Archive for February 20th, 2012

Technical Difficulties

This is the sign language symbol for sorry…

My deepest apologies to those of you who have turned in to Blog Talk Radio.  We’ve been having some technical difficulites and have taped the show on the Four Boundless Qualities twice and it has not taken.

I’m going to be exploring some other avenues for podcasts.  Until then, we’re going to try one more time tomorrow night at 8:30 CT.

This show will give a brief explanation of this practice and there will be a short recitation of the phrases for contemplating the Four Boundless Qualities.

Again, I am very sorry and I thank you for being patient as I work out the gliches of all this technology.

Namaste, Jennifer

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English: At the Omega Institute, May 2007.

Image via Wikipedia


Another great way to spend a weekend in March. . .  cost of access for the retreat $85.00, well worth a full weekend’s worth of teachings from Ani Pema.  This retreat took place in October 2011 at the Omega Institute in NY.

What a wonderful way to experience the teachings and the sangha at home, during times you can carve out to be fully present to them.  We all don’t have the ability to fly across the country for every retreat, but today we can share in the experience via programs like this, podcasts, etc.  Won’t you join in?

Online Retreat with Pema Chödrön

  • How do we work skillfully with rough times?
  • How do we transform our lives during times of upheaval and unpredictability?
  • How do we broaden our tolerance for uneasiness?

These and related questions are explored in detail by Pema Chödrön during this three-day retreat.

When we’re going through a challenging period, Pema teaches, we all need to find ways to tap into our inherent strength and courage. When we access that brave heart within, answers to those hard questions arise on their own quite naturally.

Pema Chödrön’s message to us is as simple as it is bold: We can do it! And we can all do it beautifully.

The online retreat includes:

  • Full access to on-demand video from the three-day event until March 31, 2012.


Day 1

Workshop (2 hours, 30 mins)

Day 2

Workshop (3 hours)
Workshop (2 hours, 30 mins)
Optional Meditation (2 hours)

Day 3

Workshop/Program Ends (3 hours)

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In Kubler-Ross’ book On Death and Dying, she wrote, that when someone dies at home, there is the “comfort of shared responsibility and shared mourning. It prepares them gradually and helps them view death as part of life, an experience which may help them grow and mature”.

I’m not a big fan of what we have done with Elisabeth’s work but going back and re-reading her this seminal work, I appreciate that so much of what informs my thinking is truly based on the work that she did.

Do we go through a different process when we are involved with the transportation to doctor’s appointments?  Holding the basin when someone is getting sick after chemo?  Packing clothes to give to a thift store because they no longer fit the ill person?  Moving furniture in the house to make room for medical supplies like gauze, bed pads, syringes, etc.

Do we have more time to “grieve-as-we-go”?

Caregiving is not an easy task.  It took three adults to care for my brother and I’m not sure how an elderly spouse does it for their loved one.  When I was growing up, it took both of my parents and my teenage brother to help care for our elderly landlady who lived upstairs.  Caregiving is exhausting physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

But does it give us something in the process of living with dying that transforms how we grieve?

When we hold things at a distance, sanitize them, and spend little mindful time with them, they seem unreal, almost more like a dream or like they are happening to someone else.

But what if we are immersed, with others, in this journey?

I think the key thing in that last sentence is “with others”.  So many of us don’t have the privilege (and curse) anymore.  The people I love aren’t just scattered in one state, they are scattered throughout time zones.  I don’t have a community to help support me as I’m a caregiver and as I go through the process of re-creating my life in grief.

So is it any wonder that grief is so difficult today?  Not that it wasn’t always, how could it not be?  But, we are removed from a lot of it and we are not supported in it.

Elisabeth’s work highlighted what loss was like on the eve of tremendous mechanization of healthcare.  I wonder if she was writing today what her book would be like as we become farther and farther removed from the experience?

I wonder, after over 30 yrs of the hospice movement being in the US, how many more decades will it take for us to demand compassionate care that allows those who are dying and those who are caregiving the experience of being fully present and being supported on a more global level?

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