EOLPodcast

Ep. 311 The Conundrum of “Hope” at the End-of-Life

Learn why hope is a powerful tool that can be harmful or helpful at the end of life.

In this solo episode I share some thoughts, concerns, studies, quotes and clips on hope and why it isn’t always a good thing at the end of life. From doctors who refuse to refer patients to hospice and palliative care because they don’t want to take away their hope, to patients who cling to false hopes and resist planning for the end of life, I’ve long been concerned that we are using hope in a toxic way in our medical system. It’s time to look at a better way to help patients find meaning and positive experiences at the end of life than just handing them empty hope.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How hope can be harmful for some people as they approach the end of life
  • Study showing the unrealistic expectations of terminal patients for how long they thought they had to live
  • The consequences of unrealistic hope for individual patients and the medical system
  • How some medical providers use hope as a tool without recognizing the harm it can cause to patients
  • How unrealistic hope can prevent patients from focusing on the present moment
  • Study showing that hope has a spectrum from “miracle cure” to “peaceful death”
  • Most patients want gentle honesty from their doctors but doctors often don’t recognize that
  • How to “dance with death” (per Stephen Jenkinson) rather than fighting against death
  • Why hope can be a superficial disguise for the fear of death
  • How to help people move beyond unrealistic hope to greater acceptance of death

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my supporter John Kuntz for increasing your monthly pledge! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 286 The Three Regrets: Stories from a Buddhist Hospice Chaplain with Tenzin Kiyosaki

Learn how a former Buddhist nun brought her gentle, compassionate approach to hospice chaplaincy.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Laughter Yoga Webinar mentioned in this episode has been rescheduled for March 10th due to severe weather-related power outages experienced by the presenter. You can still register using the link below.

My guest Tenzin Kiyosaki has been a certified interfaith hospice chaplain for the past 13 years. She also practiced as a Buddhist nun for 27 years after being ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and brings an Eastern perspective to her hospice work. She is the author of the book The Three Regrets: Inspirational Stories of Love and Forgiveness at Life’s End and shares the spiritual wisdom she gathered from her work with dying patients.

Get the book here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Tenzin was inspired to become a hospice chaplain
  • What Tenzin learned from her Buddhist studies about the end of life
  • What hospice work is always an ongoing learning experience
  • How Western culture avoids the subject of death while Eastern cultures embrace it
  • The failure of Western medicine to accept impermanence
  • What led Tenzin to return her vows and become a lay person once again
  • The role of a chaplain in hospice to find the “heart” of each patient
  • Do chaplains and hospice need different titles to overcome bias in our society?
  • How to help patients who regret a lack of accomplishment in life
  • Helping patients who have not shared enough love during their lives
  • Why regret at the end of life is actually a good sign
  • A Buddhist perspective on medical aid in dying

Links included in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 284 The Hero’s Journey at the End of Life

Learn what the Hero’s Journey can teach us about the dying process and how to support someone on that journey.

In this solo episode I share some thoughts about the archetypal Hero’s Journey, conceived by Joseph Campbell as a template for the transformative experiences of our own lives and those who are facing the end of life. Each of us has the opportunity to be a mentor for someone who is going through the ordeal of their own hero’s journey and this model can help us understand how to offer support and what is needed from us. Download a one page handout at the link below:

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why the archetypal Hero’s Journey applies to people at the end of life
  • Why things generally have to fall apart before transformation can occur
  • How dissolution of life’s equilibrium can lead to either transformation or regression
  • The importance of a mentor for people experiencing the sacred end-of-life journey
  • The most important tasks of the end-of-life hero’s journey
    • Reframing Suffering
    • Strengthening Connections
    • Finding Meaning
    • Facing Fear of Death
  • How unaddressed shadow issues can sabotage transformation at the end of life
  • The benefits of stories as tools for a mentor
  • How to utilize stories to assist with transformation

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!