While I expect to continue writing and giving community talks on ethical-spiritual wills, I've decided not to lead Legacy Circle workshops in the future. Instead, I'm encouraging people to start their own Legacy Circles to support one another in creating their documents.
To provide a guide for individuals and groups, I've created a new blog with PDF's of all the handouts I've used over the years for facilitating Legacy Circles. They are available for non-commercial use by anyone interested in writing or recording their own personal legacy.
You'll find the guide at www.yourlifelegacy.blogspot.com
My hope is that people will find the materials helpful for their writing process and, if desired, for sharing what they've written with their Legacy Circles.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Over the years since I began this blog, nearly 25,000 people have viewed the site. Here are links to the most read posts (Note: some links within older posts may no longer be available):
I never guessed that so many people would read this blog. Thanks to everyone who checked out a post and for people who commented.
Posted by Todd Peterson at 7:00 AM
Monday, March 03, 2014
Last week, my friend Edgar Peara died at the age of 92. He was the oldest man I ever had the pleasure of knowing and spending time with during the twelve years he lived in Oregon.
Ed was energetic (running daily and doing his age in real push-ups!), kind, generous, creative, intelligent, and spiritually "awake." He was a volunteer extraordinaire -- working for over 40 local organizations (including the "dirty" work of digging and lifting) -- and giving financially to many more nonprofits every year. In addition, he had a counseling practice, wrote a religious column in the local newspaper, delivered talks at area churches, and mentored people who wanted to learn to do metaphysical therapy.
I first met Ed over 30 years ago while I was living in the Chicago area. At the time, I only knew him as a Unitarian-Universalist minister who I saw occasionally at meetings and at the annual U-U summer camp at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. To my surprise, over 12 years ago, we met again at a church in Eugene. He and his wife, Phyllis, had moved here to be live closer to one of their sons and grandchildren.
I asked Ed if he would be interested in joining a men's group that I had started in the early 1990's. Thankfully he said "yes" and I got to see him for breakfast every Tuesday. I got to know Ed and hear about his life and contributions to our community during those early morning conversations. Unfortunately his hearing became more difficult over the years and he decided it was time to leave the group. I saw him much less after that but we kept in touch by email and occasionally met at church or at monthly art walks (where he always had a new joke to share).
Of men I who have been my friend, Ed lived the most amazing life of service. In the military in WWII, he served as a combat engineer in all five "theaters" of war, including Utah Beach on D-Day. He likely may have been the only man to survive that much military duty during the war. His war experience led him to become a founder of Veterans for Peace in our community. (In 2011, Ed was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his military service in France).
Ed became a minister in the 1960's and served several Unitarian-Universalist churches during his career (he was active as well in the Unity Church during his time in Eugene). He also taught human development courses and had a therapy practice. For six years, he was a single father to four little boys before meeting and marrying Phyllis (a single mom with fours kids of her own). Phyllis was a great partner -- as active as Ed during their 41 years of marriage before her death. More about Ed's work and home life is contained in a talk he gave to ministers two years ago.
More than anyone I've ever met, Ed really knew that he was a "spiritual being in a physical body." His spiritual practice was impeccable and lived out in his daily life of service. Ed was always supportive of my work, expressed how much he valued our friendship, and voiced his love for me and my life partner. In so many ways, he also helped heal old wounds from my father with his loving presence in my life.
Ed Peara's legacy will live for generations. I loved the dear man and will miss him.
Friday, February 28, 2014
From a section of my personal ethical will
1. We are here to love and be loved.
I wish I would have been able to really know that in my heart much earlier in my life. Thankfully, "I got it" before my deathbed! That is the single greatest gift of my health diagnosis. It woke me up to the message of love.
2. We are here to learn.
To learn what it means to be alive and to experience the wonders of the natural world, the marvels of the mind, and the gifts of the heart. During my lifetime, I've been an avid reader -- mostly non-fiction books about human development, spirituality, and writing -- as well as some fiction favorites by authors such as John Irving, Milan Kundera, Barbara Kingsolver, and Marilynne Robinson. Poetry also came into my life in my mid-40's as a result of my new love relationship and my work with men (Pablo Neruda, Rilke, Robert Bly, William Stafford, and others). I encourage everyone to read, read, read, everything that attracts you. It will enrich your inner life and can make a big difference in your "outer" experience.
3. We are here to create.
To create whatever matters most to you. Something that engages your heart and uplifts your spirit. Something that inspires you and makes you feel alive in your whole being. I experience "creation" most often when I'm teaching something I have learned -- when I read, study, write, and design a workshop for a group of interested people -- and engage them face-to-face, inspiring them to trust the truth of their inner experience and make changes in their lives that reflect their true self. You know that you're "there" when you are so full of energy that "clock time" disappears. You experience "eternal time" --which may be as close to "eternal life" as any of us will ever experience.
So, whatever you do, don't wait ... don't delay until next year ... or until retirement. Do what you love. Be the work you love to do. As the poet Rumi says, "It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you!"
4. We are here to serve.
To make a contribution to life, to the people that we love (and to those we'll never know), to the Earth in gratitude for its gifts to us all. Service needs to come from the heart, not from the head that says "you should ..." You'll know whatever service is right for you by the joy you'll feel in the doing of it. You may even be overwhelmed every so often by the tears of joy that arise from the gratitude in your heart. By giving, you truly do receive far beyond whatever your mind may conceive.
You leave a legacy of your life in your love for your fellow human (and other) beings, your life learnings, your creative endeavors, and your service to people and the planet.
Posted by Todd Peterson at 12:36 PM