Coming home from Maui after the International Death Doula Conference this week has been a shattering experience. And I mean that in a good way.
The conference was sold out to people from all over the world, some new to end of life and excited to see how this calling will unfold in their lives. Most were ‘old timers’ in the work, quietly and not so quietly making great strides in their communities to empower people in the realms of dying and death.
I’m still integrating those powerful 5 days with these thought leaders and earth shakers. How can you not be transformed with over 100 people on fire to help others in such an intimate and powerful way? How can you not be transformed when you meet Ram Dass, Stephen Jenkinson, Prakash Mackay, Jerrigrace Lyons, Lei’ohu Ryder and so many others who have been doing this work for over 20 and 30 years?
Isn’t it funny how some people will say they discovered this death doula movement themselves? It can be so exciting at first to feel that you discovered this. But then you realize that there are already hundreds and hundreds of people who have been doing this (never stopping since the ‘old days’), and you see that you are in great company and most importantly – we are not alone. We have never been.
We need for end of life doulas/midwives/guides to know about this as well. This information is so important as most people die outside of hospice services. Palliative care is instrumental in a peaceful life with a serious illness, especially if you are dying.
The paradigm shift that Stephen Jenkinson speaks of will be interesting for all of us to integrate. There are pieces of what each of us shared that will forever change each of our practices. In all of my break-out sessions and in the conversations I had with retreatants along the way, we all shared this in common—we are forever changed and the momentum is just getting going...again. People want to live their dream of serving others. They want practical help in doing so. They want to stay true to their heart and strong in their own spiritual practice. These areas are all values we hold dear here at Quality of Life Care, which for the moment is Danielle and I.
My private training programs sponsors the work I do in the world. I not only get to work with some of the most amazing people I have ever met, but this work is our foundation for all our free public education efforts and provides me the ability to help others who need assistance. Thank you all for your continued support of my work. It is your work. I’m committed to the healing of each of us around dying and death for the families we serve and our communities.
This is a village we are building together. As end of life practitioners, doulas, midwives, and guides - we are building an infrastructure together as people passing on our wisdom. We are building community together. And each of us, these light-bearers, are building community where we live; encouraging the sharing of information, of resources, of wisdom. We are not isolated units closely guarding whatever ‘secret’ we feel we have at the end of life. However you feel called to serve - within the system, outside of it, alongside of it, underneath it - however you see yourself bridging healthcare and death care, we need you. We want to support you.
2017 International Death Doula Conference