Welcome to this weekly bonus series of brief stories designed to touch your heart and offer you comfort, joy, laughter, and inspiration as we face uncertain times together! Remember always to choose LOVE over fear!
Story 14: Connecting the Dots
By Steve Jobs
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
In this 4-part series of solo episodes I’m sharing wisdom about the intertwining of life and death in a perfect dance that spirals throughout eternity. Today I talk about rhythm, which is an essential element of any dance. Learn how the rhythm of nature and the universe includes both stillness and motion, waiting and movement, and how we can find peace and hope by surrendering to this rhythm as it unfolds in the moment. These thoughts are derived from my book: What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.
Join the team at Patreon.com/eoluand get access to the EOLU mug: “Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it)
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new patrons, Colleen Shea and Mary V. Jensen–your contributions mean everything to me!
Learn how to use grief and loss to build bridges with others.
In this solo episode I talk about one of the key Mortal Wisdom lessons I’ve learned; everyone is grieving over something and grief can be a factor that unites us. This message is essential today as we face polarization and divisiveness that threaten to tear apart our society. I’ll discuss how to use our own grief to build a bridge toward others who are different from us.
Learn how love can transform and heal our lives even during our last days.
In Part 6 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss how our broken hearts allow us to expand our capacity to carry and transmit pure Love. Throughout life we are broken open by love in many different ways and must learn to remain open to love rather than hardened and resistant to it so that we can find peace at the end of life.These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1- 5 first if you haven’t heard them yet!
Learn the importance of forgiveness for moving forward in society, personal life, and spiritual growth.
In Part 5 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss why Forgiveness is an especially important skill to learn in the midst of our culture of constant outrage. We cannot solve today’s problems unless we learn how to lay down the bitterness and resentment that keep our energy stuck in the past.These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 first if you haven’t heard them yet!
Join the team at Patreon.com/eoluand get access to the new EOLU mug (only Patrons can purchase it)!
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new Patrons, Mary Ellen Shea and Jan Wessell and to Licha Kelley-King for upping your pledge!
Learn how to find more clarity about your life’s purpose and why it’s not just about choosing the right career path.
In Part 3 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss the lesson of Purpose and how we can unravel the mystery of why we are here in this sometimes crazy world.These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1 and 2 first if you haven’t heard them yet!
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new patrons and faithful donors Lynda Richardson, Molly Byock, and Jozie Rabyor!
Learn how to let go of expectations and your bitterness over life’s disappointments.
This is Part 2 of the Mortal Wisdom Series and I’ll discuss the lesson of Surrender and why we need to learn to let go in order to experience joy in life. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Part 1 first if you haven’t heard it yet!
If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new patrons Alive & Mortal, Phyllis Nickel, JoAna Dwyer, and Seth Edelman.
Learn about the “science of generosity” and why a giving spirit helps us through even the most difficult times.
I learned to practice generosity from both of my parents at a young age and those experiences have shaped how I’ve lived my life. I’ll share some stories and talk about important research on generosity compiled by the Greater Good Science Center, including the benefits of giving to others no matter what we are facing in our personal lives.
Everything I know about generosity today I learned from my parents who grew up during the depression and mastered the art of giving to others in life-changing ways.
They showed me that it’s possible to be generous even during times of suffering–a lesson that was repeatedly demonstrated during the devastating November fires in Northern and Southern California this year.
Far from being frivolous or superfluous, human generosity might be deeply embedded in human behavior and play a vital role in our personal well-being and survival as a species. – Greater Good Science Center
This discussion includes:
The story of Dad’s winter coat
How Dad changed lives one broken-down car at a time
The story of Boris, his paintings and my Mom
Research findings from the Greater Good Science Center white paper “The Science of Generosity”
We are wired for generosity
Generosity is contagious
The value of role-models for generosity
The physical and emotional benefits of giving
How money can buy happiness
Generosity as a buffer for stress during difficult times
Wishing you the happiness of giving during this holiday season!
In this episode I share an interview I did with Joanna Penn on her podcast for authors “The Creative Penn.” We talk about why it’s important for authors to address death and grief in their writing and I’m sharing it with you to illustrate how we can talk about death with other people who don’t necessarily share our knowledge or interest. Learn more about Joanna’s awesome podcast here: www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/
This episode is sponsored by generous contributions on my page at Patreon.com/eolu. This week I’d like to thank my new patrons Mary Wilkinson, Joan Bretthauer, and Diane Adams! Your support means everything to me! To join the team and receive special bonuses go to Patreon.com/eolu.
Today I’m sharing with you an interview Joanna Penn did with me for her podcast The Creative Penn. A few weeks ago in Episode 156I discussed about how to talk to strangers about death and dying. My point was that we need to be bold enough to strike up conversations with people about death.
My interview with Joanna is an example of talking with someone not well-versed in end-of-life issues to show that it can be productive and inspirational at the same time. Joanna let me know that many of her listeners wrote to saw how much they enjoyed our interview and that it was very helpful to them personally and as writers. So let’s go have more conversations about death with people in all walks of life!
Lessons learned from working with those close to death
Paying attention to our inner passion for writing
Tips for dealing with death and grief in our characters and our writing. Joanna talks about some of the issues she tackled in her book Desecration.
Why we are able to write about grief that we might not have experienced personally
Why it’s okay to be comfortable with the subject of death
Changes in death culture as boomers age
There will be a new episode each Monday so be sure to tune in again! If you enjoy this content please share it with other and consider leaving a review on iTunes.
Learn how our 100-year history of ignoring death has led to a death-phobic society and the consequences we face as individuals.
In this episode I share my thoughts on the negative effects, for individuals and for society in general, of our dysfunctional relationship with death. This topic leads into my theme for 2018: Death Education for Everyone, which you’ll be learning more about in upcoming episodes!
There’s still plenty of time to join the year-long reading group for 2018: A Year of Reading Dangerously. We just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air for January and are moving on to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty for our February selection. Click here to join the reading group!
Huge thanks to all of my current supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! I appreciate your generosity very much and also the emotional and spiritual support I derive from knowing that you are listening and that you care about the work I’m doing!
For the past century we here in the U.S. (and other developed nations, as well) have been gradually slipping into a state of ignorance about death. With the rise of modern medicine and the funeral industry, death has been removed from the home and from day-to-day life, allowing us to shove death into the far reaches of consciousness and to deny to ourselves that it exists.
But death is an essential component of life that cannot be ignored without causing some negative consequences. Today I’ll talk about these factors that result from ignoring death:
We think there’s always more time
We forget that life is fragile
We don’t cherish our relationships
We don’t appreciate change
We are unable to find meaning in life
We don’t live life fully
Here are the quotes I included in today’s discussion:
“Man … lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama
“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is true and important.” – Steve Jobs
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins
“Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.” – Benjamin Franklin
So commit to start recognizing the presence of Death in your life every day until you can embrace and appreciate Death as a necessary component of Life. Then go out and start teaching other people to do the same thing!
Tune in each Monday for a new episode. If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes!
Learn why you should write your story and Joanna’s tips for getting it done and out to the world.
In this episode I interview Joanna Penn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, about why and how we should each feel empowered to tell our own stories, even when they focus on difficult subjects like death and dying. Joanna’s website TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.
I’ve recently returned from my amazing month-long trip to Italy and have so many great photos and stories to share with you!
Check out my Instagram feed to see lots of photos from our journey and soon I will begin posting stories on my blog at www.eoluniversityblog.com where you can read about some of our adventures. The purpose of this trip was to gather information for my next book: A Grief Pilgrimage Through Italy. Stay tuned for more information!
I’ve created a workshop on “Resilience for Death-Care Workers,” which I just presented to the entire field staff of Denver Hospice. It was a profound experience to talk about the mindset and self-care practices that help us avoid burnout in our work. If you are interested in learning more about this workshop contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or use the form below:
This podcast is generously supported through your donations at Patreon.com/eolu. When you contribute just $1 or $2 per month it not only helps defray the costs of creating this podcast but it also lets me know that you appreciate this content and would like to see and hear more! A huge THANK YOU to all of you who have been supporting the podcast for the past year! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.
Joanna Penn writes thrillers under the name J.F. Penn and she also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors. She is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker who talks with us today about how to write the stories that we are carrying inside of us so that we can help others with our words.
If you have been wanting to write a book (as most Americans say they want to do) then this interview will help you get started – especially if you want to write about the difficult subjects of death, dying and grief.
In this interview we’ll talk about:
How writing our stories can change us
How to overcome self-doubt as a writer
How to actually finish what you’ve started
How to handle the vulnerability that comes with telling your own story
How to get started writing your book
Joanna is an excellent resource for information on writing and self-publishing which she shares through her blogs, podcasts, books, and courses. Check out her website TheCreativePenn.com to learn more and connect with Joanna.
Remember there will be a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – I would greatly appreciate it!
What advice do hospice patients have about how we should live?
In this episode I’ll share some of the wisdom I gathered from my hospice patients as they faced the end of life. This simple advice can help us live more fully with less fear and worry.
This podcast is sponsored through the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. By contributing just $1 or $2 per month you can help support the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series. If you become a supporter I will happily promote your book, website, cause or organization on a future episode of the podcast!
Today I have a huge thank-you for my new patron on Patreon.com/eolu: Kerrie Noonan. Thank you for your support Kerrie!
In the News:
An article on Time.com listed “7 New Jobs That Are So ‘2017’” and included Death Doula as one of the new occupations! What’s great about this is the fact that a major news outlet is breaking through the taboo and using the word “death” and that there has been a recognition of the importance of people who assist others at the end of life. In Episode 71I listed Death Doula as one of the trends for the year and included links to several training programs for becoming a doula. If you are considering a career change or looking for some post-retirement work you might want to become a midwife for the dying. There will be a huge demand in the very near future for people fulfilling this role.
In a story reported on the Today show we learned that 31-year-old actor Chris Salvatore invited his 89-year-old neighbor to live with him when she was no longer able to live on her own. Salvatore and Norma live in the same apartment building and had been friends for about 5 years when she was hospitalized with leukemia and respiratory problems. When doctors told Norma she would have to go to a long-term care facility because she had no family members to care for her, Chris stepped up and took her into his home. He now provides care for her as she faces the end of her life. Doctors didn’t expect Norma to live through the holidays but she is thriving in her new home. This example of selfless generosity is exactly what we need as we move into the future where 25% of Baby Boomers will have no family members available to provide care to them. Well done Chris Salvatore – a huge salute to you from End-of-Life University!
What My Hospice Patients Wanted You to Know:
Here is some of the wisdom my hospice patients shared with me as they neared the end of their lives. I promised them that I would bring their messages to you since they are no longer here to speak for themselves.
“What seems important now doesn’t matter in the end.”
“Don’t worry so much about diet and exercise.”
“Your doctor doesn’t have all the answers for you.”
“Your life’s purpose isn’t what you think.”
“Religion is less important than learning how to love others.”
“Dying isn’t as scary as you think.”
“You’re going to die anyway so you might as well be ready.”
Listen to this episode so you can learn more about each of these statements. And then maybe you’ll be inspired to change some aspects of your life and prepare for the very end!
Be sure to subscribe to End-of-Life Interview Series (if you haven’t already) so you can listen to our fantastic educational interviews with EOL experts every month. Go to www.eoluniversity.com to register. And if you’d like to support EOLU and this podcast check out the donation page at Patreon.com/eolu.
Tune in next week for another new episode and until then remember: