Patt sunflowers

The Great Adventure from Birth to Death

It probably took around nine months for you to be born here on earth. As you were growing in your mother’s womb you were not terribly aware of what was happening in your parent’s life.  Well, as you can imagine they were making important preparations for your arrival. For your great adventure, your parents were building a wonderful nest for you with toys, clothes, etc.  For some your mother had to wait more than nine months or you may have popped out early. She had to become very patient and adaptable for your intended arrival time.

Very similar to your birth is another major event in life which is your death.  In contrast to building a nest at birth, at the time of death you are letting go of the nest of things you have collected over the years. Like birth, death also has its own time as to when it arrives.

Both of these transitions cannot be controlled. Your pregnant mother may feel that your body has a mind of its own as you grow in the womb. The dying person may experience the dying of the body as something they cannot control.

As the time comes for your birth, your mother may worry about the process of giving birth, “Will it hurt? Will I like you when you arrive? What will you be like?” Also your mother worries, “Will I have supportive, nurturing, people to help me?” She may have feelings of fear and growing anxiety. In the same reality, the dying person as they approach death may have similar anxiety with many of the same questions. The truth is that the body knows how to give birth. If interventions are kept to a minimum the process of birth has its own rhythm and process. If there is too many interventions the birth process can become very difficult. In the same way too many medical interventions can prolong the dying process and interrupt the natural inner experience of the dying person.

As with the birthing process, fear and confusion by family and caregivers about what is happening as dying progresses can not only interfere with the process of the person giving birth to their dying, but can create uncertainty and inappropriate actions from the family and caregivers.

Surrender, patience and letting go are needed in both birthing and dying.  In the end as you go through the positive nature of this transition called dying, no one will be able to change the way you feel or how to deal with your fear or uncertainty except yourself. Learning to face your death without fear is like learning to be separated from your mother at birth and facing the fear of a confusing world.

Just as we have the gift of birth we have the gift of our death. Both birth and death and what happens in between we call our life. Learning to accept all of it including death is the great adventure. Kahil Gibran in his book, The Prophet said, “You would know the secret of death, but how shall you find it unless you see it in the heart of life.”

the adventure of life as a sunflower

In my book, Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening, I have created a guidebook to help us prepare for dying and accept death as part of this great adventure of life.

Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening will be released in September 2017. I invite you to pre-order now on Amazon.com.

tsunami wave

Is a Silent Tsunami Coming?

A silent tsunami is going on in our country right under our noses.  It could affect our everyday lives and how long we may live. The issue of how long we will live or our longevity reminds me of the classic children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit.  Remember when, Rabbit asks the Skin Horse, “Does it hurt to be Real?” The Skin Horse says, “By the time you are Real most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints, and are very shabby.  But it doesn’t matter how you look because then you are Real.”

The current silent tsunami may have a direct relationship with not allowing us to get old and become real like the Skin Horse. The tsunami tidal wave I am speaking about may wash over us individually and as a nation. Why do I say that?

big wave

First let me clarify the term “tsunami”. I am using “tsunami wave” as a metaphor to describe the destructive wave of cyberattacks happening in the world that you hear about on the news. Cyberspace is the means for computer communication. The internet system is a medium for computer systems to connect to each other via cyberspace. The medium of cyberspace connects together almost all the “machinery” of civilization itself. In the June edition of the magazine “Wired” there is a story about the enormous blackouts in the country of Ukraine. The Ukrainians believe that these disruptive energy blackouts have been a trial run for Russian hackers to attack other countries. These trial runs by Russian and other hackers are now being used in other major countries and have already been felt in our country. These hackers use very sophisticated digital software programs that hide in computerized mechanisms like power grids in order to sabotage the infrastructures of a country.

The Ukrainian cyberattack gives insight into what we in North America may experience. The people in Ukraine have experienced their entire electric grid going out and spreading over wide areas of the country.  One person interviewed said it went out for months as they were preparing for their holiday seasons during the winter. These blackouts just don’t affect their homes but financial and banking organizations, the treasury of the country, the seaport authority, railway booking systems, the wiping out the financial budgets of many companies, among many other disruptive conditions. The hackers use sophisticated malware which permanently destroys the various infrastructures systems. In the instance of Ukraine it was difficult to replace the transformers that blew out that serve as the backbone of their electrical transmission system.

What happened in the Ukraine could and may happen to our country. These unknown hackers can penetrate the North American electrical grid producing outages across the entire continent.  It could change life dramatically especially when key cities across the land do not have power for months at a time.  It could affect our water, food, ability to get gas for our cars and ultimate change every aspect of our life. Many people will suffer and many die. What is it to be “Real” in the face of this threat?

All kinds of threats from climate change, to terrorism, to nuclear war as well as cyberwar hover over us and they seem to be getting more plausible every day.

My new book seeks to address how to prepare for these difficult times.  In writing the book I began to see its importance in the times we live in now and how we need to support each other within our communities.

The title of the book is Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening. It is a book to help prepare us physically, psychologically and spiritually for our individual and collective journey in these challenging times. It is book to help us savor our life now and love our life fully while we are still here. The publishing date is September 8. To learn more please go to my website pattlindkyle.com.

Images from Pixabay.com.

serene sky and hillside of white poppies

Grandma’s Emergency Room Story

The hospital terms ER or emergency room and ICU or intensive care unit are part of our everyday lives. I attended a conference a few weeks ago and heard an Emergency Room doctor, Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy, share her concerns about what is happening at the end of life for many elderly folks in ER and ICU.  She shared a story of a “Grandma” who is 89 years old grasping for breath when a neighbor finds her and calls 911 to have an ambulance take her to the hospital.

The Living Will and Health Care Proxy

Once in the ER Dr. Williams-Murphy asks the neighbor if Grandma has a Living Will and the identity and location of her selected health care proxy and if she has signed Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or Do Not Intubate (DNI.)  Her neighbor had no idea about those documents because nothing like that had been discussed.   Dr. Williams-Murphy said 70% of Americans are not prepared to face these questions. It is likely that most of us have thought about death but have yet to make plans to meet it. Dr. Williams-Murphy said, “Trust me, ER is not the place to set your affairs in order.”

Since Grandma’s affairs were not in order Grandma will most likely be physically examined, possibly given an EKG, then a variety of other tests, medications and possibly placing a tube in her lungs, or an IV in her neck or emergency CPR attempting to shock her heart back into a life sustaining rhythm and then sent to ICU to sustain her life on machines. However, Grandma may be in the process of dying and does not want to have chest compressions but if there is nothing written doctors are trained to fight death to the bitter end. Dr. Williams-Murphy proposal is that we should not do emergency medicine on the elderly but without the indication of what a patient wants in writing emergency procedures will be automatically preformed.

serene sky and hillside of white poppies

These are different times

One hundred years ago families were multigenerational and children often witnessed parents caring for their dying older family members. Usually these elders would die in their own homes.  Today we have moved very far away from those times. The power of advanced technology seems to have taken over our bodies with medical procedures that make it seem that it is just not OK to die anymore.  There is less closure and peace with one’s family and less preparation for Grandma to end her life with dignity.

In my book, Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening, I have created a guidebook to help us prepare for our death. This guidebook is reminiscent of past years where community can be formed to share what is important to each person and to support each other when the time comes for our dying.  We do not have to be like Grandma at the end of our life.

Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening to be released in September 2017. I invite you to pre-order now on Amazon.com.

Is There an Elephant in Your Life?

You have probably heard the phrase, “What is the elephant in the room?” This is a phrase that represents something that is really big that no one wants to confront or talk about.

A few years ago I had an experience of waking up in the middle of the night in total terror. I struggled over many hours to reduce my fear and get myself calmed down. Finally, sitting on the edge of my bed, I asked myself a question. “Patt why are you so frightened?” What came back was the unspoken elephant in my life, “Patt, you are afraid to die.” That had been the big elephant in my life for a long time. I had sat with the dying when I worked in hospice. I had accepted my part in facing other people’s death. Death had always been there but I had consciously avoided facing my own death.

ElephantI had never really thought of myself dying.  As many of you may have done, a few years ago I did what I was told to do and I had a trust written, but never with the thought that I would die. I have been like most of us that really didn’t think or talk about my own death. It is as if we all turn away from death, but somehow we can never hide from it.  Is this the elephant in your life too?

There is a teaching in the Sufi tradition with the character of Mulla Nasrudin. Nasrudin is characterized as the “wise fool” in the Islamic tradition. As I recall the story Nasrudin bumped into Death on a street in Mecca. Nasrudin was absolutely surprised and the “fool’s” blood went cold. That night, Nasrudin fled on a sleek stallion and rode away from Mecca faster than the wind.  The next day, he was riding into a hillside village far from Mecca. Rounding the bend in the road, he bumped into Death.  In terror he heard Death say, ” I was surprised to see you in Mecca as I had an appointment with you in this distant village this very morning.”

Like Nasrudin we can try to run away from death but we cannot hide from it. Even if we try to avoid our feeling that death will not happen to us, but only to others, we are all in for a big surprise. One of the ways to reduce the fear is to face our death consciously and be prepared for the time of death. We prepare for our education, our jobs, our vacations but never think of preparing for the most important journey of our life that can take us home to freedom. More importantly, confronting this elephant of death in our life now can give us more joy and vitality as we move toward this amazing event called our dying.

Don’t miss Patt’s transformational guide Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening to be released in September 2017. I invite you to pre-order now on Amazon.com.

gamma brain waves are active at end of life

Brainwaves at the End of Life

Many of you have had the experience of being with a friend, family member or a relative when they died. For most of us this is an unforgettable experience. When I was a hospice volunteer I was overcome again and again when someone passed. The room lit up and filled with a love that unquestionably was beyond words. When that energy and love touches us so deeply, doesn’t that make you wonder what creates the beauty of a person passing out of this life, especially when the fear of dying is so prevalent in our society?

Here is something that may give us some insight of what is happening at the end of life. There is growing research about brain waves that may shed some light on the quality of brain and mind at the time of death. As the dying process progresses the brain slows down to delta brain waves. Delta is our slowest brainwave. It is the one we are in during sleep. Also, in the dying process the right hemisphere brain activity is more prominent than the left hemisphere.

We can see what this slowing of brainwaves happening to the brain before death, but a recent seminal research study at the University of Michigan has provided more information about the brain and the dying process. The study reported that after death when the heart stops the brain continues to function and enters into heightened activity associated with wakeful conscious or gamma brainwave activity. These gamma brainwaves are the fastest waves in our brain and are associated with high concentration, conscious awareness, high lucidity and creates “feelings of blessings” and compassion when activated.

Researchers indicate that at the time of death there may be more evidence for conscious related activity than even during a normal waking state. What the research is indicating is that there is evidence that in the last moments of the dying process that the light and love filling the room that we so often feel is being generated by the person that has died.

This new awareness about the end of life is so different from all the fear we carry about our dying.  Death may not be as frightening as we may think. Death may be a time to welcome love not fear into our life.

My soon to be published book in September, Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening takes the death conversation further into learning how to shift our fear of death into becoming free of fear about dying now before we die. As a guidebook, Embracing the End of Life allows the reader to formulate how to express to our love ones our end of life wishes.

Click to Pre-Order Embracing End of LifeA free bonus set of 16 guided meditations that employ color, sound frequencies, binaural beats, and visualizations to augment The Journey to Freedom section of my book are available online for when the book releases September 8, 2017.  I invite you to pre-order now on Amazon.com.

Death may be a time to welcome love not fear into our life.

orchids

A doorway opened

An Invitation to
Embracing the End of Life:
A Journey into Dying and Awakening

by Robin Milam

In the predawn silence, an internal alarm caused me to awaken, almost with a start. My first thought was of my mother in the adjacent room.  Over the last few months, pancreatic cancer had been aggressively depleting life from her body. After tiptoeing into her room, I gently kissed her forehead and said “I love you.” Her eyebrows raised ever so slightly in an acknowledged expression of love and peace. Mesmerizing tones from the DVD Graceful Passages1 , filled the room with a pervasive sweetness. Minutes later, Mother rolled over, reached out to my father sleeping next to her, and took her last breath. It was – and is – a cherished, sacred moment of tenderness, joy and a profound sense of freedom.

Over the years since, I have reflected on how that moment transformed my own relationship with death and dying. Societal fears and angst around the death process had been very familiar to me and certainly my mother.  Many people don’t know how to talk about death and therefore don’t.  Until that moment, I didn’t know what to expect, or how to prepare, or how I would react. We Americans read a lot of obituaries but resist planning for and talking about death.

When my friend and teacher, Patt Lind-Kyle shared her manuscript for Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening, my heart leaped resonating with a sense of continuity and the opportunity to actively explore what my mother’s passing could teach me about preparing for my own death.  A doorway opened.

Patt is an author, therapist, and consultant who integrates her expertise on how the mind works and how the brain is wired with her sagacious meditation practice.  Several years ago, Patt arrived at a meditation retreat fatigued after a day of dealing with extreme heat, not conscious of just how close she was to heat exhaustion. Later, alone in a small, stark room in the wee hours of the night, her deepest fear flared up forcing Patt to confront death and the possibility that her own body was shutting down. Hours passed and Patt transcended the fear, her body rejuvenated itself and she was relishing a deep peace and freedom.  The seed for her newest work took root.

Embracing the End of Life takes us through an amalgam of related journeys. The first focuses on how to prepare to die. Patt outlines the physical, psychological, and spiritual processes of death.  Her exploration includes examining, letting go, and transcending the complexities of resistance. She provides comprehensive, pragmatic tools for preparing oneself and beloveds for one’s own death and personally defining how you the reader want to die. Intended to serve as a workbook for individuals and groups, Patt provides a series of exercises which create a safe space to intimately engage the reader, or collective of readers, in applying the learning and wisdom.

In Part II of the book, Patt guides us on The Journey to Freedom.  The fear of death and resistance to life that we harbor creates what she calls the constricted self.  Patt leads us through an examination of how we give birth to and nurture the constricted self through specific age ranges of our life.  Only by fully embracing the constricted self can we move beyond it.  Through exercises as well as guided meditations one experiences its physical, psychological and spiritual aspects. In this way, Patt lays the foundation for releasing our constricted self. The Journey to Freedom culminates in a series of profound steps, each with a set of exercises and meditations to deepen and experientially anchor the discoveries that unfold. Patt shows us how to transcend the Path of Freedom, fully embody five fundamental aspects of love, and experience an awakening to freedom in this life and beyond.

Patt has developed a set of 16 guided meditations that employ color, sound frequencies, binaural beats, and visualizations to augment The Journey to Freedom section of her book. The meditations will be available online on PattLindKyle.com as bonus videos when the book releases September 8, 2017.Click to Pre-Order Embracing End of Life

Don’t miss Patt’s transformational guide Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening.  I invite you to pre-order now on Amazon.com.

orchids

About Robin Milam

Robin is a social entrepreneur who partners with Patt Lind-Kyle in co-facilitating Patt’s workshops on Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening.

1 Graceful Passages A Companion for Living & Dying (Gary Malkin and Michael Stillwater, 2000, New World Library)

Bird of Paradise

Are we just a visitor here on earth?

Where in the world did I get such an idea? Consider this: all of us are born, and we live here on earth for so many years then we die.  It happens to all of us – there is no exception. However, what happens before we are born and what happens after we die? What if living and dying is like going on vacation having many experiences then leaving everything to go back “home” again.

When we die are we going back home?  This could be. Mystics and spiritual traditions describe our time on earth as a place of learning. They say we are infinite beings that come and go in many forms to evolve, learn and expand in consciousness. But for most of us in this “vacation” time between birth and death the real issue is we don’t think much about dying or going “home” because it is a little scary and we really don’t want to believe death is going to happen to us. Could leaving this “vacation” life be in the plan all along?

I do not have the answer but I do have some ideas. Recently, I was forced to face my own death which encouraged me to focus on my dying. From that experience, my work in Hospice, meditation and a lot of research I have explored this journey of birth to death and what it may mean for us to a live more vital and joyful life while on “vacation”.

The result of my investigation is my book coming out in September 2017 called Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening.  Going through the writing process I learned that confronting one’s own concerns about death and putting everything in place for family and friends is part of the valuable preparation for our “visit” here. The book is a guide for the physical, the mental and the spiritual preparation for the trip “home”.  Through exercises and self reflection, you will explore for yourself your fears, your preferences, and new understanding for how you want the final journey of dying to be filled with peace, wonder and self love.

To help you discover how you want to live more vitally and die with grace, I have created 16 videos to support releasing of old personality patterns that create our fear of dying as well as how to awaken to a new inner awareness and energy as we live our life now. My book-guide is designed to be used to create a supportive community with family, friends and social groups as well as spiritual communities and gatherings. The poet Rumi says it so well, “Out beyond ideas of right and wrong doings there is a field. I will meet you there.” This is the field of embracing the end of our life and awakening.    

Embracing the End of Life, A Journey into Dying and Awakening will be published September 8, 2017 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com.

Out beyond ideas of right and wrong doings there is a field. I will meet you there. – Rumi

child education on death and dying

Teaching Death Education In Schools

Is this a deplorable idea to teach the process of dying to kids? Maybe not. Many years ago the National Education Association sought to make sexual education a necessary part of a national education curriculum. Over time information about birth control, safe sex and other elements of the sexual experience has helped kids reduce unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  Being informed offers each of us a choice to control our life in a healthy way. It gives us back our power of choice through knowledge, understanding and awareness.

educating children on death and dying

So, what about teaching death education in schools? Would that make a difference in the lives of our children and in our own life? Forty five years ago Elizabeth Kubler-Ross  rocked the world with her pioneer work on a person’s five grief reactions prior to death. The result of Kubler-Ross’ dedicated work helped open and birth the Hospice movement as a place of caring for the dying.

I imagine if we each had a preparatory class that guided us to our choices on how to approach our own death it would make a huge difference in how we would experience the end of our life.  A training to understand death physically, emotionally and spiritually would release the burden of the fear of death that we all carry unconsciously. To live without this fear would be a gift to ourselves. This would give us peace and a new sense of vitality in living our life now.

Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., a critical care and palliative doctor, recently taught about death awareness to a ninth grade class. She was delighted in the response. The students were open to exploring their own approach to death. No student fainted or ran out of class but rather they were totally engaged.  Dr. Zitter believes people need conversations about death and asserts from her experience that most people want to die at home instead of in the intensive care unit –ICU of a hospital where for the most part instead of having a peaceful dying process they are hooked up to a machine to prolong their life. Her book, Extreme Measures, demonstrates what needs to be done in the medical community at end of life choices and decisions.

My soon to be published book in September, Embracing the End of Life: A journey into Dying and Awakening takes the death conversation further into learning how to shift our fear of death into becoming free of fear about dying now before we die. As a guidebook, Embracing the End of Life allows the reader to formulate how to express to our love ones our end of life wishes. Death “education” can remove the deep fear we face in this society.

 

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Patt Lind Kyle Peak Moment TV

Embracing the End of Life – Patt on Peak Moment TV

In an intimate conversation, Patt Lind-Kyle speaks with Janaia Donaldson, producer and host of Peak Moment TV, about Patt’s upcoming book Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening  (to be released September 2017). Patt and Janaia explore the personal life experiences that inspired Patt to create this profound work.  Patt notes that most people want to have a quiet mind; we want to release the stress that constricts us and move into the expanded self.  Janaia speaks eloquently of her personal insights gained through active engagement with Patt, the workbook format of the book and related guided meditation videos.

Peak Moment TV Interview Description:

A frightening near-death experience led Patt Lind-Kyle, author of “Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain”, to wonder what happens to the mind during the dying process. Her explorations led to writing a new book “Embracing the End of Life.” She invites readers to prepare now — for living with less stress each day as well as during the dying process. She covers legal and practical issues, and the important choice of caregivers while you’re dying. Her primary focus is on cultivating now the consciousness that you’ll be in while dying — what she calls the “expanded self.” We all experience this when our hearts are open, in times of forgiveness, appreciation, compassion, and gratitude.

Peak Moment TV ~ Locally Reliant Living for Challenging Times

Robin Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson of Yuba Gals Independent Media are the creators of Peak Moment Television. Janaia is producer and host, Robin videographer and editor.

Peak Moment TV is an online television series featuring people creating resilient communities for a more sustainable, lower-energy future in the face of energy, climate and economic uncertainty.

Episodes range from permaculture farms to electric bikes, ecovillages to car-sharing, emergency preparedness to careers for the coming times. They also include conversations with big-picture thinkers like David Korten, Richard Heinberg, Chris Martenson, and now, Patt Lind-Kyle whose framing provide context for societal and environmental events unfolding worldwide.