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Dying and the Medicine of Healing Relationships

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 people do as their vocation, as volunteers, and as…
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To serve or be served?
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To Serve and Be Served

While I’m generally 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 use to build our business. Recently I had my first solo “Sit with Don” visit at his place.  Don, as Reena wrote about in a previous…
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Questioning ourselves to death
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Death, Your Pathway to Personal Discovery

When you die, how will your absence affect the people, places and things in your world? Whether you have days or decades left to live, end-of-life planning can be a pathway to live your life to its fullest. By asking yourself some thought-provoking, juicy questions, you’ll gain heightened or fresh awareness about your core values…
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Are funerals dead?
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Are Funerals Dead?

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 so is dying?”…
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How to live until you die
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How to Live Until You Die

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 behaviours and traits, and made some predictions about their future. His lasting messages were, in essence, oral Love Letters.   At the…
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Unpacking Green Burial

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 open a hip, eco-friendly funeral home appealing to people like me — someone who appreciates beauty, walks lightly on the earth and tries to make the world a better…
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Don Grayston - In the end, it's all about relationships
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In the End, it’s All About Relationships

Don was an author, retired minister and humanities professor and founder and member of various social-justice organizations. Of all his lifetime accomplishments, however, it was his ability to cultivate meaningful relationships that served him most in his final days. I wrote this story during the last year of Don’s life. Fifteen or so years before…
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Cultivating Courage - Peaceful Vigil for Quebec Mosque Shooting. Photo by Hugo St. Laurent
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Cultivating Courage and Being My Word

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.

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Imagining Your Death Will Enrich Your Life

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.

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