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.
I am available to serve as a Death Doula for your friends, family, and loved ones. Please request a no-charge consultation appointment here.
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 had the honor of attending Ken's most recent, four-week Yoga for Grief workshop held at Namaste Yoga in Berkeley. This has been the single most valuable experience I've had since my father passed away to help me process, understand, and come to some level of peace around my loss.
Ken creates and holds an incredibly safe space for all participants, and by the second class there was a mutual trust and warmth that our group had for one another. I absolutely credit this to Ken; as a therapist intern I can attest to how hard it is to facilitate groups -- Ken makes it seem effortless.
Ken has a lot of gentle wisdom surrounding this particular topic, and I felt that he was able to meet each member of the group exactly where we were in our grief journeys.
As for the yoga itself --- I actually had one of those transformative moments of joy and happiness that you always hope for when going to a yoga class. Every pose was offered to us with modifications as needed. The somatic experience was a large part of my healing journey, and each pose was chosen with care and purpose.
Long story short, Ken is a genuine, caring and skilled teacher/healer/friend, and I feel very lucky to have found him."
I took the grief yoga workshop with Ken in February at the Sun Room. I found the workshop to be a positive experience both physically and emotionally. Ken creates a very calming atmosphere where a person can honor a loved one while also getting in touch with one's own grief.
Healthy snacks and tea were provided and I appreciated the optional acupuncture that we could try. The studio has some materials that can be used to assist you in the yoga poses if you need them.
The yoga was challenging but not so much so that you would get stressed out. The class is broken up into optional introductions, a vigorous yoga portion, group exercises, a restorative yoga session and a meditation session. Ken also gives instructions on how to practice calming techniques at home to help through the grief process.
Though I still left Ken's class struggling with my loss I felt that I had gained a few techniques to help me work through my grief over time. I will probably return to Ken's grief workshop in a few months.
Bring plenty of water. I would also recommend going with a friend if you are feeling vulnerable.
- 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?