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Your Life Is Your Story, Issue #013 – On Ethical Wills
September 26, 2004

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

September 26, 2004 Issue-013 - On Ethical Wills

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

Opening Remarks: The Last Great Adventure?

Some have said death is the last great adventure. That is one way to look at it. I prefer to think of life, including both our beginning (birth) and our end (death), as just part of the story. So, if “your life is your story” then maybe death is the final chapter, but I think there is always an epilogue. It’s the legacy we leave. How we live and what we value is an essential part of the journey.

When death comes – or approaches – there is a time of grief and mourning. This is natural and only right. But, we can learn much about the value of life at times like these. Is there any doubt that when tragedy strikes, such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 or the recent hurricanes that have hit Florida and surrounding areas, that we feel closer and more connected to each other? This is true even if we don’t know anyone personally affected.

In this issue we will look at the growing trend of recording beliefs and values in an Ethical Will. Also, the Highlight Site has been updated and features a web site that pays tribute to loved ones who’ve died and provides comfort and grief support for families and friends.

Here is something else to think about. Since we all will eventually die I think we should consider making peace with that in advance. No one wants to die before his or her time and most of us don’t know when that will be anyway. But, if we recognize and accept our mortality and die to our self-centeredness then we will offer the world much more in our living.

Visit the Your Life is Your Story blog for more on life story living.

Thank you to all who are subscribed and/or reading the Your Life is Your Story newsletter. The number of people subscribed has steadily grown and it’s gratifying to know that the message of telling your story grows with it. It is a special thing to share with you life story writing and personal history tips, resources and thoughts. If you like what you read here, pass it along to a friend. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: The Last Great Adventure?
Featured Article: Ethical Wills – Why You Should Have One
Resources You Can Use: Memories are Forever, The 5 Year Journal

Feature Article: Ethical Wills – Why You Should Have One

Values - we all have them even if we are not consciously aware of them. The things that are most important to us in our life journey shape and influence us everyday. The need to be in touch with these values and communicate them to others has spawned a growing trend of writing Ethical Wills.

The popularity and necessity of "last wills and testaments" or "living wills" is well established. These documents are important for legal reasons. An Ethical Will, however, is just as important, maybe more so. An Ethical Will is not designed as a legal document but it serves the useful purpose of communicating our most cherished values and passing of life lessons to our family, friends and loved ones.

The reasons for having your own Ethical Will are self-evident. It is a way to pass on values with the hope of a continuation for future generations. It helps us document the meaning and purpose of life. You can communicate what is most important to you and what you stand for.

Ethical wills are important for sharing life lessons for your family. You can also share your hopes and dreams for the future and give your blessings. Think of it as a love letter to your family and friends. It can also be an important way to tie together the parts of your life and to do something extremely important before you die - to grant forgiveness where needed and to provide a sense of completion.

You will also learn a great deal about yourself. This alone can be a major motivation for creating your personal Ethical Will. One of the reasons I like to journal is that I discover with greater clarity what my life is about and what I am living for. This includes my likes and dislikes, my spiritual values and the various challenges I face on my life journey. An Ethical Will can serve as a summation of all the above.

Read the complete article here.

Resources You Can Use

The Highlight Site – Memories are Forever

Dealing with the grief is a process. One way to cherish memories and pay tribute is to collect memories and share them with friends and family.

Memories are Forever is a special website that provides a place to share these memories. The site provides lots of ideas and assistance for preserving your memories of loved ones who have died. The site is rich in content and community driven with a forum where you can ask questions and learn from others. There are also links to a variety of grief support sites and organizations. There's a lot of sensitivity to the emotions and issues people go through when dealing with the death of a loved one. You can even submit a tribute to someone who has died. There's no cost to use the site's resources.

One of the reasons Janell Vasquez developed this site is because of her concern that too many people are encouraged to "put the pictures away" and move on with their life, often as little as a year after someone close to them dies. However, memories of loved ones should live on and collecting and sharing written memories, pictures and other mementos is actually a healthy way to both grieve and pay tribute.

See more about Memories are Forever at our Highlight Site.

The Five Year Journal

Are you a journal writer? It is a great way to learn more about yourself, to get clarity about your life and to chronicle your experiences. Doreene Clement has created a powerful 5 Year Journal that many have used to great benefit. Harness the power of journaling using her unique journaling tool – a beautiful hardcover book with place marker ribbon, 272 acid-free pages and over 100 motivational quotes. It includes an easy to follow how-to journal section. See more here

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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