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.


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)

Gull at sunset

It’s a Mystery

Recently two movie celebrities, a daughter and a mother, died 14 hours apart of each other. Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds had a close and difficult relationship. Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack returning from Europe. Debbie Reynolds after learning of the death of her daughter and best friend died fourteen hours later of a “broken heart”. What is this mystery that caused them to die so close in time to each other?  Death is the one thing in life that we have difficulty understanding or an event we are unable to control.

Pixabay are released under Creative Commons CC0

Thirty thousand years ago few people lived beyond 30 years old. It was a difficult and dangerous time in order to stay alive. Ten thousand years later with the agricultural age we began to live longer.  Over the ensuing years many important discoveries helped to add more years to our life, such as removing sewage from drinking water, increasing medical means to save lives at birth, etc. Today our life expectancy is 76 years old. This much longer life gives the mental illusion that we will live forever. But death is real and we will die, and it is still a mystery.  It will happen to all of us and the time and place of our death is yet another mystery.

Our death is a significant event for each of us. If we explore our feelings about death we will find there is within us a fear of it. It is important to familiarize our self with the dying process and to face our fear with understanding and self-compassion in order to live our life more fully now. Death happens to all of us and it is a major spiritual event of our life.

In coming blogs I will outline some of the things I’ve learned about the death process and how we each can work with our fear of dying and how it can give us more joy and freedom in our lives now.

My new book, Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening can help prepare us in a way that will affect how we want to die as well as live our life now with both vitality and freedom.  The book is a guide book with exercises about understanding our death process, assessments, spiritual and religious practices to help in dying, 16 bonus videos to find our path to inner freedom and practical methods to prepare our family and caregivers for our dying, as well as how to help our friends and family to meet death without fear. The book will be available in September 2017.

The True Secret that can change your life

Happy Holidays to all of you!

For all of us this is usually an intense time of year. I am always fascinated by the effects of this intensity on me and those around me. I am especially interested in what happens to our brain-mind with all the rush and busyness.

The busier our life, the busier and more chaotic becomes our mind. If we do not take moments out to daily quiet our mind, the intensity builds and our mind speeds up and goes even faster and becomes even more intense. Because of this busyness you may notice that you feel more anxious, have trouble focusing, and have difficulty sleeping which may lead to one more glass of wine to calm you down. You may also notice that you become more negative and reactive about situations and people as the mental default system in the brain takes over your mind. (The mental default system is a network of brain regions that is active when the individual is not focused on the outside world. It is like a wandering mind.)

Our brain-mind is amazing. The default network can be activated and we can have the most traumatic and negative events happening in our life and at the same time we can have the wisest and most appreciative experiences when we are centered and calm. How do these two opposites function in us? What researchers tell is that the human brain-mind records these two events in the same area of the brain. But whether you access the positive or negative state depends which quality of mind you choose. This is the true secret that can change our life. The only thing that can change the brain and rewire it is what we choose. Obviously, we want to choose the positive thoughts. That choice for the positive takes a clear mind. It is the choice not to have the wandering default mind that leads us down a negative path. A clear mind is one that is aware when we have many negative thoughts. One practical way to cut through the negative default system is to focus on gratitude and appreciation. Interrupt the negative pattern by saying, “I am thankful for . . . my health, my friends, the blue sky, etc.” – focus gratitude on whatever is happening right now where you are. The positive choice of gratitude will bring us into a state of peace and tranquility.

At this time of year, as there are blessings of merriment, joy and peace for our family, friends, and the world, remember to choose your self.  Take a moment to quiet your self, bring in the beauty of nature and spend time by yourself having a cup a tea and just appreciating all that you are. This self-reflection will bring tranquility to your mind.

So, have a very peace filled and tranquil holiday with yourself and all your loved ones.


In 2012 I will be giving a workshop on the West Coast in the San Francisco Bay Area February 24, 25, and 26.

On the East Coast I will be giving another workshop at the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge MA on March 25,26,27,28th. See my website for more information on this four day workshop.

San Francisco Bay Area Workshop Description:
As life gets more frantic, demanding and chaotic it impacts us at a deeper level than we realize.  Our challenge is to stop and center our self in order to find an inner mental program that will keep us content and healthy. It is this stopping and looking within that is the intent of this workshop.
In the workshop we will focus on a deep indulging of our self to be more inner and learn to navigate and recharge our life.  We will do this through inner practices that will train the mind and rewire the brain.

Specifically in this workshop you will learn how to:
·      Use the brain frequencies to awaken our consciousness by identifying the voice in our head and what it is really saying to you.
·      Learn skills to increase your energy by managing your mind and opening your heart.
·      Identify the four basic things you cannot change but want to change and how that can reduce stress.
·      Find and remove the fundamental obstacle that has determined the course of your life so that you can discover your true purpose in life.

To get more information about attending this workshop contact Anne Griswold in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her number is 408-887-8404. Her email is: anneg9989@aol.com.

Patt Lind-Kyle Prepare to Die - Awakening process

Women: Are you proud to be overwhelmed?

Patt was recently mentioned in this article in Women’s Health at MSNBC.com – check it out to find some great tips on how to manage stress from Patt and other experts in her field:

When you think about it, stress is a mysterious thing: You can’t see it or touch it, but you definitely know it’s there. And its enigmatic nature just might be preventing us from fully realizing the damage stress can do to our minds, bodies, and spirits. Read more…

Is stress an addiction of the brain?

Is stress an addiction of the brain? by Patt Lind-Kyle, MA

Lately, I have become fascinated with the notion that stress is a habit. Stress is addictive as we become dependent on it and we feel lost when it goes away. We find some quiet and peace in our lives and then quickly turn on a violent movie, talk on the phone, text or email someone or watch the news or feel pressured in some demanding circumstance. Do we like stress that much? Is our intention to have more mental or emotional strain? Buddha calls this addiction suffering and we call it stress. He also said, “What I teach is that there is suffering and there is an end to suffering.”

To really know how to end this addiction to stress is impossible if we hold tight to the physical and emotional tension and pain without even realizing it. More importantly we do not know how to identify stress in order to reduce or change our sources of the stress. Thus, our stressful reactions in our brain–mind, and body can create a negative loop that keeps repeating itself. There are two ways the brain responds to our reactions. One is via the nervous system (electrical system) and two is via the endocrine system (our chemical system). Every reaction such as a thought, emotion, perception and sensation are all run by this electro-chemical system.

As we wear our habits like gloves they are what and who we are and they become our electro-chemical addiction. We have an arsenal of neuro-chemicals in our brain and body such as dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin. These chemicals in the neuronal pathways have been reinforced by our repetitive behavior, which keeps us “addicted” to the same habitual pattern. For example, Peter has a regular routine, which reinforces his sense of orderliness. He gets up meditates, makes his coffee, reads the paper, has his exercise routine, showers etc. This pattern of chemical and electrical impulses gives Peter great comfort and familiarity. This pleasurable situation of routine triggers Peter’s brain to produce the chemical neurotransmitter dopamine that activates the brain’s reward center of pleasure.

One summer Peter’s sister stayed with him for a month. She and her family took over the house with her kids toys spread everywhere and with new activities, making the baby’s food and lots of screams and chatter. What happened to Peter’s brain electro-chemical system when the sense of his order is “messed up?” At first Peter’s reaction to the change triggered the brain to release emergency chemicals to prepare for the defense of his orderly system. The evolutionary flight and fight chemical of cortisol and adrenaline quickly flowed into his blood stream triggering the emotional responses of fear, anger and anxiety. These addictive substances kept him locked into automatic emotional behaviors. These behaviors kept him asleep to what was actually happening to him.

Fortunately, Peter woke up in time. He was present to and aware of what was going on inside of himself. He knew he had to make a more healthy choice of responses and chose to break the stressful addictive automatic pattern. Peter had practiced self-reflection through daily meditation and the use of his EFT training to break the negative pattern of automatic thoughts. Both of these practices relax the mind-brain, and body which in turn switches off the cortisol/adrenaline response. When Peter entered into the relaxation of these practices dopamine was released and the brain produced an inner feeling of well being.

Our brain is begging us for a chance to recover from our addiction to stress. Training our mind is a way to release our automatic repeating stress patterns. The practice of mind training and Emotional Freedom Technique (http://www.eftuniverse.com/) is a major contributor to the brain’s evolutionary process. It is a way to shift our inner world from conflicted addiction devastation within ourselves to compassion for our self and others.

Patt Lind-Kyle holds an MA in East/West Psychology and a BS in Biological Sciences. She is a therapist, consultant and author. She is also a co-founder of Lind & Kyle Consultants, an executive development company that applies neuro-monitoring tools for stress management, health, and peak performance. Her research, writing, and teaching in the mind/brain field center on using an EEG brainwave monitoring system to help individuals maximize their brain-mind potentials.

Patt is the author of the new book Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence. (Energy Psychology Press, 2009) She also has created a companion set of practice CDs that accompany the book by the same title. Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain won the Independent Publishers gold medal award in the Health/Wellness category for 2010. She has written a chapter in Audacious Aging: “Building Community from the Inside Out” (Elite Books, 2009), and is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up (SwanRaven, 1994, BookSurge, 2008).

Face it, Embrace it, Erase it and Emotional Freedom Technique: Two tools for Healing and Rewiring our Emotions

Emotions cannot be permanent.  That’s why they are called “emotions” the word comes from “motion,” movement.  They move, hence, they are “emotions.” From one to another you continually change. – Osho

When I returned from a three-month silent meditation retreat my stepson said to me “Where did all your anger go?”  First of all, I was amazed he recognized my emotional change and secondly, I began to question what happens to the mind/ brain when stressful emotional reactions are regulated in some way and then seem to disappear. This question has motivated my passion and research for the past ten years.

Brain research studies have shown that people who meditate generally do not react to life situations as readily as when compared with those who do not meditate. These studies have shown in practicing meditators that neuronal connections are activated in positive rather than emotionally fearful or negative areas of the brain. Neuro-scientists call the brain’s ability to change in this way neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity enables our brains to be flexible and produces these changes in the brain through having novel experiences and a practice of repetition. Most of us do not do long retreats or stay in silence for months on end, but we are searching for “tips” to reduce stress and gain emotional balance in our lives.  I have found two “tips” that can easily release old emotional patterns and literally rewire the brain. The first tip is a technique called “Fact it, Embrace it, Erase it “(FEE) that I developed in my therapy practice. The second tip is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that is used by many health professionals. These two techniques move hand-in-hand to remove old negative emotional patterns and provides a combined methodology to create new and positive patterns that both heal and rewire the brain.

One of my clients, Julie, was constantly driven by fear, anger and hurt. She remembered being judged, and ridiculed unmercifully by her father. These fear, hurt and anger responses were “hard wired” into her neuronal emotional memory bank to be repeated over and over again in response to life situations. She had struggled for years through many forms of therapy with poor results to heal this deep pattern. When she came to me she did not want to live in this emotional turmoil anymore.  Our strategy was to change the neuronal pathways that kept these emotional patterns going through the rewiring technique I call, Face it, Embrace it and Erase it. To face her situation I had her repeat her story about her relationship with her father and embrace it until her sensory body responses, mental images and thought pattern had reduced the emotional charge. This reduction of emotional response happened after several repetitions of her story feeling state. I had her use a scale of 1 to 10 to gauge her emotions after each repetition. As she repeated each time the feelings and sensations in her body the emotional charge became less and less and finally was no longer connected to the story. Usually a person will say the emotional reaction to the story is at 0 to 3 on the scale. Then, using a visualization meditation that is part of the technique, she found a new story that she discovered in order to establish new neuronal pathways. At this point I taught Julie the EFT method. The EFT technique uses repeated tapping on specific areas of the body while repeating new affirming thoughts. The pattern of tapping that EFT uses reinforces new neuronal pathways and is key to the rewiring process of the brain.

To face, embrace and then erase old memory patterns is a beginning step of the brain to unwire these neuronal patterns and become wired into new neuronal pathways. To create a new story provides a new novel pattern for the brain to connect to and amplify through repetition. Changing the function and structure of the brain circuitry takes both practice and repetition time.  I gave Julie a twenty-one day practice of “ tapping in” her new sensory feelings while imagining and repeating to herself the new story we had crafted together for her life.

All of us have these negative repeating emotional patterns that create stress and unhappiness that we want and need to clear emotionally. Neuro-scientist say, “The mind is what the brain does.” It is our mind through our intentions and what we put our attention on that can help us be more aware and receptive to making emotional changes for a healthier and happier life. These two tools together, FEE and EFT, provide a positive and practical method to heal our minds and rewire our brains.

(Read the complete description of the FEE technique in my book, Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain and go to EFT Universe for the EFT process.)

Patt Lind-Kyle holds an MA in East/West Psychology and a BS in Biological Sciences. She is a therapist, consultant and author. She is also a co-founder of Lind & Kyle Consultants, an executive development company that applies neuro-monitoring tools for stress management, health, and peak performance. Her research, writing, and teaching in the mind/brain field center on using an EEG brainwave monitoring system to help individuals maximize their brain-mind potentials.

Patt is the author of the new book Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Happiness. (Energy Psychology Press, 2009) She also has created a companion set of practice CDs that accompany the book by the same title. Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain won the Independent Publishers gold medal award in the Health/Wellness category for 2010. She has written a chapter in Audacious Aging: “Building Community from the Inside Out” (Elite Books, 2009), and is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up (SwanRaven, 1994, BookSurge, 2008).

Attention readers on or near the East Coast USA: Patt will be at Kripalu Center in MA for Yoga and Health for a 3-day workshop March 27-30th, 2011.  If you have read Patt’s book, this will be a great opportunity to integrate the information through personal practice.  Stay tuned to Patt’s Calendar for details or visit http://www.kripalu.org/

Remember the importance of a good, long YAWN

Remember the importance of a good, long YAWN

(this article is re-printed from Bottom Line’s Daily Health News)


Yawning is something we mostly stifle — after all, it’s embarrassing to yawn in the face of another as if to announce that you didn’t get enough sleep or, worse, that you’re bored. That’s a shame — because researchers have discovered that the humble yawn is a major contributor to mental alertness… keeps our brains properly cooled (literally)… and helps us to shift from one activity to another, even to adjust from one time zone to another. They recommend using yawning consciously as a tool to make life better. For example, yawn soon after awakening to rev up your brain for the day or at night to help calm yourself and promote sleep.


Most people believe that we yawn to bring oxygen from the air into the body, but that’s wrong, says psychotherapist Patt Lind-Kyle, MA, the author of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain. She calls yawning an “exercise for the brain” based on the growing number of studies that have found that it facilitates mental efficiency. Yawning does its magic by literally forcing extra blood directly to the brain. When you yawn, your facial muscles broadly contract and then relax, and this action pushes oxygen-rich blood into the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the location of the “executive function” that covers planning, organization, decision-making, personality expression and many other crucial activities.

The yawn also sends blood to stimulate an area called the precuneus, which is involved in consciousness along with memory and motor coordination. As far as serving to cool the brain, a 2007 study at State University of New York-Albany found that performing difficult mental tasks, such as processing lots of information, actually increases brain temperature. Though we’re all familiar with the way ongoing mental labor can trigger yawning, it’s not because it is tiring. Again, the yawn sends blood to the brain to curtail its rising temperature, which is how it helps to maintain mental efficiency. Interestingly, both yawning and body thermoregulation seem to be controlled by the same area of the brain, the hypothalamus.


Okay, so now we know that yawning can increase our efficiency in a number of areas… how can we take better advantage of this? Just decide to yawn and then do it — and I mean do a real face-stretcher! I’ll tell you how in a moment, but first here are some situations in which Lind-Kyle suggests adding a yawn…

  • To stimulate better thinking. When you are preparing for an   exam, a presentation or an important conversation, you can enhance your performance by yawning several times first. During an exam, don’t be shy about yawning when you find yourself losing focus or starting to stumble in your thoughts — it will help.
  • To reduce jet lag and reset energy levels. At 20 weeks gestation, fetuses start to develop a wake/sleep pattern and as part of the process, they yawn… a lot. Lind-Kyle says that we can consciously use yawning to help reset our wake/sleep patterns, including when suffering jet lag. To start, yawn five times or so as soon as you get off the airplane. When you’ve experienced how well this refreshes you, Lind-Kyle says you may soon begin to do it intuitively — you’ll find yourself yawning whenever you feel yourself starting to drag. She says that yawning can be used in this manner to help you acclimate to high altitudes and to reset your energy level as you switch from one activity to another, such as from sleep to wakefulness.
  • To improve your mood… and, possibly even your relationships. Yawning is associated with increased levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter released from the hypothalamus that is associated with pleasure, motivation and sociability. Lind-Kyle says that when two people yawn together, it can help diminish tension in the relationship… and fortunately, yawning is highly contagious, so it’s easy for both of you to get in on the act. If nothing else, a shared yawning session should make for a few ice-breaking laughs.
  • For relaxation. Curiously, although yawning serves to stimulate the brain, a deep yawn and wide stretch also relax the body. Lind-Kyle, who leads meditation classes, always starts with a healthy yawn, which she says gets people relaxed quickly. She said that bringing on a few deep yawns at bedtime may help you get to sleep.


We think of yawns as automatic, but it’s surprisingly easy to make yourself yawn…

  • Focus thoughts on yawning. Yawns are not only contagious from person to person — even thinking about a yawn can help trigger one, says Lind-Kyle. Close your eyes and picture a yawn, or say the word “yawn” repeatedly to encourage one.
  • Fake a yawn… or two… or three until a real one sets in. Lind-Kyle says she generally gets a real yawn after one or two fakes, but however long it takes, stick with it — it will happen.
  • Consciously slow your breathing. The decreased oxygen may help trigger a yawn — flaring your nostrils as you breathe in may make this happen faster.
  • And finally, the best yawn is one you fully experience, Lind-Kyle says. So go all the way — open your mouth wide, scrunch your face fully, and take a deep, full breath. Just be ready to explain yourself if you’re in company!