We often wait to talk with Death until a tragedy, a diagnosis, an unforeseen act flips our life on end and forces our gaze toward our own, or a loved ones, disappearance. It’s no surprise, that for many, experiencing a major life event is our primary introduction to Death.
We live in a Death denial culture that focuses on life at all costs...we go to “war” with cancer…we buy the latest biometric device to “optimize” our health…we take endless supplements to build an impenetrable immune system…we live our lives as though tomorrow is guaranteed. And when our body does breakdown (it eventually will) or when tragedy strikes, so often we are shocked and in disbelief. How could this have happened? How could it have been prevented? Why me? Why you? Why them? Why now? There may be answers that can help make sense of those questions, but just as likely the questions remain and any answers feel random at best.
I consciously began my own inquiry into death and dying in reaction to the quick and painful death of my Father. Despite all of my many years of training in bodywork, meditation and healing arts, I felt wholly unprepared for his passing - both in its emotional impact and its logistical one. Until this experience, I never understood that one could “study” death and dying or that one could “prepare” both emotionally and logistically. It was a rough initiation, indeed.
That was over 10 years ago and I have been dancing with this conversation ever since. Building capacity through grief work, somatics and meditation, gaining experience through my own personal losses, hospice work and end of life trainings and receiving wisdom through the many spiritual teachers, death workers and threshold guides that have gone before us. We have so much support to help us reconnect with what we already know how to do. I mean, really, we were born for this….We were born to die.
These bodies are made to be finite, permeable and transformational. Just as the seasons both compost and renew, our very biochemical and energetic nature is to shed and grow, to begin and end and begin again.
I’m committed to helping ease the path to normalizing death, dying and grief through art and community. Death need not be something to fear, in fact, when we open ourselves to face our own mortality, we begin to prioritize what's important in our lives, we tend to live with more empathy and gratitude, we build resilience and deep presence.
We can create a conversation with Death, well before our actual dying. We can build capacity to face our fears, ideas and historical experiences of death. And while preparing to meet them, knowing that none of us will really know how or when we will die and how we will ultimate receive it.
There is wisdom here. There is wisdom in getting into relationship with our own dying.
Read on for one to one support and community gatherings.
“Tis a human thing, love,
A holy thing,
What death can touch."
-Judah Halevi or Emanuel of Rome
Oct. 28th, 11a to 1p PST
I offer one-to-one support to meet wherever you are on your Death journey/inquiry. Every conversation is approached with your specific goals, state of health and capacities in mind. I welcome any questions you may have to clarify if a personal session with me is the right fit for you at this time. I welcome family sessions and small groups.
Regardless of age, health or stage of life, we can both contemplate and make clear decisions about our end of life experience before a crisis occurs. We can document our wishes for health care, treatments and cessation of them that are in line with our values. We can envision our funerals, contemplate what needs tending in our lives and communicate these wishes to loved ones. We can consciously meet the greatest transformation of our lives.
END OF LIFE INQUIRY, PLANNING & SERVICES INCLUDE:
Guidance on Advanced directives, resources for wills and personal wishes, guidance for wrapping up your household
Conversation and support around envisioning end of life scenarios
Life Review and Legacy work
Creating rituals and threshold work
Funeral and Burial planning
Something you are curious about and don't see it here? Just reach out!
I offer sliding scale pricing based on your current financial means from $35-$75/hr. If this range is inaccessible, please be in touch for alternate options.
End Notes an end of life guidebook by Peaceful Presence
Gone from My Sight outlines the stages of death and dying by Barbara Karnes, end of life hospice educator and nurse.
Get Your Shit Together created by Chanel Reynolds, a website full of information about end of life planning
National Home Funeral Alliance assists with education and resources for community led-Death care
Green Burial Council infomation on Green burial options and cemeteries
You're Going to Die Podcast with Ned Buskirk
End of Life University Podcast with Karen Wyatt, MD
Five Invitations Book by Frank Ostaseski - Discovering what Death can teach us about fully Living
Die Wise Book by Stephen Jenkinson - A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul
Prayers for Honoring Grief Book by Pixie Lighthorse
The Wild Edge of Sorrow Book by Francis Weller - Rituals of renewal and the Sacred work of Grief