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Birth & Death Among Us ~ A weekend at Mt. Madonna, California

March 17, 2023 - March 19, 2023

Join us for the first ever in-person weekend gathering around the topics of Birth & Death Among Us with Kimberly Ann Johnson and Stephen Jenkinson at beautiful Mt. Madonna, CA. We will encounter unanswerable questions and make space for the remembering of something we may have never experienced. If you feel called to wonder about culture making within orphaned traditions and your place in it all, this retreat might be a kind of landing place for you. This time together might just make us more human.

“Being born and dying are storms. They are bigger than us, and they are bigger than what we believe, they are deities of a kind. And it seems to me more than clear that they want to be held in some kind of regard, in their own right. And it seems to me that we should be learning their ways, instead of forming opinions about them. Being born and dying are storms, and they portion the gravitas of the times. ” – Stephen Jenkinson


Date/ Time: March 17-19, 2023 <Sessions: Friday night (7:30pm), Saturday morning 3 hrs, Saturday evening 3hrs, Sunday morning (until noon)>Location: Mount Madonna, 445 Summit Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

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Kimberly says…Are you craving elderhood? Are you craving village-mindedness?
Are you tired of surface-level noise? The same conversations in silos and algorithmic drivel.
Then this might be a place where you find something different.
Stephen Jenkinson and I decided that we would like a little more time to dive in.
Instead of just asking questions back and forth, it would be beneficial to lean and push and turn the stone over to look at it from different directions.
Birth + Death seem to be where a lot of the torn fabric of the culture makes itself glaringly known.
Birth and Death are bookends of one single life, and yet are they to serve that singularity? Or are they to serve something much larger?Is the relationship between the two only that they are these bookends or is there a deeper architecture that binds the two?
What do we owe the dead? What do we owe the unborn?Birth and death are decent places to gather. If there is anything that is universal, they surely are.
My bestselling book is The Fourth Trimester. Stephen Jenkinson’s bestselling book is Die Wise.I have worked in the birth trade as a doula, medical translator, and trauma educator.
Stephen worked in the death trade accompanying the dying time of thousands of people as well as being the former programme director in a major Canadian hospital and former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school.
This in-person event is an attempt at eldering in action, of contending with what we are gifted to see.Can we together, possibly put some pieces together?
What does it mean to learn the ways of being born and dying? And how do we hold them in their own right, to reckon with these times?
Join us in-person, March 17–19 at beautiful Mt. Madonna. I would love to meet and see you there.
“Maybe the time has come to elaborate on the cross pollination of two areas of work, of concern and expertise and the two areas of gross poverty that proliferate in both of them.”- Stephen Jenkinson“I love the exchange between you two, it’s raw and open and alive in the moment. It brings me back to this moment, like hanging with my grandparents and their friends years ago. Hearing truth. Keep it going. I hope you’re inspiring others to ‘be here’.”  – C. Amber“I would listen to them speak all night” – E. Himovitz
ABOUT THE AUTHORS – Together they wrote and published Reckoning (2022). Purchase the book here
Kimberly Johnson is an author, postpartum care activist, trauma educator, structural bodyworker and mother. A sought-after practitioner and lead authority in postpartum health, Johnson has been working hands-on in integrative women’s health and trauma recovery for more than a decade. She is the author of the recent Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power and Use it for Good as well as the early mothering classic, The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality. She is the host of the Sex Birth Trauma podcast, where her collaboration with Stephen Jenkinson first took root, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Vogue, New York Magazine’s The Cut, Harper’s Bazaar, Today.com and many more. https://kimberlyannjohnson.com/
Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW, is an author, culture activist, ceremonialist, father and farmer. He teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, founded in 2010. With Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work), he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is a former programme director in a major Canadian hospital and former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school. He is the author of several books including the award-winning Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, A Generation’s Worth: Spirit Work in a Time of Trouble, How It All Could Be and Money and the Soul’s Desires: A Meditation. Stephen is the subject of the National Film Board of Canada feature length film documentary, Griefwalker and Lost Nation Road is a glimpse behind-the-scenes of a soulful mystery train called Nights of Grief and Mystery. He continues to tour the world, with singer/ songwriter Gregory Hoskins, with their odes to wonder, love letters for the willingness to know endings. https://orphanwisdom.com/


March 17, 2023
March 19, 2023
Event Categories:


Orphan Wisdom


Mount Madonna
445 Summit Road
Watsonville, CA 95076 United States
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