Learn about the “science of generosity” and why a giving spirit helps us through even the most difficult times.
I learned to practice generosity from both of my parents at a young age and those experiences have shaped how I’ve lived my life. I’ll share some stories and talk about important research on generosity compiled by the Greater Good Science Center, including the benefits of giving to others no matter what we are facing in our personal lives.
Everything I know about generosity today I learned from my parents who grew up during the depression and mastered the art of giving to others in life-changing ways.
They showed me that it’s possible to be generous even during times of suffering–a lesson that was repeatedly demonstrated during the devastating November fires in Northern and Southern California this year.
Far from being frivolous or superfluous, human generosity might be deeply embedded in human behavior and play a vital role in our personal well-being and survival as a species. – Greater Good Science Center
This discussion includes:
The story of Dad’s winter coat
How Dad changed lives one broken-down car at a time
The story of Boris, his paintings and my Mom
Research findings from the Greater Good Science Center white paper “The Science of Generosity”
We are wired for generosity
Generosity is contagious
The value of role-models for generosity
The physical and emotional benefits of giving
How money can buy happiness
Generosity as a buffer for stress during difficult times
Wishing you the happiness of giving during this holiday season!
In this episode I share an interview with Cheryl Jones, host of the Good Grief Radio Show, therapist and author of the newly-released novel An Ocean Between Them. We talk about the important subject of meeting the needs of members of the LGBTQ community at the end of life, which is part of the story told in her new book. Learn about Cheryl’s work here.
I’ll be leaving for Spain in just a few days! While I’m traveling you will be able to listen to a 4-part series on Palliative Care during this podcast so you won’t miss a single episode! If you’re interested you can follow my photos on Instagram at kwyattmd!
A HUGE THANK YOU to my latest supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Lisa Milton, Debbie Hall and Christine Hazard Phillips. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and help keep this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series on the air. Join the team to get special bonus content!
CSU Institute for Palliative Care is holding a National Symposium on Palliative Care in San Diego October 11-12. Go to CSUpalliativecare.org to learn more.
My guest Cheryl Jones is a grief counselor, host of the Good Grief Radio Show on VoiceAmerica, and the author of the newly-released novel An Ocean Between Them. We will discuss the challenges that LGBTQ people experience in receiving care at the end of life and ways to make our organizations and facilities more inclusive.
In this interview you will learn:
Why members of the LGBTQ community access less healthcare than the general populatioN
Obstacles faced by LGBTQ individuals in receiving care in residential facilities, hospices, hospitals
Why a durable medical power of attorney is an essential document for all LGBTQ individuals
How the organization SAGE advocates for LGBTQ seniors
How to find common ground in end-of-life care even when we don’t agree on lifestyle choices
About post-traumatic growth and why it’s important to foster
Ways to create an LGBTQ-supportive environment in your organization or business
About Cheryl’s novel that addresses the challenges of LGBTQ relationships with family at the end of life
Cheryl Jones is the host of the radio show Good Grief. She is also a grief counselor and cancer educator. During her education as a Marriage and Family Therapist, her first wife was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which was at the time a uniformly terminal illness with a six month to one year prognosis. In the eight + years that followed, Cheryl engaged daily in the work of preparing for her death. She received training during this period from Stephen and Ondrea Levine (Who Dies and Grieving Into Life and Death) and Richard Olney (founder of Self-Acceptance Training). After her wife’s death, Cheryl immersed herself in her own multifaceted grief, surprised by frequent moments of joy.
Cheryl is a consultant and group leader at the Free Therapy Program of the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, where she developed, manages and teachies in their Continuing Education program. She has trained extensively with Erving Polster, leader in the field of gestalt therapy and author of Everybody’s Life is worth a Novel. She was Clinical Director at the Alternative Family Project, which served the therapeutic needs of LGBTQ families in San Francisco. Finally she is the author of the recently published novel: An Ocean Between Them.
In this episode I share my thoughts on how to approach the very difficult task of making an end-of-life decision about the treatment a loved one should receive. Many people are called upon to be decision-makers in these challenging situations and this episode serves as a guide for choosing the best option for someone we love.Download the handout below:
This episode is sponsored by Suzanne O’Brien and her training program for caring for others at the end of life at Doulagivers.com and by your generous donations on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Join the team and receive special bonuses as a thank-you!
Thank you to all of my patrons and sponsors! Your support means everything to me!
Every day families are called upon to make nearly impossible decisions about the type of care a loved one should receive as they near the end of life. Here are some suggestions for how to navigate this challenging situation when there is no advance directive available for guidance:
Gather medical information from all healthcare providers involved in care
Ask direct questions:
What is the diagnosis and what complications have occurred?
What is the effectiveness of the recommended treatment?
What are the chances for recovery or improvement?
Are there side effects from the treatment or will it cause additional suffering?
What will happen if treatment is stopped?
What would you do if this were your loved one?
Get expert advice and guidance from a palliative care team if available in your hospital
Remember past conversations with your loved one that might give you clues as to his or her preferences for the end of life
Consider the statistics that most Americans prefer to die at home and most do not want aggressive treatment to prolong life in the face of an incurable condition
Ask your loved one for guidance by expressing your concern and your desire to make the best decision. Even though your loved one cannot verbalize, they can hear you – listen for any intuitive or “felt” guidance that might come to you about the best choice to make.
Be gentle with yourself and recognize that you have done your best in a challenging situation
Seek support from others outside your family
Tune in next week for another episode! Share this content with others who might it helpful and consider leaving a review on iTunes.
This episode is sponsored by my book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying. This book focuses on the spiritual lessons I learned from my dying patients and how they changed my life!
Learn some tips for starting important conversations about death with people you are meeting for the first time!
In this episode I’ll share with you some stories about my recent yoga retreat and the many amazing conversations I was able to have with strangers about death and dying. I’ve got a few tips for you about starting up your own conversations about death with random strangers. (Here’s a photo from a sunrise hike I took during the retreat!)
Stay tuned to the end of the podcast as I’ll play her song Evocation as the Outro today!
A HUGE THANK YOU to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Karen Van Hoof! I appreciate your support very much. Thanks also to all of the other patrons – sign up and join the team for as little as $1 per month at Patreon.com/eolu!
Today I’ll tell you about my recent 5-day retreat at a yoga center where I went to relax, do yoga and finish revising one of my books. While I was there I had the pleasure of talking with many other visitors to the retreat center about death and dying, which was fascinating. Normally I don’t find many people out in the general public who want to talk about death. And while the people I conversed with weren’t necessarily interested in death before our discussion they each seemed to come away with a new understanding or sense of peace.
In order to confront our society’s fear of death we need many more conversations like this to happen every day with people who are not already tuned in to death awareness.
Each of us needs to step up and reach out to others to start a dialogue about death that might prove very helpful to our conversation partner and very informative for us.
Here are my tips for talking with strangers about death and dying:
Choose the right time and place: my conversations generally took place at the table while I was sharing a meal with various strangers. Breaking bread together creates an automatic sense of connection and safety since we usually associate mealtimes with positive feelings. There is also often some free time between courses where conversation can happen naturally. It may also work well to talk about death during other shared activities like hiking, gardening or cooking. Watch for the right opportunity to arise.
Find common ground first: make sure you have established a basic connection by talking about the meal (or the garden, or the hike, etc.) Since my conversation partners were also there for yoga classes we had an automatic common subject to begin chatting about while we established a connection.
Perfect your “elevator speech” which is a very brief story you tell whenever someone asks “What do you do?” The idea is that your answer is so brief you can complete it during a short elevator ride from one floor to the next. So think of one or two sentences you can use to answer that question and give another person an idea of your work. My answer at the yoga retreat was: “I’m a retired hospice physician who now writes books.” Tell them enough to garner their interest and curiosity and lead naturally to more questions. I purposely avoided mentioning death and dying in my initial introduction so that I wouldn’t frighten anyone away before we even got started. But most individuals I encountered were intrigued and asked more either about the hospice work or about the books I’m writing. Both of those questions led directly to a talk about death and dying. On several occasions the other person immediately brought up a story of a loved one or friend on hospice. Many times it was a story that desperately needed to be told and also came with questions about death, dying and hospice. I was amazed by the quality of conversation that occurred in these instances and the need for accurate information. I’m convinced that many people out there really do need to talk about death and dying but rarely encounter anyone they can speak to, which is where you come in!
Hone your listening skills: for these conversations focus on listening rather than telling your own story. Watch for cues from the other person that there is a need to say something and encourage them to talk by asking a question or two and stopping to listen attentively. We are all passionate about our work and other endeavors and there will be opportunities to share that at some point in the future. Initially it’s more important to just listen and hold space so that the other person can ask questions and get the support they need. Rely on your intuition to tell you when that person is ready for a little nudge or encouragement to go deeper into their feelings.
Share just enough information: again it is important to be a good listener so when you do describe your work don’t go overboard. Use simple and accurate terms to convey what you do but pause and allow the other person to ask for the information they need.
As you’ll hear when you listen to this episode I was able to have meaningful conversations with different people every day while I was at the retreat. These are some of the most important discussions we can be having right now so take a chance and strike up a conversation with a stranger about death and dying!
There will be a new episode every Monday so be sure to tune in again! And if you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.