Woody had the good fortune of landing in her position with the Institute by doing what has guided her work in death care for over a decade – researching, looking into, insisting that there has to be a better, saner, less fraught way to die in America and beyond. She was on a conference call with a ceremonial organization -- that has inspirationally guided her professional offerings as a memorial and funeral officiant -- when someone on the call mentioned the Conscious Dying Institute. She mentally checked out of the conference conversation and immediately tapped on the keyboard to locate the CDI website.
From there to here, Woody is working in student enrollment at CDI. It is a meaningful and ideal complement to her ceremony work, her role as a home funeral guide and her growing community position as an EOL doula.
In one former iteration of her professional life – one that has always revolved around the power of communication to effect change – Woody was co-founder of the I Am Beautiful Project. This publishing and public-speaking/performance art enterprise was singularly dedicated to reframing the cultural ideals of feminine beauty. From a distorted and narrow one, to one that was inclusive and as far ranging in beauty and grace as real women are.
To her, the through-line from that concept to conscious dying evolution is obvious.
Woody believes the uniquely Western world’s desperate struggle to NOT die causes pain and suffering for individuals and families, and wastes precious resources that would be better shared with younger and future generations. But worst of all – and harder to articulate – is her sense that this futile struggle is shredding the un-nameable veil between the earthly world and the heavens. She senses that this violence creates great harm to all of humanity as this negative energy gets trapped in the earthly field – rather than to be purified to live on eternally on the “other” side.
She also picks up the mantle of this work – this big work – because she believe that our fear of death creates a hiding place for us to ignore the perils our planet Earth is facing. Fundamentally this fear thwarts our responsibility to care for this Garden of Eden. The consequences of this to her are much scarier than her body changing form.
Wood writes and works and speaks as best she can to cultivate the student cohorts of the Institute. Students, who in turn, will read and work and listen and learn in order to share the important concepts of conscious dying. And in this, she has purpose and finds hope for humanity’s future.