In The Parlor – The Final Goodbye

A documentary film examining the growing trend of families caring for their loved ones after death.

In the last few days, I viewed this very important film that is now being shown in theaters and film festivals around the country. I was moved and inspired by viewing In The Parlor and the alternative approach to death and death care it presents.

In The Parlor: The Final Goodbye takes a critical look at the American relationship with death and an inquiry into the home death care movement. The film takes viewers on a journey where very few have gone, and challenges us to reflect on this uncomfortable subject, which so often is hidden away and ignored.  Rejecting the mainstream tradition of hiring funeral professionals to care for the deceased, families in search of a more personal and fulfilling way to say goodbye are taking an active role in caring for relatives who have died.

Click  to view trailer on In The Parlor website.
Written, Produced, and Directed by Heidi Boucher
Co-Produced and Directed by Ruby Sketchley

You can purchase a DVD/Blu-Ray or  watch for In The Parlor: The Final Goodbye in a theater near you.

See Approaching End of Life Resources for additional End of Life related resources.

Enneagram Institute Embracing the End of Life review

From The Enneagram Institute® Newsletter, October 2017

The Enneagram Institute® students offer amazing and innovative work in a variety of fields and practices around the world. This month, we highlight author and thought leader Patt Lind-Kyle, who recently published Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening to critical acclaim. Brian Taylor offers the following book review:

“The study of death – the only certainty that life holds for us – must be central, for an understanding of death is the key to liberation in life.”  This seemingly paradoxical quote, from Dr. Stanislav Grof, is cited by Enneagram Institute student Patt Lind-Kyle in her latest book, Embracing the End of Life:  A Journey into Dying and Awakening (Llewellyn Publications, 2017).  It also encapsulates the fundamental two-fold approach that Patt employs in her overall structure of this book.   The first part is a moving contemplation on preparation for the inevitability of death that each of us will ultimately face. The second addresses the inner journey that we must pursue in our day-to-day lives to overcome resistance to the inescapable reality, and perhaps constant nearness, of our own death – an encouraging reminder to strive to live our lives now with mindfulness and awakeness.

In a thoughtful, warm, and non-threatening voice, Patt gently invites the reader to address the natural feelings – conscious or unconscious – of fear, pain, and separation that many of us may associate with the process of dying – the loss of all that is precious to us during our lives. Through a series of tender and compassionate exercises, practices, and meditations, Patt provides suggestions for reflection about death, suffering, and the meaning each of us searches for in life. The stages of the journey she shares, in many ways, reflects the process of true spiritual growth: acknowledging the constrictions and restraints we have that accompany our resistance to reality, enabling us to learn to let go, and, ultimately, to release and transcend those fears and restraints. As Patt puts it, “to surrender your physical life is to let go of the constricted self, this personality identity that you’ve created and lived with all your life.” It’s the path to the ultimate “letting go”. As Don used to say to me, the process of life is a gradual and necessary release of everything we possess, and, ultimately, of all that we think we are and an acceptance of all that we actually are.

Continue Reading (then scroll to Book Review)

My newest book Embracing the End of Life incorporates the fundamental principles of the Enneagram and the Enneagram Institute. I extend my deepest appreciation to Brian Taylor and the Enneagram Team for the gracious review of Embracing the End of Life in their October 2017 Newsletter.

Conversations with Michael Stone

Patt on Conversations with Michael Stone

On Conversations with Michael Stone, Patt and Michael shared an intimate, in depth conversation about life and the continuum of death and dying.  Focusing on Patt’s recently released book Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening, Michael and Patt explore the awakening impact of facing personal and societal fears of death and embracing a conscious dying process.  Listen as Patt shares her own personal story of confronting death and the freedom that emerged through that process.

Click the arrow icon to listen to their hour long Conversation.

About Conversations with Michael Stone

Conversations with Michael StoneA leading edge thinker and award winning journalist, Michael Stone reaches out to a global network engaging in transformative Conversations.  For over a decade, Michael has been interviewing renowned experts and leading edge thinkers in the area of Environmental Restoration, Social Justice, Conscious Evolution and Spiritual Fulfillment. Michael and his guests are raising conscious on our planet with the intent to inform, inspire and activate a new story of peace, equality and right action towards all life. Learn more and view archived Conversations at AreWeListening.net. Listen to Conversations each Tuesday at 1PM Pacific Time via Live Stream on KVMR 89.5 FM Radio Nevada City.

As a noted trainer, Michael offers a series of Embodied Shamanism Workshops in which participants experience the power and practices of the world’s oldest spiritual healing tradition.

Michael is also publishes the Well of Light newsletter, The Well of Light offers inspiring, insightful and action-orientated programs that support the great evolutionary unfolding towards a world that is characterized by harmony and respect for all life, humanity and nature. Michael’s underlying premise is that true societal and global change will arise from inner transformation.

Conversations with Michael Stone

Patt Lind-Kyle on Conversations with Michael Stone Sept 12

Join Patt Lind-Kyle on Conversations with Michael Stone on KVMR 89.5 FM Radio, Tuesday Sept 12 at 1:00pm PDT.

In an engaging conversation, Patt and Michael will explore Patt’s just released book Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening.

Conversations, hosted by Michael Stone, brings you leading edge thinkers in the areas of Environmental Restoration, Social Justice and Spiritual Fulfillment. “We look for positive solutions to local and global issues that leave you touched, moved and inspired to action. Our weekly guests include local and global experts and concerned citizens working together to heal the wounds that separate, alienate and marginalize people…” ~ Michael Stone

Conversations with Michael Stone - Patt Lind-Kyle Embracing the End of LifeListen live at http://www.kvmr.org/player

Learn more about Conversations at http://www.arewelistening.net/

Embracing_the End of Life cover Beckwith

Embracing the End of Life Book Release Celebration

Dear friends, family and colleagues,

The “official” release of my newest book is Friday September 8, 2017.   If you are in Northern California or traveling in, I want to extend a heartfelt personal invitation to my Embracing the End of Life Book Release and Signing Celebration.  The celebration will be held from 5:30-7:00pm at Esterly Hall, 336 Crown Point Circle in Grass Valley.  The public is invited. I will speak and demonstrate practices from the book.

This book is a work of love born out of my own personal experience of confronting death.  Researching our culture’s approach to death and dying and moving beyond my own fears is, and has been, an awakening process for me.  My deepest hope is that Embracing the End of Life, A Journey into Dying and Awakening will support you and your loved ones in redefining your relationship with death and dying such that you too experience the freedom to live this life more fully now.

Let me share what others are saying:

“Patt Lind-Kyle’s book, Embracing the End of Life, is perhaps the most important book about death and dying present today. It provides a map of the emotional, spiritual and pragmatic issues that can help us normalize this most important passage so that we can live our lives with more emotional intelligence, kindness, awareness and love.” ~ Gary Malkin, Seven-time Emmy award-winning Composer and Co-author of Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying, and Founder of WisdomoftheWorld.com.

Grass Valley’s own Rev. Jerry Farrell, Unity Minister and former Hospice Chaplain says:

“Patt Lind-Kyle gently takes our hand and walks us consciously through the death and dying process. In doing so she is a handmaiden to help us discover our true Self, and we learn that we are already the light into which we continue our journey.”

From the Foreword by Karen Wyatt

Embracing the End of Life offers a beautiful gift for those who follow its recommended exercises: the opportunity to become enlightened about death long before this wisdom is needed. Transcending the fear of death in this way allows much more room for creativity, joy, and the freedom to finally live in a fully awakened state. Patt Lind-Kyle writes, “Death is one of the most precious experiences you will ever have in this life.” It turns out, her book informs us, that death is actually the key to life—and there is no more important lesson for us to learn.

As a guidebook for the journey from birth to death, Embracing the End of Life serves as a wise companion for those who dare to live deeply into the mysteries of life and death, with eyes wide open and mind fully centered in the present moment. This innovative and comprehensive book has the power to change the perception of death for the individual reader and for society as a whole as we confront the most fundamental question of our humanity: “How do we live while knowing we will die?” Read this book now to transform how you live for the rest of your days, and then keep it on your bookshelf as a resource to consult over and over again on your own “journey into dying and awakening.” — Karen Wyatt, MD, author of What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying

For more insights on what others are saying visit Embracing the End of Life endorsements.

Those of you in the Nevada County and Sacramento region please come to the celebration. I will talk a bit about the book and do a signing. Look forward to seeing on September 8th!

Patt

An Important Tool for Living and Dying

I have discovered a tool that increases my vitality as well as prepares me for death. It is a tool that has reduced my stress, increased my happiness, lets me sleep deeper, lowers blood pressure, reduces pain, improves my brain function, builds my immune system, halts anxiety and ultimately prepares me for death. If you have already used this tool, then you will know why I praise it so highly.

This tool is meditation. Meditation is an important practice for your personal tool box. It is a gift for you in this day of growing stress and tension that affects us on so many levels. Imagine what a daily meditation practice could do for your busy life? Meditation can reduce the body/mind/emotional tightness from stress and anxiety that sometimes makes your life difficult when you get stuck by the issues and concerns you face. This stress may be from your daily experience of too much traffic, hearing the negative news, complex family situations, meeting the needs of children, challenging activities at work, texting, phone conversations, computer time and much more.  All of this creates a level of tension that builds up day after day.

Patt Lind-Kyle, author, teacher, consultant - tools for meditation

A daily meditation practice interrupts this building up of tension.  Meditation reduces anxiety, stress, or pain that can create your high blood pressure, emotional distress and mental negativity. One of the most important things that meditation provides is a means to train your mind how to let go of your stress and relax your inner tension.

What most people do not realize is that a meditation practice also prepares you for the dying process. To be truthful, meditation is a type of dying. Meditation guides you to release tension as you die and meditation guides you to release your life.

If you have not had some form of a regular meditation practice it will be difficult for your mind to let go during the last stages of your dying process. In fact, you will want to desperately hang on to live and fight against the most natural process we all will experience. Many of us in this state of resistance will try any and all medical technology to keep us alive. The value of a meditation practice trains you to release and let go.

The fruit of meditation allows you to move into open space; a place that everyone has underneath all your tension. Meditation opens you into a boundary-less state of knowing that you are free. In this knowing there is freedom within. We look everywhere for this freedom, but you already have what you have been searching for inside you. You have the connection of calm, peace and inner presence. All the answers are inside you and once you have found them you have the ability to express this freedom and joy in everyday life. With this freedom you are now prepared to die in peace.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Tool for meditation - Click to order meditation CDs

Click to order meditation CDs

If you don’t have a meditation practice or you want to explore another form of meditation with my recent book, Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain. It teaches you how to meditate the way your brain works. Along with the book I created a two set CD (along with downloads) that guides you into your own brain states using binaural beats, music and guided direction. If you have difficulty sleeping many people use the section of delta meditation to go into deep sleep. If you are interested please go to my website for more information and how to order the book and CDs.

On September 8th my new book, Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening, will be published. For those in the Nevada County region of California, you are invited to a publishing event with a talk and book signing  at Esterly Hall in Grass Valley. The venue is downstairs in the Nevada County Board of REALTORs  office off  Whispering Pines at 336 Crown Point Circle, Grass Valley, CA 95945. The event is from 5:30 to 7pm. Please come and be part of the celebration.

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.