One of my greatest delights is to help people of all ages create something to give those they love, who matter to them, to the world. My legacy crafting is one of scrapbooks & memoir writing, artwork & songs. It is not the sort of legacy building covered in Rabbi Cohen’s book is What Will They Say About You When You Are Gone? – – Creating a Life of Legacy. His book is less about what we are living to others & more about what we are providing to ourselves.
One of the book’s Amazon reviewers wrote, “Did not expect a ‘self help’ book with exercises et.al. that this included. I returned it. Perhaps if one has not given much reflection to the question posed by the title it would be helpful. Otherwise I think not.” This person apparently assumed that the “tool box” exercises scattered throughout the book meant it was without worth for those who already living a life of introspection. S/he returned it. What they missed!
While tool box exercises are included, the really important material is found in the stories Rabbi Cohen shares throughout the book. I come from a faith tradition that takes self reflection & examination to heart, so I am at least familiar with many – maybe most – of the tools Rabbi Cohen shares. But the personal stories that he includes through the book, the things that form its beating heart – those were all new to me. The person who returned the book missed all of that.
I purchased this book thinking it would provide deeper insights into the sort of legacy building that’s up my alley – what we are leaving to others. It’s not about that. It’s about the legacy are building for our self.
Other reviewers describe the book as “a road map for life,” “many insights about leading a good and meaningful life,” “many insights about leading a good and meaningful life.” Closer to the mark, but still misses my experience, which I struggle to put into words.
As I read it, the book is Rabbi Cohen sharing his beliefs & experiences with living a meaningful life. To me, meaningful indicates more than purposeful. People can live purposeful lives without much meaning, but it is impossible to live a meaningful life that doesn’t include purpose & action.
This is an intimate book. It feels like Rabbi Cohen is tagging up with me down at Be Well Bakery & Cafe, that we are enjoying a scone & cuppa as he shares stories of his life faith family & encourages me to share mine. The two of us talking delving deepening.
Every time that I try to give specifics, my efforts come up short. Small wonder – the power of this book is in how disparate parts hang beautifully together. When I pluck one out in an attempt to convey the whole, it fails. The book is not meant to be described – it’s meant to be read. And discussed. And shared. And reread. But most of all, it’s meant to be LIVED, existing within each sacred moment in a way that honors its divinity & rejoices in its here & now, a life where each breath creates builds embodies our legacy from & to the Divine.