One could argue that “wellness” is by nature an ever-shifting concept that serves to fill in what is missing and unhealthy across many sectors—whether healthcare, travel or real estate. And that it’s a fast-growing market because it addresses needs unmet, with a conceptual identity by nature “supplemental.” Death Doulas and those creating far more eco-friendly burials are practicing wellness. The medical world has simply not put enough resources into end-of-life care and research.Read More
Is this what happens when I die when anyone dies - but in a condensed way? I’m suspecting that when I die, my “life” as defined by that which is inside my Box will be just chucked out as useless stuff - good while it was needed to live my life - but now as I die, useful? Satisfying? Who I am?Read More
Even in my mother’s womb, the aura of grief surrounded me. Less than six weeks before I was born, my aunt passed away from cancer. She was only 31 years old and left behind a grieving husband, 3 young children, her parents, and 3 siblings. I was named after her. I was born into a world of tragic loss and equal celebration of life. You see, my birth gave hope to my family.Read More
This is part of my story of becoming. Becoming who I am, a medicine for others to tap into and utilize. I am becoming a Sacred Passage End of Life (Death) Doula because like many reading this, I feel a pull towards facilitating people of all ages in acknowledging their mortality to more truly live the life they desire and supporting individuals in their more immediate dying process. Beyond this, something about it simply feels “right”.Read More
Ego pontem - “I am a bridge” - would seem to be the most accurate way of expressing who I am, although my best friend would argue that I am a lighthouse (ego sum praeberi fari). I have always been someone to try to bring encouragement to others, to cheer them on as they make their way in life, art, relationships or health crisis’. I bring joy and use heart-led conversations to illuminate their paths, while they find “their way” in peace.Read More
While many roads can fundamentally lead to this redemptive place, the first step is living consciously in relationship with a singular truth: we are all going to die.
To acknowledge this truth is essential in navigating a beautiful death. To deny this truth is the surest chance to create a passing mired in struggle and fear.
I knew I was pregnant.
My husband and I had just started trying for our second child, and having been pregnant before I was picking up on subtle (and not so subtle) changes - what I thought was morning sickness, a certain aching in my back, and the exhaustion that a full night's rest could not cure. Before even mentioning it to my husband he asked if he should pick up a pregnancy test because he was picking up on my symptoms too. Excitedly we waited for a positive result.
And it was negative.Read More
A Sacred Passage End of Life Doula Graduate shares her story - “My friend was having a very difficult time accepting the reality that her mom was nearing the end of her earthly journey. By this point, her mom was unable to speak very much after surviving and overcoming a debilitating stroke several years ago. When I visited with them, I engaged with the lovely elder by asking those big, bold questions. By the end of our conversations and prayers, her daughter KNEW that what she wished was not reality…”Read More
“I am an End-of-Life Companion. I, like you, have always been building. I have had it in me all along. The Conscious Dying Institute was the guidance I needed to step into my role in a helpful, fulfilling and healing way. I gave myself permission and found my grace.”
Betsy Munro Jeffrey, a Sacred Passage End of Life Doula Graduate, shares her story of being an end of life companion for her grandfather and conversations with her children about his passing.Read More
Researching End Of Life Doulas, Continuity of Care, and Compassionate Community Formation (H12662)
Continuity of care as a spectrum of support offered by End Of Life Doulas to their clients and networks of care around clients, and the role death literacy plays in establishing compassionate communities around clients of End Of Life Doulas is the focus of this international research project.Read More
On my 71st birthday, I was struck by how the tenor of the birthday calls have changed. Many of my contemporaries are struggling with health challenges. Two friends have a terminal diagnosis and others have cancer or other significant issues. My depth of compassion is being called upon more frequently.
I am more than willing to be there for my loved ones in their darkest hours. I also know that I want to live my life with grace and optimism. The need for happiness, and its partner, laughter, must be fulfilled.Read More
Many people are mystified, shocked or “frozen” when they encounter the mysterious, subtle energy surrounding death. Nurses and caregivers helping people at tend of life might witness something mysterious or inexplicable. Based on their faith tradition, they may believe in the existence of such miracles, yet have no confidence or authority to validate the dying person’s experience. Caregivers may feel regret, guilt, shame or confusion because they denied their own beliefs and lost access to the portal of transformation that appeared for them and for the one passing.
What if a traditional, clinical education included training in how to validate and support the experiences of those who speak of traveling back and forth between this life and the next? How would this impact caregivers and their ability to serve the sick and the dying if they were introduced to the subtle energy realms listed below and allowed to express their own understanding of them?Read More
My mother emigrated from Poland to America in the late 1980’s. To this day, she recalls Halloween as being one of the greatest culture shocks of her life. She would often tell me that American Halloween is empty of true meaning, that it’s hollow rather than hallow. She couldn’t wrap her mind around the idea of children running around yards filled with plastic bones, cardboard tombstones, carved pumpkins, and faux cobwebs trying to fill their pillowcases or plastic jack-o-lanterns to the rim with candy from strangers; amassing as much candy as possible has become the focal point of the holiday.Read More
Now I use this Practice for Death as a teaching tool. Through this meditation, we can learn to support each other and to begin to internalize a profound sense of surrendering into the final moments of life. Many of our graduates express that Maha Savasana: Vigil Practice for Death is one of the most transformative experiences of their certificate training.Read More
Wisdom Traditions Offer Many Practices For Death last week’s blog, we explored the concept of practicing for death …. a concept presented in the first segment of the Conscious Dying Institute’s End of Life Doula Certificate program. The name of this first segment is: "Conscious Dying Practices For Awakening NOW!" What does this mean? Experiential transformational activities are designed specifically to help us focus on awakening our innate healing gifts and talents, awakening to the power of bold inquiry, awakening to the gift of presence. One powerful transformational activity is Maha Shavasana: Practice for Death © The Entire Activity is listed below. Choose a partner and practice together.Read More
From as long as I can remember I have had this feeling that there was something hidden about the process of death, some important kind of magic we were missing out on. Eventually, this became a fundamental part of my path, prominently featured in my professional practice as a body-centered psychotherapist specializing in depression and life meaning.
Some wonder about why we should entertain such gloomy topics anyway, lest we find ourselves bogged down by this unnecessary heaviness. To them I would say that death awareness itches all the time, that it rumbles continually just under the surface, that our real choice is between letting it fester in our unconscious or leveraging it to experience feelings of meaning and deeper connection.Read More