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Walking Towards A Good Death
Please take a breath with me. Feel the impossible, the near impossible miracle of our own existence, our incarnated presence at this moment, we are all alive and embodies and that won’t always be true.
So welcome. I see something quirky is going on with your screen. Ruby. It’s fine to keep your screen off, if that’s better. Lovely to see you all. Those of you who have your images, your faces. Mary’s going to keep letting people in and I’m going to start with a couple of poems.
The first one is from Joseph Campbell and he says, “the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
And the next one I want to share is Mary Oliver from a longer poem I’m going to just share. Part of it called The Summer Day and I’m going to read it a couple of times so we can really sink into it. Mary Oliver and her poetic genius.
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is, I don’t know exactly what a prayer is
I do know how to pay attention
I do know how to fall down into the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I’ve been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Thank you all for being here. This is an opportunity for us to give a little bit of an overview and an introduction. I’m Lee Warren, and I’m here with Mary Lane, and we co teach this class walking towards a Good Death. And you all found your way here through some portal, Facebook or email newsletter or something and got to my website and signed up. So this is an opportunity to ask questions and we’re going to open the question space in a little bit, probably a couple of different times.
But we do this course, this four week series, and we call it an Invitation for internal preparation for death. And it’s an invitation to anyone at any stage in any age, at any stage of life and any stage of health or illness.
This isn’t about being sick or being actively dying, this is about living as a mortal. So if you’re mortal and you’re alive, this class is for you, because we are all on the journey to our own good deaths and just a few logistics and then I can get into sort of some of the structure of the course and what we’ll be covering and then Mary will share some as well.
So we’ve done this in a four part series and we’re doing it on Sundays this time around. It’s starting on February 19 and it’s four consecutive Sundays, the 19th, the 26th and then March 5 and March 12. And the time is from four to 06:00 p.m.. East coast time. So whatever that is, you can adjust that for your time zone. And we find that the 2 hours really gives us enough space to contemplate one topic and we really go deep into that topic.
And so there’s four topics and I’m going to go through them each one. But to overview it, the first week is called Letting Go, the second week is called Soulfulness. The third week is Presence and the fourth week is Receiving. And the idea is that we are together on this journey. There’s nothing that Mary and I know more than you do about any of these topics. We are sort of creating a structure and have an experience with each other and ourselves for a deep inquiry around death and the life death life cycle.
So we are asking the same questions as everyone else is asking and we have material that we’re presenting. It’s not so much a lecture, it’s more of a contemplation, more of an offering. And then we provide space for integration and conversation and contemplation and we offer sort of take home exercises so that we can get the most out of the experience.
And I can tell you from personal experience and also Mary will tell you this because she and I talk about this constantly, is that she and I actually go through huge transformation and metamorphosis every time we teach this class. Also is we are very much on this journey, this same contemplation. And the basic idea of it is that we have everything we need to have a positive and conscious death experience. It’s wired into us, into our biology, into our neurology, into our psychology, into our mystical cells. It’s standard equipment, we are wired for it. And so we have all this overlay from culture that keeps us apart from and separate from death. A death is a failure or death is to be avoided or death is to be not thought about, is to be feared. And we know we are exploring a different perspective and a different paradigm around that.
And one of the things we have come to understand is that in order to get to that place where we can walk towards death at any age and stage, that we really need to nourish the components of our infinite selves, really to access the wiring, to access our birthright, to have the kind of death that we can imagine. And that’s not just the death at the end of our lives that’s celebrating the death that happens all throughout our lives. And we talk quite a bit about that.
So I’m just going to take a breath here. All four weeks are online, and we do record them, but we have suggested that people, if they’re going to miss more than one, that they wait for it to come back around again and take it another time. And that to not really rely on the recordings as your core relationship to the course, that there’s a lot of intimacy that happens when we’re together on the journey that happened in sort of real time and in the live space. And for some reason, we were all probably very familiar with Zoom at this point over the last three years. And there’s something pretty magical that happens if we can really drop in. And death is one of those subjects that, from my experience, opens up a portal to the mystical, and we can feel quite connected even in this format, and it’s pretty rich and nourishing. So that’s a little bit of a brief overview. I’m going to go a little more deeply into each of the four weeks and what we cover, but I just want to see if there’s any general logistical or practical questions at this point. You can raise your hand, either electronic or actual, or you can unmute I’ll keep going. Ask any questions at the other end, practical, logistical or mystical.
Mary, do you have any thoughts you want to share at this point, or do you want me to keep sort of laying some of the foundation? You just keep going, honey. Right. All right.
Again, week one, we’re talking about letting go, and we build on these weeks in an interesting way, and I’m almost tempted to tell you what they are backwards. I was thinking about that, because week four is receiving, and this is such a big one for us, the idea that we have very young, as in yin and Yang, we have a driven, productive, outward facing, efficiency oriented culture, very young, and it encourages us to be active into our old age, which is awesome and wonderful. And there’s nothing wrong with these qualities. There’s a lot of value in this. But if we’re going to die well, and we’re going to die the kind of death that is maybe more conscious or more positive or maybe even more ecstatic, which I believe is possible, I have seen it, it requires receptivity. It requires us to cultivate a sense of receptivity in ourselves, a yin quality, in a way. And there is some building of muscle in us, right. And a little bit of rebelling in some ways against the culture. Right. But to really look at how we already do a lot of receiving, we receive from the sun and from food and from rest and from others all the time. So some of the most valuable things in our lives come from receiving friendship and partnership and care, nourishment connection. So really the final course is about receiving and how do we expand our capacity for receiving, receiving pleasure, receiving all that life has to offer us.
And so each of the previous weeks builds towards that final week, which is our receptivity. The previous week to week four is week three. I love that I’m doing it backwards. Is present. How do we learn to be present? Right? We’ve done a lot shutting ourselves down and protecting ourselves from painful experiences. This is what humans do. We all do this. And so how and and many of us have learned tricks and tools over the years, but a prerequisite to receiving is to learning to be present, right? And so it’s a journey, right? And so there’s this vast, wise, intelligent universe inside of every cell of our beings, this really divinely connected self. And how do we get present to that so that that can build as a building block, as a stepping stone to the ultimate skill we need to have, which is being receptive.
And then week two, going back one more week, is this concept we’re calling Soulfulness. And there’s many ways to think about the soul, right? Some people think about the higher self or the spirit or God or let’s say, our intuition or our consciousness or our divinity, whatever way, our essence, whatever word, whatever flavor. We all use different ideas of that. The question is what is the quality of our relationship to that place in us? Because regardless of who surrounds us at the moment of our death, we all die alone, right? This is a relationship between ourselves and our essence. And so what does that relationship look like? What does that feel like? Are we building? Are we nourishing. Are we feeding? Are we caring for that relationship? And so that’s an important part. That’s an important part of building towards being present and being receptive.
So Soulfulness is week two and then week one, we start off the course with this idea of letting go, that we’ve all had hundreds and thousands and maybe millions of opportunities in our lifetimes to let go, right? In fact, our birth, our own birth was an opportunity to let go, to step into the void, to even just move into this incarnated form, right? And it’s such a mystery. And every chapter of our lives is an opportunity to let go. I recently did a video and thought we let go every day. We let go of seasons, we let go of friends, we let go of so much. And so can we make that more conscious, our actual letting go, and really bring our attention to that because this is part of our internal equipment for how to walk towards a good death. And we all know how to do it, but just to bring our attention to that and to accentuate it and bring our consciousness and awareness to it.
So these are the kinds of things that we’re dropping into. And these are, again, very contemplative topics. And we are on a journey together in this course to discover some of our own deep answers to these questions. It’s called what I think of as a sacred inquiry. And Mary and I are like tour guides on the sacred inquiry. We often say we’re not experts on death because neither of us have done it yet. So we’re all in the same boat around this inquiry, and all we can do is wonder together. But the wondering together is really magical because so few places in our culture allow us to have these wonderings together. So we’re going to wonder and wander together in some structure and framework that helps us really start to be deeply at peace with our own existence and our own eventual death. I think I’ll stop there, Mary.
Boy, it’s going to be hard for me to add to that. Thank you, honey. First of all, does anybody have any questions in regard to this, what Lee just shared, about the four principles that we are exploring and inquiring and strengthening a relationship with anybody before I go into taking that to another piece? Anybody? Okay.
Well, it’s really hard for me sometimes to know what morsel I can bring to the table that’s digestible, that will synthesize and bring actual examples of experience to this, because I think that what Lee has been talking about is that these principles is like, well, it could feel a little lofty. It could feel like, what are you talking about? And how does this fit in my life and how does this integrate into how I walk towards death and how does my life affect how I walk towards death? And so what I like to do and what I’ve been trying to do this is our third time of doing this and trying to keep within the strengthening of these principles in my own life and my own walk. I try to bring in life experiences because that’s really all I know that relate to this, that grounds it, brings it into real life. It brings it into a perspective that we can witness how it is playing out, especially as we are walking towards we’re always walking towards death. We’re always walking side by side with death.
And as a disclaimer, I just want to say that with all the accounts, billions of accounts, I even just listened to an interview with Zac Bush this morning about this exact same thing of the exact moment of death. So many people who have been resuscitated brought back, who have had a near death experience, there has been a very similar, almost identical thread where he even said his patience with him, why did you bring me back? Because at that moment, they experienced the most exquisite expansion into an unimaginable love and acceptance for who they are that they have never experienced during their life. If that is true of the moment of death, then how on earth did we acquire the relationship with death that would make us walk through life and have our fear of death affect us so much? It doesn’t really compute. So there’s a lot of unraveling that we have to do from this old paradigm that has instilled us with, I would say, a relationship that could use improving. We certainly can’t possibly improve on death itself.
But what about our relationship with the dying process? The relationship with letting go and the small deaths throughout our life, the relationship with accepting it as not just this brutal foe that has swooped in to destroy our lives, but it actually can be an ally walking by our side. And that’s what I want to bring into it and how I’m doing that because we are talking about death. We are talking about walking towards death and how we walk through life affects our death. Just recently I’ve had two very extreme experiences. One as a deaf dula, as part of an organization I Belong, who we work as a team and we support people to go through their dying process. The experience with this man that in this context was one of the most beautiful walks towards death I had ever witnessed. And the peace and the acceptance that he was walking and the love that was able to surround him was just exquisite. And at the same time, on the other extreme, I’m walking with somebody that is family and who has the other extreme experience of walking her dying process. And I sat there experiencing both of these people having a death experience. And what I really gathered and it solidified is what they bring to that table at that time when they are looking into the face of death is how they lived their lives and the relationship with death throughout their life. It didn’t change when they were looking in the face of it. They brought that with them. And I would like to bring those two examples, weave those examples in and out of our exploration, in our inquiry around these four principles that Lee just described and how this is what I garnered from these two experiences.
These two examples and how each one of these principles played a role in how these two extremes of a walk towards death unfolded for these two people. And I believe because they were so extreme, that pretty much everybody can find themselves somewhere between those two somewhere. And what it shows also is that each one of us has a very unique pathway, very diverse background, very different relationship with life and death. And so, like Lee has said, nobody can show up and go, this is how you’re supposed to die. This is how you do it. Let us tell you how to do it. Nah, we’re not that arrogant. But what we’re finding is that as each of us and what we’re doing on our own path, is that each of us dive in and strengthen our relationship with these four principles of how they weave into our lives. Literally supports not only the dying process that each of us will eventually come to not only the ability to walk by the side of a loved one, not only the ability to accept the death of a loved one, but literally how we walk through life.
And what I realized is that the extremes of possibility and all the variations in between and all the degrees in between that each of us carry, that we do not wait until we’re looking into the face of death to address this. It’s like Lee said, you cannot do this too early in life. I am perfectly healthy. And then I’m addressing this because what I have found out is that when I looked at over the course of the years and walked side by side with many deaths and saw so many different variations of it, there was one common theme, is that, and especially those that I knew personally, is how they walked through life. And their relationship with both life and death played a huge impact and made all the difference in the world when they actually came face to face with it.
So we’re talking about the life and death walking side by side and how making friends with death and using these principles to support us. To do that can not only affect the inevitable walk that we will all take and support others through, but it has a profound effect on how we walk through life. And how we walk through life has a profound effect on how we walk through our death. And so what I want to do at this time is to really ground it into these extreme examples of these two people and how they walked their dying journey so that it’s grounded, it’s real, it’s not lofty, it’s not so esoteric that we can’t grab hold of it and bring it into what real what happens, what unfolds in real life and real death. So that’s what I’m bringing to the table in this.
Lee and I have this great dynamic we call ourselves. One is the river, the other one is the banks. So I love bringing in something that brings us to a place where we can have something to chew on in our inquiry in relationship to these principles. Lee is masterful at being the banks, to hone that in and bring that into a structure in a way that supports everybody to get the absolute most out of that inquiry. I’ve never seen anybody better than her at that. So we make a really great team and we got to have both. So anyway, that’s how we play with this. And I have to tell you, in all honesty, since I really started doing this consciously and making it a pretty strong part of my life, I think Lee will say the same. The transformation of how I walk through life has expanded 1000 folds. There is no better teacher than death for me. So that’s what I just wanted to share, expect to have for me to bring in real life experiences.
I think part of Mary has been walking this journey, and I know a little bit about it, and so to say, just a little bit more, to sort of flesh out a little bit more of those two extremes. Of like this man dying in the context of community with round the clock volunteers and really surrendering and accepting the process of dying and being very engaged in his internal process of dying to the point where it really gifted everyone around to be part of that process as people are in this community context learning how to care for the dying in the context of community. This whole quite elaborate situation. But that this person, this man could really surrender, right? And then the other extreme that Mary’s talking about of a family member of really in a hospital situation, being guided by doctors and really hooked up to a lot of machines and a lot of confusion and not really. Pre planning and really last minute decisions that were made in a panic and everyone in the family sort of stressed and uncertain and really last minute decisions that is leaving everyone quite frayed and very few opportunities to drop into the sort of spiritual dimensions of what’s happening. Right? And so I think the suggestion at this moment, which also gives you a little bit of a taste of how we do the class, is maybe contemplate that in your own life you can imagine these two scenarios and an opportunity to die with an open heart, right? I recently used the phrase embodied dying and I thought, oh, that’s such an interesting phrase. Where did that come from? And like the idea that we’re going to leave the body, but to have the process be embodied. I was sort of curious a thing how do we do that? Right? So just to contemplate, when you think about your own eventual death, what is your dying process look like? Is that how you framed the question to me earlier, Mary? What do you want your dying process to look like?
Well, I think the way I framed it was is where you are at right now with your relationship with death. And you feel into both these extremes. It will give you an opportunity to feel into one extreme, feel into the other extreme and it will give you an opportunity to kind of feel into well, where are you at and how does that feel to you? How does that feel to you? Because as I said, they were such extremes that everybody fits somewhere between those two extremes and it’s a very unique personal walk. So one of the treasures of doing these inquiries is we get to explore and become more aware of where are we at? This is the parameters, this is the extremes. Where are we at? Because we really can’t go into the process of wanting to transform a relationship with death and life that could use some improvement and that we don’t want to die like that. And maybe that’s not possible, but maybe we can accept and love ourselves and show up and go, this is who I am with at this time on this journey. And then you start from there with the inquiry, with the exploration, and you have two examples. And one example, which is, I will say, is my sister. So that makes it a whole other dynamic. But it’s the example of how far too many people are walking through the end of their lives, and the example of this man dying in community, surrounded by an energy that allows him to feel so held and loved that he can completely surrender into a beautiful death. There’s far too few people able in our culture that are able to have the birth right to die this way. And what I’m saying is, because I know my sister and because I got to know this man and how he walked through life and how she walked through life, I can attest that how each of them walked through life determined how they died and what they carried with them, determined how they die. So we’re not just talking about this is how you die at the end of life. This is how you walk through life. If you want to have a death that you can surrender to, surrender to, surrounded with love, surrounded with peace, surrounded with community, with loved ones, if possible, or just have the trust. Like when you walk through a soul guided life, you have that divine connection. You know, you are so loved that you can’t possibly be abandoned that you can walk toward it. So we’re strengthening these as we walk through life, so it affects how we die. Thank you. Questions, thoughts, comments, reflections? Please feel free to speak up.
Participant: Sure. I really appreciate hearing both because I almost asked a question, lee, after your sharing was like, these concepts, so how much are we actually applying those to dying? Like, I was wondering, great concepts, love them. And then is it Mary? Mary. Then you’re like, oh, okay. This is how it comes together. So to show how these principles, how you live, how they play out, as we’re facing dying and death, whether it’s our own or our loved ones or whatever. So I really appreciate both perspectives, and that gave a good flavor for what it could look like. I guess one question I would ask is soon, with people we don’t know, do people start to share more and talk among the group? Do you use breakout groups? Is it all one big discussion? And how much do people engage in? And I’m sure it’s different, but what’s your general experience with that.
We do both group discussion and breakouts. We also have a buddy system where folks can talk during the week about that particular topic with their buddy and go a little deeper. So it’s all of that and there’s a fair amount of epiphanies that happen and we don’t really set the stage for that or plan on that or there’s no recipe for that other than attention to the conversation about death. And I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe there’s some quantum physics understanding, morphic field understanding out there somewhere, but something magical happens when we all put our attention on this topic and some magical thing happens. I can tell you about significant epiphanies that have happened for me in this class. And again, as much as I’m holding some structure for this and holding the sacred inquiry, I’m right along with us all as we’re in this process. I think my big epiphany last year was in the soulfulness topic, which is oh, at the moment of my death, if I want to say yes please, whatever the circumstances, if I want to say yes please at the moment of my death, I better be saying yes please to every moment of my life. It doesn’t work any other way. And so that helped me change my life in significant ways so that the yes please is pretty is there pretty regularly now. And that is the absolute gift of contemplating our own death is that our lives change in untold ways, unexpected ways. There’s no prescription for it.
It will change and it will change differently for each person according to their unique walk through life. So that’s why there is no set prescription. It’s like we all take this journey together and everybody will have their own experience, their own epiphanies, their own unique journey, which for me that’s the new paradigm because we are our own teachers as we walk this path ourselves. That’s why Lee and I can only bring the exploration, join the exploration, create a place where we can explore together and see what happens basically.
So I see you next and then Connie and then I also Phoebe, want to say I love this question that you wrote in the chat. I’m curious about your backgrounds and how you came to create this class. Interested in the community, this person, right? So yes, we’ll answer that question Phoebe, but go ahead. Nava,
I just wanted to say I took your last class and it was so profound, it was so wonderful that I’m really considering taking it again because every time I hear these things like you, I get something new. And so what was interesting this time is you were talking and you brought up Embody dying and it went deep inside me. Well, I was thinking, okay, so when I die or when we die, we need to let go of the body obviously. And so what is my relationship to my. Body, but then it took me to the place of whatever it is. What is my relationship with my body now? What is integrated? What is not integrated? How am I honoring my body? How am I not honoring body? Because to that degree, that will be mirrored in the dying process. And so it’s bringing up, I can feel a whole slew of questions and feelings and excitement and a little bit of executive, a whole lot of stuff around embody dying. So thank you for that.
Yeah, thank you. I love that inquiry as well. And one of the trains of thoughts that my mind went down when I said that phrase embody dying was, I wonder if our cells know exactly how to die in certain microorganisms and certain neurochemicals they kick in, and there’s a whole cooperation with the spirit, right? What about that process? That would be fun to figure out. What if science studied something like that phenomenon, and that the more embodied we are, the more aligned with death we can be. So, yeah, I’m with you, Nava. I’m like, oh, my God, this is so curious. Thank you. And Nava is referring to a sister class that I teach called End of Life Planning and Paperwork, which is an external preparation for death, getting all of our fares in order, figuring out our end of life wishes. And that’s a class that just happened in January, and it’s again happening quite a ways away. It’s in August. So. Thank you, Nava. And who else had their hand up that doesn’t anymore? Connie. Okay, Connie. And then Mary Joe.
Participant: I was just curious about the other times you’ve popped this particular class. What kind of numbers, and do you have a maximum number of people?
Yeah, we had the first time we taught it last February and March, also about a year ago when we had, I think, Mary, we had about, like, 20 people. And then the one in November, we had closer to 50 people. We had 55 people, actually, in the last one. Yeah. So this one is probably going to be closer to the 20 slightly more intimate group is my guess, but we’ll see. We probably have about 15 people registered. Maybe it’ll be in the 30 range. It’s hard to know. Yeah. Mary Joe.
Hi. When you described Mary as a death of dula, I think I immediately had the image of birthing, and that’s what this so far feels like to me, that it feels much more about birthing. And I had an amazing experience when my friend decided to have a green burial, and I stood at the edge of that grave, and there was no casket, but she was wrapped in a gold like robes. And I immediately felt connected to my ancestors, and I went, oh, going back centuries, I felt like my ancestors were standing there. And it’s just so helpful. I just want to thank you for the inspiration of having this group because coming together as a community really gives me courage, and I’m very excited about the class and forward to connecting with the ancestral wisdom that I felt on that day. Thank you.
Wonderful. Thank you. Yeah. Birth and death are these portals for sure. Thank you. So I’d like to answer Phoebe’s question, and I can speak to it from myself, and then Mary can speak to it as well. And Phoebe’s question is our backgrounds. So how do I do this in a short snippet? I have lived in land based intentional community for almost 30 years. And one of those places that I’ve lived at is called Earth Haven. Eco village outside of Asheville, North Carolina. And I built a farm and a co housing neighborhood there and sort of all these alternative systems about how to sort of recreate the village. Right. There’s a lot to say about that, but that’s a brief summary. And in 2016, between 2016 and 2018, we had a series of deaths in our village. Five deaths. Let’s see, three of those five folks died at home. And all five, we had home funerals and home burials. We cared for some of those folks at home. We had some experiences of folks dying in the hospital. We get the body and bring it back home. So we had these myriad of experiences of what I now call village based death and dying practices. And it sort of became part of who we are as a village and developed all of these systems, sort of spiritual systems and external physical, practical systems. And it changed us. It changed us as a community. And often I say, in 30 years of living an intentional community, it’s the most connected I’ve ever felt with a group, is to go through the dying process again. There’s something magical. This oxytocin gets released, this time out of mind experience, the veils get lifted, these portals open. There’s many ways to say it. It’s more like the realm of poets than anything else. But there’s something really special that happens, especially when a group of people come together to midwife or doula the death process and then tend to the body and did that in such a sacred way. We had these beautiful mentors that helped us figure out how to do this, and then burials on the land and funerals in our home and services. And so it really changed my life in so many ways. And I realized that I was sort of born to be what Mary calls a death walker, that this is something I really wanted to be close to and to be in the center of as close to the center of it as I could. And so I really became a death educator, and I started doing end of life paperwork classes for free in my town for years, I did them for free, and then I started doing them online and sort of getting more structured and having more content. And so then Mary and I have known each other for 15 years. She was sort of lived adjacent to this village and she recently moved back from Maui to western North Carolina. And our work clearly is together to do some of this. This is something we both feel so passionate about and we have such a beautiful chemistry with each other. And then we just started developing this program. And I’ll just say a quick note, this may be the last time we offer this four week format because it looks like it’s not enough time for us and for people attending. And we’re going to probably deepen it into a longer program. We don’t know exactly what that looks like. We’re about to go on winter retreat and figure that out. But yeah, there’s a synthesis and a synergy between Mary and I and the sort of the river bank and the river metaphor that she spoke to that felt that we really was important to bring forth this body of work and it keeps deepening in us and we will keep changing with it. So that’s my answer to that question. Phoebe. Thank you for it.
Thank you, honey. I think I would just like to say that I think I started when I was in my early 30s when I witnessed my mother’s death and the difficulty that she had in letting go. And she hadn’t let go of anything her entire life. And I said to myself, I will not die this way and I’m going to start letting go now. And my life became about letting go. And that ended up being a journey of transforming and letting go of the old paradigm around many things. Our relationship with food, our relationship with sexuality, our relationship with the feminine, our relationship with Mother Earth. And essentially what I ended up doing is finding that the wisdom of the natural world addressed all of this, every aspect of what I wanted to transform out of an old paradigm into a new. And then over those years, I kept experiencing that one death after another, of a loved one, of a friend of somebody said, will you help me with my mother? Will you help me here with this death, with that death? So I got a lot of experience in all the different ways that people died and how they were hooked into this old paradigm or someone who was having already letting go of that old paradigm. I saw a real thread there. And then when I came back here, well before I came back here on Maui, I presented three years in a row at a pretty large death conference. I was part of that community there with keynote speakers like Ramdas and Stephen Jenkinson and I was much smaller presenter. But I presented at these conferences and worked with somebody who had Bodie Bee, who had the death store. So I was quite involved there. And then I came back here and Lee and I hooked back up and I’m going, okay, I’m in my seventy s. I arrived when I turned 70 and I said, now it’s time for me to transform the relationship and paradigm with death, just like I’ve done with all the other things throughout my life. So I had a life of transformation, and right now the focus is death. But what I realized is that in order for me to transform anything, I had to make friends with death. Because there is no transformation without death of the old and birth of the new. That’s what transformation is. So what I realized is that I’ve been practicing dying for the last 50 years and then birthing the new paradigm or dying of the old identity of the old paradigm with all these different structures that were in place. And then who was I on the other side of that? And what I realized is that’s no different than what we’re facing at the end of this incarnation. It is the same thing. And what I’ve been doing is practicing through all these different walk through my life of transformation. So I would say that death of the old, birth of the new. And I’ve walked side by side with death throughout my whole life. And sometimes it’s been death of a paradigm of our relationship with other things. But right now it is really focused in on how we actually walk towards a really good death. And because that’s what I’m wanting to do, that’s it. So now I am part of a community that is called the Community of Conscious Living and Dying. And this is the facility that I shared that this man was dying in with this beautiful community surrounding him and supporting him. I’m part of that community. We’re about to then take on what is it to show up for an after death ritual funeral home funeral, where we’re taking that back to ourselves. So I’m being trained in that. So I’m doing all kinds of things around death and every angle I can find. I have a program that you can find on my website that is called Making Friends with Death. And I interview somebody and have a featured guest every month. And all these different angles who have different areas of expertise in the field of death, they’re just on the page. There’s a whole archive. There’s somebody featured every month. You don’t even have to leave your email to listen to them and they’re free. Would you mind putting my I’ll put it in there. Yeah, I just put the link to my website, but I was going to ask you the same. Could you put a link to your website in the chat? And then folks can. But if you want to just listen to some really incredible people talking about their areas of expertise around this, this is another place where you can just drop into the exploration. So I guess what I’m saying is I was designed to do this, and I’ve been cultivating it my entire adult life. Thank you.
So I see your question, Gail, and I love it, and I want to get to it in a second. The cost for this workshop we do on a pretty significant sliding scale. A sliding scale is a big piece of my sort of cultural paradigm, and it runs from 495 on the high end to 95 on the low end. And we like for people to pay at a level that is a stretch but not a strain. This is grassroots education, is how Mary and I are both making our livings, and yet we want it to be really accessible. We also have a rate for folks who have taken the class with us before if they want to take it again. And it’s a highly discounted rate. So you can go to the link on my page, which is the Reclaiming wisdom.com page. And it’s the walking towards a good death there. It’s in the chat box if you want to click on it. And then Mary just put her website, which is divine. Nourishment net making friends with Death there. So gail. Yes. I love your question. There’s an assumption here that a life lives with yes is a mirror to a death. Saying yes. How do we know this is a way to align with death? You don’t. You have absolutely no idea. That’s my journey. I was sharing with you what was my epiphany, but I don’t in any way, shape, or form, claim to know what your epiphany is. For me, it’s about soul alignment in my life that I have a sense and an inner confidence that will help me align with death. And part of my practice is to think about my eventual death as many times a day as I can. A dozen times a day is a good number for me. I like to practice that. That is my actual spiritual practice, is to think about my eventual death as often as I can. But that’s not everybody’s practice. So, really, we don’t know anything. I think that’s part of the meditation and contemplation about death is we know nothing. And so how do we find our way to our own personal, mystical traditions? Gail? Yes, please. Hi. Hi.
Thank you, Lee. I didn’t mean to be challenging you. My question really stems from wondering, so the way we live our life is the way we live our life, the way we die is the way we die. And my question comes from why are we relating those two at all? In fact, does one have anything to do with the other? Really? That’s my question. We’re assuming that it does. And yet aren’t there people who, in their dying moments, have epiphanies and there’s people who have been going along really grooving in the moment, and then death comes and they’re terrified? That’s where my question is.
Yeah, all of that is true. All of that is true. You want to speak to that? Mary?
I think that from the perspective of the natural world is that life does not exist without death. And from the perspective of the soul’s evolution, it’s pretty hard to grow if we don’t let go and let old identities, old belief structures die and slough off and then be able to step into what is on the other side of that, the unknown. So what I’m saying, I think, from my perspective, is that you can’t separate life and death. One doesn’t exist without the other. And so that’s why I kind of feel like if you are separating them and putting death over back in the closet and not inviting it to the table of your life and you’re addressing it at the time of death, it can have an effect on the way that you die. Yes, I’ve seen people have epiphanies, I’ve seen people have struggle, and I’ve seen people at the end of their life, like I said, in that very moment. There’s no improving on that. But what I’m talking about is how you walk toward it, your relationship with it in your life supports you to be able to have that embodied, walk with the dying and being able to be present with it. And that’s where I feel is the difference. It’s not about just that exact moment that death occurs. It’s the walking with it and it’s being able to let the old die off through life. If you were to look at Mother Nature, everything in physical form is there and alive because of death, because one becomes food for another. There is no such thing as separating them out. And so I really work with her intelligence and her wisdom, and I take heed of that, and then I apply that. How does that apply to how I walk through my life? And then how would that apply to how I walk in the dying process? That’s where I see a lot of the suffering, is in the process when somebody faces death or they have this slow death throughout life because they cannot let go of something that really is worn out, its service to one’s soldier than life. I don’t know how to separate the two. I don’t see it anywhere. I look, they walk side by side. Thank you.
Yeah. Gail, thanks for the contemplation. I think it’s a good one and yeah, it’s a good one. We all come with our sacred inquiries, and that’s a good one. Any other last questions, thoughts, contemplations, feedback? Anything else?
Participant: If we have friends that we want to tell about the program, forward the email that we got from you and that will provide the information for them.
Yeah, some people are here because they saw it on our Facebook. We have a Facebook group walking towards a good it’s an event, actually. It’s not a group. It’s walking towards a good death. You can search for that on Facebook and join that my email or Mary’s email or the website that I just posted has the registration link on it. So any of those sources thank you. Yeah, thank you. All right, beloved. So nice to be with you. One new message here. Yeah. Thanks, Mary. Marty. So good.
I just want to add that this is barely a tip of the iceberg. Is much more exploration and deeper to go with this. It’s not a lot of time to really dive very deep, but there is much more to be explored. Thank you for joining us.