A Life Reflection Story does require some reflection. It happens when we take time to be introspective, to review our life journey so far, to ponder our life lessons, and to think about what is most important to share. In this form of story writing it is important to share our thoughts, perceptions and feelings, as our loved ones want to know what was most important in our lives and to learn from our unique experiences – both the good and the difficult – and the life lessons that came from them.
There are several ways to approach the writing task, with varying degrees of help and guidance.
Approach #1: Follow the suggestions outlined below.
Even if our lives are abundant in wisdom and accomplishments, Life Reflection Stories are not lengthy chronicles to share every adventure we experienced, nor are they volumes of information detailing every historic event from our lifetime. Rather, they are a distillation of what we determine is most significant as we reflect upon the life journey we have experienced so far. It’s our opportunity to get to the heart of what really matters so that our next generations can live their lives well. For some, this task is accomplished in a few inspiring paragraphs. For others, it may take an entire story or many short stories about each stage throughout a lifetime. The length and format do not matter. What is most important is that our words speak from our heart to the loved ones currently in our life and those who will come long after we are gone.
The easiest way to begin is to think about who you are writing to – your loved ones. You define who you hold near and dear to your heart and who is within your inner circle. Write their names in the dedication and keep them in mind as you write.
Rather than documenting the dates and historical facts from your lifetime, use your writing to teach and inspire through illustration, experience and story. Here are a few examples to help you get to the heart of what really matters.
- Instead of writing, “My mother was a very caring woman,” share specific examples of what she did every day to demonstrate her unique ability to care so deeply for you or others.
- Instead of writing, “Follow the Golden Rule and you will be a good person,” share an experience when you or someone close to you were treated well or badly and how you learned the importance of that principle firsthand.
- Instead of writing, “I was born in Eastern Europe in 1930 and emigrated to the United State at age twelve,” write a story about what was going on around you, what you had to do to survive, what events had the biggest impact on your life and why, and how you lived through the unique struggles and opportunities from that era.
In writing your Life Reflection Stories, we recommend that you write in a positive tone and do not place blame, scold or speak badly of someone else. Should you need to write about people who have caused you pain, follow the advice of an experienced author and writing professor, Daniel Taylor. He recommends that you treat each of these people better than they deserve. “Write with grace while you are telling the truth – rise above the bitterness and blaming – share instead how you have grown.”
Approach #2: Use guided writing exercises.
Writing exercises that prompt you in a variety of ways to explore your memories can remind you of things that might not surface to awareness otherwise. They can help to clarify which experiences are most important to share, and suggest effective ways of writing about and organizing those experiences so they will have the greatest meaning and value to your loved ones. The Life Reflection Stories Workbook has been developed for this approach.
Approach #3: Get personal guidance.
Have a facilitator work with you personally to guide you through the process. Certified Legacy Facilitators are available to coach you through your Legacy Journey® via phone consultations, in-person sessions or group writing workshops.