You die in the matter of your living. In poetic and soulful language, Stephen Jenkinson speaks of the moral imperative to contemplate and reconcile death as a way to inform how we live, reclaim our ancestral roots, redeem our past, and leave a legacy for those we love. Join Stephen at his upcoming Hollyhock retreat on July 31 – Aug 5, 2016.
What constitutes dying well in a death-phobic culture? Stephen Jenkinson looks squarely in the eye of death. It is his experience from working with hundreds and hundreds of people who are actively dying, that, for the most part, we are encouraged by those around us not to let our dying be a big part of our life. He points out that this death-phobic culture “…prescribes [that] our understanding of the best dying is the one that messes with you the least, and the only way you can achieve that is to establish some kind of firewall of awareness whereby the realities of dying don’t intrude, and when they do, you’re losing a positive outlook that you have to reinstate.” In other words, in a death-phobic environment you are not allowed to know that you are dying when you are dying. Families are besieged by arguments over whether or not to tell their loved ones they are dying. In this dense and profound dialogue, Jenkinson offers this perspective when asked about wrestling with death as opposed to fighting with it: “As you are dying you get an opportunity to live in a way that your normal life has not granted you… [you] answer the bell and testify deeply to how radically blessed you were to be able to live long enough to realize how fine it was to be alive… You’re under no obligation to accept that you’re dying when you are, which is the current mantra. Hopefully you’d be heartbroken about the fact that you don’t get to live a lot longer, hopefully you wish it were otherwise, and occasionally you demand that it be otherwise. This is in keeping with dying well.” He also adds that life is a time-limited offer and the “obligation is to obey. Obey doesn’t mean submit; obey means attend to. What is this asking of me now?” There is much to ponder in this dialogue whether or not you are actively dying.
We are thrilled to share news that Stephen Jenkinson’s DIE WISE – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, his new book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life published by North Atlantic Books is a recipient of the Nautilus Award.
Honourees are selected for their exceptional literary contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, green values, responsible leadership, and positive social change as well as to the worlds of art, creativity, and inspirational reading for children, teens, and young adults. In recognition for his contribution to the genre of death, dying, and grief, Stephen Jenkinson’s Die Wise was awarded the silver medal.
Nautilus Book Awards Silver and Gold Winners are carefully selected in a unique three-tier judging process by experienced teams of book reviewers, librarians, authors, editors, book store owners, and leaders in the publishing industry.
Nautilus award winning authors include Deepak Chopra, M.D., Barbara Kingsolver, Marianne Williamson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Naomi Wolf and many other leading writers, speakers and thinkers. Learn more about the awards at nautilusbookawards.com
About the Author
Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW, is an activist, teacher, author, and farmer. He has a master’s degree in theology from Harvard University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. Formerly a program director at a major Canadian hospital and medical-school assistant professor, Stephen is now a sought-after workshop leader, speaker, and consultant to palliative care and hospice organizations. He is the founder of The Orphan Wisdom School in Canada and the subject of the documentary film Griefwalker.
Stephen Jenkinson interview with Bodhi Be’s Doorway into Light radio show about life and death as it explores the wonder in the fields of aging and dying and death and what brings meaning and purpose to life. Doorway into Light Founded by Reverend Bodhi Be, Leilah Be and Ram Dass (Dr. Richard Alpert), Doorway Into Light is engaged in advocacy and educational programs on Death and Dying on Maui, with families and professionals in the field, as well as actively engaged in helping dying people, their families and care-givers.
Looking like Willie Nelson on a good day, Stephen Jenkinson is ‘on the road again’ telling our death-phobic culture that all the solutions for death that we come up with reinforce our fear of it.
After 20 years working alongside the dying, his manifesto, Die Wise (2015), tells us to stop making death ‘acceptable’ and learn to openly grieve it.
Grief Walker is the title of the Canadian National Film Board documentary about him, but Stephen answers to ‘Grief Monger.’
What does it take to “Die Wise”? How can we start the conversation in our death-avoidant culture? Stephen Jenkinson, the author of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, has a lot to say on the topic.
Stephen Jenkinson joins Gail Rubin for a special extended conversation on A Good Goodbye Radio in advance of his appearances in Albuquerque and Santa Fe coming up March 17, 18 and 19.
In this 33-minute interview, they discuss the death avoidance prevalent in the dominant North American culture, the drawbacks of having More Time as a hospice or palliative care patient, the consequences of being hopeful when dying, and ways to change language and to change behaviours related to death and dying.