This special episode is to honor the memories of two very special women who changed the world around them in different ways throughout their lives and died on the same day.
On Thursday January 17, 2019 we learned of the deaths of two women who have contributed much to our understanding of the sacred in nature and in death. Mary Oliver is a beloved American poet whose love of nature inspired her beautiful verses. Her poems reveal the heart of humanity through the natural cycle of life and death she observed during her time spent in the out-of-doors. She authored many books of poetry including Blue Iris, Wild Geese, At Blackwater Pond, and Why I Wake Early and was honored with numerous awards throughout her career.
Dr. Megory Anderson trained in comparative religions and theology and founded the Sacred Dying Foundation in 1996. She is the author of the books Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life and Attending the Dying. Megory trained many end-of-life caregivers and professionals from diverse medical, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Megory’s presence will be deeply missed by everyone who has been touched by her love and compassion.
This episode includes:
A reading and discussion of Mary Oliver’s poem In Blackwater Woods
How Mary Oliver’s poetry helped me through times of grief
Learn the essential aspects of “soul midwifery” from a true pioneer in the field of end-of-life care.
My guest Felicity Warner has been caring for the dying and teaching others to provide care for over 20 years. She shares with us how she found soul midwifery as her calling and the changes she has observed over the past two decades of her work as she has trained hundreds of people to become soul midwives in their own communities. Learn more at her website:
How Felicity first became interested in working with dying patients
A look back at death and dying 20 years ago and the changes that have taken place over time
The greatest challenges we face today in offering quality care to the dying
What Felicity means by the term “soul midwife”
How to prepare in order to be present with the dying
Why listening is the most important skill we can develop in our work
Felicity’s newest book: Sacred Oilsand what we can learn from it
Felicity’s Soul Midwives School and the trainings offered there
Where to get Felicity’s books and how to work with her remotely or in person
A good death is an extraordinary, moving and sacred experience. It can also have a healing quality, not only for the person who is involved but their families, friends and the wider community. (Felicity Warner, Gentle Dying)
Learn about the unexplainable mysteries that occur at the end of life and how these stories can transform our relationship with death.
My guest Barbara Morningstar believes that the end of life is an adventure and each person entering that phase of existence is an explorer who uncovers sacred mysteries during the process. In her book Honoring the Mystery she teaches us how to glean information about this spiritual journey from the dreams and visions of our dying patients and loved ones. Learn more at her website:
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially Michael Barbato and Beth Rumi who recently joined the team!
Learn about the best of EOLU in 2018 and how to catch up if you missed any of these events!
“Death Education for Everyone” was the theme for 2018 and we’ll review all the great educational content that was provided in the past year. It’s not too late to listen in on the best webinars and interviews of the year before we get started on a brand new season of EOLU! Check out the links for the events you’ve missed in the description below.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you!
BIG NEWS!! Starting in 2019 the EOLU Interview Series will merge with the EOLU Podcast – so all the great interviews you are used to hearing on the interview series will now be available as podcast episodes. This means you can subscribe to the podcast and listen to the interviews on your phone while you are on the go! In addition you’ll be able to hear the solo episodes (like this one) where I share my wisdom, inspiration, and ideas for embracing the end of life and living fully today.
You can subscribe to the podcast at one of the following links (whichever podcast app you use):
Thanks for all of your support in 2018! I appreciate you for listening in and encouraging me to keep going. And I’m especially grateful to those of you who have become patrons on my donation page at Patreon.com/eolu: you make my heart sing!
2018 has been a wonderful year for EOLU that began with a goal of supporting “Death Education for Everyone.” In support of that goal the following programs were created:
A Year of Reading Dangerously online reading group; we’ve read one book a month this year and held 9 live book discussions with authors of the books in attendance. Nearly 1,000 readers from around the world have joined together to read the same book at the same time. We’ve all learned a lot about death, dying and the afterlife and have had fun in the process!
The “best” interviews of 2018 (though they were all fantastic!);
Hansa Bergwall talking about the WeCroak app he created for smart phones that reminds you of your mortality 5 times a day. Listen here.
Dr. Bob Uslander who has pioneered a new concierge model of end-of-life care, which could be a game-changer for the medical system and how we help patients navigate their last days. Listen here.
Alua Arthur of Going With Gracetalked about the legal issues that can occur after death and how to prepare for them in advance. Listen here.
Deanna Cochran RN and Suzanne O’Brien RN both talked about the creation of the End-of-Life Doula Council by the NHPCO and the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance, which now provides certification training for doulas. Listen to Deanna’s interview here. Listen to Suzanne’s interview here.
Learn some ways to navigate the holidays if you find yourself short of joy and overwhelmed with darkness this year.
The holidays are not always joyful, particularly when we are dealing with grief or loss. Watching others celebrate can be painful if we are feeling lost and alone in our suffering. Here are some suggestions for coping with dark times and finding the way to joy.
This episode includes:
Why times of darkness are essential for life and growth
How major holidays near the winter solstice include light as part of the celebration
Why we need to embrace the darkness rather than resist it
How to bring in the light
How to redefine joy as joie de vivre (the joy of being alive)
Discovering that joy is already within you
Why stillness is essential to cultivate joy
Overcoming the obstacles to joy
The importance of giving to others even when you are going through difficult times
Dark times provide an incubator for the soul to grow in creativity, love and joy.