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 coping with all of the overwhelming changes that have crushed us this past year. May it bring you peace and comfort.
Poem: by Ginny Yurich
From the trees I learned
That growth isn’t orderly.
Under the surface
Roots thrust out in ways
That are chaotic and untidy,
But they produce the solid foundation
For a lifetime of growth.
From the chick,
The butterfly and the frog,
I learned that change is possible,
Even the kind of change
That renders us unrecognizable.
And from the garden I learned
That at the end of harvest
When all looks bleak, even dead,
There remains an undercurrent
Of new possibilities.
We can look a little deeper and find
There are always things that thrive
Even in the harshest of conditions.
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 the rightful anger we are all dealing with right now and help us transform it to power. May it bring you peace and comfort.
Anger is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt. Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for … What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.”
Listen to a personal and intimate conversation about suicide death and how to cope with the aftermath as a survivor.
My guest Sarah Neustadter PhD was studying psychology in graduate school when her boyfriend, a fellow student in the program, chose to end his life. Ten years later she has written a book to guide others through the complicated grief that follows suicide. In this conversation we share our own stories of grief and find insights together that we hope will be helpful to others on this path. Learn more about Sarah’s work at her website:
Learn how this grassroots movement is helping to promote mortality awareness around the world.
My guest Kate Manser is a writer and motivational speaker who created the You Might Die Tomorrow movement in response to her own grief experiences. She will discuss how she overcame her own fear of death and how she has spread You Might Die Tomorrow globally.
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, Judith Kubran, Laura Stanger, and Cole Imperi.
Learn how art and the written word can be a powerful tool for confronting our mortality.
My guest Lindsay Tunkl is a conceptual artist and writer who explores subjects such as death, heartbreak, and the apocalypse. Her work has been shown at galleries in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Today she will talk about her book “When You Die You Will Not Be Scared To Die” and her workshop Parting Practice: Rituals for Endings and Failure.
Learn how mothers and daughters cope with their changing roles as the end of life nears.
In this episode I share an interview with Kate Riley, author and death midwife, about our own relationships with our mothers and how they changed as we provided care to them at the end of life. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there listening!
Thank you to my latest sponsor on Patreon.com/eolu: Marilyn Stoner. Thank you for support and thanks to all of my patrons – I appreciate your generosity very much!!
This episode is brought to you by my course Get Over it For Good: Healing the Hidden Wounds of Childhood. Learn to get over events from the past that keep you stuck and unable to grow. This is a self-study course that helps you identify your hidden wounds and discover the wisdom you can gain from them. Platinum supporters on Patreon.com/eoluwill receive a 30% discount on the course! Learn more about the course here.
My guest Kate Riley and I discuss the joys and challenges of daughters who care for their mothers at the end of life. Kate was the caregiver for her mother during the last 9 months of her life and shares her insights about that process.
In this interview you will learn:
The ups and downs of the caregiver journey
The benefits of presence at the end of life
How meditation helps with preparation for death
Death has its own mysterious timing
The pain of letting go of our mothers and being let go of by them
How caregiving helps us heal our relationships
Advice for daughters caring for their mothers
Kate Riley is a certified death midwife, minister, international story consultant, author and educator. She began private practice in compassionate end-of-life care after completing hospice training in the late 1980s. She serves as a liaison for individuals facing end-of-life decisions, working with their families and medical teams in providing a more person-centered approach. She encourages and supports those who want to take a conscious, active role in their own dying process. She is the author of The Green Velvet Journals and Launching Vee’s Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale. Kate lives in the Wood River Valley of Idaho—a great place to find balance in all of life’s stages. Her advanced training includes death midwife/doula certification through Final Passages and current enrollment in the California State University Palliative Care Chaplaincy program.
Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week:
Learn how Kelvin Chin has helped people from all over the world look at and cope with their fear of death.
In this episode I share an interview with Kelvin Chin, attorney, mediator, and meditation teacher, who helps people address their fears of death individually and through workshops and lectures. He is the author of the book Overcoming the Fear of Death through each of the 4 main belief systems.
You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and spend 2018 reading one book each month about end-of-life topics. We’re having a great time so join us! Click here to learn more.
Thanks as usual to all my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! I’m so grateful for your donations – they help me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air!
My guest Kelvin Chin is the Executive Director and Founder of Overcoming the Fear of Death Foundation. Kelvin will share his experiences providing free counseling for people from all over the world to help them reduce their fear of death regardless of their belief system or culture.
In this interview you will learn:
How Kelvin started doing this work
The 4 Main Belief Systems about Death that cover all religions and cultures
How to help yourself or others overcome the fear of death
Why inner change is more important than changing external beliefs
How Kelvin’s talks and lectures about the fear of death are helping to reduce that fear for his audiences
The benefits of meditation in coping with our fears
Kelvin’s book is now available on Amazon. (NOTE: If you use my affiliate link to purchase the book I will receive a small commission from Amazon, which will not affect the amount you pay. Thank you!)
Tune in every Monday for a brand new episode! Leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content – I greatly appreciate it!
Learn how the practice of yoga can help heal acute and chronic grief.
In this episode I share an interview with yoga teacher Paul Denniston who has created a special workshop for healing grief using yoga and movement. He’ll share stories of his own journey through grief and how his workshop is helping others.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is approaching in the U.S. and I want to wish everyone a week of gratitude and generosity as we reflect on all that life has given us. My family will be celebrating with our Annual Thanksgiveaway: handing out care packages to the homeless. This is just a small gesture of kindness as a way of expressing our thankfulness for all of our blessings of the past year. I hope you too find a special way to share with others on this holiday!
I am especially grateful for all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! Your generosity helps me feel connected to my audience and lets me know that you like the content I am creating. If you would like to become a patron you can sign up to contribute just $1 or $2 per month at Patreon.com/eolu.
Barbara McAfee has generously offered to share the following music video with all of us! She wrote the song Living Dying Man for her friend Jamie Showkeir as he faced the end of his life from ALS. Learn more at Barbara’s website: http://barbaramcafee.com
I hope you enjoy listening! Thank you Barbara for sharing with us!
In this interview yoga teacher Paul Denniston will discuss:
his use of yoga as therapy for grief
how various types of yoga can help release grief that has been stored in the physical body
tips and strategies for moving through grief
why laughter yoga is especially healing.
Paul Denniston teaches Grief Yoga to bereavement groups in one of the largest hospices in Los Angeles, and has taught for several years at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. He offers techniques and exercises to therapists, counselors and health care professionals in the United States, England and Australia. Paul has studied with some of the world’s leaders in grief work, including David Kessler, William Worden and Elisabeth Kubler Ross.
Tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – it will be greatly appreciated!
Learn about 10 alternative remedies that are helpful for chronic or terminal pain.
In this episode I’ll share some insights about pain management from a recent blog I wrote in response to the opioid crisis in the U.S. I’ll cover 10 alternative remedies for pain that can be used alone or in conjunction with pain medication. Read the companion blog here (includes links to sources.)
If you missed “An Evening with Ira Byock MD” you can still sign up to listen to the replay. Just click here to submit your email address and you’ll receive the link to listen.
Thanks to all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu who generously contribute every month to help keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! If you’d like to become a Patron for just $1 or $2 per month go to Patreon.com/eolu and join the fun! You’ll receive access to our monthly Hospice Happy Hour Q&A session, the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, I’ll also promote your website, business, organization, book, etc. related to the end of life on this podcast.
In personal news, I’m busy preparing for my trip to Italy where I’ll be traveling for a month and writing a new book about grief. You can check out my travel plans on my Pinterest board and follow my journey on Instagram and Facebook.
The current opioid crisis in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions and prescription drug-related deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities and gun deaths. This crisis has been partly fueled by the pressure placed on physicians two decades ago to do a better job of treating pain. Since that time the trend has been for doctors to hand out prescriptions for powerful and addictive opioids for relatively moderate pain when those drugs should be reserved for intractable pain from serious or terminal illness.
As a response to this epidemic I discuss 10 alternative therapies which can help with pain management that can be used alone or in combination with medications. These remedies can decrease the need for drugs and will help improve wellbeing and decrease stress as well:
Exercise and stretching
Loving relationships and sexual intimacy
Prayer and meditation
Emotional Freedom Techniques (E.F.T.)
I’ll discuss each alternative along with the science that supports its use. Hopefully we can learn to manage pain in ways that support overall health of the whole person.
Tune in next week for another episode! Until then …
Next week I’ll be celebrating the 100th episode of this podcast! I’ll have a special guest on the show so stay tuned!
Upcoming events include:
Friday July 21st: Hospice Happy Hour Hangout for all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu
Sunday July 23rd: Virtual Death Cafe – 3 pm Pacific/6 pm Eastern (everyone welcome to join the conversation! Read more here.)
Tuesday August 8th isDying to Know Day and I’ll be hosting a Virtual Death Cafe at 5 pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern. (More information at eoluniversity.com)
“An Evening With Ira Byock MD” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking book Dying Well!
Monday August 21st
6 pm Pacific/9 pm Eastern
Registration information available soon. (Save the Date for now!)
Here are the benefits I’ve received from my daily spiritual practice of death contemplation:
Gratitude for every moment of life
Taking responsibility for my life
Looking within myself for answers
Finding joy in being alive
Being prepared for anything!
You can use the book The Tao of Death as a guide for a daily practice of death contemplation. Simply read one verse each day, spend some time thinking about what it means for you, then write in your companion journal (available for free download here) about the question that accompanies the verse. When you finish the book you will be well on your way to a daily death contemplation practice that you can continue for years.
I hope you find that his practice enriches your life as much as it has mine! Send me a message and let me know how it’s going for you (email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @spiritualmd.)
Learn how to get started with your own practice of mindfulness and enjoy improved health in body, mind and spirit.
In this episode my guest Gia George, who is a yoga and meditation teacher, will tell us why and how to start a simple meditation practice. You’ll learn what you need to know to get started with mindfulness and maintain a routine that will help with stress and life’s challenges. Visit Gia’s website atdivinelygia.com.
This podcast is supported through generous contributions on my page at Patreon.com/eolu. If you would like to chip in $1 or $2 per month you’ll receive access to our monthly “Hospice Happy Hour Hangouts” and I will promote your EOL-related book, business, organization, or website on the podcast. THANK YOU to all of my Patreon supporters! You make this podcast possible!
In this interview you will learn:
The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of a mindfulness meditation practice
How meditation can specifically benefit those in the caregiving and healthcare professions
Why meditation is actually a form of “listening prayer”
How to begin if you’ve never meditated before
When to meditate
How to sit
Dealing with thoughts
Maintaining the practice
How “guided meditation” can be a good way to get started
Being mindful during every day activities to improve focus and relieve stress
Check out Gia’s Zen Quest Guided Meditation CD if you’d like some help getting your practice started:
Zen Quest: Guided Meditations, Healing Journeys is a compilation of 7 guided meditations, each 10-minutes in length. These vision quests take you on relaxing journeys through your mind, heart, and soul, as you explore the healing metaphors and symbols of the Universe. Each meditation is rich with hidden gems of wisdom, woven through a beautiful quest. Go to this link to listen to samples and purchase the CD if you are interested: Guided Meditation CD
Learn how this caregiver coped with his wife’s illness and rose above grief to experience unconditional love.
In this episode I share an interview with Joe DiNardo who talks about his book A Letter to My Wife and discusses how his long-term practice of mindfulness meditation helped him cope with being a caregiver and grieving his wife’s death.
Thank you to all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu who have helped keep this podcast on the air! We just had our first “Hospice Happy Hour” hangout last week and it was a great success.
If you are interested in joining the hangouts or in having me promote your website, book, product, organization, or cause on this podcast, sign up to contribute just $1 or $2 per month and become a patron – Patreon.com/eolu!
My guest this week is Joe DiNardo, an attorney from Buffalo NY, who served as a caregiver for his wife Marcia during her cancer diagnosis, treatment and eventual death. As a long-term practitioner of Vipassana meditation, Joe found that his mindfulness meditation practice helped him through the difficult challenges of caregiving and grief and he has much wisdom to share with us from the perspective of a family caregiver.
Joe is also the author of the newly released book A Letter to My Wife, which follows his journey with late wife Marcia, from cancer diagnosis through death. The website states that “His practice of mindfulness is explored throughout this heartfelt dedication and serves as the foundation for his recommendations on coping with loss and healing. His story, which includes both practical advice and profound wisdom, is a real-life example of how powerful and guiding meditation can be during life’s painful and challenging chapters. ”
In this interview you will learn:
What Joe learned about being a caregiver from accompanying Marcia through illness
His best advice for other family caregivers
How he discovered the practice of meditation and began to apply it to his life
How mindfulness meditation helped him on a daily basis during Marcia’s illness and throughout his own grief process
How I got joy back into my life after my father’s suicide death.
This episode is a follow-up to the 8-part series I presented on my father’s suicide death (episodes 85-92). I will look at the factors involved that helped me eventually find joy in my life once again.
You can help support this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series by making a donation at my Patreon page: www.Patreon.com/eolu. This week I would like to thank my newest supporters: Melissa Neeley and Jozie Rabyor. You are awesome! Your support means everything to me. Also last week’s supporter Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs has asked me to promote Death Cafe as a thank-you for her donation. Go to DeathCafe.comto learn more about the movement, download a guideline for starting your own Cafe, or find a Death Cafe near you to attend!
Finally as promised, the Patreon donations have reached $50 per month so I am scheduling the first Hospice Happy Hour for Patreon supporters! It will take place on Friday June 23rd at 3 pm Pacific/6 pm Eastern. We’ll “hangout” together, talk about death, offer support to one another, and answer questions. If you are a current donor you’ll receive the call-in information by email. If you are interested you can become a donor too by going to Patreon.com/eolu!
Today I’ll be sharing with you my insights on how I moved through the pain of grief and guilt and managed (over many years time) to recover a quiet joy in my life. Here’s the list of factors that helped me:
Patience. I needed to recognize that grief has its own timing (and its different for everyone.) I had to let me grief follow its own path and unfold in its own way.
Stillness. Over time I developed my capacity to experience stillness within through a practice of contemplation and meditation. I discovered that joy arises in the stillness so this step was essential in order for me to ultimately feel joyful again.
Facing emotions. For many years I repressed all of my negative emotions about my father’s death because they were too frightening and dark for me. But it was necessary for me to face up to those emotions and embrace them with love in order to make room for joy to return.
Allowing change. I learned that I had to allow my grief and pain to change everything about me in order to move through it and discover joy again. My resistance to change kept me stuck in grief for many years and unable to move on.
Letting go of expectations. I had to alter my assumptions about how joy would show up in my life and recognize that it would arrive as one tiny droplet at a time. Joy for me now is quiet and serene.
Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Send me a message or your questions for the Happy Hour at my email address email@example.com or Tweet me at @spiritualmd!