Ep. 108 3 Keys to Living & Dying Consciously

Learn how to awaken to higher consciousness NOW so that you can experience conscious dying at the end of your life.

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Wyatt13_2In this episode I share the secret behind the 3-part tagline I use on the EOL University website and at the end of every podcast. (If you listen regularly you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!) I discuss the wisdom behind the phrases I repeat each week and how they represent keys to our ongoing spiritual evolution!

Check out my author/speaker website here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0230My long-awaited trip to Italy begins tomorrow, the day after the original airing of this podcast! You can follow my journey on Instagram and Facebook as I hike, bike, eat, drink, pray, and write my way through the country–all in search of the perfect stories for my new book on grief! I’ve pre-recorded enough podcast episodes to last until I return in one month–“see” you then!

Patreonbecome2xI would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Rich Hayes, who is a hospice chaplain. Check out his website at www.richhayes.com and his book God Made Simple. If you would like to join the list of patrons go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and chip in $1 or $2 per month to support this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series. You’ll receive a thank-you on this podcast and I’ll also promote your end-of-life related book, website, cause or business. PLUS you’ll receive the monthly Hospice Happy Hour Q&A recordings!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

3 Keys to Living & Dying Consciously

(Be sure to tune in to upcoming podcast episode #112 when I will feature an interview with philosopher and sage Ken Wilber about conscious dying and the death of his wife Treya. If you are interested in conscious dying you won’t want to miss it!)

In order to die consciously you must first begin to LIVE consciously right now. Here are my 3 tips for awakening to higher consciousness–they have been hiding all along in the simple tagline I use at the end of every podcast! Now you’ll find out what I mean when I remind you of them every week!

Face Your Fear

You must go through your fear in order to rise above it; the more you hide and run away from your fear of death (which is the ultimate fear) you run away from joy, as well. So begin to accept that Death is inevitable–everything in the Universe dies–and life is full of difficulties. Once you embrace that fact you can begin to work specifically on your fear of death and turn it into acceptance.

Follow these 6 steps to rise above your fear of death:

  1. Think about death every day. Include contemplation of death as part of your daily practice; get used to the idea that life is fleeting and you don’t know when it will come to an end.
  2. Read about death. Find books (e.g. What Really Matters) and stories that portray death and dying in a meaningful way to help you see that it is not necessarily something to fear. The dying process can be a beautiful time of healing for patients and families.
  3. Write about death. Use your journal to record your thoughts and emotions about death. Observe how they change over time as you continue this practice of increasing death-awareness. (The book The Tao of Death with its companion journal can be a helpful tool for reading and writing about death.)
  4. Learn about death. The more information you have about the end of life, the more your fears will lessen. Knowledge is one of the most powerful antidotes to fear. Tune in to the interviews on End-of-Life University for an ongoing education about all aspects of the end of life.
  5. Talk about death. Get comfortable including death and dying in your everyday conversations. You’ll find yourself better able to comfort friends and co-workers when they have experienced a loss and you’ll be helping others to tell their stories too.
  6. Work with death. Consider volunteering for hospice to learn how to sit with death and witness the dying process. Hospitals and nursing homes are also good places to volunteer to get closer to death and overcome your fear.

BE Ready

There is no substitute for preparation, no matter what you might face in the future. Once your fear has decreased begin to plan ahead for the end of life and imagine how you would like that experience to unfold. Here are some steps to help you get ready:

  1. Know what really matters to you. Spend some time thinking about what in your life is most important and prioritize those items. You need to know what you value in order to make tough decisions in the future.
  2. Make choices for what you want at the end of life. Use a tool like the Conversation Project Starter Kit to help you decide what type of healthcare you would like to receive in your last days.
  3. Complete your paperwork. You need to appoint a healthcare proxy and fill out an advance directive form in order to give your wishes some legal clout. But you also need to talk to your loved ones and your doctors about your wishes so they will know how to care for you if you can’t speak for yourself.
  4. Tend to your relationships. Learn how to forgive NOW so that you won’t be rushing to complete this important task while on your deathbed. Remember to say “I love you” to those who matter to you whenever you have an opportunity.
  5. Learn to BE in the present moment. Let go of ruminating about the past and worrying about the future–love and joy exist right here, right now in this present moment.

Love Your Life

Once you have learned to manage fear and to BE ready for anything that comes your way, you can begin to learn to love your life just as it is, even if you are surrounded by tragedy and pain. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Live according to what really matters to you. Let you values guide your choices each day and put your time and energy into the things that are most important.
  2. Practice gratitude each day. Keep a journal and begin by writing down one thing you are grateful for each night before you go to sleep. Even in the worst of times you will be able to think of one thing to be thankful for–you just have to shift your mindset to a more positive focus.
  3. Learn to find love in every situation. After you have developed a gratitude practice you will begin to notice that love is actually present everywhere, in everything that happens. Start focusing on the love and you will find it more and more frequently.
  4. Allow love to fill you. You can become a channel for love to the rest of the world by simply letting love into your life in every possible way. Fill yourself with love so you can share it with others.

Life is an ongoing learning process! No lesson comes easily or without a certain amount of pain, but it’s worth it. If you begin conscious now and begin to live a life of love, then you will remain conscious when it becomes your time to die. You will continue to radiate beauty and joy to those around you–I’ve seen it happen over and over again!

Here are two books to help your learning process and your practice of death awareness:

WRM@flatcover                   Tao

Check them out on Amazon: What Really Matters        The Tao of Death

Keep tuning in each Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes. Thank you!!

Until the next time, remember ….

Face Your Fear                                BE Ready                         Love Your Life

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Ep. 107 Where Is God When Tragedy Strikes?

This is a special episode on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and in recognition of the recent natural disasters, hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the wildfires that rage throughout the Western United States.

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fireman911-100720_640In this brief episode I share an essay I wrote on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that is still relevant today. Join me in sending prayers of light and love to all who have been affected by the tragedy of  9/11,  by the recent natural disasters around the planet and by war and famine wherever they occur.

Blessings to all the first responders who risk their own lives to provide safety for others during times of tragedy.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy trip to Italy is just around the corner! Check out my travel plans on Pinterest or follow my journey on Instagram and Facebook! I’ll be doing research for a new book on grief – you can read my latest blogs (on grief  and other subjects) at eoluniversityblog.com!

Patreonbecome2xA huge THANK YOU to my latest supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Marzette Ellis and Rwa Alex!! I’m very grateful for your contributions – you keep me inspired to continue this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series. You can become a patron too by donating just $1 or $2 per month at Patreon.com/eolu!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

The following is an essay I wrote in 2011 on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

Where Was God On 9/11?

by Karen Wyatt MD

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As we look back to that fateful September day a decade ago that changed our world forever, each of us is able to recall exactly where we were and what we were doing when the tragedy unfolded. Indelibly etched upon our souls is the memory of the Twin Towers crashing to the ground while we were experiencing within us the disintegration of the twin beliefs behind our quintessential American swagger, that this country is infallible and invincible.

In the days following that Tuesday morning, as I attended to my patients at an urgent care clinic in the resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado, nearly every visit focused in some way on the horrific scenes of 9/11. Many patients were visitors to our area, many were suffering with symptoms of anxiety and stress, and nearly all of them had some personal connection to the tragedy, whether through a friend, relative, co-worker or acquaintance.

During those visits the same questions seemed to arise over and over again, “Where was God on 9/11?” and “How could God let this happen to us?” A few people told stories they had heard of miraculous rescues that had taken place or of some fortunate individual who had dodged fate by missing the bus or calling in sick to work that day. Those few were able to see the hand of God in these miracles and felt their faith bolstered by them. But many of my patients were disheartened and lost in doubt as the God they had believed in and trusted had utterly failed them.

The destruction that took place on 9/11 was unprecedented in the history of our young nation, unlike the many developed civilizations of the world that have survived brutal and devastating wars, fires, plagues, invasions and attacks throughout their long existences. Our country, with youthful idealism, has been founded upon the principle of religious freedom and has, until 9/11, enjoyed the illusion of a special contract with God, declared in writing on even the currency we spend.

“In God we trusted,” is now the slogan that describes the attitude of the disillusioned. God let US down: the special ones who established a new country to ensure that God could be freely worshipped by all and who believed that God, in return, would favor us over every other society. But 9/11 proved to us that we’re not really special or favored at all. In fact we are subject to the same laws of nature and the universe and mankind that govern all of creation.

What we actually lost on 9/11 was our illusion of a god who would choose one group of  children over another, who would control the unfolding of history to ensure that we would always get what we want, or who would magically empower one society to hold dominion over others. We lost our childish and immature notion that God would swoop down and shield us from harm because we somehow deserve protection more than any other society on the planet.

However the tragic events of 9/11 and the difficult decade that has followed can serve as an initiation of sorts, an opportunity for our society to awaken into a more mature relationship with God, the Creator of All. In this post-traumatic state of heightened awareness we can now relate to the suffering of all of mankind with less swagger and more sensitivity, less entitlement and more empathy. While we can still celebrate our freedom we will do so now with the solemn knowledge that the expression of true liberty requires responsibility toward others and the planet; we can no longer think or feel or act as if we matter more than everything else.

And so, the question remains, where was God on 9/11? God was … in every ash and cinder, in every teardrop, in every piece of twisted metal, in every broken heart, in every outstretched hand, in every final breath, in every lit candle, in every moment of stunned silence, in every desperate prayer, in every word of doubt and disbelief, in every shout of anger, in every act of bravery, in every cry of fear. On that day, as on every other day, God the Creator permeated everything, held the fragile strands of our existence and wove them gently into the unseen, yet perfect, tapestry of the Universe.

Remember that in the midst of tragedy we cannot see the tapestry that we are part of – we cannot perceive the design or the beauty into which our lives have been woven. Stay strong and know that you are surrounded by light and love!

Until next week:

Face Your Fears.                        BE Ready.                      Love Your Life.

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Ep. 106 Hospice Care for Animal Companions with Ella Bittel

Learn how this holistic veterinarian cares for animals as they reach the end of life.

PodcastPetHospice

Ella002In this episode I share an interview with Ella Bittel, a holistic veterinarian who specializes in helping animal companions at the end of life. She’ll share tips for caring for our own pets when they become terminally ill.

Learn more about her work and classes at www.spiritsintransition.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0266My trip to Italy is coming up in just 2 weeks! You can check out my Pinterest board to see where I’m planning to go and then keep track of my travels by following me on Instagram or Facebook. I’ll be writing, walking, eating, biking, and tasting some wine as we work our way through Italia!

 

Patreonbecome2xBecome a patron of this podcast by making a donation of just $1 or $2 per month at Patreon.com/eolu! You’ll receive the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, access to the exclusive Hospice Happy Hour Q&A session each month, and a chance to promote your work on this podcast. A huge THANK YOU to all my current patrons for your support! Join them if you wish at Patreon.com/eolu.

The following interview references a video named Denali that is a “must-see”! Here is the link to watch it on Vimeo:

 

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Ella Bittel teaches us how to care for our animal companions so that they can fully live out their lives. She uses holistic and complementary medicine to keep animals comfortable at the end of life and encourages us to provide this loving care to our own pets. In this interview she discusses:

  • What it takes to give hospice care to an animal family member including dogs and cats
  • How we can create conditions to allow for a peaceful hospice assisted natural transition of our pet
  • How we can prepare so that giving hospice care to our animal companions becomes possible
  • Tips for assuring the comfort of our pets
  • The hotline available for questions regarding hospice care for pets on her website

Tune in each Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this podcast, please leave your reviews on iTunes. Until the next time ….

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                       Love Your Life.

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Ep. 105 Choosing the Right Healthcare Proxy

Learn how to make the best choice for an advocate for your end-of-life wishes.

PodcastProxy

In this episode I discuss the importance of choosing the right person to be your healthcare advocate. This might be the most important decision you will make regarding your end-of-life wishes, so choose wisely!

Read the companion blog to this podcast here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

In this episode I reference two previous interviews where the importance of the healthcare proxy and the problems with paper advance directives were discussed:

Listen to the interview with Dr. Ira Byock here.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Fred Mirarchi here.

Patreonbecome2xAs always, donations to the EOLU Podcast fund at Patreon.com/eolu are greatly appreciated! A huge THANK YOU to all current patrons–you make this podcast and the EOL University Interview Series possible. Become a patron and receive gifts and bonuses by going to Patreon.com/eolu.

Follow my trip to Italy this fall on Pinterest or Instagram! I’ll be taking a pilgrimage and writing about grief along with doing a bike trip to Puglia!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Tune in to this episode to learn:

  • What is a healthcare proxy
  • Why it’s important to choose the right person as your healthcare proxy
  • The responsibilities of a proxy
  • How to choose the best person for this job
  • Next steps to make it legal

Download Guidelines for a Healthcare Proxy here.

Tune in to a new episode every Monday (even when I’m in Italy!) And be sure to leave reviews for this podcast on iTunes to make sure others can find it. Click here to find the iTunes page.

Until next week remember…

Face Your Fears.                    BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.

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Ep. 104 Alternative Remedies for Pain

Learn about 10 alternative remedies that are helpful for chronic or terminal pain.

PodcastPain

In this episode I’ll share some insights about pain management from a recent blog I wrote in response to the opioid crisis in the U.S. I’ll cover 10 alternative remedies for pain that can be used alone or in conjunction with pain medication. Read the companion blog here (includes links to sources.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

If you missed “An Evening with Ira Byock MD” you can still sign up to listen to the replay. Just click here to submit your email address and you’ll receive the link to listen.

Patreonbecome2xThanks to all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu who generously contribute every month to help keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! If you’d like to become a Patron for just $1 or $2 per month go to Patreon.com/eolu and join the fun! You’ll receive access to our monthly Hospice Happy Hour Q&A session, the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, I’ll also promote your website, business, organization, book, etc. related to the end of life on this podcast.

In personal news, I’m busy preparing for my trip to Italy where I’ll be traveling for a month and writing a new book about grief. You can check out my travel plans on my Pinterest board and follow my journey on Instagram and Facebook.

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

The current opioid crisis in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions and prescription drug-related deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities and gun deaths. This crisis has been  partly fueled by the pressure placed on physicians two decades ago to do a better job of treating pain. Since that time the trend has been for doctors to hand out prescriptions for powerful and addictive opioids for relatively moderate pain when those drugs should be reserved for intractable pain from serious or terminal illness.

As a response to this epidemic I discuss 10 alternative therapies which can help with pain management that can be used alone or in combination with medications. These remedies can decrease the need for drugs and will help improve wellbeing and decrease stress as well:

  1. Laughter
  2. Music
  3. Exercise and stretching
  4. Massage
  5. Guided imagery
  6. Coloring
  7. Deep breathing
  8. Loving relationships and sexual intimacy
  9. Prayer and meditation
  10. Emotional Freedom Techniques (E.F.T.)

I’ll discuss each alternative along with the science that supports its use. Hopefully we can learn to manage pain in ways that support overall health of the whole person.

Tune in next week for another episode! Until then …

Face Your Fear.                    BE Ready.                        Love Your Life.

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Ep. 103 The Truth About CPR: Exposing the Myths

Learn the myths and facts about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.

PodcastCPR

In this episode I’ll discuss the misunderstandings that exist in our society about CPR, primarily due to the way it is portrayed in movies and on television programs, like House and ER. It’s important to know the truth about CPR in order to make the best decisions for our future healthcare.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

An Evening withDr. Ira ByockBe sure to sign up for “An Evening with Ira Byock, MD” on August 21st. Help us celebrate the 20th Anniversary of his book Dying Well. You’ll receive the replay if you can’t attend live.

Click here to register.

 

Patreonbecome2x

You can help support this podcast by making a small donation ($1 or $2 per month) at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you to my latest contributors Karen Greer and Barbara Richardson. I really appreciate your support and it helps me keep the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! Check out Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This is a follow-up to the latest interview on EOL University Interview Series with Dr. Fred Mirarchi, and ER physician who has conducted the TRIAD Studies (The Realistic Interpretation of Advance Directives.) In that presentation Dr. Mirarchi shared how advance directives like Living Wills and POLST forms are often misinterpreted by healthcare providers, resulting in patients receiving less or more intervention than they specified in their paperwork. You can listen to Dr. Mirarchi’s talk here.

I discuss:

  • three myths about CPR that are commonly believed
  • the true statistics about the outcome of CPR
  • the difference between CPR and the use of AED’s (automated external defibrillator)
  • when CPR might be called for and when it is likely to cause more harm than good
  • issues to consider when completing your CPR or DNR directive

You can download the handout “Facts About CPR” from the Colorado Advance Directives Consortium by clicking below:

Download the Handout

Remember there will be a new episode every Monday! Until next week …

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                       Love Your Life.

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Ep. 102 Supernatural Stories from the Dreams of a Hospice Physician

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In this episode I’ll share my own “supernatural” dreams that occurred while I was caring for hospice patients. It’s time to come forward and talk more openly about these experiences to help shed light on the dying process and the after-death realms.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

An Evening withDr. Ira Byock

Register now for “An Evening with Ira Byock MD” which will take place on Monday August 21st at 6 pm Pacific/9 pm Eastern. We will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his groundbreaking book Dying Well. Dr. Byock and I will discuss the changes in palliative and hospice care that have taken place over the past 20 years and what changes still must occur to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to “die well.”

Click here to learn more and register (it’s free and you’ll receive the replay if you can’t attend live.) You’ll also receive the Dying Well Readers Discussion Guide – a very helpful resource for leading a book group or workshop on Dying Well.

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported by generous donations to my page at Patreon.com/eolu. A HUGE “Thank you” goes out to my latest donor: Jane Duncan Rogers of BeforeIGoSolutions.com – a non-profit located in Scotland. And thanks as well to all of the other supporters who are chipping in a few $ per month to help keep the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! Learn more or become a patron at Patreon.com/eolu.

PERSONAL NEWS:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am currently planning an Autumn trip to Italy where I will be eating amazing food, viewing sacred sites, cycling, and researching a new book on grief. You can view my Pinterest board if you are interested in seeing all the locations on my “wish-list” for the trip. Feel free to make suggestions if you have a favorite spot in Italy that I shouldn’t miss! I’ll be sharing photos on Instagram and Facebook once the trip begins.

PRESENTATION:

This week I attended a meeting at the IANDS 2017 Conference in Denver (International Association for Near Death Studies.) I sat together in a small circle with individuals from all around the country who have had near-death experiences and also with end-of-life caregivers who have had unusual “supernatural” experiences while working with the dying.

I was impressed by the courage of the group members who were willing to share their stories and risk being labelled as “flakey” or even crazy. And that’s what inspired me to record this podcast episode. 

During my work with hospice patients on multiple occasions I experienced vivid dreams where I saw my patients in “soul form” (or a disembodied state) before they had actually died. These dreams brought me much comfort and also eased my fear of death. On some occasions I was able to share the dreams with family members who were comforted, as well, by the visions I had seen.

I have never shared these dreams publicly out of a fear of being ostracized by the medical profession. But the time for secrecy has long passed and we need transparency and truth in all matters surrounding death and dying. So I’m telling these stories in hopes that others might be inspired to talk openly about their experiences as well. If you have a story to tell but no one to share it with I hope you will email me at karen@karenwyattmd.com and describe your experience – let’s support one another!

Tune in next week for another new episode. Until then remember ….

Face Your Fear.                   BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.

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