Life is a Journey... Life is a Dream... Life is a Mystery... Life is…
There are countless metaphors for LIFE and I have found that one of the most empowering ways to live fully is to acknowledge that there are no guarantees as to how many days, months, or years we have in this existence.
As the Buddhist story about “The Mustard Seed” goes: each one of us has experienced loss of some kind and no one can escape that fact that we are all mortal and will someday have to depart from this world. Rather than that be seen only as a tragic and dreaded experience, I believe it is also possible to reframe our mortality so that we get the most out of our Journey.
How is this different from other forms of therapy or supportive counseling? Well, for some it is no different and for others, this process may resonate with a part of their spirit that is ready to embrace our time limitation so that we can become more mindful in our life practices. This process of developing a mindful living and conscious dying practices has been especially helpful if you are…
- dealing with a chronic, acute or terminal condition
- caregiving for a sick or dying friend or family member
- experiencing loss due to death or other life transitions (i.e. job, relationship)
- a contemplative existentialist looking for a safe place to explore the meaning of your life
- experiencing much regret or remorse and wanting to find peace of mind
“The purpose of life is to familiarize oneself with this after-death body so that the act of dying will not create confusion in the psyche.”
– Terence McKenna
Thanatology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of death and the losses brought about as
a result. It investigates the mechanisms and forensic aspects of death, such as bodily
changes that accompany death and the post-mortem period, as well as wider psychological
and social aspects related to death.
A death doula is someone who undergoes special training to assist the dying and their family members. While the word “doula” comes from a Greek word which means “woman who serves,” a death doula can be of any gender, and the background of a death doula can be incredibly diverse. In regions where death doulas are available for the dying, they generally work through hospice and in-home care programs.
Caring for someone who is dying can be traumatic and confusing for family members, especially in a culture where caring for the dead is not ingrained in society. A death doula can guide family members through the process of death, telling them what to expect and acting as an advocate for them and for the decedent with representatives of the hospital, funeral homes, and other personnel who may be involved in the death process.
For the dying, a death doula offers comfort, support, and companionship. Many death doulas work in groups, so that someone will always be available to sit at the deathbed, and doulas may sit quietly with the dying, sing to them, talk with them, or offer other acts of companionship. Death doulas with nursing training may also offer some end of life care, ranging from providing medication to bathing.
If you are seeking a death doula in additional to the thanatolgically informed support I offer, I recommend the Natioinal End-of-Life Doula Association.
The Yoga for Grief classes that I took from you changed my life and added tremendously to my coping skillset. About a year after the second class I attended, I began caring for my grandmother during her end of life process, and I felt calmer and more stable because of what I learned and experienced from you! -Meagan Masingill
"I am deeply impressed with Ken’s post-meditation integration work on so many levels. I attribute his effectiveness to his ability to actively listen in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. Before and during the meditation session, he mindfully observes and adapts to both my physical and psychological needs. As a mental health therapist, Ken carries a breadth of experience and specialized skillsets to guide me through the integration process. For me, the post-meditation integration process can be a daunting task as it can put me into a vulnerable state. Ken creates the opportunity for me to be in a safe space to further process my internal awakenings and explore the conscious doors that were opened during the meditation session. I always appreciate his genuine presence and availability for subsequent follow up and consultation sessions." -Trung
"Ken is the embodiment of his values - and his healing presence is full of love, compassion and joy. He is deeply caring and friendly and his counsel is wise, consistently bringing a perspective that comes from experience and consideration. My life has benefitted greatly from his counseling and teaching. He is one of the few teachers I know who truly walks his talk , and has fun doing it!"
- A website that helps everyone have the best death possible:
- A website that embraces the end-of-life experience:
- A volunteer group that offers spiritual caregiving for terminally ill:
- How to experience “the perfect moment”:
- Griefwalker documentary:
- A Note on Grief by Ken Breniman: A Namaste Blog entry
- Stephen Jenkinson Interview on The Culture of Dying
- Tonglen Meditation Practice
- Personal Death Awareness Assessment
- Yoga Journal Article on How Yoga Prepares Us for Death
- Amrit Yoga on Yoga Nidra Preparing Us for Death
- How to Create & Manifest a BUCKET LIST
- A website that helps one get prepared for the end of life
- Love of Life? Or Fear of Death?