End of Life, EOLPodcast

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

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

PodcastLazarPante

 

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

Learn more at willoweol.com!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

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

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

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

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

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

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

Until next week …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Tragedy

Ep. 122 Top 10 “Game Changers” of 2017 for the Death-Positive Movement

Learn about my Top-10 picks for people, events and trends that have changed the end-of-life movement in 2017.

PodcastGameChangers

2017In this final episode of 2017 I take a look back at the previous year and share my thoughts on some of the events and people that I believe will have a big impact on how our society deals with the end of life.

Happy Holidays!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Patreonbecome2xYou can support this podcast by making a small donation of $1 or $2 at Patreon.com/eolu.

 

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Here are my picks for the 2017 Game Changers in the Death-Positive Movement:

  • The documentary film “Extremis” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. The film was also picked up by Netflix in 2016. It is a powerful depiction of end-of-life care in the ICU staffed by Dr. Jessica Zitter, which should serve as a wake-up call to people about the need to do end-of-life planning before a healthcare crisis occurs.
  • Dr. Jessica Zitter’s book Extreme Measures was also released this year. In addition she wrote an article for the N.Y. Times (“First Sex Ed Then Death Ed”) calling for death education classes for all high school students. This novel idea has the potential to change our society’s perception of death and dying by introducing the subject to young people. Dr. Zitter is truly a game changer!
  • In March and May of 2017 the organization The Dinner Party (a movement to provide community for millennials dealing with loss) convened meetings with business leaders from some prominent US corporations to discuss loss and the workplace. They emphasized the importance of developing workplace policies and protocols for managing bereaved employees and offering them assistance. These conversations are just the first step in changing how grief is recognized and supported in the workplace rather than being ignored.
  • In April 2017 the 1st International Death Doula Training was held in Maui for the purpose of teaching people from around the globe to serve others as death doulas. This event was a game changer because it validated the death doula movement, increased the number of qualified doulas who can serve their communities, and provided a networking platform for death workers, which helped strengthen and expand the movement. The 2nd International training will take place in 2018!
  • Also in Apri the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit was held to address the epidemic of opioid addiction in this country. Measures have been taken to limit the number of pain pills that can be prescribed and dispensed at one time. This is an important and game-changing step to deal with the overwhelming public crisis of opioid deaths but caution is necessary. We must be vigilant to ensure that all hospice and palliative care patients have access to the medications they need for pain and symptom management.
  • On June 27, 2017 Jon Underwood, founder of Death Cafe, died suddenly and unexpectedly at a young age. Jon has been a game changer from the beginning by creating the Death Cafe platform for conversations about death that has spread around the world. But the tragedy of his death is also a potential game changer because of the powerful legacy Jon leaves behind and because of the potential for tragedy to inspire growth, creativity and healing. The entire death-positive movement is indebted to Jon for his inspiring and gentle leadership and may his death be a catalyst for transformation.
  • In July a new smart phone app named WeCroak was introduced. This app is a game changer because it helps people to think about death in a positive manner  by sending reminders (“You will die one day”) and quotes on their phones 5 times a day. Technology has the potential to revolutionize our approach to death and dying and this simple $.99 app is just one small step toward the change that is needed.
  • The film Coco was released in the US by Disney and Pixar in November. Coco tells the story of a 12-year old boy who is transported to the land of the dead on Dia de los Muertos. There he receives help from his departed great-great grandfather to return to his family in the land of the living. The film depicts joyful skeletons who dance and sing and it portrays a positive image of life after death. While it is a children’s movie Coco has a powerful message for adults and is likely to stimulate much conversation in families about death and departed ancestors. It is exciting to see Hollywood begin to address death in a positive manner and this film is a game changer that will hopefully lead to more such productions in the future.
  • In December the first EndWell Symposium, created by Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider and her foundation, was held in San Francisco. This groundbreaking symposium brought together thought leaders from healthcare, design and technology to share ideas on how to improve end-of-life care. The synergy of this collaborative event will have a ripple effect across the country and should lead to innovation and creativity around death and dying in the months to come. Dr. Ungerleider is a game changer for her forward-thinking generosity and ingenuity!
  • Also in December the Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy in Prescott AZ held a class for students in grades 9-12 on “Death and the Meaning of Life.”  School Director Charles Mentken taught the class, which provided a comprehensive look at death and dying from various cultural and religious perspectives. The elective class also introduced the students to options for hospice and palliative care, death doulas, home funerals, cremation, and traditional funeral and  burial services. This may be the first “pilot project” course of the type Dr. Jessica Zitter called for in her NY Times article and it is definitely a game changer. The students in the course have reported that their attitudes and fears about death have been totally transformed, as well as their approach to life, as a result of what they learned in the class. (I’ll be featuring an interview with Charles Mentken and 3 of his students on the End-of-Life University Interview Series in early 2018. Sign up if you’re not already on the list!)

I hope your holiday celebrations have been filled with joy and light and that you feel ready to embark on a brand new year next week! There will be a new episode on New Year’s Day where I will share my “wish list” for 2018.

Until then remember to ….

Face Your Fear            BE Ready           Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 114 Dia de los Muertos: Celebrating the Dead

Learn about the history and cultural traditions behind Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

PodcastDia

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In this episode I’ll share what I’ve learned from online research and a conversation with a friend about Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead celebrations, which will be taking place this week in Mexico. Join me in an inspirational look at this beautiful cultural perspective on death!

Learn more here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

DENewI’m getting ready for the 5th Annual Death Expo which will take place November 16-17! This year I will feature 5 brand new Keynote Interviews along with several Encore Interviews that represent the best of past Death Expos. If you are already on the EOL University mailing list (and receive emails each time a new EOLU interview is posted) you will automatically receive the Death Expo access information. But just in case … you can sign up here if you’d like to join us for Death Expo:

Click here to register!

 

positanoAlso, I recently returned from an incredible month-long trip to Italy and I wanted to remind you that you can check out all my photos on Instagram if you are interested!

Click here to see the photos!

 

 

Patreonbecome2xThis week I would like to thank my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Shannon Calvert! A HUGE THANK YOU to Shannon and all of the other donors who are helping to keep this podcast on the air! If you would like to become a patron and receive the “Hospice Happy Hour” Q&A recording each month visit Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

I intended to record an interview about Dia de los Muertos with my friend Alex Sánchez whose family is from Guadalajara, Mexico and who currently lives in Barcelona. Due to technical difficulties we were unable to record our conversation but I did gather a lot of helpful information from him that corroborated the online research I had completed.

Here are some of the interesting facts I learned (listen to the recording to hear all of the details):

  • Current Dia de los Muertos celebrations derive from Aztec traditions influenced by Catholicism. They are practiced most elaborately in the indigenous parts of Mexico (from Mexico City to the south.)
  • The celebrations occur on November 1st (All Saints’ Day) and November 2nd (All Soul’s Day).
  • Families build elaborate altars (ofrenda) in their homes with candles, marigolds, food, sugar skulls, clay skeletons, favorite items of the deceased, and even toys
  • Plates of the deceased’s favorite foods are placed on the altar – eating those special foods is a big part of the celebration
  • There is a belief that the “gates of heaven” open at midnight on October 31st (All Hallow’s Eve), allowing spirits to return to the land of the living to join in the celebration
  • On November 2nd the celebration moves to the cemetery where gravesites and tombs are cleaned and decorated with flowers, candles and skulls. Music, food, dancing and storytelling are all part of the day.
  • In Mexican culture death is considered a normal part of life–to be welcomed rather than dreaded. Skeletons and skulls are decorated with bright colors and smiles as they represent the joy of living in the face of death.
  • In many cities altars are placed in public squares and there are community parties and parades to celebrate the occasion but these events are less traditional and have been commercialized to appeal to tourists.

I loved learning about Dia de los Muertos because the celebration matches my own beliefs: that life is to be celebrated and death reminds us to make the most of every day. Whatever traditions and celebrations you enjoy this week I hope you take a moment to appreciate life and acknowledge that it is precious because it is limited.

Tune in next week for another episode. If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes. (Click here to learn how to leave a review.)

Until next time …

Face Your Fear.           BE Ready.          Love Your Life.

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