Resources + Insights + Inspirationfor end of life planning and soulful personal development
Mary Oliver’s words speak to my yearning to make this life—my life—matter. My desire to live a life with meaning calls me to reflect, to contemplate and to get clear about who and what matter.
The thing is, and maybe you relate here, I find it very hard to create time and space for this type of discernment. Believe it or not, planning for my inevitable death, helps create that time and space.
We recently wrapped up our Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills Series. At the end of the evening we each shared a word or three to capture our sense of the impact of participating. My closing words were, “cracked wide open” and that, my friends, is a precious, luscious...read more
As WILLOW unfolds, Reena and I continue to learn and grow in all ways. We do our best to translate that learning into useful tools and thoughtful opportunities to inform and inspire you to make the most of your finite and precious life and to explore the mystery that...read more
In honour of Donald Edward Grayston, 1939 – 2017.
About the only thing worse than experiencing the death of someone you care about, is doing it without the the kind of good-bye rituals that truly reflect their essence. Fortunately, I knew this would not be the case when our dear friend Don Grayston died last month.
There are many ways Catherine’s life has changed by working through WILLOW’s curriculum for writing Love Letters and a Heart Will. The exploration brought her and some friends together to delve into the scope of their personal feelings about the fact that someday and they don’t know when, they are each going to die and whether they are intentional about it or not, they each will leave a legacy. They soon discovered or confirmed who and what matter most in their lives.read more
Sarah attended our first of six Reality of our Mortality Learning Circles at the end of last month and gave me permission to share how exploring love and sorrow in this safe, open-hearted community was exactly what she needed.read more
When we know those we love well, we can honour their essence in life and in death. It’s my belief, that this honouring of another at the time of their death plays a key role in our own healing journey.read more
When you think about that inevitable day when your life as you know it will come to an end, you probably hope you’ll have a good death, right? But what does that mean? In our workshops we often bring our awareness to the reality of our shared mortality by asking...read more
Sitting in the middle of my fridge, amidst summer-activity registration forms, a list of school supplies and a smattering of photos, is a new copy of an old photo. The photo is of my Dad’s dad’s family: my great grandparents and their eleven children, the Pante clan...read more
Can we heal the dying? How to heal the dying was a question that weaved through many sessions at the recent BC Hospice and Palliative Care Association (BCHPCA) Conference that Michelle and I attended. The conference shined a light on the incredible work that so many...read more
While I’ve been known as someone who generously serves others, I’ve been stingy lately, resisting taking time away from my parenting and daughtering duties or the time I could be building my business. Recently I had my first solo “Sit with Don” visit at his place....read more
When you die, how will your absence affect the people, places and things in your world? That is one of a half-dozen questions that WILLOW uses as a warm-up exercise before people dive into writing their Heart Will. For those of you who've perused the WILLOW website,...read more
When was the last time you heard or used the word funeral? Not, celebration of life, not memorial service but funeral? Ahhh, not so much these days in our increasingly secular world. And when was the last time you said, “So and so is dead” or even more rare, “So and...read more
Did you know that passing on messages to guide future generations is at least as old as the Old Testament? Jacob, one of the Torah’s patriarchs orally passed on values to his sons, reflected on some of their actions and/or traits, and made some predictions about their...read more
When I was on the path to becoming a licensed funeral director, I was on fire with a sense of possibility. I imagined that I would be a hip, eco-friendly funeral-service provider appealing to people like me — someone who appreciates beauty, walks lightly on the earth...read more
Don is an author, retired minister and humanities professor and founder and member of various social-justice organizations. Of all his lifetime accomplishments, however, it’s his ability to cultivate meaningful relationships that’s serving him most in his final days....read more
Cultivating courage arose when my family and I visited Ottawa last summer and almost melted during the heatwave. My pre-teen daughter and I noticed how lush and green the lawns were at Parliament Hill. Back home in Vancouver, brown lawns were the norm due to drought and major watering restrictions.read more
You know that you exist, and that some day you will die. This knowledge of your mortality can either be a terrible burden or a great opportunity to transform your life. The good news is that you get to choose! Consciously contemplating your death and mortality facilitates personal development and compassion and helps you become more self aware and in control over the choices you make in your life.read more
Have you ever asked yourself why the 2016 US election campaign and other divisive xenophobic movements around the world are causing you such obsessive and personal angst? Well, besides the racism, increase of violence and hate crimes and the potential for global...read more