitting with a dying person to help others who would be faced with the experience and decided to create a new venture to create legacy videos that "capture a moment today and create an heirloom for tomorrow."
In his office suite, Marty outfitted a multi-camera "living room" studio to capture on DVD video a one-hour conversation with people of any age who want to create a video legacy of their life (or reflections about special occasions in life -- births, graduations, weddings, retirements, etc.). You can view samples of their videos on the Legacy Life Video website.
Marty described his legacy video work as "both a labor of love and a place of high honor in helping to capture the memories, experiences, wisdom, and love that others are willing to share." The word I use to describe that "place of high honor" in my ethical will work with people is feeling blessed to be able to personally hear their life stories, the "lessons" life has taught them, and the wisdom they have to share with their loved ones.
Along with creating a written ethical will, I highly recommend telling your life stories on video and sharing what you'd like future generations of your family to know has mattered most in your life. What a precious gift for loved ones to be able to see you, to hear your voice, and to listen to wisdom from your life journey .... wherever they are living today .... and after you've passed on.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
"Jungian psychologist James Hillman told me once that in his clinical practice, he found that nothing was harder to "treat," to do therapy with and upon, than peoples' schedules. He said it was very difficult to get people to see that their schedule was their life--the skeletal structure of their existence. You're not going to change your life much unless you change your schedule: open it up so that the unexpected may enter. Else how can the present be a presence instead of just another goal--or just something else you don't have time for?"
What does your schedule look like today? This week? This past year? Here's a link to the complete article:
"Appointments With Yourself" by Michael Ventura
Let me know if you find the article helpful for your life. It certainly got me thinking more about what the "present moment" means (and reminded me once again that what is on my daily schedule -- or not -- becomes my personal life legacy).