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I have just finished reading “Die wise: A manifesto for Sanity and Soul”, a brilliant book by Stephen Jenkinson in which he addresses the fact that our culture is death phobic and how, if we truly want to live, and live well, we need to face up to the fact that we will die. We need to learn how to grieve in order to die well and we need to care about what happens to our ancestors and to take care of them.
Since reading the book, this message has been cropping up time and again in my life. Just this morning, for example, a post in my Facebook newsfeed about how the Buddah said the greatest of all teachings is impermanence and that it’s final expression is death. The author, a Buddhist teacher, asserts that the more distant we are from death, the more we fear it. Many people in our culture do not have much, if any, “up close” experience of death and consequently find it hard to talk or think about. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why over half of the adults in the UK have not made a will.
I recently shared an interesting post about death – this resulted in various friends being really concerned as to my state of mind – whereas I thought I was just talking about something important and natural which needs discussing. People just don’t want to talk about it!
That said, things are looking up on the talking about death front. There are a growing number of Death Cafes (a place where “people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.”) Currently, over 5 300 pop-up Death Cafes have been offered in 52 plus countries.
There is an amazing Ted talk by Louise Winter a Death Cafe host, funeral director and founder of Life Death Whatever and a wealth of other resources. The Ted talk is called “This Could Be the Last Time” and is a very moving and beautiful discussion on this topic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyakrq12AYc).
So, let’s take a proper look at death….. and really start to live.
To quote a recent Death Cafe post: “Talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, and talking about death won’t kill you.”
If you want to find out more about:
Stephen Jenkinson and his work visit https://orphanwisdom.com
Life Death Whatever visit http://www.lifedeathwhatever.com
Death Cafe www.deathcafe.com
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