Ep. 118 How Travel Helped My Grief

Learn how travel can provide a “safe container” for healing grief and loss.

PodcastGriefTravel

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In this episode I’ll share my own insights into how the experience of travel can help with the process of grief. This is also the subject of the new book I’m writing (I did research for it on my recent trip to Italy) … I’ll share a brief overview here!

You can check out all of my Italy photos on Instagram!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

virtualdeathcafecroppedEach month I host a “Virtual Death Cafe” with fascinating conversations about death, grief and the end of life. Anyone can join by telephone or online. You can learn more about it at www.eoluniversity.com/death-cafe.

Also, if you missed Death Expo earlier this month you can still access the replays at this link: www.eoluniversity.com/de17speakers.

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported through the generous donations of my patrons on Patreon.com/eolu. I’m sending a HUGE THANK YOU to all of my current supporters – your support makes a big difference! Join the fun for just $1 or $2 per month and you’ll receive the “Patrons Only” Q&A recording each month (Hospice Happy Hour!) Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and sign up!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

During several of my travel experiences in the past I have been dealing with grief and have found the process of travel to be helpful. On one trip to Italy, my husband and I learned of the death of our brother-in-law on the day we arrived in Venice. Unable to cancel the rest of our trip and return home immediately, which we wanted to do, we stumbled through the remainder of the vacation and managed to make peace with our pain.

Here are some of my “takeaways” about how travel can help with grief:

  • Permission to wander aimlessly. On our Venice trip we canceled all of our sightseeing plans and activities. We started each day with a totally clean slate and just wandered the streets and canals of the city all day long. By following our intuition and our broken hearts we were able to enter into our grief without distraction or attachment. Had we been at home with family we would have felt obligated to “do something” and “be somewhere” but because we were traveling we were free of all expectations.
  • Seeing the big picture. Because we were freed up from the details of our daily life at home, we found more space to explore grief from a “trans-personal” perspective, as something bigger than just our own individual lives. Experiencing grief in another country allowed us to:
    • Recognize that all people, everywhere, experience the death of loved ones. Our mortality and the grief it causes us is the interconnecting thread that binds us to all of humanity.
    • Go deep into history. By visiting ancient ruins we can see that all of humankind, throughout history has dealt with the pain of loss and struggled to make peace with death. Our experience of grief is just one part of a vast “whole” picture of human loss.
  • Surrendering to grief to find joy within. As travelers “stuck” in another country even though we wanted to be home, we had no choice but to surrender to the pain that engulfed us. When we allowed grief to find a home within (and even “became” a living embodiment of grief) we also discovered a startling capacity for simple joy over the beauty of being alive. I’ve written this before: suffering hollows us out so that we can contain an even greater measure of joy … and also love.
  • Understanding impermanence. Strolling through cemeteries, relics and ruined structures of the past illustrated to me perfectly that everything that exists in the physical realm is impermanent and will one day dissolve away. Only love and the energy of life persist eternally. And it is the depth of the love we experience for others that causes the magnitude of pain we feel upon their deaths. Grief is one of the visible manifestations of love in the physical realm.
  • Learning how to navigate in unfamiliar territory. On our “grief trip” in Venice we simply wandered every day until we were hopelessly lost. We took in everything around us along the way–noticing all the colors and sounds and fragrances of life. And when we felt ready to return “home” we studied our maps to figure out where we were and to slowly find our way back to more familiar territory. This skill of navigating in the unknown will prove to be very helpful to us throughout life and especially during our own dying process as we struggle to get back to a home we can’t remember.

I hope you will take the opportunity to travel some day, even when you are experiencing grief, to experience the profound benefits it can offer!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode of the podcast! If you enjoy this content, please share it with others and leave a review on iTunes! Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 113 How to Write a Book About Death and Dying with Joanna Penn

Learn why you should write your story and Joanna’s tips for getting it done and out to the world.

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JoannaPennNew24In this episode I interview Joanna Penn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, about why and how we should each feel empowered to tell our own stories, even when they focus on difficult subjects like death and dying. Joanna’s website TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.

Read about Joanna’s work at www.thecreativepenn.com and listen to her excellent podcast too!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

LKFlorenceI’ve recently returned from my amazing month-long trip to Italy and have so many great photos and stories to share with you!

Check out my Instagram feed to see lots of photos from our journey and soon I will begin posting stories on my blog at www.eoluniversityblog.com where you can read about some of our adventures. The purpose of this trip was to gather information for my next book: A Grief Pilgrimage Through Italy. Stay tuned for more information!

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I’ve created a workshop on “Resilience for Death-Care Workers,” which I just presented to the entire field staff of Denver Hospice. It was a profound experience to talk about the mindset and self-care practices that help us avoid burnout in our work. If you are interested in learning more about this workshop contact me at karen@karenwyattmd.com for more information or use the form below:


Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is generously supported through your donations at Patreon.com/eolu. When you contribute just $1 or $2 per month it not only helps defray the costs of creating this podcast but it also lets me know that you appreciate this content and would like to see and hear more! A huge THANK YOU to all of you who have been supporting the podcast for the past year! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Joanna Penn writes thrillers under the name J.F. Penn and she also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors. She is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker who talks with us today about how to write the stories that we are carrying inside of us so that we can help others with our words.

If you have been wanting to write a book (as most Americans say they want to do) then this interview will help you get started – especially if you want to write about the difficult subjects of death, dying and grief.

In this interview we’ll talk about:

  • How writing our stories can change us
  • How to overcome self-doubt as a writer
  • How to actually finish what you’ve started
  • How to handle the vulnerability that comes with telling your own story
  • How to get started writing your book

Joanna is an excellent resource for information on writing and self-publishing which she shares through her blogs, podcasts, books, and courses. Check out her website TheCreativePenn.com to learn more and connect with Joanna.

Remember there will be a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – I would greatly appreciate it!

Until next week….

Face Your Fears.                    BE Ready.                    Love Your Life.

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Ep. 106 Hospice Care for Animal Companions with Ella Bittel

Learn how this holistic veterinarian cares for animals as they reach the end of life.

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Ella002In this episode I share an interview with Ella Bittel, a holistic veterinarian who specializes in helping animal companions at the end of life. She’ll share tips for caring for our own pets when they become terminally ill.

Learn more about her work and classes at www.spiritsintransition.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0266My trip to Italy is coming up in just 2 weeks! You can check out my Pinterest board to see where I’m planning to go and then keep track of my travels by following me on Instagram or Facebook. I’ll be writing, walking, eating, biking, and tasting some wine as we work our way through Italia!

 

Patreonbecome2xBecome a patron of this podcast by making a donation of just $1 or $2 per month at Patreon.com/eolu! You’ll receive the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, access to the exclusive Hospice Happy Hour Q&A session each month, and a chance to promote your work on this podcast. A huge THANK YOU to all my current patrons for your support! Join them if you wish at Patreon.com/eolu.

The following interview references a video named Denali that is a “must-see”! Here is the link to watch it on Vimeo:

 

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Ella Bittel teaches us how to care for our animal companions so that they can fully live out their lives. She uses holistic and complementary medicine to keep animals comfortable at the end of life and encourages us to provide this loving care to our own pets. In this interview she discusses:

  • What it takes to give hospice care to an animal family member including dogs and cats
  • How we can create conditions to allow for a peaceful hospice assisted natural transition of our pet
  • How we can prepare so that giving hospice care to our animal companions becomes possible
  • Tips for assuring the comfort of our pets
  • The hotline available for questions regarding hospice care for pets on her website

Tune in each Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this podcast, please leave your reviews on iTunes. Until the next time ….

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                       Love Your Life.

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Ep. 97 Tribute to Jon Underwood, Founder of the Death Cafe Movement

In memory of Jon’s contributions to positive conversations about death through Death Cafe.

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deathcupThis episode is dedicated to the memory of Jon Underwood who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 44 on June 27, 2017. I share an interview with Jon from 2015 about Death Cafe, why he started the movement, and his dreams of creating an actual Death Cafe in London. Thank you Jon for changing how the world talks about death! Learn more at DeathCafe.com.

 

A crowdfunding campaign has been started to help support Jon’s family and you can learn more about it at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jon-underwood

Watch a video about the campaign here: https://youtu.be/o6-6LyUf2do

Please consider making a donation as a way of thanking Jon posthumously for his work!

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported through generous donations at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you to my latest supporter John Wadsworth who is the founder and creative director of Art of Dying Magazine (go to ArtofDying.net to learn more.) If you would like to become a donor go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.

About the 2015 interview with Jon Underwood:

When Jon Underwood and his Mom, Sue Barsky Reid, hosted the very first Death Cafe in his home in London in September 2011, they had no idea they were creating a movement that would sweep across the world.

In this interview Dr. Karen Wyatt and Jon Underwood will talk about the past, present and future of Death Cafe. You will learn how you can be part of the Death Cafe movement whether you would like to attend a Cafe, start your own, or support Jon’s future dream of opening a real Death Cafe in London!

We can learn from Jon’s story that it is possible for one person with a simple idea to create big changes in the world!

Thank you Jon creating those big changes for all of us! We wish that we had more time to be inspired by you but you have always taught that life is fleeting. You enjoyed each moment just as each of us must learn to do.

If you want to learn more about the new textbook The Death Cafe Movement go to this link: http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319542553

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Until the next time:

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                      Love Your Life!

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Ep. 94 Finding Joy in the Midst of Grief

How I got joy back into my life after my father’s suicide death.

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Wyatt18smallThis episode is a follow-up to the 8-part series I presented on my father’s suicide death (episodes 85-92). I will look at the factors involved that helped me eventually find joy in my life once again.

You can read the companion blog for this podcast at www.eoluniversityblog.com.

 

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776You can help support this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series by making a donation at my Patreon page: www.Patreon.com/eolu. This week I would like to thank my newest supporters: Melissa Neeley and Jozie Rabyor. You are awesome! Your support means everything to me. Also last week’s supporter Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs has asked me to promote Death Cafe as a thank-you for her donation. Go to DeathCafe.com to learn more about the movement, download a guideline for starting your own Cafe, or find a Death Cafe near you to attend!

Finally as promised, the Patreon donations have reached $50 per month so I am scheduling the first Hospice Happy Hour for Patreon supporters! It will take place on Friday June 23rd at 3 pm Pacific/6 pm Eastern. We’ll “hangout” together, talk about death, offer support to one another, and answer questions. If you are a current donor you’ll receive the call-in information by email. If you are interested you can become a donor too by going to Patreon.com/eolu!

Today I’ll be sharing with you my insights on how I moved through the pain of grief and guilt and managed (over many years time) to recover a quiet joy in my life. Here’s the list of factors that helped me:

  • Patience. I needed to recognize that grief has its own timing (and its different for everyone.) I had to let me grief follow its own path and unfold in its own way.
  • Stillness. Over time I developed my capacity to experience stillness within through a practice of contemplation and meditation. I discovered that joy arises in the stillness so this step was essential in order for me to ultimately feel joyful again.
  • Facing emotions. For many years I repressed all of my negative emotions about my father’s death because they were too frightening and dark for me. But it was necessary for me to face up to those emotions and embrace them with love in order to make room for joy to return.
  • Allowing change. I learned that I had to allow my grief and pain to change everything about me in order to move through it and discover joy again. My resistance to change kept me stuck in grief for many years and unable to move on.
  • Letting go of expectations. I had to alter my assumptions about how joy would show up in my life and recognize that it would arrive as one tiny droplet at a time. Joy for me now is quiet and serene.

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Send me a message or your questions for the Happy Hour at my email address karen@karenwyattmd.com or Tweet me at @spiritualmd!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.                         BE Ready.                        Love Your Life.

Love,

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Ep. 92 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 8

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 8: The Fire Ceremony

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suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • What I’ve learned about my Dad through my investigations
  • The “Tapestry Dream” that changed how I saw everything in my life
  • The hard lessons I learned through hospice work
  • How I recognized that Dad had been my silent partner through all of my grief journey including writing the book What Really Matters
  • The Fire Ceremony: A ritual for healing my Dad’s trauma and my own
  • The song The Sun is Shining for You by Gia (used by permission)
  • Closing comments about this podcast and farewell
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

Highest blessings and deepest love to you!

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Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

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Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.

Ep. 91 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 7

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 7: Omaha Beach

omahabeach

suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • Exploring Dad’s memorabilia from World War II
  • How indigenous cultures hear the stories of their warriors in order to share in their pain
  • My travels to Iceland and Normandy to retrace Dad’s steps in World War II
  • What I learned about the pain of war on my journey
  • A healing dream about my Dad
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.