What people are saying about Judy's workshops

When workshop participant Valerie Casares heard of the idea of creating a Wisdom Box, her first thought was, "how simple but powerful. I could leave memories for my kids and work on my self, my values, and my legacy all at the same time." Valerie added that her oldest daughter, Gabriella, who is now six years old, constantly asks questions, "about me and my sister, my Mom and Dad. And some things I cannot explain clearly at this time, so I write about them and put them in the box. I have not finished the box. It is an ongoing project.

"I am starting to put small pieces of her artwork from home and school. I am also putting in a few photographs of me and her, letters, and anything small and precious that she cherishes."

Madelon Cohen, another workshop participant, commented, "It sounded like something I'd always wanted to do and never got around to it. I have often thought about putting together a story or something similar so my grandchildren would know who I really was/am. The motivation didn't happen. I thought perhaps with good leadership, it could get done.

"I walked away from the workshop with a box of old pictures, stories about my life as a child as well as an adult, stories about their grandfather who passed on when he was 47. It seems often times another memory pops up and I just add it to 'The Box.'"

When asked if she has ever encountered resistance to creating a Wisdom Box or fear that the box would be tossed out, Judy replied, "No, people understand the idea immediately. This box is a gift for two people," she added. "The box validates the life experiences of the person making it.

It's a way of saying my life mattered enough to pass on to somebody else.

"A Wisdom Box also makes the person receiving it feel special. It's coming from the heart, from the soul, and from a very special relationship. It takes time to make one. It says that you were worth it."

Judy added that the purpose behind the creation of her first box, "Grandmother's Wisdom Box," was to show her granddaughter that her "birth was anticipated with great joy." When asked about the choice of Native American shamans for the outside of her box, Judy commented that it was not an expression of her own ancestry, but rather of a culture and set of values she embraced and wanted her granddaughter to become aware of. "I've always felt a deep connection to Native Americans," Judy said, "particularly the respect they have for Mother Earth. When I hear the drumbeat in Native American music, it speaks to my heart."

Judy pointed out that a Wisdom Box is a chance to pass on to the next generation, the things that have illicited great passion, joy, wisdom, and contributed to one's own spiritual awakening.


©2004 Judy Ranieri, MA