Ep. 108 3 Keys to Living & Dying Consciously

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

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

Check out my author/speaker website here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

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

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

3 Keys to Living & Dying Consciously

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

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

Face Your Fear

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

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

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

BE Ready

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

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

Love Your Life

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

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

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

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

WRM@flatcover                   Tao

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

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

Until the next time, remember ….

Face Your Fear                                BE Ready                         Love Your Life

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Ep. 105 Choosing the Right Healthcare Proxy

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

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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.

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

Click here to register.

 

Patreonbecome2x

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

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

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

I discuss:

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

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

Download the Handout

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

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                       Love Your Life.

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Ep. 81 Let’s Talk About It: The Conversation Project with Dr. Jessica McCannon

Find out how The Conversation Project is helping families talk about planning ahead for the end of life.

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Jess McCannon HeadshotIn this episode we’ll hear about the work of  The Conversation Project from an advisor to the organization, ICU physician Dr. Jessica McCannon. Learn how to utilize this excellent tool to get your own conversations started.

Get more info at TheConversationProject.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

COLORADO LISTENERS!! You can download a special version of The Conversation Starter Kit that has been customized just for Coloradans. This version is a little shorter and includes a place where you can name your Medical Durable Power of Attorney. Visit this website to download your copy now:

http://TheConversationProjectinBoulder.org

death-afterlifesummit

You can still sign up for the Death & Afterlife Summit, which takes place March 16-18, 2017. You’ll be able to learn from 10 experts about dying, death and beyond in this series of online interviews–and it’s totally FREE! Go to eoluniversity.com/afterlife to learn more and register.

slide01If you’d like some guidance in completing your own advance directives, check out the Step-by-Step Roadmap to End-of-Life Planning–my NEW online self-directed course that will help you prepare and plan for your later years.

Learn more and sign up here.

 

IN THE NEWS:

The Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville AL has started a unique pilot program that places a hospice nurse in the Emergency Department 3 days a week. The RN meets with patients and families and educates them about end-of-life options to help in their decision-making processes. She also helps them complete advance directives and other documents needed for their hospitalization.

THE CONVERSATION PROJECT:

Join Dr. Karen Wyatt and her special guest Dr. Jessica McCannon, ICU physician and advisor to The Conversation Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. They will discuss The Conversation Project, the history and goals of this organization, and how their resources can benefit you, your loved ones or your patients when making plans for the end-of-life.

You will learn:

  • How and why The Conversation Project was started
  • The value of telling stories about the end-of-life
  • Benefits of The Conversation Starter Kit and The Pediatric Starter Kit
  • How doctors might utilize The Conversation Starter Kit

Dr. Jessica McCannon is board-certified in internal medicine, and completed Harvard’s Clinical and Research Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. After completing her internal medicine residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital, she began providing care to adults at the Mass General Hospital Down Syndrome Program. Prior to starting medical training she received her BA from Cornell University. Dr. McCannon currently practices clinical medicine as an ICU physician and serves as an advisor to The Conversation Project.

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776Tune in each Monday for a new episode. If you are interested in supporting the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series you can make a small contribution of just $1 or $2 a month and help keep us on the air! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

Until next week remember ….

Face Your Fears.                 BE Ready.                    Love Your Life.

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Ep. 75 Perfect Your Paperwork: Mistakes to Avoid in Your End-of-Life Planning

It’s not enough to get your paperwork done … make sure it’s done right!

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In this episode we’ll look at several common mistakes people make when doing their advance directives–mistakes that could make it more difficult for their end-of-life wishes to be carried out. Learn how to get your paperwork right so you can relax!

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is supported through the generous donations of listeners made on Patreon.com/eolu. When you donate just $1 or $2 per month I will thank you by mentioning your name on the podcast and promoting your cause!

Thank you to my latest patron: Jayne Boulton–I appreciate your support Jayne!

In the News:

An online article from Managed Healthcare Executive asks the question: Can Data Analytics Aid in End-of-Life Care Decisions? The author cites a recent study from JAMA that shows 70% of MD’s reporting that they have not been trained to have end-of-life conversations with patients and 73% of patients over the age of 65 have never had an advance care planning discussion with a doctor.

Medical data analysts have suggested that EHR’s might be useful to help health systems identify patients in need of end-of-life conversations. The article points out that current management of advance directives on EHR’s is poor since on average it requires clicks on 12 different screens to locate a patient’s AD, which takes 1.3 minutes–not fast enough in an emergency situation. In addition many patients at the end of life experience more than 3 transfers to different facilities and their paperwork is often lost in the process.

Much work needs to be done to help patients get their wishes met at the end of life! For that reason I have created a NEW online course to guide people through creating their advance directives, making them legal,  and having conversations with loved ones and doctors about their wishes.

slide01The course “Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning” is self-paced and can be completed any time, anywhere.

I’ve written the course to help people be prepared mentally and emotionally to make end-of-life decisions and avoid the common mistakes discussed below.

Learn more about the course at www.eoluniversity.com/Roadmap.

Common mistakes in end-of-life planning include:

  • Putting it off for a later time
  • Not completing the forms entirely
  • Choosing contradictory options on the forms
  • Choosing the wrong healthcare proxy
  • Getting lost in the details of possible scenarios at the end of life
  • Not discussing plans with the doctor
  • Not expressing wishes to loved ones
  • Not updating end-of-life preferences over time

The Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning is designed to avoid all of these mistakes and to aid in making the right choices for future healthcare needs.

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Until next week:

Face Your Fears.                      BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.

 

 

Ep. 73 How to Die Happy! A Tribute to My Mom: Margaret Wyatt

What does it take to have a smile on your face the day you die? 

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In this episode I pay a tribute to my Mom, Margaret Wyatt, who died 4 years ago in her own home, filled with joy and love. I’ll share the lessons I learned from her death about how each one of us can “Die Happy”!

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is sponsored through the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. By contributing just $1 or $2 per month you can help support the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series. If you  become a supporter I will happily promote your book, website, cause or organization on a future episode of the podcast!

Today I have a huge thank-you for 2 new patrons on Patreon.com/eolu:

 

  • Michelle Holmes – who has asked that I promote a favorite cause of hers: The Still Place. The Still Place is a charitable organization providing rest, renewal and re-creation to families living with serious illness in hope of fostering resiliency, empowerment and self-determination. We provide free of charge vacations, uniquely planned and lovingly facilitated for families who find it difficult if not impossible to get away, plan and experience the healing restorative properties of a family vacation. Go to their website at www.thestillplace.org to learn more!
  • Holly Pruett – who is the founder of Death Talk Project. Death Talk Project organizes workshops, rituals, Death Cafes, monthly movie nights, and other events in Portland, Oregon. Join in for useful, honest conversation about how we die, how we mourn, and how we care for and remember our dead. Holly also created the community event Death OK: Let’s Talk About It and Death Talk Project grew out of that event. Learn more at www.deathtalkproject.com.

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A Tribute to Margaret Wyatt

My Mom died four years today, on the day I am writing and recording this episode, and I had the privilege of being at her bedside for the last 5 days of her life. She was happy and joyful and filled with love as she took her final breaths and she inspired me to want to teach other people how to die happy too.

Mom was in very frail health for the last 5 years before she died and had become housebound as a result. She only left her home a handful of times during those years, but she received help from a friend with grocery shopping, housework and laundry.

Believing that she was going to die soon, Mom set about to plan and prepare for her own death, though she didn’t realize then that she would live for 5 more years. She created a Living Will (using Five Wishes), planned her funeral and burial (and paid for them), and gathered together all of the financial, insurance, and estate documents that she thought my brother and I might need after her death.

She also talked about her own death, her end-of-life wishes, and how she imagined her own dying process. She made sure that both my brother and I knew what she wanted at the time of her death: to be in her own home, in her own bed, with me at her side providing care. And that is exactly what happened when she died. Her wishes were fulfilled because she had thought about them, planned for them and talked about them.

Mom was happy when she died because she was ready to go. She wasn’t afraid to die and felt that she had lived a full life. There was nothing left undone in her mind and she was looking forward to leaving her tired and painful body behind when the time came. Her death was happy, peaceful and beautiful because of the way she lived her life. Here are some of the lessons I learned from her about how to die happy:

  • Believe in something bigger than yourself. Mom always devoted her time to being of service to others. In her last years of life she spent every afternoon praying for people from the comfort of her reclining chair.
  • Have a daily spiritual practice.
  • Prepare for and talk about death. As already mentioned, Mom was ready in every possible way for her own death.
  • Let go of attachments. She freed herself from some of the burden of material possessions by giving things away to her visitors for 5 years.
  • Make amends with the past and with other people.
  • Be satisfied with life just as it is.
  • Make the most of whatever you have been given.

My Mom is dearly missed but I am comforted by knowing that she was happy when she died. Her beautiful death inspired all of the work I have done in the past 4 years with End-of-Life University, Death Expo and this podcast. I’m passionate about helping everyone find a way to die happy! I wish you could have met her ….

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.              BE Ready.                Love Your Life.

 

 

Ep. 71 The Death-Positive Movement: Trends and Goals for 2017

It’s a brand new year! Let’s look ahead and see what’s possible in 2017!

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In today’s episode of the podcast we’ll look ahead at the coming year, study the trends in the death-positive movement and discover where it might be possible to create new volunteer and career opportunities for ourselves and our communities in 2017.

First I’ll share my own goals for the coming year, which include revising, editing and publishing the two books I wrote in 2016. I also plan to release two new training courses this spring and have lined up a fascinating group of speakers for the End-of-Life University Interview Series. To stay up-to-date on all the latest interviews and offering from EOLU, be sure to to sign up for the mailing list here.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the contributors to this podcast on supportonpatreon-e1412764908776Patreon.com/eolu. Your support helps pay for the expenses of creating this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series. If you’d like to become a patron just go to Patreon.com/eolu and sign up to contribute just $1 or $2 per month.

Here are some of the Trends I’ll be watching in 2017:

  1. Increasing number of Palliative Care Programs in hospitals across the country. Though many of the current programs are either understaffed or underfunded, these problems are likely to be corrected in the near future. To meet current standards, each palliative care team must have a chaplain and a social worker so if you have training in either of those fields you might find employment opportunities in a palliative care program in your community.
  2. Need for creative solutions for hospice care. Because for-profit hospices are taking over many of the smaller non-profit hospices there is a risk that uninsured patients or those with needs for expensive care might be turned away. There is a need for social-model hospices (see Episode 23) and possibly for community-based non-profit, non-Medicare-certified organizations that can help bridge gaps in services for hospice patients. Here are some recommended training programs for becoming an end-of-life doula or midwife:
    1. Sebastopol CA: Jerrigrace Lyons http://finalpassages.org
    2. Austin Texas: Donna Belk (Online training program): http://beyondhospice.com
    3. Austin Texas: Deanna Cochran http://www.qualityoflifecare.com
    4. Ann Arbor Michigan: Merrilyn Rush and Patty Brennan http://center4cby.com This training starts right away – Feb. 3-5, 2017
    5. Calgary Canada: Sarah Kerr http://soulpassages.ca/about/
    6. New York and online: Suzanne B. O’Brien RN: http://www.doulagivers.com
  3. Need for more caregivers. As baby boomers age and approach the end-of-life the caregiver shortage will become a much greater issue. Opportunities will exist to create caregiver training and support services in communities and even to start businesses that employ caregivers.
  4. Community outreach can help support the changes that are slowly occurring in the healthcare system. One of the best ways to encourage change in healthcare is to empower consumers to demand changes from their physicians. This will require outreach and education in the community. Here are some ideas for outreach and links to learn more from previous podcasts:
    1. Plan a community end-of-life event.
    2. Start a Death Cafe.
    3. Plan an EOL Film Festival.
    4. Start an EOL Book Club. Get a list of potential books here.
  5. Create an “Inreach” for members of the EOL community by starting a discussion group, networking event or collaboration opportunity for those who are already working in this arena.
  6. Bring volunteer movements to your community. Consider starting a group of volunteer caregivers who can provide respite care for family caregivers or start your own chapter of Threshold Choir, Twilight Brigade, or No One Dies Alone.
  7. Provide education for your community either as a voluntary act of service or as a paid instructor. Here are some possible ideas:
    1. Assist people to correctly complete their advance directives.
    2. Teach a community class on death and dying.
    3. Train caregivers.
    4. Teach about green burial, promote a natural burial ground in your community, help people access green burial supplies
    5. Educate the community about their rights to a home funeral

I hope these ideas inspire your own personal goals for 2017! Stay connected with me and keep tuning in to the podcast. Let me know your own inspirations and plans for the New Year by adding your comments.

Until next week ….

Face Your Fears.              BE Ready.             Love Your Life.