A forever letter is a gift that will be read over and over again
Inspired by the centuries-old Jewish tradition of the ethical will, a forever letter is a perfect way to share your most precious possessions: your values, wisdom, and love with the people who matter to you most. And you don't have to do it alone. Through empowering stories, sample letters, and writing tips, author Elana Zaiman serves as your companion on this journey of self discovery and deepening relationships.
Praise:"I love this little book because it's about writing real letters, a lost art in our time. Even more important, it's about writing letters that matter to people who matter to us. What could be better than putting words to paper to tell people who we are and what we are becoming, and what it is that we cherish and valuethanking them for the way they helped point us toward our own North Star?"Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak and A Hidden Wholeness
"Elana Zaiman has a mission: She loves connection, deep and personal, and wants others to experience the sweet joy she has lived of shared truth-telling. Her forever letter embodies the passing on of wisdom, humbling experience, dreams, and love from one person to another. It is a beautiful concept that all of us should embrace."Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD, co-founder of the Gottman Institute and author of Ten Principles for Doing Effective Couples Therapy
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|Publisher:||Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Elana Zaiman (Seattle, WA) is the first woman rabbi from a family spanning six generations of rabbis. She's also a chaplain and a writer. Elana travels throughout the U.S. and Canada as a scholar-in-residence, speaker, and workshop facilitator. Her most sought-after topic: forever letters. Her venues: synagogues, churches, interfaith-gatherings, social service agencies, geriatric residencies, law firms, women's organizations, private salons, and elder-law, health-care, and financial and estate-planning conferences. Her writing has been published in The Gettysburg Review , The Sun , Post Road , The Beloit Fiction Journal , and other venues. Visit her online at www.ElanaZaiman.com.
Table of Contents
Contents Copyright Listing xi A Note to Readers xiii Introduction 1 The Power of Letters 1 Historical Inspiration 2 This Book and Its Intent 6 An Invitation 8 1: My Father's Forever Letter to His Children 9 2: Why Write a Forever Letter? 17 It's a Tangible, Lasting Gift 18 Sometimes We Can Write What We Cannot Speak 22 The Process of Writing Can Take Us to the Heart of the Matter 24 We Can Clarify Our Values and Live with Greater Intention 26 We Can Ask for Forgiveness and We Can Forgive 29 We Can Make Ourselves Known 38 We Can Come to Better Understand Ourselves and Our Relationships 42 We Can State Our Ultimate Truth 46 We Can Influence the Way We Will Be Remembered 48 3: Why We Resist 51 "I'm Not a Writer." 51 "I Have Nothing to Say." 52 "I've Lived My Values. My Family Knows Who I Am." 54 "I Want to Wait until the Person I'm Writing To Is Older." 55 "I Want to Wait until I'm Older." 56 "I'll Get to It Eventually." 56 "I'm Afraid I'll Say Something Damaging." 58 "I Don't Want to Think about Death. I'm Still Young. I Have Plenty of Time." 59 4: What Matters Most? 63 Live Your Truth 63 Give 67 Take Responsibility 71 Never Stop Asking Questions 73 Be Positive 76 Say, "I Believe in You." 79 Love 83 Show Compassion 86 Follow Your Dreams 89 Express Gratitude 91 Listen 93 5: How to Increase Our Chances of Being Heard 97 Be Present 98 Meet a Person Where That Person Is 101 Share Personal Experiences 105 Be Open, Be Vulnerable 108 State Hard Truths with Love 111 Add Quotes 114 Incorporate Stories 117 Bestow Blessings 120 6: What to Avoid 125 Favoritism 125 Commanding with the Pen 127 Telling Family Secrets 131 Encouraging Others to Live the Values We Never Lived 136 Lying to Others, Lying to Ourselves 137 7: Thoughts on the Writing Process 145 Be Open to Emotion 149 Show Up 150 Consider a Writing Partner 152 8: Writing Prompts 153 Sentence Completions 155 Questions 157 Techniques for Stirring It Up 159 9: Write and Edit Your Forever Letter 165 Let Go of Fear and Write 166 Our Words Need Time to Incubate 168 Edit: Reread, Rewrite, Reread (2x) 171 Seek Feedback 173 Presentation 174 Patience 174 Conclusion 177 Appendix A: A Brief History of the Ethical Will 179 Appendix B: A Forever Letter to My Son 187 Appendix C: Quick Notes for Writing Your Forever Letter 203 Sentence Completions 203 Questions 205 Gratitudes 209 Bibliography 213