End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 156 How to Talk to Strangers About Death & Dying

Learn some tips for starting important conversations about death with people you are meeting for the first time!

PodcastStrangers

 

IMG_4043In this episode I’ll share with you some stories about my recent yoga retreat and the many amazing conversations I was able to have with strangers about death and dying. I’ve got a few tips for you about starting up your own conversations about death with random strangers. (Here’s a photo from a sunrise hike I took during the retreat!)

 

Links to articles mentioned in this episode:

Tips for Talking With Your Loved Ones About the End of Life

How to Have Everyday Conversations About Death and Dying

How to Talk to Your Healthcare Provider About Your End-of-Life Wishes 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously online reading group and read one book each month about death, dying and the afterlife. Click here to learn more.

HealingChantsAlbumThis episode is sponsored by the album Healing Chants by Gia! You’ll love Gia’s angelic voice and ethereal music for meditation and relaxation. (Full disclosure: Gia is my daughter!)

You can listen to samples and purchase the album here.

Stay tuned to the end of the podcast as I’ll play her song Evocation as the Outro today!

A HUGE THANK YOU to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Karen Van Hoof! I appreciate your support very much. Thanks also to all of the other patrons – sign up and join the team for as little as $1 per month at Patreon.com/eolu!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today I’ll tell you about my recent 5-day retreat at a yoga center where I went to relax, do yoga and finish revising one of my books. While I was there I had the pleasure of talking with many other visitors to the retreat center about death and dying, which was fascinating. Normally I don’t find many people out in the general public who want to talk about death. And while the people I conversed with weren’t necessarily interested in death before our discussion they each seemed to come away with a new understanding or sense of peace.

In order to confront our society’s fear of death we need many more conversations like this to happen every day with people who are not already tuned in to death awareness.

Each of us needs to step up and reach out to others to start a dialogue about death that might prove very helpful to our conversation partner and very informative for us.

Here are my tips for talking with strangers about death and dying:

  1. Choose the right time and place: my conversations generally took place at the table while I was sharing a meal with various strangers. Breaking bread together creates an automatic sense of connection and safety since we usually associate mealtimes with positive feelings. There is also often some free time between courses where conversation can happen naturally. It may also work well to talk about death during other shared activities like hiking, gardening or cooking. Watch for the right opportunity to arise.
  2. Find common ground first: make sure you have established a basic connection by talking about the meal (or the garden, or the hike, etc.) Since my conversation partners were also there for yoga classes we had an automatic common subject to begin chatting about while we established a connection.
  3. Perfect your “elevator speech” which is a very brief story you tell whenever someone asks “What do you do?” The idea is that your answer is so brief you can complete it during a short elevator ride from one floor to the next. So think of one or two sentences you can use to answer that question and give another person an idea of your work. My answer at the yoga retreat was: “I’m a retired hospice physician who now writes books.” Tell them enough to garner their interest and curiosity and lead naturally to more questions. I purposely avoided mentioning death and dying in my initial introduction so that I wouldn’t frighten anyone away before we even got started. But most individuals I encountered were intrigued and asked more either about the hospice work or about the books I’m writing. Both of those questions led directly to a talk about death and dying. On several occasions the other person immediately brought up a story of a loved one or friend on hospice. Many times it was a story that desperately needed to be told and also came with questions about death, dying and hospice. I was amazed by the quality of conversation that occurred in these instances and the need for accurate information. I’m convinced that many people out there really do need to talk about death and dying but rarely encounter anyone they can speak to, which is where you come in!
  4. Hone your listening skills: for these conversations focus on listening rather than telling your own story. Watch for cues from the other person that there is a need to say something and encourage them to talk by asking a question or two and stopping to listen attentively. We are all passionate about our work and other endeavors and there will be opportunities to share that at some point in the future. Initially it’s more important to just listen and hold space so that the other person can ask questions and get the support they need. Rely on your intuition to tell you when that person is ready for a little nudge or encouragement to go deeper into their feelings.
  5. Share just enough information: again it is important to be a good listener so when you do describe your work don’t go overboard. Use simple and accurate terms to convey what you do but pause and allow the other person to ask for the information they need.

As you’ll hear when you listen to this episode I was able to have meaningful conversations with different people every day while I was at the retreat. These are some of the most important discussions we can be having right now so take a chance and strike up a conversation with a stranger about death and dying!

There will be a new episode every Monday so be sure to tune in again! And if you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until next time …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready              Love Your Life 

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 155 Writing Your Heart Will on a Mexican Retreat with Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante

Learn how to leave a written legacy for your loved ones and enjoy a retreat in Mexico in the process!

PodcastLazarPante

 

Michelle-ReenaIn this episode I share a conversation with  Michelle Pante and Reena Lazar of Willow, a company that helps people express their personal and healthcare wishes for the future and leave a legacy of the heart for the ones they love. They will share their stories and tell us about an innovative retreat to Mexico they are planning this year – just in time for Dia de los Muertos!

Learn more at willoweol.com!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join our online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously if you’re interested in reading a book each month about death, dying and the afterlife. Register here if you want to receive email notifications each month about the latest book selection. Go here to see the entire book list for 2018.

Thanks as always to my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! Your monthly donations help keep this podcast and the EOLU interview series on the air. This week my thanks goes out to Suzanne O’Brien and Doulagivers.com for their ongoing support over the past year-and-a-half. If you’d like to join our team sign up at Patreon.com/eolu and receive special bonuses.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today my guests Michelle Pante and Reena Lazar tell us how they started their company Willow and the services they provide to their clients. We talk about:

  • How the two of them decided to team up and create a vision together
  • How Reena uses her conflict resolution training in the work she does now helping people with end-of-life planning
  • Why they chose the name Willow for their company
  • What are “love letters” and “heart wills” and why they encourage people to create them
  • Tips for writing your own heart will
  • Details of the upcoming retreat in Mexico that includes a celebration of the Day of the Dead (you can still get the “early bird” discount of $200 off the price of the retreat if you sign up by August 20th and use the code EOLU)

Learn more about Reena, Michelle and Willow at willoweol.com!

Remember there will be a new episode every Monday – if you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Until next week …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

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EOLPodcast

Ep. 154 Two Doctors Discuss Death with Bob Uslander and Karen Wyatt

PodcastKWUslander

 

drBob-Uslander-In this episode I share an interview with me that Dr. Bob Uslander hosted on his show: A Life & Death Conversation. 

You can learn more about Dr. Uslander’s work at www.drbobuslander.com and his podcast at www.integratedmdcare.com/category/podcast/.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Thank you to my newest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Ann Gillespie! I appreciate all of my patrons who help keep End-of-Life University on the air. Go to Patreon.com/eolu if you are interested in joining the team and receiving bonuses as a thank-you gift!

At the time of broadcast I’ll be traveling and camping in Colorado! I hope you are enjoying your summer too.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode.

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EOLPodcast, Grief

Ep. 153 The Broken Heart: Healing the Physical and Emotional Symptoms of Grief with Michelle Peticolas

Learn about the impact of grief on the body and the emotions and steps you can take to heal your grief when you are ready.

PodcastPeticolas

 

 

MichellePeticolasIn this episode I share an interview with filmmaker and grief counselor Michelle Peticolas who talks about the 3-part film series she created, which is available for use in your community. She also shares her tips on healing from grief and thriving after loss.

Learn more about Michelle’s work here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

A HUGE THANK YOU to my latest contributors on Patreon.com/eolu: Christina Ensminger and Jackie Yeager! I appreciate your generosity and your support so much. If you’d like to join our team go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn how to sign up for as little as $1 per month and receive special bonuses just for patrons!

obrienwebinarIf you missed last week’s webinar with Suzanne O’Brien on “End-of-Life Doula Training for Caregivers and Volunteers” you can still listen to the replay. Go to www.eoluniversity.com/obrien to register and you’ll receive the link to listen in. It was fantastic and I’m sure you will enjoy it!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Michelle Peticolas begins the interview by telling us about her series of 3 films, The Secrets of Life and Death, which deal with facing death, being present with the dying, and grief. These films are now available for public showing and you can go to her website to learn more: www.secretsoflifeanddeath.com

Next we talk about grief and cover the following topics:

  • People in our culture struggle with grief because we have been taught to avoid it
  • Grief triggers both an emotional and a physical response and illness can result from grief that is not addressed
  • The brain needs time to rewire its circuits after the death of a loved one
  • The medical system usually offers drugs for grief symptoms, which don’t help grief actually heal
  • Grief support groups may contribute to ongoing trauma for grievers by stimulating the release of stress hormones over and over again as stories are told and retold
  • Michelle’s 3 tips for thriving after loss:
    • Allow the feelings to arise and learn how to listen to the body
    • Savor support and reach out for connection with others; allow your loved one to love you through others
    • Shift perception of loss and recognize that love and joy are still present even though the person you’ve loved is not physically present

Tune in next week for another new episode. If you enjoy this content please share with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until the next time …

Face Your Fear         BE Ready          Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 152 Many Ways to be of Service to the Dying

 

PodcastServicehands

wrmflatcoverIn this episode I share some thoughts about how to get involved in the end-of-life movement if you have recently become interested in death and dying. You’ll hear about my best ideas for contributing to change in the way people die and offering your service to others.

Check out my book to read stories about hospice patients I cared for.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

SpCare-AuthPresence-EoL-UnivWelcome to our new sponsor: Authentic Presence Training from the Spiritual Care Program.  Authentic Presence brings together practical contemplative resources with the knowledge and skills of modern hospice and palliative care. Suitable for professionals from all faith traditions or none, the course draws its inspiration particularly from Buddhist contemplative practice, the acclaimed classic The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, the work of the Dalai Lama, as well as contemplative neuroscience. Learn more here.

Thank you also to our new supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Althea Halchuk! I’m deeply appreciative of your contribution to help keep this podcast and the EOL University Interview Series on the air! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and sign up.

obrienwebinarJoin me and my guest Suzanne O’Brien RN for a free webinar: “EOL Doula Training for Caregivers and Volunteers” on Tuesday July 24th at 5 pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern. Register here and you’ll receive the replay if you can’t attend live.

 

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Learn about these opportunities to be of service to the dying in many different capacities:

  • Work as a professional in hospice or palliative care (call your local hospice/palliative care program to see if you have the credentials needed and to learn about any training offered):
    • physician
    • nurse
    • nurse practitioner
    • nursing assistant
    • social worker
    • chaplain
  • Become a volunteer – for those with no medical training:
    • Hospice volunteers are always needed (call your local hospice for more information)
    • No One Dies Alone – a program to ensure that each dying patient in the hospital has companionship if desired at the end of life. Listen to my interview here and learn more about NODA here.
    • Threshold Choir – for those who love to sing; offer support and inspiration to the dying and their families through vocal music. Listen to my interview here and learn more about Threshold Choir here.
    • Twilight Brigade – to provide end-of-life support to veterans. Learn more here.
    • Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients – if you have a special pet and would like to receive training to provide visits to patients. Learn more in this interview.
    • Seek out other opportunities in your community like Meals on Wheels, hospital or nursing home volunteer programs, church-related visitation programs
  • Become an End-of-Life Doula – check out the training mentioned above with Suzanne O’Brien and find out if this work is a good fit for you. Learn more here.
  • Start a caregiver training program – the need for in-home caregivers is going to increase dramatically over the next decade. Consider becoming a caregiver trainer to help your community meet this need.
  • Teach a death education class – there is currently a great need for education about Slide01death and dying in our society. Consider teaching your own class or workshop to provide information to others in your community. Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class here.

 

 

  • Create a Community Event to inspire people to learn more about the end of life:
    • Film series – listen to ideas here
    • Book club – read about A Year of Reading Dangerously online reading group here
    • Death Cafe – learn more here
    • Speaker series
  • Start a Social Model Hospice – to provide non-medical residential support and caregiving for those who are without a proper home at the end of life. Listen to the interview here.

Whatever inspires you I hope you will gather your courage and take the next step to get involved in the end-of-life movement. Your help is needed!

There will be a new episode next Monday. If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes. Thank you for your interest and support!

Until next time:

Face Your Fear            BE Ready             Love Your Life

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