by Kim Holl
It is not uncommon to fear the unknown. Perhaps the greatest unknown is the end of our own life. But what if we could talk easily and openly about each and every stage of our life, each passage, including the final one? Might it reduce the fear? Might it inform how we live?
On November 26th, I had the deep honour of facilitating a Community Conversation for the Victoria Multifaith Society. Gathered at the round tables were people from diverse faith backgrounds: Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Spiritualist, and Christians. We explored where we are in our journeys to befriend death and how our faith, spiritual beliefs, cultural traditions and practices might offer a gift for navigating aging and end-of-life. We explored what it means to have a ‘good death’, as well as our deep longings to journey deeper.
The conversation was an opportunity to think about death while living vibrantly – to ponder possibilities. As with all meaningful conversations, they meander and take you to places unplanned. They lead us to explore: Where do we find joy? Can we have well-being in the absence of good health? What is our legacy? What are our beliefs about life after life? How might grief, resentment, and regret hinder the experience of ‘a good death’? Where do we find meaning in the final chapter of our life? And how can we, as elders, become agents of change within our community?
The conversations were rich, and deeply transformative. While death and dying may be the forbidden conversation, our experience proves that we are all hungering to enter into it.
We are also longing for an invitation to experience each other’s humanity – to enter into deep, meaningful conversations with others – to move from small talk, to big talk about issues that matter. And most importantly, to examine what it takes to move from talk to action. In the process, we can reduce social isolation and build connections and community.
For over a decade now, I have been facilitating hundreds of Community Conversations for youth, nonprofits and communities. I am as spellbound today as I was with my first experience observing the graceful unfolding of wisdom.
Join the Conversations
Jan 21 | Feb 18 | Mar 25 | Apr 22 | May 27
In 2018, Earth & Spirit will be collaborating with the Victoria Multifaith Society to host monthly Community Conversations on this vibrant topic. Register now for the January 21st conversation!