This e-course has ended. We thank everyone who participated and hope to see you again in another Spirituality & Practice Zoom retreat or e-course.

  • How do you want to be remembered by future generations?
  • How would you describe the beliefs, commitments and practices that undergird your life choices?
  • What kind of support would help you convey your core values to those who may outlive you?

This new program – consisting of two Zoom meetings bookending emailed sessions – will help you discover how to pass on your values, principles, practices, and stories to loved ones and future generations. It is being designed by Judith Favor, who has guided Discovery Writing groups for 50 years. She has done three other writing programs for Spirituality & Practice: As It Is: Spiritual Journaling, Contemplative Writing and Listening, and Composing Your Spiritual Memoir. She says:

“I love to help people find and express their true voice through contemplative writing. I love guiding people ‘in and down’ to uncover fresh new truths and form surprising new connections. I offer inventive exercises and prompts to bring out surprises percolating beneath the surface. Skilled writers and shy writers are equally welcome because I emphasize process more than product.”

The Discovery Writing approach is well suited to writing an ethical will. Usually written in a letter form, an ethical will consists of:

  • meaningful personal and family stories
  • qualities and attributes you try to exhibit
  • lessons you have learned over the years
  • beliefs and spiritual practices
  • expressions of love and gratitude
  • apologies and amends
  • hopes and dreams for current and future generations
  • questions and guidance for others to consider
  • blessings for present and future loved ones
  • anything else you would like to share

In this one-month program under Judith’s guidance, you will learn basic tools for Writing Your Ethical Will (also often called a Legacy Letter to Loved Ones).

Your writing will be sparked by prompts and poems, carefully curated quotations and questions, and examples from ethical wills and legacy letters penned by ordinary people throughout the ages. You’ll be encouraged to write messy rough drafts on themes from past memories, present practices, and future hopes and blessings. Weekly writing will help you will find your voice to express what you cherish in everyday words, not fancy language or legalese.

You will also have access to an online Practice Circle for posting excerpts from your writing so that Judith and other participants can read your work and offer supportive comments.

During Zoom meetings at the beginning and end of the month, you will have more opportunities to share your legacy writing and be inspired by the writing of others.


  • On Thursday, August 4, 2022, you’ll receive an introductory email
  • On Friday, August 5, from 12 – 3 pm PDT, we will meet on Zoom for talks about key themes, do some short writing, and meet in triads to hear each other's emerging thoughts. The Zoom gathering will be recorded, so if you have to miss some of it, you can catch up later.
  • On Thursdays, August 11, 18, and 25, you will receive emails with a range of examples of ethical wills and legacy letters penned by ordinary people throughout the ages. Past, present, and future themes will be highlighted in these excerpts to help you articulate what matters most to you, what loved ones mean to you, and how you want to be remembered.
  • On Friday, August 26, we will meet again on Zoom, you will practice how to organize what you’ve composed over the month. You will gather in triads to read what you’ve written. And you will learn how to review and renew your ethical will in years to come. This Zoom gathering will also be recorded.

A Personal Word from Judith Favor:

I am an octogenarian who has been guiding contemplative writing classes and retreats since the 1970s. Dr. Ira Progoff, Intensive Journal founder, was my first - and most influential - spiritual guide and mentor in this work. During the 1980s, Gerald May and Tilden Edwards accompanied me in learning the art of spiritual guidance. I spent hundreds of hours with these great teachers, infusing my bones with the practices and principles of contemplative listening and writing.

I was ordained in the United Church of Christ and pastored churches in San Francisco during the Nineties. For the next decade, I taught at Claremont School of Theology, and led spiritual formation programs with Stillpoint at Ghost Ranch.

After becoming a convinced Friend in 1998, I took up the ministry of writing for publication. Six of my books are out in the world, and more are in the works, while teaching Discovery Writing consistently brings me great joy. I love serving as mentor and midwife, bringing forth living words from writers of all ages, states and conditions.

In this course, I offer a trusting, (occasionally intimate) atmosphere where writers can feel safe and supported. I also set high standards of undivided attention, courtesy, respect and kindness.

Feeling pressured reduces honesty in writing, and honesty is essential in composing an ethical will, so I never want writers to feel stressed. Verbal sharing is encouraged, but not expected. You may always pass if you’d rather keep something to yourself. Baring your soul does come with the territory, however. It happens naturally. I will bare my soul along the way and encourage you to risk it when you feel ready and willing. Writing Your Ethical Will is, after all, based on diving deep and authentically expressing your truest, most cherished values, principles, practices, and stories.

To join me and other open-hearted souls in August, click on the Subscribe button below.

Thursday, August 4 - Friday, August 26


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