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.

 

Ask Love

AskLove Collective Heart-Based Wisdom for an Evolving World

A special invitation from Bruce Pardoe, Founder …

Lead with your heart’s wisdom: AskLove.org.

Are you distraught by political divisiveness? Do you struggle with the ups and downs of relationships? In the face of conflict and challenge, do you lose access to your heart’s peaceful, profound wisdom?

Register for Ask Love

Asklove.org offers a revolutionary new way forward. You can receive potent, heart-based, peer-reviewed solutions from their moderated online forum for your toughest issues. This free support community is just about to launch, offering you an opportunity to be one of the first people to shape the community and initiate a conversation that will empower your life and could very well reshape our cultural dialogue.

Our hearts, not our intellects, see our world as it actually is – an interconnected whole. That is why heart-based wisdom provides our most realistic, effective answers. However, when a tough issue or conflict occurs we so often contract and lose access. Now, when you can’t “​Stop, Drop, and Ask”​ your ​own heart, AskLove.org provides an online Forum where you share your situation and source heart-based, peer-reviewed solutions from the community. Transform challenges into opportunities. Discover your heart’s wisdom. Receive and offer support while creating a positive shift for humanity.

 Please join Asklove.org at no cost, and participate in their upcoming beta launch on February 8, 2016. Register here. Empower your life and change our world!

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.

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.

Living a Shamanic Way of LIfe, and the Embodied Shamanism

Living a Shamanic Way of Life: 3 Core Lessons from the Heart of Nature with Michael Stone

Living a Shamanic Way of Life: 3 Core Lessons from the Heart of Nature

Dear friends and colleagues

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the busyness in your life and the world? Do you feel like things are out of control and you’re struggling just to get by?

Have you noticed persistent patterns from the past that keep you from loving the life you’re living?

You are not alone! Trying harder, doing more or improving yourself isn’t going to solve this! It’s not you. Our culture has become lost in the myth of separation.

Perhaps the greatest psychosis today is the plague that Michael Stone calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Humans, especially children, are spending less time outdoors in nature, which has resulted in an epidemic of mental, emotional and behavioral separation issues that are eroding our quality of life and living.

In our disconnected state, we get caught up in repetitive patterns that we created when we were young to cope with emotional, physical and mental traumas. In shamanism we call this ‘soul loss.’ While this strategic behavior was appropriate to protect us from harm at an early age, it becomes dysfunctional as an adult.

What would your life be like if you were to connect deeply with the web of life, which is our true source of power, and recognize that every challenge can become a portal to the creation and expression of living a life you love?

I’m pleased to share with you that Michael Stone, a shamanic practitioner, coach and teacher is teaching. You will have the opportunity to personally explore areas of your life that will open greater strength, self awareness and deeper insight. Take the opportunity of a free LIVE global online seminar on October 12th called:

Living a Shamanic Way of Life: 3 Core Lessons from the Heart of Nature

Living a Shamanic Way of LIfe, and the Embodied Shamanism course

Click to register

In this interactive event Michael will create an opportunity for you to experience journeying with all of your senses, merging with the basic elements of the web of life, and moving from chaos to clarity.

This will support you in slowing down, reconnecting with the web of life and accessing the power of the universe; the power to live a life you love!

I hope you will participate in this heart opening global event.

Blessings,

Patt Lind-Kyle

P.S.  You’ll have an opportunity to engage with Michael during this free 75-minute event. Go here to register: Living a Shamanic Way of Life online event.