06/30/13

Prepare for Your Deathbed While You’re Still Alive

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When you’re gasping your last breath, what will you be thinking about?

 

By Linda Orlando

For some people, every day is an adventure filled with limitless possibilities. For some, each day brings the security of a regular routine and familiar activities. And for others, the daily grind is not much to look forward to. But no matter what each day promises to bring, when you wake up in the morning there is another day to anticipate. Unfortunately, that won’t always be the case.

old-friendsWhen faced with the fact that you have only a handful of tomorrows left to plan for, and you don’t have a reason to think about future plans, your thoughts will naturally turn to your past. Will they be pleasant thoughts of satisfaction and reward, or will they be regrets? You have no way of knowing when you will breathe your last breath, but you do know without a doubt that there’s no way to avoid it. So now is the time to start planning if you want your final thoughts to be pleasant ones. Here are five words that can help you.

Accomplish. When someone asks, “What have you accomplished in your life?” you may naturally think of the obvious answers-you earned a college degree, secured a good job, raised a family, served in the military, met challenges, or overcame obstacles. Although those are certainly noteworthy accomplishments, there are plenty of other accomplishments that would be just as worthwhile. Research and map out your family tree as far back as you can go. Establish an after-school program for kids and enlist volunteers to help. Conquer a fear. Learn to do something you’ve always thought about doing.

Create. Everyone in the world has the ability to create something, and you don’t have to be an expert. Paint a painting, compose a song, write a short story, or make a sculpture out of toothpicks. Carve a flute from a piece of wood. Build a birdhouse, knit a scarf, plant a garden, or just fill a notebook with elaborate doodles. Don’t let criticism deter you; pursue your creative impulses for your own satisfaction and reward.

Inspire. Tutor a student and encourage them to reach for the stars academically. Speak kindly of others and offer support to those who are suffering or struggling to overcome challenges. Be a mentor to a young person. Volunteer to work with boy scouts, girl scouts, youth groups, or boys’ and girls’ clubs. When others seek your advice, be a good listener and offer them well-considered and useful suggestions. Inspire your friends and co-workers by being a living example of honesty, dependability, ethics, kindness, compassion, and empathy.

Improve. Leave the world-or at least your little part of the world-in better shape than you found it. Improve your community by helping to build churches, playgrounds, and houses for neighbors in need. Volunteer at a homeless shelter and offer a hand up by helping homeless people find jobs and improve their lives. Help out with community cleanup projects or “adopt a highway” endeavors. Write letters to elected officials to support needed legislation or regulation.

Love. If you don’t have a fortune to bequeath in a will, you can leave behind a legacy of memories of your love for others. Love your friends and family and make sure they know it by how you treat them. Remember birthdays, celebrate when others have good news, and congratulate people for a job well done. Love your neighbors by doing unexpected favors for them. Love your dog, your cat, your hamster, or your goldfish. Showing your love not only enriches the lives of the recipients, it also gives your life meaning and purpose.

Obviously these suggestions won’t work for everyone, but they are a springboard for you to come up with your own game plan. You don’t need a lot of money, experience, intelligence, or importance to come up with good ideas. Just start with these five words-accomplish, create, inspire, improve, and love-and before you know it you’ll have created a mental scrapbook of lovely remembrances to bring you peace and contentment as you say goodbye to a life well-lived.

Complete Article HERE!

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06/28/13

Israeli rabbi: Weed is kosher if it’s medicinal

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An Israeli Orthodox rabbi ruled that distributing and smoking medicinal marijuana is kosher, but using weed for fun is forbidden.

medical_marijuana1Efraim Zalmanovich, the rabbi of Mazkeret Batia, a town south of Tel Aviv, made the distinction in a recent halachic ruling, NRG, the news site of the Maariv daily reported on Friday. Leading rabbis frequently weigh in on matters of reconciling halacha, or Jewish law, with modern living.

Zalmanovich’s ruling modifies an opinion by Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora,who in March told Israel’s Magazin Canabis: “If you smoke it, there is no problem whatsoever.”

Zalmanovich, the author of a book on alcoholism in Judaism, said: “Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden.”

However, if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person giving it is “performing a mitzvah,” and the person using the drug is using it “in a kosher fashion.”

Some 11,000 Israelis use medicinal marijuana, including people with post-traumatic disorders and Parkinson’s disease, according to the Israeli health ministry.

Complete Article HERE!

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06/28/13

Life is but a dream

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06/25/13

Book Review — The Amateur’s Guide to Death and Dying: Enhancing the End of Life

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I am delighted to share with you a very thoughtful and reflective review of my book. This review appears in The Natural Transitions Magazine, which is available in both hard copy and E-version. To get your copy visit HERE!

 

 

By Lee Webster

What does it mean to die a good death? Sure, we all have a fair idea of the self-explanatory concept, but have we really thought out the nuts and bolts of it? Have we taken the time or made the effort in a clear, compassionate, and all-encompassing way to envision our own end or the end of a loved one?

The Amateur’s Guide to Death and Dying: Enhancing the End of Life is not a book for a good night’s read, cozying up to the fire. In fact, it’s not exactly a book at all in the conventional sense. Wagner begins by introducing the reader to ten characters who make up an imaginary death and dying support group. Each has his or her own baggage, concerns, fears, and life experiences.AGDD_front cover

In ten weeks—ten chapters—each expresses valuable and, at times, uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to the group, while exploring the issues of death and dying. Wagner then invites the reader to participate in the virtual group, to write in an included workbook, and do check-ins, exercises, and homework that have been designed to stimulate the reader’s personal thoughts and observations while sharing in the struggles and epiphanies expressed by characters in the book.

For many of us, the prospect of facing our own mortality and that of those we love within a real group setting would be excruciating. The Amateur’s Guide makes a fictitious group event into a supported solitary pursuit, allowing the reader to wade through difficult emotional waters at his or her own pace, and to linger with thoughts and insights while simultaneously “observing” the reactions of other participants in the group—all on paper. It’s a unique approach to self-exploration within community.

“All of this,” Wagner writes, “is designed to help make the end of life less of an intimidating process and more of a rich, poignant transition.”

Written in an engaging, deeply human style, the characters come to life through both burdens and revelations. They remind us of the vastly different roles our families play in forming our outlook and capacity for internalizing and coping with our own deaths. They remind us that our historical and cultural context has formed our attitudes towards death and that a renegotiation is required if we are not comfortable with the prevailing messages.

They remind us that as much as we say we live in a death-defying culture, we spend an awful lot of time flirting with death. And that love becomes the intrinsic focus of the death experience—whether love is or was present becomes paramount in defining our relationship to death, both personally and universally.

There is no limit to the reminders provided in this book that will potentially bring readers into sharper consciousness regarding mortality and, more importantly, help integrate a deeper understanding of death into our waking lives through faithful participation in this valuable process.

The many practical (telling someone where to find the keys) and spiritual (are you in a right relationship with yourself, friends, family, God?) topics are presented to help center the reader on what is important in the moment to mindfully prepare for death. The exercises Wagner offers are worth the time and effort. After all, what other resource is likely to provide an opportunity to write your own obituary?

 

Lee Webster writes from her home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She is a frequent public speaker on the benefits of home funerals and green burial, a freelance writer, conservationist, gardener, quilt maker, and hospice volunteer.

Contact Lee at
turningleafhomefunerals@gmail.com

Be sure to visit our colleagues at Natural Transitions and support their work.

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06/19/13

Hump Day Humor

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A little humor is the perfect antidote to all the sadness in the world.

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06/17/13

Life is but a dream

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