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© Tom Gilbert

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December, 2019

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 On the Train

December 30, 2019

I have a friend, he's one of those "one day at a time" guys, and he is fond of living his life like's on the train. Note, I didn't say, a train. THE train, as in the way he travels through life.

I like this idea and most days I try to be on the train. It's typically a good feeling, especially when the day is progressing serenely. Of course, whether it is a smooth day or not, how I ride these rails depends a lot on my spiritual condition.
On the train
So my friend just reminds me that The Train is the way to go.  You don't need a ticket, you just get on board (to quote a song).

People get ready.  There's a train a-comin'. It's the 2020 Express.  Only a couple of more stops left on the old 2019. As is customary at the end of a calendar year, people get reflective. We look back and consider those promises and resolutions we made on the first stop or two of this year's train ride. How'd that work out for you?

We also consider the events and happenings that came down the pike, the ones we didn't necessarily put in our planners because we had no idea they were coming.  I find that those things have a whole lot to do with our progress.  Often they are the "tests" for our so-called resolutions. You want to be more disciplined about working out? Fine, try the debilitating disease or accident that lays you up for a while, followed by the very real pain of rehabilitation. That's some kind of work out.

Same thing goes for loss, any kind of loss. It could be a loved one, a job, one of your senses (lessened eyesight can be particularly irritating).

Brothers and Sisters, remember that whatever ride 2019 took you on, how you responded to it, lived it and appreciated it is going to have a lot to do with how your take in the scenery once you board 2020.

I don't make resolutions anymore. I make the plans I need to, but I go with the flow and I remember that everything is connected and it's all spiritual.  I am getting ready to board this new train, find my seat, connect to the other passengers, and be grateful that we're all going somewhere and it's bound to be an adventure.

All aboard!

Winter Soul Tis
winter soulstice
December 22, 2019

I admit it. I am a sucker for clever wordplay. It’s the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere. That means we will start having more light each day as we go through the long and cold nights of winter.

‘Tis the season of holidays. These can be joyful and bright. Or for some, they can be kind of difficult. It is not unusual for people to be depressed when there is less sunlight. But we also need spiritual light. I guess it is a bit ironic that in the joyful season of giving so many can also find it depressing. But that is real life. And having some somber times when we remember loved ones who have passed is not to be ignored or disparaged. Grief is part of losing loved ones. Today is the four year anniversary of the passing of my father-in-law. He was always very good to me and I do miss him. So, too do his family members.

Keep in mind that when your time has come what you have left behind in the way of letters, words and deeds can be very impactful. Consider writing down your thoughts for your loved ones in the form of a legacy letter.

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Legacy Letters Pass on Values

December 9, 2019

Not to be morbid, but you really need to think about what you want your loved ones to know about how you feel about them before you die.

Leaving a letter or document that passes on your values is not a new idea. Legacy letters, also known as ethical wills, have been around for thousands of years.

A legacy letter is a deeply life-affirming way to pass on your love and values. It can be a document, book or recording - or any combination thereof - that becomes a treasured personal history item whose value is immeasurable.

Getting guidance and help with this is the mission of Legacy Letters. Leah Dobkin guides you through this process and helps  you create a lasting and memorable legacy letter that passes on values and not just valuables.

Find out more

How Your Story Becomes a Memoir

December 5, 2019

As we get close to the end of another year you might be in a reflective mood. I usually am. One of the things I start doing as a year winds down is looking back through some of my journal entries. It helps me see what my year was like and that helps me remember my life for the year. There are experiences, memories and feelings written down in my journal, basically for me - an audience of one.

That doesn't mean I won't use my journal entries for a larger audience. Journaling helps me sort out what is going on in my life, but it also helps me reflect. I use that writing, musing if you will, as material for my life writing.

How does your story that you might be writing become a memoir? 

It helps to first consider just what a memoir is. William Zinsser, a highly respected writer who knew a thing or two about life story writing, said, "Memoir isn't the summary of a life; it's a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition. It may look like a casual and even random calling up of bygone events. It's not; it's a deliberate construction."

That quote from Zinsser comes from his On Writing Well, a really excellent book about writing. I came across the quote again in a fine article about memoir writing by Estelle Erasmus posted online to Forbes. I like the points she makes in her article, along with the encouragement she gives to people who want to turn their story into a memoir.

We just came off a month celebrating memoir writing (it's every November). Perhaps you used some of the tips from Denis Ledoux of The Memory Network.

Your life story can be preserved in various ways. I like the memoir approach because you can focus on a particular area and theme. You don't have to focus so much on facts and dates like you would in an autobiography. I find it freeing, a way to be more expressive and creative.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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