“It’s not success; it’s not growth; it’s not happiness; it’s the love of life that cradles the moment that signifies the end is in sight.
Do you ever talk about death or dying at a gathering of friends or family ? Or on more personal grounds; with your partner, parent, child, friend? ‘Wow, where did that come from’, you may well wonder. ‘Isn’t this supposed to be a three minute, 500 hundred word meditative note on how to acquire a more conscious lifestyle and live a fuller life?’
Well, yes indeed it is. That may well be why I’m addressing the subject of death. Some of you might have watched the movie ‘The Bucket list’, about two men who get the news they only have a few month more to go. Together they leave their hospital and travel the world to do all those things they still wanted to do. Along the way they find how friendship, relationships within their families, (and with their spiritual selves) is more important than all the other things they gave so much attention to during their consumer’s lifetimes.
So there is more to realizing you are actually going to die than catching up on your last-to-do -list. Dying has an intensity unparalleled by any other event in life; a crises that opens gateways to new degrees of awareness and honesty with yourself and the way you connect with the people around you. An opportunity to take the manner you chose to die into your own hands. To be heard and listened to; just as much as listening to yourself and voice your own thoughts and wishes.
Death is not an individual act – the way you die reflects in the system
Death and dying however is hardly a subject to easily – let alone spontaneous- talk about. The showing of the ‘Griefwalker’ documentary, an event organized by Patricia Koster last Thursday in Amsterdam, was very helpful in that context.
‘Griefwalker’ centers around Stephen Jenkinson, author of the book ‘Die Wise'; As former leader of a palliative care counselling team, Stephen witnessed the dying process of over 1000 people, many of them children. These days he travels the world to
deliver talks and workshops; as in Amsterdam last Thursday after the showing of Griefwalker in a sold out Oostblok theatre.
It was there and then it became clear to me how much alive the subject of dying really is, living in the deepest existential
chambers of what it means to be human. When Stephen Jenkinson stands up and talks about death and dying; the layer of resistance to talk about it becomes extremely thin. People share their thoughts, fears and vulnerability in plain sight. To be part of such an event made a profound change in the way I view death, even when I thought I was a freethinker concerning the subject.
To participate in this growing awareness of how dying is a vital part of living; the livewelldiewise website of Patricia Koster, provides a platform to voice your thoughts and questions; keeps you informed of upcoming events and holds a trailer, blogs and quotes derived from the documentary Griefwalker.
To learn more go to livewelldiewise.eu
Ingrid Schippers, May 28 2018
Stephen Jenkinson & Patricia Koster
The spoken version of this blog, features as end note on ‘Dutchbuzz’, the radio hour for Internationals every Tuesday from 10 to 11 pm on ‘Den Haag FM and can be found in the Programme Archive of the Dutchbuzz podcasts, dated May 29 , 2018.