Learn how love can transform and heal our lives even during our last days.
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!
Today Dr. Karen Wyatt thanks her supporters on Patreon.com/eolu whose generous donations help keep this podcast on the air!
She talks about the Death Expo 2016 which starts this week on November 10th. You can sign up at DeathExpo.com and read about all 12 of the speaker for this FREE online event.
Next Dr. Wyatt shares some thoughts about the upcoming presidential election here in the U.S. While she doesn’t take sides or share any particular political beliefs she describes the fact that the U.S. electorate seems maximally polarized and divided over this election, with each side predicting “doomsday” if the other side wins. She goes on to say:
the day after the election will begin a period of grief for each candidate and their “teams”: the losing candidate will grieve over all the money, time, energy and life force spent in this costly battle; the victor will hardly celebrate the win because the “prize” is to take on responsibility for re-uniting the whole and to embrace those from the opposing side who now must be governed with reason and compassion.
the irony of this election process is that no matter how different others appear to be from us, we are actually far more alike that we are different. We are all mortals–human incarnations of Spirit–just trying to survive here on planet Earth. But each of us will ultimately die and that is our most powerful common bond. We each share mortality and an innate fear of death.
Death is the most uniting force we have if we look at it from a higher perspective.
Sogyal Rinpoche said, “Life is nothing but a continuing dance of birth and death, a dance of change.” Ultimately change is what we seem to be seeking through our political process: we want others to change, the government to change, the system to change–all so that we don’t have to change ourselves. But the only meaningful change is the change we create within ourselves.
Here is a recommendation for a daily practice:
contemplate your inner landscape and seek out the parts of you that fear change; the parts that harbor anger, hatred, negativity
seek to understand your own pain and your wounds that cause you to react with anger and fear; journal about them and spend time contemplating them
be aware of your behavior in relationships: what triggers your negative emotions? what causes you to lash out or shut down?
embrace the wounded parts of yourself so that they can heal
find the still point of equanimity within you and cultivate that; learn to operate from that place so that you can bring peace and healing to volatile situations
No matter how different you feel you are from your neighbors, family, and Facebook friends remember that Death ultimately unites us all as one. Contemplate your own death and allow the small deaths, the thousand changes that come to you every day, to move you forward. That’s how you will help the nation and our society heal again.
Check out the book The Tao of Death which has verses to help you contemplate death every day in your practice!
Sign up for Death Expo 2016 now so you won’t miss a single interview! Tune in every Monday and until next week remember:
In this episode Dr. Wyatt begins by talking about Death Expo, a free online educational event,which is coming up on November 10-13, 2016! She describes the 12 speakers who will be presenting during the event. To sign up go to:
Marggie Hatala – author and teacher of a writing class related to end of life; her books are “Sally: A Memoir” and the forthcoming “Life as Prayer”; learn more at www.marggiehatala.com
Next she begins the Update for September by talking about the new documentary film currently streaming on Neflix: Extremis, which won 1st place at the Tribeca Film Festival. Please see this film which takes place in the ICU at Highland Hospital in Oakland and features Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter. This is a must-see film that brilliantly depicts the conundrum that exists at the end of life when painful decisions must be made. By showing the real-life conversations that take place in the ICU between staff, family members and patients, a case is made for everyone to complete their advance directives and prepare their loved ones to honor their wishes at the end of life. But the painful process of decision-making becomes apparent as each individual struggles with the unknown and the unknowable in these dire situations.
The other topics covered this month include:
BMJ Online report that patients who receive hospice care for the last 6 months of life have better pain control, fewer hospital days, and are less likely to die in the hospital or ICU.
Researchers at John Hopkins found that their palliative care program led to savings of ~ $19 million over 5 years in addition to improved quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Study originally published in Health Affairs and reported on Reuters online showed gaps in palliative care in the US. Read the article.
“What it feels like to die,” an article in The Atlantic discusses the active dying process from the patient’s perspective. Read the article.
Friends and Family Letter Project by Dr. VJ Periyakoil at Stanford includes 7 prompts for letter writers to leave messages for their loved ones. Read the article.
“7 Songs for a Long Life” documentary from Scotland that depicts how terminally ill patients use singing as therapy. Read the article.
The Friendly Atheist Julie Stahl reminds us not to impose our own religious or spiritual beliefs on those who are grieving and may not share your perspective. Read her blog.
Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! I hope you enjoy this information. If you feel inspired to offer a little support go to Patreon.com/eolu to join the community!
In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt highlights several excellent books about the end of life that have been sent to her by their authors. If you have considered starting an end-of-life book club (as mentioned in Episode 33) you’ll find many great books to choose from in this list. Here are the book titles and authors, along with links for learning more or purchasing the books:
“My Voice, My Choice: A Practical Guide to Writing a Meaningful Healthcare Directive”; by Anne Elizabeth Denny; www.anneelizabethdenny.com
“LastingMatters Organizer: Where Loved Ones Find What Matters Most”; by Barbara Bates Sedoric: www.lastingmatters.com