EOLPodcast, Spirituality

BONUS 15: 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 15: You’re Already There

You’re Already There

Featured Poem:

Journey by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

EOLPodcast, Spirituality, Tragedy

BONUS 10: Love Over Fear – Stories for Precarious Tims

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 10: What Life is Bringing Me Now

What Life is Bringing Me Now

Featured Quote:

Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning pp. 98-99

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. … Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. … When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.”

Viktor Frankl
EOLPodcast, Spirituality

BONUS 8: 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 8: Everything is Perfect

Everything is Perfect

EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 235 How to Surrender and Go With Life’s Flow with Gia George

Learn how to navigate life’s difficulties by letting go of expectations and attachments.

My very special guest this week is Gia George (my daughter!) who joins me in a conversation about the spiritual task of surrender and the challenges we face in life trying to let go and be in the flow, especially when things are not turning out the way we hoped. She shares her latest song Will You Fly at the end of the episode and you can also watch the video of this discussion on YouTube! Learn more about Gia’s work at her website:

www.DivinelyGia.com

Listen here:

How to Surrender – with Gia George

This episode includes:

  • What does it really mean to surrender
  • Why we need to practice surrender in our world right now
  • How surrendering to “what is” allows creativity and healing to flow
  • How to stop fighting what is happening in life and focusing energy on living the best life anyway
  • Learning that we are already on the path we seek, even when we don’t realize it
  • Tips for surrendering in each moment:
    • Recognize that you are holding on and resisting change
    • Understand what you are attached to
    • Journal about the process
    • Mantra: I’m already where I’m trying to go
    • Mantra: Right now, I’m okay

The mystery unfolds slowly. Who knows what this precious life may bring? … Will you leap beyond what’s known and take flight? 

Gia George – from “Will You Fly”

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Gia’s website
  • Episode 219: Rituals for Letting Go with Gia George
  • Lyrics to Will You Fly
  • Watch video of this episode on YouTube
  • 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, especially my newest Patrons Maya Jones and Kimberly Wise, and thanks also to Diane Button for upping your pledge! Your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality, Tragedy

Ep. 231 How to Prepare for the Unimaginable as a Death-Aware Person

Learn what steps you can take now to be ready for whatever life brings you in the future.

NOTE: This episode is dedicated to the memory of Kobe and Gianna Bryant and 7 others who died in a helicopter crash on the morning of January 26th – an unimaginable tragedy.

In this solo episode I share my thoughts on ways we might begin now to prepare ourselves for the inevitable challenges of life–when disaster strikes and death comes for those we love. Though we can never be fully prepared for the uncertainties of life there are things we can do to increase our resilience and improve our chances of surviving “the unimaginable.”

Listen here:

This episode includes:

There are moments that the words don’t reach

There is suffering too terrible to name …

We push away what we can never understand

We push away the unimaginable

From “HAMILTON”

Related episodes:

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! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, your contributions make all the difference!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 225 How to Make Difficult Times Better as a Death-Aware Person

Learn what it takes to bring your compassionate presence more fully to others in challenging circumstances.

In this solo episode I discuss how to be a person who makes every situation better simply by being there. Scientific studies have shown that by cultivating greater coherence in the heart’s energy field we can make a positive impact on the people around us who are going through difficulties. I share some tasks to focus on to help develop your own ability to be fully present with a compassionate heart for the good of everyone in our society.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The heart’s electromagnetic field is the most powerful in the body according to the HeartMath Institute
  • Coherence occurs when there is harmony between body, mind, spirit, and emotions
  • Coherent energy from one person helps create calmer energy for other people
  • End-of-life workers can make a big difference for patients and families by increasing the coherence of their own heart energy
  • 5 tasks to make difficult times better:
    • Be willing to show up when things fall apart
    • Be a safe container
    • Be a deep listener
    • Be a truth-teller
    • Be a way-shower

Heart coherence serves as a facilitator, adding strength and effectiveness to your care, compassion, intentions and actions to help the world.

Heartmath Institute

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 newest Patrons: Raquel Wiltbank-Mateo and Karen Coupe; your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 212 The Dance of Life and Death – Part 4: Grace

Learn how to cultivate grace in both life and death. 

PodcastGrace

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 grace, which is an essential element of any dance. Learn how the many different of meanings of grace apply to both life and death and discover a daily practice that can help us prepare for the end of life with ease and dignity.  These thoughts are derived from my book: What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying.

Get the book here.

Get the handout here:

GRACE

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The many definitions of “grace”
  • That grace is always given freely, not earned or deserved
  • How grace “finds us” during our darkest times of brokenness
  • Forgiveness as an act of grace
  • How I want to live and die with grace and gentleness
  • A daily practice to cultivate grace:
    • G – Gratitude
    • R – Release
    • A – Awareness
    • C – Compassion
    • E – Equanimity

I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.

-Anne Lamott

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 supporters Hilary G. and Debi Schauss, your contributions mean  everything to me!

EOLPodcast, Grief

Ep. 205 Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One with Sarah Neustadter PhD

Listen to a personal and intimate conversation about suicide death and how to cope with the aftermath as a survivor.

PodcastNeustadter

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:

www.sarahneustadter.com

Neustadterbook

Get the book here.

Listen here.

 

This interview includes:

  • Why no amount of training can prepare you for the suicide death of a loved one
  • How grief after suicide differs from other types of grief
  • The stigmatization of suicide death in our society
  • How devastating guilt and regret follow a suicide
  • Why suicide survivors need to work on self-forgiveness
  • What might help on the journey of post-suicide grief:
    • Community
    • Physical touch or holding
    • Support with mundane tasks of daily life
    • Frequent check-ins from friends
    • Presence from others rather than words
    • Acknowledgment of the pain – even months and years later
  • Grief has its own timeline and can’t be rushed through
  • How writing can help us process grief and other difficult emotions
  • Sarah’s 3 categories of her own grief process:
    • Despair
    • Shifting
    • Beauty

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 – your contributions mean everything to me!

EOLPodcast, Grief

Ep. 198 Grief and Post-Traumatic Growth: Finding Wholeness After Loss with Sherry Cormier PhD

Learn about “post-traumatic growth” and how it is possible to thrive after experiencing loss and grief.

PodcastCormier

My guest Sherry Cormier is a licensed psychologist and certified bereavement trauma specialist. She will share with us her personal encounters with loss and grief and how over the years she has managed to grow through her pain. We will also learn about her latest book Sweet Sorrow: Finding Enduring Wholeness After Loss and Grief. Learn more about her work at her website:

http://sherrycormierauthor.com

sweetsorrowcormier

Get the book here.

Listen here.

 

This interview includes:

  • How talking about death helps with grief
  • Grief healing is not linear but cyclical
  • How grief survivors can thrive after traumatic loss
    • Find community
    • Self-care practices
    • Spiritual practices
    • Do and learn something new
  • Tips for helping a friend or loved one who is grieving
  • The outcome of  “post-traumatic growth”
    • Increased appreciation for life itself
    • New possibilities
    • Increased personal strength
    • More mindful of relationships
    • Spiritual growth
  • Who can benefit from reading her book Sweet Sorrow

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 Patron: Diane Roberts.

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 187 There’s No Time but the Present: How to be Right Here, Right Now

Learn how to make the most of the present moment and give the gift of presence to those you love.

PodcastPresence

In Part 4 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss how to develop the skill of Presence to use in your personal life and work. Presence is the secret of living fully in every moment and you’ll learn how to enhance your ability to stay focused and present in day-to-day 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, 2,  and 3 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Presence is an essential skill for working with dying patients
  • Many dying patients seem to have a new-found ability to focus on the present and appreciate each moment
  • According to Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn presence is the ability to align body, mind, spirit, emotions in a single focus on the here and now
  • Being fully present with a patient or a loved one allows us to create a sacred space within which healing and transformation can occur
  • Steps for developing the skill of presence:
    • Create time (5 minutes) and space for stillness each day
    • Tune in to your physical body
    • Breathe deeply with intention
    • Allow emotions to arise without attaching to them
    • Let thoughts drift by
  • Practice total focus during small moments e.g. eating a special food, watching a sunset, listening to music, spending time in nature, being with a loved one
  • The experience of awe has these benefits
    • Greater humility (and less ego control)
    • Increased social harmony and interconnectedness
    • Improved immune health
    • Decreased anxiety
    • Increased wellbeing and happiness
  • Daily AWE Practice:
    • I am Awake in this moment
    • I am Willing to experience and accept whatever life brings in this moment
    • I am Engaged fully in living my life moment to moment

When someone is about to die, if you sit with him stably and solidly, that alone may be enough to help him leave this life with ease.

– Thich Nhat Hahn

Links mentioned in this episode:

PatreonMugShot

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!

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 181 Why It’s Good to be Mortal and How to Celebrate It

Learn the lesson of impermanence and why it is essential for life.

PodcastImpermanence

This week begins a series I’ve titled Mortal Wisdom that will explore the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Today is the lesson of impermanence … the fact that nothing lasts and everything changes, which is the ultimate reality of our mortal existence here on planet Earth, but also the reality of the entire Universe. I hope you enjoy the series!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

TaoThe TAO of Death is an adaptation of Lao Tzu’s 2000 year-old book of wisdom, the Tao Te Ching. In these simple yet profound verses you will learn to see death as a normal process in the cycle of life and discover how to live fully and fearlessly.

Find more joy, love and meaning in your life throughThe TAO of Death!

Available on Amazon in print and digital format.

Why It’s Good to be Mortal and How to Celebrate It

This episode includes:

  • The Buddhist concept of impermanence
  • How everything that is fleeting becomes more precious to us
  • Entropy – the 2nd law of thermodynamics – from the Greek word entropia, which means a turning toward or transformation
  • How life moves from order to disorder, structure to non-structure, physical form to energetic form or Soul
  • The benefits of mortality:
    • Creativity, growth and transformation are made possible
    • Even our suffering and pain will not last (“this too shall pass”)
    • This is the unifying characteristic of all humans on the planet: we all will die one day and we all grieve over our loved ones who have died
  • Rituals for getting comfortable with and honoring our impermanence
    • Contemplation and journaling using books like The Tao of Death
    • Observation of nature
    • Mandala creation
    • Flowing water ritual
  • We are here to dissolve into love, our ultimate destiny

My mandalas:

IMG_0146  IMG_0145

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 John Milloy, Victoria Jenkins, and Joanna D!

EOLPodcast, Tragedy

Ep. 170 Learn to Pause in Times of Tragedy with Jonathan Bartels RN

PodcastPause

 

 

JonathanBartels
Jonathan Bartels RN

As an RN in the emergency room, Jonathan Bartels had seen his share of trauma and tragedy and he understood the toll it takes when grief and loss are unacknowledged and stifled. But one day, at the moment of a patient’s death following a failed resuscitation attempt, he received an inspiration to “Pause,” which would soon spread to hospitals around the world. He shares that story with us today.

Learn more about The Medical Pause here.

Other links from this episode:

Being With Dying Training

Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare

Patreon.com/eolu (all donations welcome!!)

Leave a review on iTunes

Ineffability means to lose words in the experience of the moment. Silence captures the moment more than any words” – Jonathan Bartels

Included in this interview:

  • How Jonathan was inspired to institute the first Medical Pause
  • Why we need to pause in times of tragedy
  • How to implement The Medical Pause in any setting
  • Best practices for The Medical Pause
    • Ask permission of people in attendance
    • Don’t proselytize
    • Allow people to opt out
    • Allow it spread organically rather than as a policy
  • What it takes to start a movement that is changing the healthcare system
    • Timing
    • Willingness to stand up for what’s right
    • Pure and positive motivations to help others
    • Willingness to fail
    • Courage and vision
  • How to “burn brighter rather than burning out”
    • Journal
    • Physical activity
    • Mindfulness
    • Healthy diet
    • Supportive practices

Tune in next week for a new episode! Until then …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready           Love Your Life

karen-signature

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 112 Grace and Grit: Conscious Love & Conscious Dying with Ken Wilber

Learn how Treya Wilber’s spiritual practice helped her transcend fear and die consciously as told in Ken Wilber’s book Grace and Grit.

PodcastWilber

wilber2EdIn this episode I share a powerful and heartfelt interview with Ken Wilber where we discuss the subject of “Conscious Dying” and how the life and death of his wife Treya so beautifully teach us to live and die consciously, as told in the book Grace and Grit.

Website: kenwilber.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0371I’m still in Italy as this broadcast airs but will be returning to Colorado in a few days. Check out the photos from my last days of travel on Instagram and Facebook!

Hopefully I’ve made progress on my new book, too!

Patreonbecome2xAs always this podcast is made possible through your generous donations at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you so much to those of you who have been chipping in every month to help defray the costs of producing and broadcasting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to become a patron!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Whether or not death and dying are issues that concern you at this time in your life, you will find value in listening to Ken’s discussion of this important subject. Each of us must come to terms with our mortality in the physical realm and be prepared for an unknown future. Each of us also must face losing those we deeply love, and caring for them through illness and adversity.

We can learn from Ken and Treya’s experiences how to love totally and consciously during our lifetimes – and how to let go of that love and life itself when that time arrives for us.

This interview will cover:

  • The meaning of “conscious dying” from a spiritual perspective
  • Ken’s caregiver journey and how it became his spiritual path
  • How Ken and Treya “carried one another’s pain” during the course of her illness and dying process
  • The Buddhist practice of tonglen and why it was important to Treya
  • How the term “passionate equanimity” describes Treya’s approach to living and dying

Ken Wilber is a philosopher, sage, author and integral theorist who has been called “the Einstein of Consciousness.” He is:

  • The most translated writer on consciousness studies in the United States
  • Author of 22 books on spirituality and science –
    • A Theory of Everything
    • A Brief History of Everything
    • Sex, Ecology and Spirituality
    • The Integral Vision
  • Creator of Integral Theory – a model for organizing different perspectives of life and consciousness

His book Grace and Grit chronicles the life and death of his second wife Treya Killam Wilber.

Get Grace and Grit on Amazon.

I hope you enjoyed this interview and have been inspired to take up your own spiritual practice to help you live with “passionate equanimity.”

There will be a new episode every Monday so come back again and learn with me! If you like this content please leave a review on iTunes.

Until next week…

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                        Love Your Life.

karen-signature

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 99 Death as a Spiritual Practice

Learn how thinking about death every day can be the secret to peace of mind and joie de vivre.

PodcastSpiritualPractice

TaoIn this episode I share why and how I contemplate death as a daily spiritual practice. This practice has really been the “secret” behind my own spiritual growth.

You can read the blog post here and learn about the book and companion journal The Tao of Death here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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.)

D2KDUSA(dot)com_red+blkTuesday August 8th is Dying to Know Day and I’ll be hosting a Virtual Death Cafe at 5 pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern. (More information at eoluniversity.com)

Iralaughing

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!)

 

FEATURE:

Here are the benefits I’ve received from my daily spiritual practice of death contemplation:

  • Gratitude for every moment of life
  • Restructured priorities
  • Taking responsibility for my life
  • Looking within myself for answers
  • Finding joy in being alive
  • Being prepared for anything!

TaoYou 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 karen@karenwyattmd.com or Tweet me @spiritualmd.)

Tune in next week for #100! Until then:

Face Your Fears.                           BE Ready.                               Love Your Life.

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