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Merle R. Saferstein

Living and Leaving My Legacy, Vol. 1.

September 8, 2022
4 PM PDT | 5 PM MDT | 6 PM CDT | 7 PM EDT 

Since 1974, I have completed 380 journals. In the late ‘90s, I grappled with what would happen to my journals after I died. At some point, I decided not to bequeath them to anyone and came up with an alternative plan—the legacy journal project. At first, I intended to sort through the pages and find meaningful excerpts to share with my loved ones. When I realized this would become my written legacy, I decided to include a broader audience. Somewhere along the way, this morphed into Living and Leaving My Legacy, Vol. 1.

My hope is that when reading about my life, readers will think about their own. What will resonate? What will my words lead them to think about? I’m also hopeful that readers will understand the power and gift of journaling.

When I began this project, I chose seventy topics, eventually narrowing them down to twenty-two. Initially, each subject was roughly 75–450 pages, all taken from journals dated between 1974–2016. After careful editing, I chose to include the excerpts that best captured my thoughts, feelings, conversations, encounters, memories, travel adventures, my life lessons, values and beliefs, my hopes and dreams, and more. While not a classic memoir, in this book I share my life as I have recorded it.

Following my reflections on each chapter, I have included journal prompts. Then I’ve left blank pages on which readers may write, should they be inspired by the prompts or by something they’ve just read.

The journey of going back was enlightening, exciting, difficult, meaningful, and so much else. For sure, it was a huge gift I gave myself as is any legacy work we choose to do.

Members will gain/learn:

  • The many benefits of journaling.
  • That how we live our lives becomes our legacy.
  • That through telling our story we can also teach life lessons and impart wisdom.
  • That journals can be a wonderful resource for writing a memoir.
  • That being vulnerable and having self-doubt is part of the journey.
  • That it sometimes takes many years to be ready to put our stories out into the world.

As the director of educational outreach at a Holocaust center for twenty-six years, Merle Saferstein worked closely with hundreds of Holocaust survivors helping them to pass along their Legacy of Remembrance to hundreds of thousands of students and teachers. When she retired in 2011, she developed a course entitled Living and Leaving Your Legacy® and teaches and speaks to audiences locally, nationally, and internationally.

Merle trains hospice staffs and volunteers showing them ways to help patients leave their legacies and works closely with the patients at the end of their lives doing sacred legacy work. For many years, she has volunteered at a camp for children who experienced the death of a family member. Merle currently facilitates a writing for wellness group at Gilda’s Club for women who have been impacted by cancer and also facilitates a weekly journaling circle that began at the start of Covid. She is currently involved in Wisdom of the Century, a project that interviews individuals ninety years old and older.

She is a council member of the International Association for Journal Writing, is the author of Room 732 and Living and Leaving My Legacy, Vol. 1 and is a contributor to numerous publications. Her chapter on legacy journaling appears in The Great Book of Journaling: How Journal Writing Can Support a Life of Wellness, Creativity, Meaning and Purpose.

My website is: merlersaferstein.com

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