Sitting with Death and Choosing Life
Join the conversation to explore how transforming life’s hardest challenges can awaken your wholeness and creative potential
Death, dying, grief and loss are natural parts of life and intrinsic to being human. Yet, in our western culture, we are taught to hide our intense emotions in the shadows.
If you are suffering from a significant loss in the death of a loved one, bad news about your own health, or you’re going through a testing process of transition, you may feel you have plunged into a desolate journey with no end in sight.
Even if you are normally a highly skilled and resourceful person, someone who serves and leads others, in grief we are always beginners and, where you are used to being empowered, you may now find yourself floundering. When loss takes your life apart and strips you to the bone, it’s quite common to feel at the mercy of a scary, heart-breaking and all-consuming process, for which you are completely unprepared.
In our current state of global upheaval there is a pervasive state of loss which encompasses the loss of nature, of any sense of stability, and sometimes of hope itself.
We are in an epidemic of unprocessed grief which is undermining our health, our communities and our ability to act creatively to bring about positive change.
I’m Rose Diamond, creator of Tribe in Transition, and for this programme, I have drawn on my own recent grieving process and a lifetime’s experience as a whole person therapist, meditator, transformational educator and author.
I’ve put together a series of stimulus materials, including e-books and recorded conversations with friends and colleagues, who have in depth experience of facing and transforming grief and loss.
These are intended to stimulate thought, feeling and reflection so that you can discover the authentic truth within your own experience and find support, encouragement and inspiration as you connect with others in community.
I have packaged my programme in such a way to make it easy for you to participate. You can dip in a toe and feel the temperature of the water or take a deep dive. Overall, there will be four monthly packages, each offering a series of conversations, an ebook and a webinar. Alongside, I will be offering a transformational healing programme, starting in October.
This is a story of transformation. Whether death comes in the form of losing a loved one, facing our own mortality through ageing or ill health, or allowing ourselves to feel the impact of the ecological and humanitarian crises in our world, when death invites us into a greater intimacy with the darker, shadow side of human nature – our own and that of our species – if we do not shy away, we may open to the gifts and unknown mysteries of being human. Entering the unknown may be scary because it requires us to leave behind our old ideas of who we are and how life works yet, as we develop strength and learn to live in the moment – here and now – a new trust and spaciousness arises. It is in this trusting space that the possibilities for new life may be gathered. – From the e-book, Sitting with Death and Choosing Life
Reflections on my grieving process, following the death of my closest friend, and then six months later, my brother.
Introduction: Transformation, Community and the Transition to Wholeness, with Rosemary Cozens
We begin the exploration of what it might mean to “sit with death” and to “grieve well” and how, in a culture that is phobic of death and intense emotions, holding these deep explorations in community nurtures connection and deepens our understanding of what it means to be human.
Rosemary Cozens is a feminist counselling psychologist who has worked for over five decades with individuals and groups on their personal evolution. Her current work is in the field of bereavement where she studies and leads groups in coping with grief and loss. A mother and a grandmother, she lives in a small village in Ontario Canada.
Embracing Your Inevitable Death, with Pujari Dickson
As a hospice volunteer for ten years, Pujari has taken the opportunity to be alongside and sit with many dying people. She speaks of the great mutual value in this simple act of kindness and how, facing death, rather than turning away from it, can lessen the fear and open up layers of acceptance and preparedness for our own inevitable dying.
She calls grieving “a hard road” but one which is part of the adventure of living consciously and letting go of old masks and habits so that we may open the door to authenticity, remember the sacredness of life and discover who we are beyond our everyday selves.
Shock, Trauma and Building Resiliency, with Dr. Stephanie Mines
Dr. Stephanie Mines is a neuropsychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective and has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies. She is devoted to ending the lineage of shock and trauma for individuals and the world and to this end she has developed the TARA Approach for the Resolution of Shock and Trauma, a clinically tested comprehensive treatment design, which is taught internationally. Dr. Mines is extending her work to meet the threat of climate change and is developing CLIMATE CHANGE & CONSCIOUSNESS: Our Legacy for the Earth.
This conversation begins with valuable information about how loss can reactivate shock and trauma held in the body at a cellular level, causing de-stabilisation of the nervous system. However, when we fully resolve past difficulties, it is possible to emerge from this inner disruption into a higher level of resiliency, restoration, reconstruction and contribution. Stephanie shares one of her favourite, simple daily practices which train the nervous system to bounce back more quickly.
Combining the Simplicity of Presence with the Joy of Being an Explorer, with John Massey
Based in New Zealand, John’s passion for organic gardening is influenced by his study and practice of Yoga and ancient wisdom. His vision is in understanding and working more intuitively with nature in ways that will help him and others live more harmoniously on the Earth. He also works as a holistic pulser and massage therapist, bringing into his healing modalities his strong earth connection.
In this conversation we explore many of the skills that are essential for Sitting with Death: whole body awareness and intelligence, deep listening, observation, concentration, and having the attitude of an explorer. When we approach our experience in this way, we open up spaciousness, and life becomes an ongoing meditation or consciousness practice, through which we discover wholeness, belonging and contentment.
Tools and Attitudes for Self Nurture and Expansion Through Difficult Times, with Adela Rubio
Adela’s self care adventure began at twelve when she taught herself yoga from a book. She went on to co-own a health club, became a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, Life Coach and Associate Raw Foods Chef. She even did a Satsang with a Zen Master in India. Combining the best of many healing traditions, along with practical application of your own intuitive wisdom, Adela helps activate your experience of more everyday beauty and bliss.
Human life is always full of challenges and sometimes these come thick and fast. When we choose to see our difficult life experiences as invitations to deepen and expand, we can make moment to moment choices to open to all of life, rather than closing down into isolation. Adela shares some of the tools and self nurturing attitudes that have brought her peace and connection through big shifts.
Finding Our Way Through the Grieving Process, with Jan Parker
A ‘barrage of bereavements’ in her 30’s led Jan to train as a bereavement counsellor and, later, as a kinesiologist. Buddhist teachings, and the Buddhist cultural perspective on death and dying, provided simple daily practices and rituals and opened her to a vaster vision and a process of endless exploration.
This conversation provides practical advice on how to face into all our experiences and meet them with curiosity, kindness and love. Jan lives in North Wales and, since 2002, she has offered retreats and workshops on meditation, death awareness, and the second part of life.
A Deep Discovery Conversation in which we will explore together, in community, the themes presented in the e-book and recorded conversations.
Even though you may feel alone, isolated, fragmented and lost during the challenging times of grief and transition, these stimulus materials will remind you that:
What I see is Rose’s exceptional ability to hold to a higher vision that serves as a valuable guide for people looking for direction. Rose is very much a catalyst as well as a guide, and is able to hold a certain group tension that allows a group of individuals to explore new territory, taking them further, expanding their consciousness as individuals, and becoming contributing members of new group consciousness.
– John Massey, Yoga teacher, NZ
“Rose is a wise and compassionate person, an extraordinarily gifted facilitator, teacher, writer and visionary, and totally committed to providing holistic and balanced experiential programmes for integrated personal growth of body, mind, emotions, and spirit.”
– Annie Pepper, USA