EOLPodcast

BONUS 13: 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 13: These tricky roads of grief

These tricky roads of grief

Featured Poem by Meggie C. Royer

Color of Grief

As a child I was constantly sticking my fingers in sockets

and trying to figure out if grief had its own color

so my mother sat me down on the sofa and took out the Pantone book,

paged through it for an hour until we found the blues.

There, I said, that one, and pointed to cerulean.

Oh honey, my mother replied, That’s not grief. That’s just a paint swatch

and it will never amount to all the pain in your heart.

Sometimes I feel the urge to go wade out into the lake

after filling my pockets with stones,

but then I remember my father and how he wore his grief

like a too-tight sweater, something given to an awkward child

by a grandmother who doesn’t even know the right size,

so I take the stones back out of my pockets

and I place them on his grave instead. 

EOLPodcast, Spirituality

BONUS 11: 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 11: To everything there is a season

To everything there is a season

Featured Verse: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Bonus 6: 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 6: Waiting for the Sun

Waiting for the Sun

Featured Verse:

by Rainer Maria Rilke

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

BONUS 5: 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 5: The Power of Silence

The Power of Silence

Featured Poem:

by John O’Donohue

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

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

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 236 Reconnecting Life and Death – SoULL: The School of Unusual Life Learning with Jeanne Denney

Learn about an innovative training that helps restore death as a natural component of life.

In this episode my guest Jeanne Denney discusses her School of Unusual Life Learning and how she helps people embrace a life that includes aging and dying. We talk about the harmful consequences of living in a society that separates death from life and ignores the natural wisdom available through embracing death. You’ll learn how Jeanne’s training can help death workers discover new tools for their work and how to enroll in her school. Learn more about SoULL here:

www.jeannedenney.com/the-school

Listen here:

Reconnecting Life and Death with Jeanne Denney

This episode includes:

  • How Jeanne transitioned from teaching about death to starting a school and life processes
  • Why Western “life education” has fostered a split between our concepts of living and dying
  • The consequences of our separation from the natural world
  • The definition of “life force movement” and why it should replace our notion of life and death as opposites
  • How people doing death work can benefit from training in energy and consciousness
  • Why new ways of thinking are necessary in order to change our death care system
  • Training offered through SoULL: School of Unusual Life Learning

   “You never change anything by fighting the existing reality.  Build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”

Buckminster Fuller

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!

EOLPodcast, Tragedy

Ep. 233 Fire and the Cycle of Life: Why Birth Always Follows Death

Learn a new perspective on devastation and destruction as part of the natural cycle of life.

In this solo episode I share reflections on the devastation caused by wildfires and what we can learn about the cycle of life from that destruction. The transformative power of fire is discussed and how we can utilize the “fires” of our lives to help us grow in love.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What the Yellowstone National Park fire of 1988 teaches us about the cycle of life
  • The new birth that follows from destruction and death
  • How forests benefit from wildfire
  • A story about Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction, but also of love
  • How the fire of Kali burns away what doesn’t serve us and transforms it to love
  • Recognizing that fires and death are an essential part of the cycle of life
  • Seeing the “big picture” when devastation occurs
  • New growth includes creativity, spontaneity, surprises and miracles
  • Finding gratitude for the cycle of life

Yellowstone is not an ending or a beginning.

It just goes on and on and on.

The difference is whether we choose to live

Seeing the wingspan of a heron glide through

The Burnt forest or not.”

from Shards of Yellowstone by Katya Williamson

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!

EOLPodcast, Grief, Spirituality

Ep. 229 How to Create a Mini-Pilgrimage as a Ritual for Grief

Learn how to incorporate the ritual of pilgrimage into your daily life, especially as a tool for grief.

In this solo episode I discuss the benefits of pilgrimage for spiritual growth and for helping with grief. I’ll share with you how I’ve created “mini”-pilgrimages in my own community that have helped me on my own grief journey to shift my energy, honor my loved ones, and deepen my own transformation. You’ll learn how and why you might want to try this ritual for yourself.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why pilgrimages are beneficial
  • Characteristics of sacred spaces that inspire pilgrimages
  • How a pilgrimage can help with grief
  • How to choose a time and place for a mini-pilgrimage
  • Planning for the journey
  • Tips for getting the most from a mini-pilgrimage
  • Rituals during the journey
  • The Sacred Sites Meditation Technique from Martin Gray
  • Returning from a pilgrimage

The sacred sites, the pilgrimage places … are where people most passionately give praise and prayer to God. Go there, be present in that divinity, be in love with that love.

– Martin Gray

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Special offer on Patreon: Autographed copy of What Really Matters! (Offer lasts through 1/27/2020)
  • Sign up for the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class
  • Martin Gray’s websiteSacred Sites
  • 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 Patron, Richard Schneider; your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 217 Living a Death-Aware Life: How to Practice What We Preach

Learn why and how to intentionally develop your personal death-awareness in order to live your best life.

PodcastDeathAware

If you are a death-worker in any field you probably feel that you are highly aware of death and its many facets. But did you know that the human brain has a primal mechanism to protect us from thinking about and acknowledging our own personal death? Yes it’s true. We can be advanced teachers of death for other people and still be in denial that we ourselves are going to die. In this solo episode I’ll talk about how and why we need to strengthen our own death-awareness for the betterment of our lives and our work.

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • A study that shows the defenses against death-awareness that exist in the primitive human brain
  • Why personal death-awareness must be intentionally cultivated
  • How death-awareness can expand and transform our lives
  • Why daily death contemplation is essential to our growth
    • Think about the fleeting nature of life
    • Acknowledge fears of death and dying
    • Recognize barriers to awareness
  • Benefits of increased death-awareness:
    • Enjoy the present moment
    • Find comfort in stillness
    • Experience authentic gratitude for life
    • Experience awe
    • Become less attached to material things
    • Be more inclusive and less exclusive
    • See everything as sacred

Good night Wesley. Good work. Sleep well. I shall likely kill you in the morning.

-from The Princess Bride

Links mentioned in this episode:

BartonWebinarloneliness

FREE webinar (REPLAY provided if you can’t attend live):

The Loneliness Epidemic

Click here to register.

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/eoluespecially my newest Patrons Kathryn Mattes, Kristy Lynn, and Astrid Raffinpeyloz, your contributions mean everything to me!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 213 Making Sense of Death by Planning Ahead with Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante

Learn about educational planning tools that are available for end-of-life navigators and teachers to use with their clients.

PodcastLazarPante2

This week I welcome back to the podcast Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante of WillowEOL.com who will tell us about the free tools they offer to assist with end-of-life planning and a new workbook they have created (available to purchase). We will also discuss the importance of end-of-life planning and sharing our wishes with our loved ones. Learn more at their website:

www.WillowEOL.com

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Why people should think in advance about the legacy they will leave behind
  • How to create a meaningful legacy for your loved ones
  • What steps baby boomers need to take now to be better prepared for the end of life
  • 9 things to include in an end-of-life plan
  • Free tools for planning ahead available at WillowEol.com
  • A helpful end-of-life planning workbook available for teachers and navigators to use with their clients
  • How to work with Reena and Michelle at a retreat, workshop or speaking event

Your mortality is an opportunity in disguise.

-WillowEOL.com

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 supporter Kathy Breakwellyour contribution means  everything to me!

 

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!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 133 Journaling as a Practice for Living and Dying

Learn about the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of keeping a journal and why you should start doing it!

podcastjournaling

redjournalIn this episode I share my thoughts on my own journaling practice and how it has changed my life. I also relate a story of a woman who kept a “hospice journal” during her last days of life. You’ll find plenty of reasons to start your own journaling practice and you can download the Journaling Starter Kit below if you are interested!

Click here to get the Journaling Starter Kit!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading a book each month of 2018 about death and dying. It’s a great educational and inspirational experience! Click here to learn more and sign up.

Stay tuned for more information on my current Work Group for Death & Dying Teachers. We have gathered together a fabulous group of dedicated women who are going to be starting new classes on death and dying this year! I’ll be reporting on it in future episodes.

Thank you to my latest contributor on Patreon.com/eolu: Birgitte Due Jensen Koch! I appreciate your generosity and support so much! I’m grateful to everyone who is helping me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air by making a financial commitment at Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This episode was inspired in part by a message I received from Evan Mercer about his wife Julie’s hospice journal, which he shared at her memorial service and in a video on YouTube:

I have been journaling for much of my life and have found it to be very beneficial in many ways. So I wanted to share this message to encourage everyone to give journaling a try and find out for yourself how it can help you. Here are some of the benefits I’ve received:

  • Creates discipline and a routine for my day
  • Helps me ventilate my emotions
  • Organizes my thoughts
  • Allows to analyze and process my judgments toward other people
  • Shows me another perspective and reveals my higher wisdom

Studies have shown that journaling has health benefits for people with chronic illnesses like asthma and arthritis and also for those with terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and cancer. I believe that keeping a “Hospice Journal” as Julie did can help terminal patients cope with a range of vacillating emotions as death approaches, discern what really matters in life, and leave behind a legacy for loved ones to cherish.

Journaling has also been shown to improve immune function and alleviate stress. Men seem to benefit from journaling even more than women and writing a journal by hand is more beneficial than typing on a keyboard.

If you want to try journaling for yourself get the Journaling Starter Kit and see where it takes you! Download the Starter Kit here!

Tune in next week for a new episode and please leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content!

Until next time remember:

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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EOLPodcast, Grief, Spirituality, Tragedy

Ep. 93 Treating the Trauma of War: Psychiatry Meets Shamanism with Jeff Black MD

Find out how a psychiatrist is successfully helping veterans with unhealed trauma by using alternative practices.

 

PodcastTrauma

ALBlackcropped In this episode I am featuring an interview from the Death & Afterlife Summit with Dr. Jeff Black, a psychiatrist who uses unconventional methods to successfully treat trauma in veterans. A few clips of this interview were featured in the Suicide Series and I wanted to share the entire interview with you.

 

As a follow-up to the Suicide Series I want to further address the issue of suicide in veterans: at this time 22 veterans take their own lives every day. This statistic is a heartbreaking tragedy and it’s time we work hard to help heal the emotional and spiritual burden that veterans bring home from war. Dr. Black and others describe the aftermath of trauma as “soul loss” and he uses shamanic rituals to help his patients recover the pieces of their souls that have been taken away by war.

In Episode 92 I performed a Fire Ceremony for my father to heal his wounds and to release my grief. This was recommended to me by Dr. Black and during the ceremony I felt the power of ritual to transform our losses into grace. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Dr. Jeff Black.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Until the next time …

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                      Love Your Life.

karen-signature