It’s the eighth month of 2018 and this is only my third eZine of the year. The first one was on Ayahuasca, the second one was on my Graphic Recordings of Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry Work with trauma and addictions. And this third one is on death. I know, I’m a laugh a minute right?!
The longer I write my eZine the harder it gets. Not because it’s been 14 years and I’ve run out of topics (see eZine Archives). Rather because the topics that I have grown into as a Process Professional, and as a person, are harder to cover in a pithy format. Like for instance, how the heck does one cover ‘death’ in an eZine?
Well, here I go …
Why death? Well, why not. We all do it. Maybe it was partaking of the Vine of the Soul last summer, or turning the big 5-0, but I’ve been surprised to find death, and the idea of the beyond, showing up so strongly in my consciousness. And to be pleasantly surprised that after an initial wake up shock it’s not as morbid as I would have thought. Unsettling yes. But morbid no.
Death is the mother of all shifts isn’t it, for someone who helps herself and other’s shift. Pets die. Loved ones die. Mentors die. Clients die. Clients have loved ones die. Companies, organizations and systems die (some do try to hold on forever when we’d like them to die). And then there all the little deaths along the way that us coaches are privy to too. Deaths of identity. Deaths of expectations. Deaths of visions and dreams.
Life actually has death all throughout it if you look closely. And it also has births emerging from those deaths all along too. That’s the nature of change. Nothing ever stays the same, it’s in a constant state of evolution. Requires a level of surrender and maturity. And faith. Getting okay with all of that. Sinking into that somehow the universe knows what it is doing and everything is all in its right order, even when it’s so hard to appreciate.
I am finding in having death occupy a more central place in my consciousness that it puts the minutia into perspective. It is incredibly useful, a gift really, to be aware of the bigger journey which we are all immersed in, and not get buried by the little stuff that can cloud clarity. As Trooper used to sing “we are here for a good time, not a long time, so have a good time, the sun can’t shine every day”.
When any subject takes me over, death being the most recent, I dive deep to integrate it. My poor little Left Brain likes to try to know everything it can to gain a semblance of control I suppose … even on Right Brain subjects it never could.
I’ve covered some interesting terrain in my search, so below are some resources that may be of assistance to those of you who have had death come knocking on your consciousness or your door.
Visuals Used in Memorial And Life Celebration Maps:
If I could figure out a way to more easily handle the many logistics involved in this one, I would segue my business to it. That’s how strongly I appreciate the use of Visuals Skills being applied to Memorial and Celebration maps.
I wrote Visuals to Honor a Loved One’s Passing to share my experience in creating my Aunt’s Celebration of Life Map. And to encourage those of you with visual skills to do this for your loved ones too, if you feel called. I found it to be cathartic, a non-verbal expression of love and a way to offer comfort during the grief process.
Dale Borglum: The Living and Dying Project
Dale Borglum is the founder and Executive Director of The Living/Dying Project. Which matches up dying people with volunteers to be there for them. He is a pioneer in the conscious dying movement and has worked directly with thousands of people with life-threatening illness and their families for over 30 years. The core work of the Living/Dying Project is about healing, healing body, mind, and spirit, healing that is inspired and motivated by the preciousness of human life itself and by the fact that we will all die but we do not know when. The project serves four populations: caregivers, healthcare professionals, those facing a life-threatening illness, and for anyone on the path of spiritual awakening who wishes to deepen their practice.
Here’s a Buddha at the Gas Pump interview on his journey and work:
Stephen Jenkinson: Orphan Wisdom
Stephen is a Canadian teacher, author, storyteller, spiritual activist, farmer and founder of the Orphan Wisdom School. He directed palliative care at Mount Sinai Hospital of Toronto. His teachings push against “‘death phobia’ and ‘grief illiteracy’” to promote acceptance of death well before death. Stephen was recently here in Victoria. I’m making my way through his two latest books. Provocative, challenging man who can write/speak like the wind, whirls through one’s being.
|Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, is Stephen Jenkinson’s book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life.||Come of Age – The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble. Makes the case that we must birth a new generation of elders, one poised and willing to be true stewards of the planet and its species.|
There’s quite a bit of him on Youtube. Here’s a shorter clip from The Science and Nonduality Conference to give a taste (he’s not everyone’s flavor):
Adyashanti: Death: The Essentials of Teachings
His name is a Sanskrit word that means Primordial Peace. I know an ardent devotee of Adyashanti. I’m a bit on the fence with many of the non-dual teachers and the hero worship that surrounds them (not necessarily of their own making). However, having said that, I sincerely appreciate Adyashanti’s calm and caring manner. I recently got to see him in person when he came nearby to Vancouver. He’s a good coach. Gifted in working with individuals and meeting them where they are at. I enjoyed this collection where he addresses various illness, death and grief related questions from his audience. And lays out the ego death that happens along the way for the dying person and those close to them. Being up close and personal to dying can literally change your life.
I’ve been slowly making my way through the curriculum over at The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Combines well with some of the Energy Work and more Right Brain work that I do in my coaching practice. I spent my 50th Bday at their Shamanism, Dying & Beyond Workshop (I know, I’m odd … and it was a great weekend!). From the posts over on my FB page it seems many of you are familiar with their work too. The indigenous wisdom of Upper, Lower and Middle worlds can be very educational for Western folks who lack an overall big picture. And for those wondering if their loved ones are okay.
Found Appendix 3 of his Secrets of the Soul book to be the most helpful overview that I’ve found to date (way easier to comprehend but similar territory to The Tibetan Book of the Dead).
Thomas John: Seatbelt Psychic
Shout out to Pia on this one (she got me hooked). A discussion about death isn’t complete without a few mediums thrown into the mix, right? Ok, I’ll cop to being a Theresa Caputo fan, even if the hair, nails and drama gets a bit much (but that’s TV nowadays eh). Underneath all that makeup she brings kind solace to many people.
The latest TV medium is also from the New York area, Thomas John, with his new show called Seatbelt Psychic. Did you see the one where the Goth Mortician got into his Uber, oh my! You judge whether they prove the survival of consciousness. Regardless it does make ya wonder!
Here’s a pop culture clip from James Corden’s Late, Late Show
Obviously in an eZine article this is a lite take on one of the world’s greatest topics and mysteries. Thank you for letting me get that out of my system. As perhaps with this death issue in the can my psyche will let me move onto other explorations. Either way I gotta trust the process of what is showing up.
Death is soooooo avoided in Western culture. If we look at it, really take its reality and inevitability in, it can help us to live the most out of the time we do have and cherish those we are gifted to be with. And perhaps get us off our butts to do the things that would bring us joy and leave the world a bit better than when we came in.
Wishing you many blessings on your journey called life … and death.