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Intimacy with Death,
Intimacy with Life
Month 1: Death is Good News!
Month 2: Embodied Living & Dying
Month 3: Surrendering to the Golden Thread
Month 4: Death in Community, Rebuilding the Village
Month 5: Support from the Seen & Unseen Realms
Month 6: The Gift of Aging
Most of us hold the concepts of life and death as polar opposites. Yet we know that anything entrenched in rigid polarities is born from trauma and a limited worldview. As we spiritually mature, we begin to hold perspectives that embrace the both/and. The sacred union implied in the “both/and” is the benevolent nature of the universe.
Intimacy with Death, Intimacy with Life is a six month online retreat dedicated to a sacred inquiry and forming a deeper relationship with the preciousness of life. Building on the four week series, “Walking Towards a Good Death,” this retreat is a body, mind, and spirit journey into the contemplation of the life/death/life cycles. Using the tools of shamanism, nature connection, movement, silence, embodiment, celebration, neural repatterning, group sharing, humor/laughter/fun, and deep integration, we inch closer and closer to unfolding destiny meant for our lives.
As we say yes to death, we say yes fully to the lives we came here to live: fully, unapologetically, and powered by our soul. In truth, becoming intimate with death is one of the fastest ways to live our most epic life and make our dreams come true. Because as we surrender to the mystery, our deepest desires are drawn into our lives. Additionally, the gratitude that emerges from this intimacy turns every moment of our lives into a miraculous celebration.
Together we will search for, explore, and identify the breadcrumbs or stepping stones away from a death phobic culture towards a death literate, death positive, and death honoring way of being. As we release beliefs formed from the culture of fear and failure around death we inevitably form an intimacy with death. And the more intimate we become with death the more our lives become available for ecstasy, alignment, and creativity.
Integration includes daily practices, contemplation prompts that help us weave this into our lives, awareness exercises that help us see how life is always guiding us, and opportunities to practice healing the either/or split and open ourselves to the sacred inner marriage. We will all come away with a more integrated understanding of the life/death/life process and how it weaves together into one whole divinely orchestrated framework. Images, metaphors, and mystical understandings emerge as supportive tools for the rest of our lives. And best of all, we come away more grateful for our existence and fully alive in our process.
Death is good news. How can it not be? Every time we let go, every time we die to something, every time we surrendered a chapter, something always comes next.
There may be a pause or a period of contraction or a shift of lanes but there’s always more insight, more transcendence, more growth, more learning, more oneness.
How could it be otherwise with death? It’s good news because we come from nothing – and emerge with fully intact informed and intelligent essences. We depart into nothing and take that essence with us.
In between we get to taste and feel and experience. There’s no other contemplation or practice that brings us so exquisitely in touch with our aliveness, the rarity of it, the uniqueness of it, the temporariness of it, the gift of it.
This month builds on the integration from “Walking Towards a Good Death” (audios included with course and a prerequisite to this deep dive).
Let’s consciously prepare for our own deaths.
Mystical Practice: Using the tools of letting go, soulfulness, presence, and receiving we will internally prepare for our the eventuality of our own deaths.
Tantric Practice: As we embrace the impermanence of our lives, we begin to embody exquisite aliveness in every moment. Choose a daily practice that brings you into rapture.
The body is the portal to the great mystery. It holds all our memories and the map of our future. In fact, The body knows how to live. And it knows how to die.
Yet many of us live outside of our bodies, detached and disassociated due to trauma and unhealthy patterns. As we let ourselves experience both grief and pleasure, we learn to ride the waves of embodiment and make more space for us to inhabit ourselves more fully.
Both grief and ecstasy are SENSUAL experiences. And vulnerable ones. Being mortal is vulnerable. Yet as we inhabit the body we become more present, more alive, and more of our essential selves.
When we come into this body – our sexuality opens, our imaginations open, our hearts open, our lives open. As we build the muscles for feeling all of ourselves through being with our sensations, gradually we can sit with more and more.
As we become resourced, we expand our capacity for discomfort and bliss. We begin to trust ourselves. To stay embodied in the face of all that’s emerging is MASTERY.
Once embodied, we unlock codes and microbiome components that allow joy to emerge. We tap into our own genius.
Mystical Practice: Using the tools of life experience, poetry, and grief practices, we learn to sit with our suffering, longing, and the pain of existence.
Tantric Practice: Using simple practices of the body and the senses, we learn to embrace the pleasure and gratitude of existence.
William Stafford said: “there is a thread we follow that never changes. It is our heart’s journey, and it is hard to explain to others because they cannot see it: the thread is ours alone. Life proceeds, circumstances change, tragedies occur, yet all through life we never let go of the thread. We know as long as we hold onto it, we will never get lost.”
We will practice surrender and learn to ride the wave of the life/death/life process. We know from countless near death experiences that death feels like a surrendering into a divine love. Let’s practice that while we’re still alive.
Surrendering reveals patterns. The warp and the woof, the yin and the yang, the ebb and the flow. As we trust the surrender, these patterns become our closest allies and greatest friends.
To die before we die we employ the tools of sacred openness and vulnerability. This helps us get more comfortable on the surfboard of our lives.
Instead of looking outside of ourselves for security and guidance, we look within. We adopt a stance of a non judgemental receiving of life. We deepen our intuition, knowing, and inner guidance. Then, energy begins to flow and an alchemy begins to occur as life and death walk side by side.
As we surrender more and more to our own soul’s wisdom we are in deep collaboration with the ultimate intelligence. We come to accept our existence as important and we begin to hear our own song.
Mystical Practice: Using various tools and practices, we contemplate our unique golden thread and cultivate our capacity to listen to our soul’s code.
Tantric Practice: We build an altar to the divine within which cultivates deep reverence for the miraculous opportunity of our existence.
We are nothing without community. We are sick, isolated, and disconnected without the village. The village represents all the ways in which we’re reweaving, reviving, and regenerating sane, holistic, integrated, and intact culture. Village is the only way we will heal. Village is the only way we will find the truth of oneness.
Traditionally, the celebration of life, including the tending for the death and dying has been embedded into community. We cannot have a good death without it. It’s part of the map of the new paradigm.
And so must we return.
Let us remember and reinvigorate our DNA coding for village tending, death tending, and life walking with others. Let us rise to our particular form of leadership in forging these pathways. Let us discover, design, and support each other towards ecstatic living and dying in the context of community.
This may include helping people die, death care teams, village building in it’s myriad forms.
Mystical Practice: Using all the tools we’ve gathered so far, we practice becoming a beacon for community building. Using our unique essential nature, our ability to sit with grief and pleasure, and our capacity to embrace impermanence we stand for embodied, enlivened, and connected networks.
Tantric Practice: We discover how to enjoy community, attract our beloveds, and ascend to higher and higher reaches of human expression together.
Many cultures around the world had and have wisdom ways of knowing about death and life. This is the place of the shamanic “upper world,” and the Christian notion of heaven, and the ancient ideas of ancestors and spirit allies.
As we’ve been deepening into learning, life and death are sacred parts of the same whole. When we move beyond the polarity consciousness we discover a more magical reality.
This magical reality has been there all along. Yet we’re just stepping through the veils to discover it. The truth is that we’ve been supported all along.
The biggest contributor to losing our fear of death is a connection with the unseen realms. Realms that delight in our journey and that love us beyond measure.
As we relax into this truth, we experience our own delight in ourselves, our lives, our fate, and our journey. This joy is our birthright.
As we relax into life, we realize that death is a birthing of what’s next for us. A birth back into the spirit realms.
Mystical Practice: As we celebrate the ocean of support that surrounds us and understand the divine orchestration of our existence, we begin to construct a worldview that extends beyond this one. We practice weaving our spirit allies into our lives on the regular.
Tantric Practice: Through nature connection, shamanic journeying, and practices that support our relationship with the ancestors, we heal ourselves, our lineage, and move towards death as unencumbered beings ready to embrace our next chapters beyond this life. We discover our eternal natures.
Modern culture is youth obsessed. Yet aging is not an accident. It’s an elegantly designed, honorable, and natural cycle.
We’ll explore how to revere and delight in the aging process. How to support ourselves and each other to become elders and then ancestors. How to we become, as David Whyte says, “intimate with our own disappearance. ” How to make that dissolving process become the most important task of our lives.
Living into the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter seasons of our lives carry special gifts. We’ll look at balancing out the yang (active, outward, focused, productive) components of our lives with the yin (inward, mystical, restful, integrating) components of our lives.
Aging offers us exquisite practice in dying before we die as we let go of our many identities. As Mary Lane says, “The fewer identities we have at the end of life, the easier it is to let go into the “no identity” that comes with the death of the body. And, as the identities fall away we are more connected to the eternal part of us that is our soul.”
As we sit with this topic, we develop a more integrated understanding of the life/death/life process and how it weaves into an entire sacred framework known as the cycles of life.
Mystical Practice: Intimacy with disappearance is our practice this month. And that leads to the exquisiteness of unity consciousness. We’ll practice becoming an ancestor as the culmination of our lives gather and propel us towards that ultimate emergence.
Tantric Practice: Love, and life, and sex, and aliveness get better and better as we age and integrate and deepen into our core essential selves. Our authenticity becomes our radiance. Let’s grow down together.
As the lead educator, facilitator, space holder, and sacred inquirer, Lee does not work alone. Supported by this beautiful team in the physical realm as well as a myriad of supporters in other realms, Lee is bringing to life this deep dive after years of dancing with Tantra, Death, and Mysticism.
Lee Warren has been fortunate to learn from the dying in the context of a village. Over the course of two years, from 2016 to 2018, there were six deaths at Earthaven Ecovillage, the place she’s called home for more than two decades.
Those deaths, and the generous people who experienced them, were incredible opportunities for service to the great mystery. From end-of-life paperwork preparation, to working with hospice and sitting with the dying, to collaborating with blood families on all aspects of the death process, to tending our beloveds for after death services, to creating home wakes, home funerals, and home burials, the village came alive with cooperation and the magic of synchronized flow.
These end-of-life ceremonies and rituals weave together the fabric of community, which gives meaning to every aspect of the death process. People, both from within and from outside the village, expressed how life-changing and heart-expansive these experiences were for them.
What Lee learned during this sacred time is the following:
Lee has woven end-of-life education into her community building work as foundation to becoming alive, present, and embodied humans.
This online retreat brings life and death together using tantra and mysticism as teachers.
As we step into liminal space together we get to really explore the both/and of existence. It’s all true and none of it is true. As we contemplate the paradox worlds open up. Contemplating the paradox is like the “open sesame” of the portal to the other worlds.
We will be transforming the idea that death is the opposite of life. In truth, it is all the Dao. With mysticism, tantra, nature, community, and the life/death/life cycle as our guides we enter SACRED INQUIRY about how to hold both.
As we practice, contemplate, discuss, inquire, and become intimate with the ineffable, we integrate the images, metaphors, and new patterns that help us live embodied, ecstatic, and exquisitely alive incarnations.
Nothing short of sacred union is the outcome.
Registration for this deep dive is not yet open. See below. If you’d like to be informed about info sessions and kept in the loop about this program, please sign up for updates here: