Welcome to my site. I'm Tarron Estes, Founder of the Conscious Dying Institute. I am an End Of Life Educator, Organizational Learning Consultant, Caritas Coach, an Associate Faculty with Dr. Jean Watson's: The Watson Caring Science Institute. I design and facilitate "Sacred Passage: End of Life Doula Certificates" in the United States and Canada.
I work with Health Care Systems and Senior Communities facilitating "End of Life Culture Change" and "Best Three Months: End of Life Fulfillment and Care Planning". I have delivered "Human Caring: A Caring Science Educational Initiative" and "Caring Science Conscious Dying" for nurses and clinical professionals at Kaiser Permanente and other hospital systems in the US. These programs increase the caregivers ability to develop and fulfill life priorities and care plans based on what people want and need most as their dying time approaches.
I believe we can shift the end of life experience from the "worst months of life" to the "Best Months of Life". Our country is experiencing a groundswell--a true grassroots movement that I call "Occupy Death". This movement calls us to explore and create transformational healing experiences during the dying process. People all over North America want to take back the care of loved ones so that we can all heal and experience more love. We want to live as beautifully and fully as possible through dying in a good, sacred way.
To "Occupy Death" we must wake up and be fully present in the HERE and NOW. For this, I design embodiment activities that allow caregivers to fully experience spiritual or esoteric concepts, shifting the focus from thinking to being present so that we can generously and graciously assist those who are still alive but can see the end. I support awakening of the individual so that we are working together for the good of the whole. I focus on uniting personal and organizational growth to produce life transformation for individuals, families, and clinical professionals, and culture change for organizations.
People always ask: "How did you get into this line of work? Death!!! Isn't this a difficult job?" (Scroll down to read "MY Story"). I got into this line of work because earlier in life I wanted to be whole and fully alive. I was relentless in this pursuit. I am blessed that I found amazing teachers (this has never stopped)
I found teachers who were whole people with huge baskets full of gifts and skills. With them I learned that our authentic being, our true nature lives as the most precious jewel inside us, unblemished and fully alive. And that the direct experience of our true nature also leads to the outpouring of our purpose--our innate healing gifts coupled with the desire to give back.
I studied with Sanchi Reta Lawler and Thomas Hoffman, innovators of an amazing transpersonal counseling & healing certification called the Alaya Process. Some of the things my teachers brought to my life included their relationship with spiritual teachers from the Renzi Zen Tradition, Osho, Carl Jung, Wilheim Reich, Milton Trager, Milton Erikson, Peter Senge, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and many many more. I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Jean Watson over the last 5 years studying Caring Science Principles and Practices.
I loved working as a Leadership Trainer and Professional Coach with Leading Learning Communities of Boulder, Colorado founded by Dr. Fred Koffman in 1995. We delivered experiential learning programs for leaders in corporate settings such as Shell Oil, Texaco (now Eqiulon Pipeline), GE, General Motors, and Ernst and Young.
In 2007, I worked internationally in Cambodia and Thailand as Yoga Master & Healing Artist at the Hotel de la Paix and Anantara Resorts. I use a variety of healing modalities in my work, including dream translation, body-oriented healing tools such as intensive breath-work, emotional release, adult holding, practices for death, forgiveness, and spiritual practices that establish our ground in the unitary field of consciousness.
Education/Experience: University of New Hampshire, BA Creative Writing /Journalism; Professional Coaching Certificate, Leading Learning Communities; Certified Massage Therapist, Regina School of Massage; Alaya Process Certification in Somatic Psychology.
I live in Boulder, Colorado where I hike, bike, write, design, collaborate and cook up fun things with people I love. I feel passion in my heart for the work I do and the people I touch. My joy is supporting the unfolding of authentic presence and innate healing gifts of others whose desire is to give back and serve at end of life. Thank you for reading about my work. I am leaving you a few poems and MY Story on the sidebar and down below! Enjoy
MY Story, Tarron Estes
When I was a young child, I learned from my mother that caring for others is the fruit of life.
The small town I lived in was a glass house, so small that when someone was sick, or born, dying, or dead, we all knew. Then everyone brought food. They sat and visited, comforting each in their own way, giving to the family and patient equally.
I saw my mother tend to her mother and father through the end of their long long lives. My father’s mother and father, her own sisters and brothers, neighbors, and friends. People called on her to stay with their loved ones who lingered in that half light between life and death. And when the time came, my mother helped them, kept their lips moist, fed them ice until there was no heat left to melt it, patted their pillows, touched their sweet tired cheeks, and held their hands until it was time to go on, to go HOME.
I am a child of many relatives who lived very long lives.
I saw people in nursing homes who were faint, thin, heavy, sad, lost, but not yet dead. I saw caregivers doing their best and some not near enough. I saw families sitting in miserable chairs in waiting rooms. I saw little ladies lined up along the hall.
In adolescence, I had a friend whose parents owned the town funeral home. We played there after church on Sunday, a day that most families choose to have the service for their dead. We played everywhere in that building. We took the elevator up to the casket room and hid inside them, pretending to be dead. We went down down down to the embalming room and touched the cold still bodies. We hid behind the curtains in the funeral parlor and watched as people mourned for their dead and sang their favorite songs. We saw fathers and uncles and grandfathers break down and fall to their knees while mothers and sisters and aunts and daughters knelt beside them.
So I grew up seeing and knowing death. I became as comfortable with this passage as sitting on a swing outside. Something about this made me want to know life and dig into what it means to pass through suffering and come back with a gift in my heart. Something in me wanted to know how to turn this dying I have seen and the care surrounding it into something as precious as gold. And to bring it back to share with others. It is a blessing to give back what I have been given, guided by teachers whose souls and hearts and brilliant human caring healing gifts taught me everything I needed to remember about who I am and what I came to this earth to do.
I trusted my life for just long enough with each of them to transform pain and doubt into a desire to give back. This alchemy, this giving back, is now my work. Tarron Estes
A bit of Poetry
Stone Songs: Cherokee Horse Woman Dancer, Tarron Estes
I am the woman who doesn’t talk. My name is a stone in the back of my throat. I cannot tell you who I am.
My songs are stuck inside me. I can hear them but my voice is gone.
My ears work and my eyes can see.
Everything comes through me.
I go to the river with the women who wash their clothes on the rocks.
I watch them as the water rolls over their skin. They talk and laugh and their babies coo on the riverbank.
Someone is always watching....Keeping them safe. The women turn their naked skin to the sun.
I sit on blankets, watching the stones, listening to the music they make in the river.
I wait for one of them to jump down out of my throat to join the rest.
Then I can sing. Then I can speak who I am.
My prayers are lonely without my song.
In this quiet place, no one has ink or paper here.
No one has forgotten who they are.
Grandfather sits with his pipe and watches . His legs are crossed and the smoke flies over his blanket, touching the sky.
He is blind and it still hurts to hear the empty words in this new world. Grandfather lives here in his teepee on the earth.
There is a drum beating. It says:
"It is time now, my sons and daughters. It is time. Hear me".
(It is the earth talking through him)
"Your hearts are not dead. We did not come here to be dead before we die.
Your spirits cannot walk both sides or even one side only for so long.
My people. My People. Sing a song.
Even in bloodpain it will heal you.
Kneel down. The rain soaks through your hard backs and seeps into the Mother. Mother Earth.
She is weeping and sick with the death songs you are weaving.
Untie the bowstrings and let the arrows fly into the night.
The raven will catch them.
With her wings they will dance and fly and you can bend down again without pride or shame.
Your mother. Your mother is singing and it is her voice that you will set free.
Your hearts are not rocks and there is no bag of gold you can hold onto in the end.
Open your hands. My people. Open. The drum is beating. My spirit’s song lives to be free."
In the evening Grandmother is singing. Sitting.
Her brown skin shines in the moonlight. She sits outside at her place by the tree near the river.
Her hands are all knuckles. Like knots tied in ropes.
They hold themselves together.
In her lap they lie down and pray.
Her bones are praying too. They have forgotten how to move.
It is her song that moves now. Like the water over stones in the river.
She sings like a bird of the night. Unafraid.
She makes death ready to meet her.
She makes him her lover.
Every night she sings and he comes a little closer.
Her eyes are like moons with a ring around them. It will not scare her to see him.
Now she is the scary one. Singing like the stones in the river.
The stones jump out of her mouth and fall like songs from before she was born.
The water laughs and splashes her. It plays with her.
Down stream by his tee pee Grandfather listens in the night. He knows the sounds that throat stones
make in the stream. He hears them jump up and down like happy fish. He prays for the river to fill with these stones and for the rains to come again.
He sings for his daughter’s song to return and for all the earth’s children to be free.
There is a streambed overflowing with stones that say my name.
“I am here. Listening. I hear the cries of the world.”
White Buffalo Woman in her doe skin skirt delivers me.
She is a glow of round endless light.
Herself a Moon.
She sits patiently at my feet as I remember the birth of my calling.
Another bigger moon rises behind her. I am in the quite dark womb-time drenched in light. I am a weaver and healer. I must hear. I must weave.
I must listen. It is not my role to speak but to deliver words of others back to them. Reflections
of their own wisdom. Moonlight.
White Buffalo Woman sends me the seed of this moon.
It is not the night sky moon but the Moon of another life.
It is the guide to the other side.
The passing over from one place to the next.
These are not words I can say. They are not important or necessary to do the work.
White Buffalo Woman is this Moon’s guide.
I am her daughter: Cherokee Horse Woman Dancer.
She has tuned her medicine drum to call me back.
I am her precious child and she has been with me all along.
We will meet my the river on the other side.
Tarron Estes 1/22/14