“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
Every year in early October I retreat from my normal activities for 3 days. I do this to honor my mother who was born on October 4 and died on October 6. During my retreat I disconnect from the outside world. I make curry pumpkin soup from scratch. Chopping, simmering, straining, tasting shapes the rhythm of my day. In the early years my retreat time was spent grieving.
Now, seventeen years later, I feel my mother’s love nurture me as I nurture myself.
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”
– George McDonald
On September 21, the fall equinox, I spent time in the company of friends in ceremony. Good friends and family are important in my life. We relish the time we get to spend together laughing, eating and telling stories.
These are the folks I rely on to help me when I am sick and care for me when I am dying. My husband and I do not have children to lean on in times of difficulty. We must plan, figure out who is best suited for the various jobs, and ask for help.
I welcome the “dog days” of summer as Sirius shines brightly in the night sky. For me, this is a time of rest after a busy summer of teaching. The hot days encourage me to take it easy and reflect on where I have been and where I am going. I push the pause button on my life to take time for myself.
Time is such an interesting concept.
We humans depend on time to measure our lives, regul...
I had the good fortune to be in San Francisco last month to see Hamilton the musical. What an experience! I still have the music swirling in my thoughts throughout the day. The play is based on the life of Alexander Hamilton who was killed in a duel at the age of 47. His wife Eliza Hamilton spent the rest of her life trying to tell his story.
The musical reminded me that we rarely have the opportunity to shape the narrative of our lives after we are gone.
“Ann was a southern girl with a radical heart. At the center of everything she did was a true sense of compassion and caring for people.”
~ Ann Dudley
A eulogy is a remembrance spoken at a funeral by a close friend or relative of the person who has died. It is not an obituary printed in a newspaper listing accomplishments and those who live on. A eulogy is a testament to the meaning in your life.
As an exercise, writing your own eulogy allows you to pause and consider, “How will I be remembered? Does my life reflect the values that are important to me?” It can hel...
We are fortunate to be a part of a tipping point in our culture. Approaches to dying, death and grief are beginning to shift; people are talking.
Conversations on death can be found everywhere – in numerous articles, bestselling books, TED talks, and among regular people who attend Death Cafés. Even the National Academy of Medicine has an ongoing conversation focused on Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life.
Much of the wisdom that comes out of these conversatio...
A life review is an opportunity to engage in story when your life is in transition. Where have you been? Are there regrets? What are the lessons? By reviewing the past, you can step into your future with clarity and intention. Each story is unique.
But, there is a larger story to remember, one of our connection to nature, the earth and the universe that we all reside in.
In her poem, “Remember,” poet Joy Harjo reminds us to create grander stories that call us to attention in our lives and remember.
“List your blessings and you will walk through those gates of thanksgiving and into the fields of joy.” ~ Garrison Keillor
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to step into gratitude. It is a time to gather together in celebration of life and all its gifts.
Many cultures practice thanksgiving rituals at this harvest-time of year. Our tradition in the United States dates back to 1621 when the immigrant colonists shared a feast with the Wampanoag Indians. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be a nationa...
Mortal is a visual dance of our human experience that is intertwined with birth and death. From the husband and wife filmmaking team of Bobby Sheehan and Sara Feldman Sheehan (who discuss the film in the video above), this unique documentary reminds us that we are born to learn how to die. Mortal brings this truth to us with tenderness and hope.
How do we cope with end-of-life care? How do we live on beyond the death of a beloved? How can we heal our suffering? It takes courage to truly live with dying.