End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 212 The Dance of Life and Death – Part 4: Grace

Learn how to cultivate grace in both life and death. 

PodcastGrace

In this 4-part series of solo episodes I’m sharing wisdom about the intertwining of life and death in a perfect dance that spirals throughout eternity. Today I talk about grace, which is an essential element of any dance. Learn how the many different of meanings of grace apply to both life and death and discover a daily practice that can help us prepare for the end of life with ease and dignity.  These thoughts are derived from my book: What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.

Get the book here.

Get the handout here:

GRACE

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The many definitions of “grace”
  • That grace is always given freely, not earned or deserved
  • How grace “finds us” during our darkest times of brokenness
  • Forgiveness as an act of grace
  • How I want to live and die with grace and gentleness
  • A daily practice to cultivate grace:
    • G – Gratitude
    • R – Release
    • A – Awareness
    • C – Compassion
    • E – Equanimity

I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.

-Anne Lamott

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new supporters Hilary G. and Debi Schauss, your contributions mean  everything to me!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 211 Doorway Into Light: Showing Up for Death, Nourishing Life with Rev. Bodhi Be

Learn about Bodhi’s training program for death doulas on Maui and how to restore the sacred aspect of dying.

PodcastBe

My guest Bodhi Be is an ordained Sufi minister, teacher, guide, funeral director, and bereavement counselor on the island of Maui. He is also the founder and director of the International Death Doula Certificate Training program, which is going on its 4th year. We talk about the sacred aspect of death and dying and the importance of death doulas. Learn more at his website:

www.doorwayintolight.org

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Bodhi’s long journey from becoming a hospice volunteer to mentoring death doulas
  • Why people need to wake up to plan the importance of planning and preparing for death
  • How hospice care has changed over the years
  • Why he started The Death Store and what it offers
  • How death doulas are changing the conversation about death and dying for the better
  • The International Death Doula training he offers annually
  • His future vision of a conservation burial ground and a guest house for the dying

Links mentioned in this episode:

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, your contributions mean  everything to me!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 210 The Dance of Life and Death – Part 3: Rhythm

PodcastRhythm

In this 4-part series of solo episodes I’m sharing wisdom about the intertwining of life and death in a perfect dance that spirals throughout eternity. Today I talk about rhythm, which is an essential element of any dance. Learn how the rhythm of nature and the universe includes both stillness and motion, waiting and movement, and how we can find peace and hope by surrendering to this rhythm as it unfolds in the moment. These thoughts are derived from my book: What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.

Get the book here.

Listen here:

 

Art of Dying Author Series_ September 6, 2019 7-8_30 pm

I hope you can join me in New York City at the Open Center for this event and my workshop on September 6th and 7th!!

Learn more here.

 

This episode includes:

  • Why it’s important that rhythm contains both stillness and movement, whether in dance, music, or the written word
  • The power of the liminal space of waiting for an uncertain outcome
  • Why spiritual growth requires learning how to return to the rhythm of nature and the universe
  • How to surrender to the natural rhythm of living and dying and why it benefits us
  • How we can discover our connection to every other being on the planet when we remain in rhythm and open to synchronicity

Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.

-Bruce Barton

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new patrons, Colleen Shea and Mary V. Jensen–your contributions mean  everything to me!

 

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 197 How Grief Unites Us to Stand Together in Love

Learn how to use grief and loss to build bridges with others.

PodcastGriefUnity

In this solo episode I talk about one of the key Mortal Wisdom lessons I’ve learned; everyone is grieving over something and grief can be a factor that unites us. This message is essential today as we face polarization and divisiveness that threaten to tear apart our society. I’ll discuss how to use our own grief to build a bridge toward others who are different from us.

Listen here.

 

This episode includes:

  • Why we need to stand together right now
  • How our grief unites us with others
  • What wisdom traditions teach about grief
  • Grief opens the heart to carry more love
  • How to utilize grief as a bridge to others:
    • Embrace your own grief and carry it lightly
    • Notice signs of mourning and grief wherever you go
    • Remember that everyone you meet has suffered loss and pain
    • Before judging another acknowledge that person’s suffering
    • Have conversations about grief and loss with those you conflict with
    • Find harmony with others
    • Share love rather than hatred
  • Beware of “dark forces” that are trying to use our differences to fragment society; find commonality in our grief to heal the wounds of the planet and our communities

Forget the nonsense of there and here, race, nation, religion, starting point and destination. You are Soul and you are love. … Love is the bridge between you and everything.

-Rumi

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new Patron: Diane Button!

 

EOLPodcast, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 196 The Doctor Who Became a Doula to Improve End-of-Life Care with Jackie Yeager MD

Learn how death doula training helped this physician find more meaning and fulfillment in her end-of-life medical practice.

PodcastYeager

My guest Dr. Jackie Yeager is a hospice and palliative care physician who has also trained as a death doula in order to provide the best possible care to her patients. She discusses her passion for slow medicine, especially at the end of life, and describes a new course she is launching on medical information for caregivers and death doulas. Learn more about the Informed Caregiver Course at her website:

www.informedcaregiver.com

Listen here:

 

This interview includes:

  • Why Dr. Jackie decided to become a death doula
  • What is “slow medicine” and why it is important
  • How mindfulness and spiritual practice help her be a better doctor
  • How death doulas augment traditional hospice care
  • How physicians struggle with grief over the deaths of patients
  • The scope of practice for a death doula
  • What is included in Dr. Jackie’s Informed Caregiver Course

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new Patrons: Kimberly Ogle, Linda McCarthy and Sherilee Bakken!

 

 

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 195 Why Death is Life’s Best-Kept Secret

Learn how to live your best life by embracing your mortality.

PodcastWisdom

In Part 8 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll summarize the 7 lessons presented in the previous episodes and discuss the mindset we need to adopt in order to live fully and peacefully as mortal beings. Find out my tips and guideposts for living a death-aware life no matter what blessings or challenges we are given to navigate. Listen to Parts 1-6 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Why each day should be a “good day to die”
  • How to carry death with you at all times as your wise advisor
  • How all 7 lessons from mortality fit and flow together:
    • Suffering
    • Love
    • Forgiveness
    • Presence
    • Purpose
    • Surrender
    • Impermanence
  • Why life is like an episode of “Chopped” cooking show: the “ingredients” life gives you are always a surprise and your task is to make something beautiful and delicious from them
  • 5 tips for living a death-aware life each and every day

Nake nula waun: I am ready for whatever comes.

– Lakota Sioux battle cry

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new Patrons: Jennifer Turner, Laura Sodders and Tom Johnson-Medland!

 

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 193 The Thorn and the Rose: Pain as a Portal for Grace

Learn how to use challenges as a tool for growth and find grace in the midst of pain.

PodcastSuffering

In Part 7 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss how our greatest tragedies can ultimately lead us to growth through the gift of grace. As I prepare for the 30th anniversary of my father’s suicide death this week I share my thoughts on my own journey through grief. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1-6 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • How my father’s suicide changed the trajectory of my life
  • Why the remedy for pain is found “inside the pain” as Rumi wrote
  • There is no “other side” of the tunnel of grief
  • How our grief journey can only be viewed clearly in retrospect
  • How to “burn our pain as fuel”
  • The meaning of grace and how it arrives as a mystery
  • How sorrow prepares us for joy

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us. – Anne Lamott

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new Patrons, Robyn Mott and Amy Wallace; and thank you to Christina Ensminger for increasing your monthly pledge!

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 191 The Power of the Broken Heart: Why Love is the Answer

Learn how love can transform and heal our lives even during our last days.

PodcastLove

In Part 6 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss how our broken hearts allow us to expand our capacity to carry and transmit pure Love. Throughout life we are broken open by love in many different ways and must learn to remain open to love rather than hardened and resistant to it so that we can find peace at the end of life. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1- 5 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The story of my “Love Project”
  • The importance of love for those at the end of life
  • How forgiveness makes room for even greater love
  • The many ways love can break our hearts
  • Why we need to remain open to love even after we have been hurt
  • The “violin metaphor” and why we should allow love to hollow us out
  • Practices for opening to love

Carry your heart through this world like a life-giving sun.

-Hafez

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new Patrons, Meina Dubetz and Deborah Luscomb!

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 189 How to Move Beyond Outrage and Forgive Everything

Learn the importance of forgiveness for moving forward in society, personal life, and spiritual growth.

Podcast19Forgiveness

In Part 5 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss why Forgiveness is an especially important skill to learn in the midst of our culture of constant outrage. We cannot solve today’s problems unless we learn how to lay down the bitterness and resentment that keep our energy stuck in the past. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1, 2, 3  and 4 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Why there is so much outrage in our society today
  • Why we need to remember our interconnectedness and interdependence in order to solve the problems we are facing
  • How hospice patients focus on forgiveness as they face the end of life
  • How forgiveness benefits health, relationships and spiritual growth
  • Why forgiveness should be an intentional, daily practice
  • Tools for practicing forgiveness
    • Journaling
    • the “4-View” Process for forgiveness
    • Ho’oponopono

Forgiveness is the fragrance a flower gives when it is crushed.

-Anonymous

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new Patrons, Mary Ellen Shea and Jan Wessell and to Licha Kelley-King for upping your pledge!

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 187 There’s No Time but the Present: How to be Right Here, Right Now

Learn how to make the most of the present moment and give the gift of presence to those you love.

PodcastPresence

In Part 4 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss how to develop the skill of Presence to use in your personal life and work. Presence is the secret of living fully in every moment and you’ll learn how to enhance your ability to stay focused and present in day-to-day life. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1, 2,  and 3 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Presence is an essential skill for working with dying patients
  • Many dying patients seem to have a new-found ability to focus on the present and appreciate each moment
  • According to Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn presence is the ability to align body, mind, spirit, emotions in a single focus on the here and now
  • Being fully present with a patient or a loved one allows us to create a sacred space within which healing and transformation can occur
  • Steps for developing the skill of presence:
    • Create time (5 minutes) and space for stillness each day
    • Tune in to your physical body
    • Breathe deeply with intention
    • Allow emotions to arise without attaching to them
    • Let thoughts drift by
  • Practice total focus during small moments e.g. eating a special food, watching a sunset, listening to music, spending time in nature, being with a loved one
  • The experience of awe has these benefits
    • Greater humility (and less ego control)
    • Increased social harmony and interconnectedness
    • Improved immune health
    • Decreased anxiety
    • Increased wellbeing and happiness
  • Daily AWE Practice:
    • I am Awake in this moment
    • I am Willing to experience and accept whatever life brings in this moment
    • I am Engaged fully in living my life moment to moment

When someone is about to die, if you sit with him stably and solidly, that alone may be enough to help him leave this life with ease.

– Thich Nhat Hahn

Links mentioned in this episode:

PatreonMugShot

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!

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 185 What Am I Doing Here? How to Find Your Purpose

Learn how to find more clarity about your life’s purpose and why it’s not just about choosing the right career path.

PodcastPurpose

In Part 3 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss the lesson of Purpose and how we can unravel the mystery of why we are here in this sometimes crazy world. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1 and 2 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The difference between “inner” and “outer” purpose
  • Why it’s important to recognize that there is a larger reason for our existence
  • Why we must change ourselves before we try to change the world
  • Steps to discovering your inner purpose:
    • Awaken to the fact that you are here to learn
    • Look for recurring themes in your life so far
    • Journal about the pain and suffering you have experienced since they often center around your inner purpose
  • How the Japanese concept of “ikigai” can help you find your outer purpose
    • What you love
    • What you are good at
    • What the world needs
    • What you can be paid for
  • Why your outer purpose should align with you inner purpose
  • Why you need to let go of attachment to your outer purpose and accept change in your life

If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.

– Thich Nhat Hahn

Links mentioned in this episode:

PatreonMugShot

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 my new patrons and faithful donors Lynda Richardson, Molly Byock, and Jozie Rabyor!

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 183 How to Let Go of What You Thought Should Happen

Learn how to let go of expectations and your bitterness over life’s disappointments.

PodcastSurrender

This is Part 2 of the Mortal Wisdom Series and I’ll discuss the lesson of Surrender and why we need to learn to let go in order to experience joy in life. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Part 1 first if you haven’t heard it yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • How suffering increases when we believe that things should have been different
  • How clinging to the need to control the events of life can lead to bitterness and regret
  • Life flows like a river and we cannot control or stop the flow by resisting it
  • Why staying attached to our expectations keeps us from experiencing what life is offering us in each and every moment
  • How to reframe disappointments by being curious about what life is bringing
  • Journaling practice to identify attachments and resentments so that they can be reframed
  • Bridge ritual for letting go of attachments and receiving the flow of life
  • Untying the knots as a practice for letting go (Thank you to our beloved angel Megory Anderson and her book Sacred Dying)

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new patrons Alive & Mortal, Phyllis Nickel, JoAna Dwyer, and Seth Edelman.

 

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 181 Why It’s Good to be Mortal and How to Celebrate It

Learn the lesson of impermanence and why it is essential for life.

PodcastImpermanence

This week begins a series I’ve titled Mortal Wisdom that will explore the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Today is the lesson of impermanence … the fact that nothing lasts and everything changes, which is the ultimate reality of our mortal existence here on planet Earth, but also the reality of the entire Universe. I hope you enjoy the series!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

TaoThe TAO of Death is an adaptation of Lao Tzu’s 2000 year-old book of wisdom, the Tao Te Ching. In these simple yet profound verses you will learn to see death as a normal process in the cycle of life and discover how to live fully and fearlessly.

Find more joy, love and meaning in your life throughThe TAO of Death!

Available on Amazon in print and digital format.

 

 

Why It’s Good to be Mortal and How to Celebrate It

This episode includes:

  • The Buddhist concept of impermanence
  • How everything that is fleeting becomes more precious to us
  • Entropy – the 2nd law of thermodynamics – from the Greek word entropia, which means a turning toward or transformation
  • How life moves from order to disorder, structure to non-structure, physical form to energetic form or Soul
  • The benefits of mortality:
    • Creativity, growth and transformation are made possible
    • Even our suffering and pain will not last (“this too shall pass”)
    • This is the unifying characteristic of all humans on the planet: we all will die one day and we all grieve over our loved ones who have died
  • Rituals for getting comfortable with and honoring our impermanence
    • Contemplation and journaling using books like The Tao of Death
    • Observation of nature
    • Mandala creation
    • Flowing water ritual
  • We are here to dissolve into love, our ultimate destiny

My mandalas:

IMG_0146  IMG_0145

Links mentioned in this episode:

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 my new patrons John Milloy, Victoria Jenkins, and Joanna D!

 

EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 176 Honoring the Mystery at the End of Life with Barbara Morningstar

Learn about the unexplainable mysteries that occur at the end of life and how these stories can transform our relationship with death.

podcastmorningstar

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:

https://www.inautumnscocoon.com

honoringthemystery

Get the book here.

 

This interview includes:

  • How Barbara became interested in learning about the sacred passage of death
  • What hospice providers and family members can learn from the deathbed experiences of patients
  • How Barbara’s grief over a friend’s death was shifted by a dream
  • How a conversation with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross inspired Barbara to keep telling her story
  • Why patients’ physical symptoms must be addressed first before sacred experiences can occur
  • Research being done on deathbed visions and dreams by Dr. Chris Kerr and at the U of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies
  • The metaphoric language of the dying
  • Tips for tuning in to the deathbed mysteries of dying patients
  • How being near death reminds us of the importance of love and the preciousness of life

Links mentioned in this episode:

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!

EOLPodcast, Spirituality, Tragedy

Ep. 168 How to Find COMPASSION in Times of Suffering

 

PodcastCompassion

 

 

buddhafire
Photo credit: @NBCLA

Today I’ll share some thoughts on recent tragedies that have occurred near me this week, the meaning of compassion, and why at times we humans are not able to feel compassion for others when they suffer. Then I’ll share the words that have guided me to experience deeper compassion for many years. Download a copy of the Lovingkindness Blessing below:

Lovingkindness Blessing

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

DDCteachTune in to a series of brief webinars by 5 new teachers of death and dying classes. They share excerpts from their courses that we hope will inspire you to want to teach your own community class based on your knowledge, experience and passion for end-of-life issues. Click here to watch the webinars.

Teach about Death and #ChangetheWorld!

To further your own end-of-life education check out the Integrative Thanatology Certificate Program at the Open Center’s Art of Dying Institute at this link: https://www.opencenter.org/art-of-dying-intergrative-thanatology

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

In this episode I discuss:

  • Why we sometimes react negatively toward others who are suffering rather than with compassion
  • The meaning of the word compassion (“to suffer with”)
  • Why the ego rejects and judges the suffering of others
  • Why we must grow spiritually before we can experience genuine compassion for others
  • The lotus blossom as a symbol of compassion and spiritual growth
  • How the 5 verses of the Lovingkindness Blessing signify the necessary steps toward sharing genuine compassion during times of suffering:
    • May I be at peace
    • May my heart remain open
    • May I realize the beauty of my own true nature
    • May I be healed
    • May I be a source of healing for this world

You can help support this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series in 3 ways (THANK YOU in advance!):

  1. Tell other people about it who might enjoy this content
  2. Leave a review on iTunes
  3. Make a small donation ($1 per month) on my page at Patreon.com/eolu

Until next week …

Face Your Fear          BE Ready         Love Your Life

karen-signature

 

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 142 It’s Complicated: Mother-Daughter Relationships at the End of Life with Kate Riley

Learn how mothers and daughters cope with their changing roles as the end of life nears.

PodcastRiley

KateRileyIn this episode I share an interview with Kate Riley, author and death midwife, about our own relationships with our mothers and how they changed as we provided care to them at the end of life.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there listening!

Learn more about Kate’s work here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Thank you to my latest sponsor on Patreon.com/eolu: Marilyn Stoner. Thank you for support and thanks to all of my patrons – I appreciate your generosity very much!!

This episode is brought to you by my course Get Over it For Good: Healing the Hidden Wounds of Childhood. Learn to get over events from the past that keep you stuck and unable to grow. This is a self-study course that helps you identify your hidden wounds and discover the wisdom you can gain from them. Platinum supporters on Patreon.com/eolu will receive a 30% discount on the course! Learn more about the course here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Kate Riley and I discuss the joys and challenges of daughters who care for their mothers at the end of life. Kate was the caregiver for her mother during the last 9 months of her life and shares her insights about that process.

In this interview you will learn:

  • The ups and downs of the caregiver journey
  • The benefits of presence at the end of life
  • How meditation helps with preparation for death
  • Death has its own mysterious timing
  • The pain of letting go of our mothers and being let go of by them
  • How caregiving helps us heal our relationships
  • Advice for daughters caring for their mothers

Kate Riley is a certified death midwife, minister, international story consultant, author and educator. She began private practice in compassionate end-of-life care after completing hospice training in the late 1980s. She serves as a liaison for individuals facing end-of-life decisions, working with their families and medical teams in providing a more person-centered approach. She encourages and supports those who want to take a conscious, active role in their own dying process. She is the author of The Green Velvet Journals and Launching Vee’s Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale. Kate lives in the Wood River Valley of Idaho—a great place to find balance in all of life’s stages. Her advanced training includes death midwife/doula certification through Final Passages and current enrollment in the California State University Palliative Care Chaplaincy program.

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week:

Face Your Fear         BE Ready         Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 125 How to Have a Peaceful Death

Learn some steps you can take NOW to ensure that you will be at peace when you reach the end of life.

PodcastPeacefulDeath

momThis week I’m sharing with you my reflections on what it takes to be at peace when you die. I just observed the 5th anniversary of my Mom’s death and I was inspired to create this podcast by thinking about the peace she experienced at the time of her death and how she was able to achieve that! 

Read the companion blog on this subject here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Join A Year of Reading Dangerously and read fantastic books about death and dying all through 2018! Learn more and sign up here.

Thanks to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Cheryl Durden! Your contribution to this podcast and to the End-of-Life University Interview Series is greatly appreciated!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

After writing a blog this week called “Why Some People Don’t Die in Peace” I decided that I should go further and address HOW to actually be more at peace when the end of life arrives. So here are my thoughts! These are all things to start working on now in order to be at peace in the end:

PHYSICAL:

  • Plan ahead for your time of dying: What type of care do you want to receive? Where do you want to be when you die?
  • Appoint a reliable healthcare proxy to speak on your behalf
  • Create advance directives and talk about them with everyone (family, medical providers, clergy, friends, attorney)
  • Do “death-cleaning” by giving away all the things you don’t need any more
  • Think about where you will live and who will take care of you if you are unable to care for yourself. How have you provided for these possibilities
  • Make note of all of your preparations along with all of your financial and ownership information. Make sure this is accessible to family members who may need this information in the future.
  • Plan ahead for your funeral and burial

MENTAL:

  • Prepare yourself for death by reading and learning what happens at the end of life
  • Participate in a Death Cafe to have conversations about death
  • Watch films about the end of life (like “Extremis” on Netflix)
  • Attend workshops, classes, lectures in your community about death and dying

EMOTIONAL:

  • Get your emotional “house in order” by reviewing your unfinished business – who do you need to forgive? What unhealed wounds are you carrying?
  • Work on practicing forgiveness now
  • Let go of old resentments
  • Make amends for your own errors in the past

SPIRITUAL:

  • Find meaning in life, no matter how difficult the circumstances of your life
  • Learn to live every moment and find joy and love wherever you go
  • Figure out what really matters to you and make sure you are living that every day
  • Face your fear of death to help you overcome all fears in your life and live with more joy

Thanks for supporting EOLU! I appreciate your listening – if you enjoy this content please leave a review on iTunes. Tune in next week for another fascinating episode!

Until then …

Face Your Fear              BE Ready               Love Your Life

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 112 Grace and Grit: Conscious Love & Conscious Dying with Ken Wilber

Learn how Treya Wilber’s spiritual practice helped her transcend fear and die consciously as told in Ken Wilber’s book Grace and Grit.

PodcastWilber

wilber2EdIn this episode I share a powerful and heartfelt interview with Ken Wilber where we discuss the subject of “Conscious Dying” and how the life and death of his wife Treya so beautifully teach us to live and die consciously, as told in the book Grace and Grit.

Website: kenwilber.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0371I’m still in Italy as this broadcast airs but will be returning to Colorado in a few days. Check out the photos from my last days of travel on Instagram and Facebook!

Hopefully I’ve made progress on my new book, too!

Patreonbecome2xAs always this podcast is made possible through your generous donations at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you so much to those of you who have been chipping in every month to help defray the costs of producing and broadcasting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to become a patron!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Whether or not death and dying are issues that concern you at this time in your life, you will find value in listening to Ken’s discussion of this important subject. Each of us must come to terms with our mortality in the physical realm and be prepared for an unknown future. Each of us also must face losing those we deeply love, and caring for them through illness and adversity.

We can learn from Ken and Treya’s experiences how to love totally and consciously during our lifetimes – and how to let go of that love and life itself when that time arrives for us.

This interview will cover:

  • The meaning of “conscious dying” from a spiritual perspective
  • Ken’s caregiver journey and how it became his spiritual path
  • How Ken and Treya “carried one another’s pain” during the course of her illness and dying process
  • The Buddhist practice of tonglen and why it was important to Treya
  • How the term “passionate equanimity” describes Treya’s approach to living and dying

Ken Wilber is a philosopher, sage, author and integral theorist who has been called “the Einstein of Consciousness.” He is:

  • The most translated writer on consciousness studies in the United States
  • Author of 22 books on spirituality and science –
    • A Theory of Everything
    • A Brief History of Everything
    • Sex, Ecology and Spirituality
    • The Integral Vision
  • Creator of Integral Theory – a model for organizing different perspectives of life and consciousness

His book Grace and Grit chronicles the life and death of his second wife Treya Killam Wilber.

Get Grace and Grit on Amazon.

I hope you enjoyed this interview and have been inspired to take up your own spiritual practice to help you live with “passionate equanimity.”

There will be a new episode every Monday so come back again and learn with me! If you like this content please leave a review on iTunes.

Until next week…

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                        Love Your Life.

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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

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.

Podcast3Keys

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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EOLPodcast, Grief, Spirituality, Tragedy

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.

Podcast911

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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