We are driven by our desire to be meaningful:
- To know our lives have significance
- To see our lives have an impact on others
How do we do that?
We are storytellers
The first thing to realize is that the wisdom is already inside us.
We live experiences and then share them, making meaning and connection to ourselves and to others. This is the essence of Conversations for Life and Legacy™.
We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. We remember our families, our traditions, and our life experiences and these coalesce into our memories. We share memories through the stories that are our understanding of who we are and how we comprehend the world around us. These insights into life are our gift to those we care about.We create stories, which are a retelling of experiences in the way we have come to comprehend those experiences. We share our stories in order to share ourselves. The story is our memory of what has occurred and when we share our stories we share our understanding of who we are and how we interact with the world around us.
The 4 primary reasons to share our story
- Cheshbon HaNefesh – Reflecting on our own journey
- Blessings – Sharing our aspirations with the next generations
- Teaching – Sharing the wisdom we have learned on our journey
- Connection – Speaking in real time to the next generation
Understanding ourselves: Cheshbon HaNefesh is a Hebrew term used to denote self-awareness. It literally means an accounting of the soul. Are we where we want to be? Everyone who has studied navigation knows that whether we are on a boat or on a plane, we are always being thrown off course. Currents of air and water push us in a particular direction, usually not in the precise direction we intended. So we are always engaged in mid-course corrections steering not only to where we want to go but counteracting the forces that push us off course. Life is like that, too.
The Cheshbon HaNefesh is about taking ownership of our own journey. If we are not on the life path we wanted to be, we can ask ourselves where we went off course and then make the changes needed to get back on course. Perhaps we do want to change course and head in a different direction, toward a different goal. This is our opportunity to consider where we are and where we want to be.
We hope for the best for those who come after us. Our blessings are our wishes and aspirations for those we love. We want them to know that these are our desires. And it is always good to hear. Ideally, we want to offer each person we love a particular blessing that speaks to them based on the intimate knowledge we have of them as individuals.
But for all those we love we offer our blessings upon them. These blessings are us at our best hoping for them to be their best and enjoy the fullness of life. In its simplest universal form, we use the Priestly Blessing:
May the Eternal bless you and guard you
May the Eternal show you favor and be gracious to you
May the Eternal show you kindness and grant you peace.
We are teachers. Every day is a new experience and each experience is unique to us. We encounter these events and process them creating our understanding of their significance. Life makes us smarter and hopefully wiser. Those that come after us have not traveled this far down the path of life. By virtue of living our lives, we have something to teach. We remain relevant for as long as we live for as long as we have a connection to others.
The sunset seems to be the most appropriate and evocative image. It is a time of transition but it is a time of great vibrancy. As the sun sets, the sky comes alive with colors. This is us. We are never wiser than we are now; sharing with those we love all we have learned. Water is the other image. In the Tradition, water is a metaphor for Torah, the supreme wisdom. It is useless if it’s not used to grow ourselves or be shared with others. So, we stand at the shore of a vast sea seeking to encounter wisdom.
Conversations for Life and Legacy™ is an extraordinary opportunity to share intimate stories more intimately than ever before. Imagine if you could talk to your child in real time? I call this Peer Conversations. Instead of drawing on memories of experiences from long ago, imagine you could share what you were thinking and feeling in real time?
For example, what if you could speak to your pregnant daughter when you were pregnant with her? Capturing the thoughts and feelings in those moments through videos or journaling shares the unfiltered you instead of speaking after years of memories and processed ideas. What were the emotions and thoughts I had in this time and place? Will I be a good parent? Will our child be healthy? Through Peer Conversations, our aspirations, fears, and questions that we asked our heads and hearts are accessible to our child. Using the power of Conversations for Life and Legacy™ we can give the extraordinary gift of ourselves. This draws our children into deeper, more intimate connections with us, knowing that what they feel indeed we felt, as well. Conversations for Life and Legacy™ brings us closer together than ever before.
How do we make Conversations for Life and Legacy™?
We use the power of modern technology to capture these moments. Today, this technology is Video. Using a camera, we capture experiences using visual and audio, creating a powerful and lasting impression.
So how do we do it?
Conversations for Life and Legacy™ builds on our story-sharing by using the training I learned in Chaplaincy. As a rabbi, I will engage you in a conversation, asking you questions and seeing where the questions might lead. The conversation will be recorded and the video will be given to you.
In preparation for the conversation, you will receive some thoughtful questions to consider before engaging. Questions include your most interesting memory growing up or perhaps the most fun thing you remember doing. Other questions could be about your most significant relationship or the most rewarding or challenging part of being a parent. It’s always better to know the questions in advance, although our stories can take us places we did not necessarily plan. That is part of what makes our conversation a fascinating journey.
In the earliest stages of human development, we depended upon hieroglyphs (art) on the inside walls of caves and outside facades of stone formations to convey our experiences.
Writing became the standard way to convey thoughts for thousands of years of human history. Thoughts put to paper were a lasting way to convey history, opinions, experiences and wisdom for those in the present and future.