Spike (Stephen) is a 70 year old man living with the knowledge that he has 2 years to live. He entered Sacred Passage: End of Life Doula Certificate program in Vancouver to dive deeply into his own personal journey in community, and to find peace as a spiritual emotional being before he dies.
Spike entered our course with an enormous depth of heart, excellent communication, authentic loving healing presence and years of life experience in the realm of Spiritual Awakening. Even before we knew he was dying, he became our class Beloved as he shared his truth, understanding, and personal experiences during our time together. It was not until our last day together that we discovered that Stephen's heart, his physical beating heart, may stop beating in less than 2 years.
Read this beautiful story of his journey, of the courageous and remarkable task of self-healing before death, and what it was like for a man with a terminal diagnosis to receive the end of life care and education offered in this course.
"The Sacred Passage: End of life Doula retreat I experienced while in Vancouver was right at the tippy top of my personal growth experiences over the past 45 + years. How come?? Well, it ...met my learning needs as few workshops ever have. Here's why:
How I learn the best is to first read about what I'm about to undertake - a mind learning. For the Vancouver retreats, that was the pre-workshop background materials. The next step for me is to personally experience what it is I want to learn: the exercises each day most often fell inside me with heart tears - an emotional learning. Third, I ground and integrate what I learned via my mind and emotions by sharing it with others: the trial runs being a Doula throughout the retreat wedded my mind and my emotions into a third learning: wisdom.
I came away with a depth learning of Stephen, Myself, and of how to be a Death Doula with others.
Actually, I did not have any vision as a Death Doula for others when I first contacted (Conscious Dying Institute) I was 100% interested in my personal journey into my death. Recognizing and respecting I have a very deep need for autonomy, freedom, and self-responsibility. I thought that to meet those needs, I would have to immerse myself in a learning situation that demanded I look into my own death with clarity and compassion.
I've got a short list of things to finish up with the world now before I die; some almost done things, a few yet to start, and the rest to just go over again to modify in present time especially after Vancouver.....perhaps a few days work. The Vision Quest in August to tie all that together in silence alone in the high desert.
And then I'll turn inside with all the clarity and energy I've generated on the Outer Death Journey over the past two years. My sense is: now that all this relational chit chat stuff is coming to a close, what I've left somewhat untouched but not altogether is That. For when I closely look, there's me Stephen who interacts with myself and everyone and everything else: Stephen that has so many fears of my coming Death and the deepest longings for Life and connection with others.... And then there's that immense silence that just happens by itself when the dust Stephen kicks up in the world drops... and Stephen rests, breathes, and effortlessly lets go.
So I'm almost half the way Home; the half that is comprised of dealing with having been alive, connected, and entangled in the best way possible. Having seen and finished this, the time is fast approaching to put it all aside. To then turn, to breathe Breath and to Rest: My work is done, I re-Turn.
Thank you again Tarron. I love and respect you as my dear guide and heartfelt friend as I continue my personal journey towards my own death and That of others." --Spike
We hold Spike in deep appreciation for all that he brought to our Vancouver program. Through shared learning and practice, our End of Life Doulas elevate the experience of deathing. They learn to surrender and trust deeply in each moment. The rich, intensive, life-evoking Conscious Dying Education Doulas receive prepares them to be supportive end of life companions who offer the comforting healing care guided by what people want and need most.