01/31/2012 02:42 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2012

Legacy Writing: Expressing Love

What more lasting way to express love than to put it on paper?

Our world bombards us all day every day with words, most we do our best to ignore, delete or click away with a remote device. Or we rely on others to express our feelings for us -- email cards for every occasion, and Hallmark messages clogging snail mail.

An almost forgotten art, writing in our own hand to communicate and preserve our feelings for others, is what legacy writing is all about.

How many of us have a special treasure box or a simple manila file in which we've saved words from our parents or grandparents, partners and lovers, students and teachers, clients and patients? We preserve their written messages marking special moments (confirmations, graduations, weddings, birthdays) to be read over and over throughout our lives. Their words of support, appreciation and love nourish us, and often are the strongest glimmer of hope instilled when our days are dark.

"Love is so much larger than anything I can conceive.
It may be the element that keeps the stars in the firmament."
-- Maya Angelou

Whether we have such legacies from our past or not, let us commit this day going forward to offer our own written words of caring and love to those who matter most to us. This writing will open our hearts. Experiencing and acting on love is the antidote to living in fear. And for those who receive our written words, they will be cherished and treasured beyond our knowing.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
-- William Arthur Ward

Happy Valentine's Day every day of the year.

Suggestions for Action:

1. Reflect in your journal or your meditation about love as you see it around you, and experience it in the relationships in your life. Spend no more than 15-20 minutes a day for
as many days as it is a fruitful exploration for you.

2. Make a list of the people, communities and things you love.

3. Choose one person from your list and write a love letter to her/him. Focus on what delights
you about them, and share a specific time or story when you felt your love strongly. Express your honest recognition of their lovableness, your authentic appreciation and caring for them.

4. Especially if you are writing for a specific occasion in their life, be sure to conclude your letter with a blessing that expresses your love at this time, and your hopes for them as they move into this new chapter in their life.

5. Return to your journal and write for five minutes about your experience as you wrote about love. (I call this writing "personal reflections" and it is often rich with insight and "aha" moments for the writer.

6. Mail or give this "legacy love-letter" at the appropriate time. If for Valentine's Day perhaps with an accompaniment of chocolate.

7. Steps three and four can be repeated at any time during the year. Expressing love as part of your legacy when received to mark as significant occasion (a graduation, confirmation, beginning a new job, a new relationship, a special birthday or an accomplishment) will be especially treasured.

"May your written words be filled with love,
and may they bless all those who
read and treasure them"
-- Rachael Freed

For more by Rachael Freed, click here.

For more on consciousness, click here.

You can find out more about communicating and preserving your legacy (ethical will) at or through e-mail,

Rachael Freed has published several works including "Women's Lives, Women's Legacies, Passing Your Beliefs and Blessings to Future Generations" and "Heartmates: A Guide for the Spouse and Family of the Heart Patient." She is currently working on "Harvesting the Wisdom of Our Lives: An Intergenerational Legacy Guide." Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, Rachael is a clinical social worker, adult educator and legacy consultant. Her home is Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, visit and

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