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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.