Ep. 136 Art and Conversations About Death with Molly Stuart

Learn about Molly’s innovative workshops on end-of-life planning that utilize art projects to inspire deep conversations.

PodcastStuart

MollyIn this episode I share an interview with Molly Stuart who is a lawyer, artist, chaplain and hospice volunteer. She teaches a wonderful workshop on end-of-life planning that includes art to help people uncover their deepest values and concerns.

Learn more about Molly’s work here.

Watch this episode on YouTube to view Molly’s slides:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

decisionsignThe month of April features National Healthcare Decisions Day and in honor of that event I am sharing the 10-day S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge – a free challenge that will help you get your end-of-life planning done with guidance along the way by email.

Click here to learn more and sign up.

 

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously if you’d like to read one book a month with us about death and dying! Sign up here.

Slide01

Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and you’ll be on the list to hear about upcoming Work Groups and a Mastermind Group for Death and Dying Class teachers. Download the guidelines here.

 

Thank you to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Kathy Lynch and thanks also to Cathy Duke for increasing your pledge! I’m so grateful for your contributions!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Molly Stuart shares information about her innovative end-of-life planning workshops. We discuss:

  • How she got interested in teaching about end of life issues
  • The complicated nature of advance care planning
  • The 3-part workshop she designed, which includes:
    • Practical end-of-life medical and legal issues
    • Emotional aspects of living while knowing you’re going to die
    • Transformation and legacy
  • How Molly uses art to address:
    • Loss
    • Meaning
    • Regret
    • Legacy
  • The creative projects her students create as part of her workshops
  • How to create a legacy art project after the death of a loved one

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next time …

Face Your Fear         BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 128 Why We Need Death Education for Everyone Right Now

Learn why the Death Education movement is vitally important right now for our society and get inspired to teach your own class about death and dying!

PodcastDeathEd

DEATHEDforeveryoneThis week I’m continuing my focus on death education by discussing some important reasons why right now we desperately need more death-ed in every aspect of our society. Learn how you might become a death educator in your own community and start to share your knowledge to help others become aware of death.

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Click here to get your free Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class to help you create your own class!

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading books about death and dying with 700 other people around the globe! You’ll get to take part in live Q&A discussions with the authors of many of the books we are reading. For February we are reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty–and she’ll be joining our discussion at the end of the month! Sign up now by clicking here!

Thanks again to all of my supporters at Patreon.com/eolu! Your generosity and encouragement mean everything to me! Become a patron for as little as $1 per month–where else can you do so much good with just $1? Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today I’m discussing why we need death education everywhere in our society and here are some of the places where it should take place:

  • Home – parents need to learn how to talk about death and dying with their children rather than shielding them from the reality of death
  • Schools – high school and college classes are a perfect place to introduce death and dying to young, curious students who can only benefit from learning more about death. (Next week I’ll share an interview on this podcast with Stacy Smith who teaches The Psychology of Death & Dying to college students, and on EOLU at the end of February I’ll present an interview about a high school elective on Death and the Meaning of Life with the teacher and 3 of his students.
  • Churches – clergy of all faiths need to be educated about death and dying so that they can better support their congregants on end-of-life issues within their belief system
  • Workplaces – employers need to understand the impact of death and grief on their employees in order to create supportive policies for bereavement leave; workers need to know how to interact with co-workers who are suffering with illness and grief
  • Medical system – doctors, nurses, and all other providers of healthcare need education in how to get comfortable with death, talk about it with patients and families, guide decision-making, initiate conversations with patients
  • Hospitals and nursing homes – need education to create sacred spaces for dying, to support patients and families at the end of life and honor patients’ wishes

Some of the reasons why death education is so important right now are:

  • We are living longer and the incidence of complex diseases like Alzheimer’s is increasing which creates a need for better advance planning. Patients and families need to prepare for the type of medical care and caregiving that may become necessary and understand how they can provide for those possibilities in the future.
  • Medical technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. Our ability to forestall death and keep a body alive has far outstripped our willingness to grapple with difficult end-of-life decisions. We need education to help people plan and prepare for the future and be pro-active about the care they receive. Studies show that those who think and talk about death are more likely to put their wishes in writing, to talk with others about their wishes, and to stop medical treatment when it is no longer helping.
  • Ethical and moral dilemmas about end-of-life issues are splitting our society and families. Debates over physician-assisted dying and discontinuing medical care when it is not helping are going to increase with the aging of the Baby Boom generation. According to Pew Research Center surveys: 47% of Americans favor assisted-dying laws and 49% are opposed; 66% believe that there are times when doctors should stop treatment and allow patients to die a natural death, but 31% believe that doctors should always do everything possible to prolong life. These opposing perspectives are likely to be present in families too, especially if no advance planning has been done.
  • The high cost of being unprepared for death. Lack of advance care planning can lead to higher medical expenses, especially if the patient receive extreme care that was not actually warranted or wanted. Families unprepared for funeral planning are more likely to choose higher cost options and be vulnerable to unscrupulous marketing practices when they are grieving. Failure to plan ahead and put wishes in writing can cause increased stress and guilt for family members who must make decisions without any guidance.
  • The emotional and spiritual cost of ignoring death. As described in episode 127, death is our greatest teacher about life. Those who fail to recognize the inevitability of death are less likely to live to the fullest and appreciate the moment because they think they have plenty of time.

If you care about any of these issues and have been learning about death and dying by listening to this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series, you are the perfect person to become a “death educator.” Start by sharing what you’ve learned with family and friends and consider putting together your own class in your community to help educate others. 

Slide01You can download my free pdf: Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and get some tips and tactics for starting your own community death-ed class! When you download the handout you’ll receive an invitation to a special work group I’m putting together in March on brainstorming your class.

Click here to get the guidelines!

 

Stay tuned to future episodes of this podcast to get more information about death education: next week I’ll share an interview with Stacy Smith about teaching college students about death and dying. On February 22nd I’ll present an interview on End-of-Life University with the teacher and students from a high school death-ed elective.

I hope you feel inspired to become a “death educator” in whatever capacity suits you, whether you simply share your knowledge with family and friends or start a class in your community!

If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – it will be greatly appreciated!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear          BE Ready           Love Your Life

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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

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Ep. 123 Goals and Wishes for 2018: Let’s “Be Good at Death”

Hear my far-reaching dreams and ideas for changing the way people die in the U.S. in 2018.

PodcastWishes18

goals2018In this episode I talk about some of my own personal goals for the New Year and then discuss a list of ideas for ways in which we need to improve all aspects of the end of life. Get some inspiration for steps you can take within your own community and in your own personal life to “Be Good at Death.”

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
A Year of Reading

I’ve started a new year-long reading group called A Year of Reading Dangerously for 2018! We’ll be exploring death and the afterlife through books that hopefully will inspire us and stretch our boundaries. Sign up to receive a monthly email with the book selection for the month and a downloadable reader’s discussion guide. Join the fun!

Sign up here.

A HUGE thank-you to my latest supporters: Claire Turner and Dr. Leslie Robinson. Your contribution is greatly appreciated as it helps defray the costs of producing and broadcasting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series, but it also provides me with much-needed emotional and spiritual support! To donate as little as $1 per month go to Patreon.com/eolu.

There is a new pledge level on Patreon-the Platinum level-where for a donation of $5 per month you’ll receive replays of ALL of the End-of-Life University Interviews for 2018. So check it out now!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

What we need to do to “Be Good at Death” in 2018″:

  1. Policy Level changes needed:
    1. Improve reimbursement for Palliative Care
    2. Stabilize and improve reimbursement for Hospice Care
    3. Establish a system for paying family caregivers
  2. Medical System changes needed
    1. Integrate Palliative Care into Primary Care and therefore …
    2. Increase home-based palliative services
    3. Rank hospitals according to the quality of end-of-life care provided (based on an article by Dr. Haider Warraich from Duke University). Dr. Warraich’s criteria for this ranking include:
      1. “percentage of patients with a documented health care proxy
      2. percentage of patients who receive heroic measures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation or cardiac defibrillation
      3. appropriate use of hospice and palliative care
      4. the likelihood of a family recommending the hospital for end-of-life care
      5. whether patients’ location of death was concordant with the place in which they had wanted to die
      6. availability of around-the-clock spiritual resources
      7. the training the medical team receives for dealing with the medical and psychosocial issues that arise when death is imminent”   ((Thank you Dr. Warraich for this fabulous idea!))
  3. Medical Education changes needed
    1. Train all medical providers in palliative care (at least a one-month rotation) regardless of specialty
    2. All medical students work with dying patients in at least one rotation
    3. Teach better conversational and listening skills to medical providers
    4. Help medical providers process their own fears and biases toward death and their repressed grief
  4. Community changes needed
    1. Create adjuncts to hospice care:
      1. Non-medical social hospices
      2. All-volunteer non-medical hospice services
      3. Hospices train volunteer death doulas to augment the care currently being provided
    2. Establish Caregiver Education programs in the community
    3. Create a No One Dies Alone program in hospitals and nursing facilities
    4. Improve community education about death and dying through:
      1. Death Cafes
      2. Book clubs
      3. Workshops
      4. Advance Directive courses
      5. Death and Dying classes for high schools, colleges and universities
  5. Individual changes needed:
    1. Continually work on our own fear and resistance to death
    2. Explore our unhealed and repressed grief (consider travel to help with grief)
    3. Keep learning about death
    4. Talk about death with others in our social circle
    5. Make death part of your every day life 
    6. Teach children about death and help them navigate through loss and grief

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Come back each Monday for a new episode! Visit Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to become a supporter and leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this podcast.

Until next week:

Face Your Fear          BE Ready         Love Your Life

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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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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. 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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