Examining the Harmful Impact of Modern Views of Death
and Offering Healthy Alternatives
This workshop offers a critical examination of the denial of death by medical technology, problems with the for-profit death industry, and its negative impact on the environment, and offer healthy alternatives for the environment and our psyche that are based on the insights of Buddhism and process thought.
Yes, it's that conversation, the one no one wants to have. But this one comes with a different perspective: a process and Buddhist outlook on the death industry's impact on the environment and alternatives. Death and dying has been taken out of the hands of families and our ancestral wisdom has been lost. We don't know how to die anymore. That often leads to painful, exhausting, and invasive but fruitless procedures from a medical industry that perceives death as failure. It leads to environmentally devastating practices that feeds a for-profit funeral industry. There is a way to reclaim our own dying, to have a good death with quality of life toward the end, and give back to the earth through green options. We also address the "Death File" and what should be included.
“Grief and pain are dreadful, and to live free from them is to be truly blessed. But the truth is, we usually have no choice when it comes to loss. Eventually, it visits every one of us. And there is no magic or blessing that is found in this curse. There is no cosmic trick. But there is a different approach to facing our suffering — one that can lead not only to respite and relief from our pain and anguish, but also to an unexpected sort of wholeness.”
–Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz
Session 1: Encountering Death
- Culture and the Denial of Death
- The Death File: what you need
- Hospice and Palliative Care
- Midwifing Death
- The Process of Dying
- Buddhism: You are of a Nature to Die
- Reclaiming Wisdom
Session 2: Environmental Impact
- Body Disposition After Death
- Environmental Impact
- Green Options
- Rights of the Bereaved
About the Instructors
Reverend Joelle Johns is an interfaith minister, community chaplain, certified end of life doula, and pastoral thanatologist.
Reverend Kathleen Reeves is an interfaith minister, hospice chaplain, bereavement coordinator, and death midwife.