Thinking together about our ends
No commentary, no explanation, and certainly don’t over-think it. Just notice.
When you hear the word “dying,” what short phrase or word comes to your mind?
For the past few months I’ve had the honor of being part of the Oregon Humanities statewide program Talking About Dying.
Between September 2015 and January 2016, I facilitated conversations in eight different communities, from Newberg, to The Dalles, to Baker City. No matter where I was, no matter how many folks showed up (anywhere from 8 to 40), our warm-up to talking about dying was the same. Assembled in a circle, I’d invite each participant to state their first name and the word or short phrase that came to mind upon hearing the word “dying.” I offered that this exercise was voluntary and that at any time one could opt out of participating. No one ever opted out of the warm-up.
I’d always go first, to demonstrate.
My name is Jenny. And the word that comes to my mind when I hear the word “dying” is “Yikes!”
Here are some of the other words and phrases participants shared:
Pain; peace; the inevitable; the great equalizer; long and short; release; sadness; fear; hope; reality; the end; the beginning; home; questions; curious; the unknown; mystery; transformation.
At the end of each program, as a closing ritual, I would recite Stanley Kunitz’s poem The Long Boat.
As for what happened in between how we began and how we ended our conversations about our hopes for our own ends, take a listen: Think Out Loud.
Well, it’s a new year! And an auspicious time to get the Gero-Punk Salon series up-and-running once again, don’t you think?
Please join me and my co-host Dana-Rae Parker for the first Gero-Punk Salon of 2016!
Sunday, February 21st, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Our theme: Gero-Punk Self-Care.
What is “gero-punk self-care”? Well, one hint is that it focuses on walks, naps, and baths, in any order that suits you. It also involves beautiful food. And sometimes hula-hooping and jumping rope. And deep belly laughs.
Will you join us?
(For more information, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org)