EOLPodcast

Special Episode: Vigil for Global Compassion

On the ninth of each month we have been called to hold space in our communities on life, death and transformation by ObservetheNinth.org. Today’s vigil will hold space for love and compassion for all of humankind and for the planet itself. May it bring you peace and comfort.

Vigil for Global Compassion
EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep.254 A Call for Greater Kindness in a Suffering World

Three steps for increasing your capacity for kindness in a world that is polarized, divided, and suffering right now.

In this episode I’ll share some poems, stories and philosophical musings about our polarized world, which is filled with suffering, and how we can rise above our difference and our pain to show compassion and kindness to one another.

Listen here:

Featured poem from this episode:

SMALL KINDNESSES 

by Danusha Laméris 

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk 

down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs 

to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you” 

when someone sneezes, a leftover from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.

And sometimes, when you spill lemons 

from your grocery bag, someone else will help you 

pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other. 

We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, 

and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile 

at them and for them to smile back. 

For the waitress

 to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder, 

and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass. 

We have so little of each other, now. So far 

from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange. 

What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these 

fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here, 

have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.””

— from Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection by James Crews, Ted Kooser

Links from this episode:

  • Get the poetry book here: Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

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, Spirituality

BONUS 12: Love Over Fear – Stories for Precarious Times

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 12: There’s something greater than us

There’s something greater than us

Featured Verse from The Tao of Death by Karen Wyatt

Verse 25

There is something greater than all the laws of Nature –

greater even than the Universe itself.

It exists outside of time,

perfect in its serenity, emptiness and wholeness.

It will never change and never die.

It is the source of all creation and all creativity.

We have no name for this infinite source and so we call it

The Way of Death.

The Way of Death exists within all things,

gives Life to all things, and

returns everything back to the original source.

The ancients say that there are four great powers in existence:

the Creative Force,

the Universe,

the Earth,

and Humankind.

Humankind must yield to the laws of the Earth.

The Earth must yield to the laws of the Universe.

The Universe must yield to the laws of the Creative Force.

The Creative Force operates through the Way of Death.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

BONUS 4: Love Over Fear – Stories for Precarious Times

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 4: Why Me?

Why Me?

Featured Poem:

A Blessing for Courage by John O’Donohue

When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world.

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone,
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes,
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!

EOLPodcast

BONUS 3: Love Over Fear – Stories for Precarious Times

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 3: Loving the Unlovable

Loving the Unlovable

Featured Poem: Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

EOLPodcast, Spirituality, Tragedy

BONUS 2: Love Over Fear – Stories for Precarious Times

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 2: Love is the Purpose

Love is the Purpose

Poem by Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM

Yes there is fear. 
Yes there is isolation. 
Yes there is panic buying. 
Yes there is sickness. 
Yes there is even death. 
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 191 The Power of the Broken Heart: Why Love is the Answer

Learn how love can transform and heal our lives even during our last days.

PodcastLove

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!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The story of my “Love Project”
  • The importance of love for those at the end of life
  • How forgiveness makes room for even greater love
  • The many ways love can break our hearts
  • Why we need to remain open to love even after we have been hurt
  • The “violin metaphor” and why we should allow love to hollow us out
  • Practices for opening to love

Carry your heart through this world like a life-giving sun.

-Hafez

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 Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new Patrons, Meina Dubetz and Deborah Luscomb!

EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 63 What Politics and Death Can Teach Us

Today Dr. Karen Wyatt thanks her supporters on Patreon.com/eolu whose generous donations help keep this podcast on the air!

She talks about the Death Expo 2016 which starts this week on November 10th. You can sign up at DeathExpo.com and read about all 12 of the speaker for this FREE online event.

Next Dr. Wyatt shares some thoughts about the upcoming presidential election here in the U.S. While she doesn’t take sides or share any particular political beliefs she describes the fact that the U.S. electorate seems maximally polarized and divided over this election, with each side predicting “doomsday” if the other side wins. She goes on to say:

  • the day after the election will begin a period of grief for each candidate and their “teams”: the losing candidate will grieve over all the money, time, energy and life force spent in this costly battle; the victor will hardly celebrate the win because the “prize” is to take on responsibility for re-uniting the whole and to embrace those from the opposing side who now must be governed with reason and compassion.
  • the irony of this election process is that no matter how different others appear to be from us, we are actually far more alike that we are different. We are all mortals–human incarnations of Spirit–just trying to survive here on planet Earth. But each of us will ultimately die and that is our most powerful common bond. We each share mortality and an innate fear of death.
  • Death is the most uniting force we have if we look at it from a higher perspective.
  • Sogyal Rinpoche said, “Life is nothing but a continuing dance of birth and death, a dance of change.” Ultimately change is what we seem to be seeking through our political process: we want others to change, the government to change, the system to change–all so that we don’t have to change ourselves. But the only meaningful change is the change we create within ourselves.
  • Here is a recommendation for a daily practice:
    • contemplate your inner landscape and seek out the parts of you that fear change; the parts that harbor anger, hatred, negativity
    • seek to understand your own pain and your wounds that cause you to react with anger and fear; journal about them and spend time contemplating them
    • be aware of your behavior in relationships: what triggers your negative emotions? what causes you to lash out or shut down?
    • embrace the wounded parts of yourself so that they can heal
    • find the still point of equanimity within you and cultivate that; learn to operate from that place so that you can bring peace and healing to volatile situations
  • No matter how different you feel you are from your neighbors, family, and Facebook friends remember that Death ultimately unites us all as one. Contemplate your own death and allow the small deaths, the thousand changes that come to you every day, to move you forward. That’s how you will help the nation and our society heal again.

TaoCheck out the book The Tao of Death which has verses to help you contemplate death every day in your practice!

Sign up for Death Expo 2016 now so you won’t miss a single interview! Tune in every Monday and until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.               BE Ready.               Love Your Life.

EOLPodcast, Tragedy

Ep. 61 Reflections on Mortality From My Travels in France

 

In this episode Dr. Wyatt begins by talking about Death Expo, a free online educational event, which is coming up on November 10-13, 2016! She describes the 12 speakers who will be presenting during the event. To sign up go to:

http://DeathExpo.com

She then thanks her supporters for making donations at Patreon.com/eolu to help keep EOLU Interview Series and Podcast on the air!

Dr. Wyatt describes her recent trip to France and some profound insights that she experienced regarding death and dying:

  • the Battle of Normandy during WW2
  • Omaha Beach and the sacrifices made there
  • the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach
  • Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and thoughts about mortality and legacy

Listen to get inspired!

Sign up for Death Expo, tune in every Monday for a new episode of EOLU Podcast and remember:

Face Your Fears.                   BE Ready.                 Love Your Life.

Aging, End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief

Ep. 57 September End-of-Month Update and film Extremis

 

In today’s episode Dr. Wyatt thanks 3 new supporters on Patreon.com/eolu:

  • Joan Roellchen-Pfohl, RN
  • Martha Johnson – author of the upcoming book “Take Charge of the Rest of Your Life”; learn more at www.meetmarthajohnson.com
  • Marggie Hatala – author and teacher of a writing class related to end of life; her books are “Sally: A Memoir” and the forthcoming “Life as Prayer”; learn more at www.marggiehatala.com

Next she begins the Update for September by talking about the new documentary film currently streaming on Neflix: Extremis, which won 1st place at the Tribeca Film Festival. Please see this film which takes place in the ICU at Highland Hospital in Oakland and features Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter. This is a must-see film that brilliantly depicts the conundrum that exists at the end of life when painful decisions must be made. By showing the real-life conversations that take place in the ICU between staff, family members and patients, a case is made for everyone to complete their advance directives and prepare their loved ones to honor their wishes at the end of life. But the painful process of decision-making becomes apparent as each individual struggles with the unknown and the unknowable in these dire situations.

The other topics covered this month include:

  • BMJ Online report that patients who receive hospice care for the last 6 months of life have better pain control, fewer hospital days, and are less likely to die in the hospital or ICU.
  • Researchers at John Hopkins found that their palliative care program led to  savings of ~ $19 million over 5 years in addition to improved quality of care and patient satisfaction.
  • Study originally published in Health Affairs and reported on Reuters online showed gaps in palliative care in the US. Read the article.
  • “What it feels like to die,” an article in The Atlantic discusses the active dying process from the patient’s perspective. Read the article.
  • Friends and Family Letter Project by Dr. VJ Periyakoil at Stanford includes 7 prompts for letter writers to leave messages for their loved ones. Read the article.
  • “7 Songs for a Long Life” documentary from Scotland that depicts how terminally ill patients use singing as therapy. Read the article.
  • The Friendly Atheist Julie Stahl reminds us not to impose our own religious or spiritual beliefs on those who are grieving and may not share your perspective. Read her blog.

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! I hope you enjoy this information. If you feel inspired to offer a little support go to Patreon.com/eolu to join the community!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.               BE Ready.               Love Your Life!!!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 56 End-of-Life Book Showcase!

In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt highlights several excellent books about the end of life that have been sent to her by their authors. If you have considered starting an end-of-life book club (as mentioned in Episode 33) you’ll find many great books to choose from in this list. Here are the book titles and authors, along with links for learning more or purchasing the books:

  • “My Voice, My Choice: A Practical Guide to Writing a Meaningful Healthcare Directive”; by Anne Elizabeth Denny; www.anneelizabethdenny.com
  • “LastingMatters Organizer: Where Loved Ones Find What Matters Most”; by Barbara Bates Sedoric: www.lastingmatters.com
  • “Caring for Dying Loved Ones: A Helpful Guide for Families and Friends”; by Joanna Lillian Brown; www.caringfordyinglovedones.com
  • “Caregivers: Angels Without Wings”; by Peg Crandall; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement”; by Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Encountering the Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died”; by Karen B. Kaplan; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Spirit Matters: How to Remain Fully Alive with a Life-Limiting Illness”; by Judy Flickinger; www.judyflickinger.com
  • “Spiritual Perspectives on Death & Dying”; by Bernice H. Hill, PhD; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully: A Journey with Cancer and Beyond”; by Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Daddy this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad”; by Julie Saeger Nierenberg; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey Through Grief”; by Elaine Mansfield; www.elainemansfield.com
  • “Laughing in a Waterfall: A Mother’s Memoir”; by Marianne Dietzel; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Turn Right, Good Moon: Conversations With a Dying Mother”; by L. E. Moore; www.turnrightgoodmoon.com
  • “She Would Draw Flowers: Poems from a Young Artist Awakening to Life, Love and Death”; by Kirsten Savitri Bergh; Link to Amazon.com
  • “And Now, Still: Grave & Goofy Poems and a Bit of Prose”; by Reggie Marra; www.reggiemarra.com
  • “Facing Darkness, Finding Light: Life After Suicide”; by Steffany Barton, RN; Link to Amazon.com
  • “What to Do When You’re Dead: A Former Atheist Interviews the Source of Infinite Being”; by Sondra Sneed; Link to Amazon.com

I hope you’ll check out these amazing and inspirational books and include some of them in your book club or add them to your library!

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 50 How Death Can Be a Key to Happiness

Today Dr. Karen Wyatt thanks her latest Patreon.com supporter Zanya Biviano, who is the creator of the Grief Support Kit. The kit consists of the Finding Hope in Grief book, DVD, and CD, which make a beautiful gift for anyone who is grieving. You can read more about the kit and order it at www.griefsupportkit.com. As a special offer to podcast listeners, if you purchase one kit between now and August 12, 2016 you will receive TWO kits at no extra charge, with no additional postage! This is an incredibly generous offer from Zanya, so be sure to order your kits right away!!

Dr. Wyatt reminds listeners that they can support the EOLU Podcast and Interview Series by offering a donation on Patreon.com/eolu, by purchasing the EOLU Access Pass, or by buying her books on Amazon.com.

In this episode Dr. Wyatt discusses the fact that the country of Bhutan has been named one of the happiest countries in the world and the Bhutanese people practice contemplating death five times a day. There is a link between overcoming the fear of death, increasing joy and happiness in life, and improving overall health. Therefore the practice of thinking about death on a daily basis could offer many benefits. Tips for developing such a practice:

  • Establish a regular time each day for a death awareness practice
  • Stay relaxed by using deep breathing
  • Make it a pleasant experience by adding music, aromatherapy, art
  • Avoid fearful images of death and dying
  • Focus on the “big picture”
  • Keep a journal

Finally Dr. Wyatt talks about her newly released ebook “The Tao of Death” which is an adaptation of Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching.” You can learn more about the book at the link below. There is also a free Companion Journal for this book with a daily prompt for each of the 81 verses of the Tao of Death.

The Tao of Death: http://www.eoluniversity.com/taoofdeath

Here is a link to the blog that accompanies this podcast:

How Thoughts of Death Can Be a Key to Happiness

Have a great week and be sure to tune in every Monday. Thanks for all your support. Until the next time we connect:

Face Your Fear.      BE Ready.       Love Your Life.

EOLPodcast, Grief, Spirituality, Tragedy

Ep. 43 What To Do When Tragedy Strikes

 

In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt shares her thoughts on how to cope with tragedy when you are a peripheral observer and don’t know how to help. She talks about her own feelings of helplessness after the 9/11 tragedy and shares some thoughts about specific things you can do to help you cope and find meaning after a horrific event has occurred. Her suggestions include:

  1. Give – donate blood, money, clothing, supplies, food, your time and energy–whatever might be needed most during a disaster. Contact your local Red Cross or other charitable relief organization to find what is needed and how you might be of help.
  2. Pray – even if you are not religious utilize prayer (or meditation, contemplation, or mindfulness) as a means of sending your love and light to others who are hurting right now. Attend a prayer vigil or memorial service if there is one in your area (or create one yourself.) Non-directed prayer for the good of all is more effective than directed prayer.
  3. Light a candle – Dr. Wyatt tells the story of lighting  7-day sanctuary candles after 9/11 as a symbol of shining light during a dark time.
  4. Look within – use this time of despair as an opportunity to look inside yourself and examine your own Shadow for hatred, anger and bitterness. Be inspired to heal your old wounds and help the collective Shadow heal as well.
  5. Practice compassion – work to find and express compassions for everyone involved in such a tragic incident: victims, their families and friends, the perpetrator, member of the community, state, nation, and world; and those who spread hatred instead of love.

Read the companion blog to this podcast here.

Sending you much love!!! Remember to check out the donation page at patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to support this podcast, sign up for End-of-Life University emails at eoluniversity.com, and leave reviews for this podcast on iTunes!

Blessings!!!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 41 Creating Sacred Space in the Midst of Chaos

Today Dr. Karen Wyatt thanks her new Patron Leslie Robertson for her support of EOLU on the donation page at patreon.com/eolu . Leslie is working on a project to train unemployed women in their 40’s-60’s to do end-of-life work. If you become a patron, as well, Dr. Wyatt will mention your name and your work in a future episode.

Next Dr. Wyatt talks about the stresses endured by hospice workers in this time when both healthcare and death have become a business. She discusses the impact of late admissions to hospice on the workers who must care for patients and their families when there is only a short time to meet their needs. This talk includes:

  • Finding meaning in dying even when you work for a “business”
  • The sacredness inherent in the dying process
  • A helpful mindset for dealing with the stress of end-of-life work
  • How to be a channel for love and compassion rather than generating them from your own heart
  • Body/Mind/Spirit practices for self-care to ensure that you can help create sacred space for patients
  • The Lovingkindness Blessing:
    • May I be at peace.
    • May my heart remain open.
    • May I realize the beauty of my own true nature.
    • May I be healed.
    • May I be a source of healing for this world.

Thanks for listening! Remember to leave reviews for this podcast on iTunes and help support EOLU at patreon.com/eolu.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 36: Tribute to Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund, hospice chaplain and spiritual counselor who authored the books The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor and The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? Maria died tragically after being struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk.

Maria has been a beloved member of the end-of-life community and in this episode Dr. Wyatt shares her personal recollections of Maria, reads excerpts from Maria’s books and plays a clip from Maria’s interview for End-of-Life University in 2013. Whether or not you have met Maria in the past, you will become acquainted with her beautiful soul and enlightened spiritual wisdom through the messages in this episode.

Many blessings to all who love Maria and feel the pain of her absence in this physical plane. Maria left a beautiful legacy for each and every one of us that will continue to guide and inspire our work for the future.

Maria’s books are available on Amazon:

The Last Adventure of Life

The Most Important Day of Your Life

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 07 What Hospice Patients Know that the Rest of Us Don’t

Dr. Karen Wyatt discusses the lessons she learned about life from working with hospice patients. These lessons were the foundation of her award-winning book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.

In this call you will learn:

-the true meaning of joy
-how to let go of the past
-why you must let life change you