You, too, Can
Help Bring Death Back to Life in a Death-denying Culture
Funny how you’ll plan every aspect of every trip except
the most important one you’ll ever take! – found
(the National Hospice website)
What comes to your mind
and heart when you think of “the last adventure of life”?
Do you have any hidden, or not so hidden fears around death,
grief, and the afterlife – as many Americans do?
When I was seeking a
publisher for my book, The
Last Adventure of Life, some years ago, I met a very
honest man in the publishing business. Sometime after I’d
sent him a copy of my book, we met face to face and he confessed
to me the following.
he said, “I’m a coward. I’m afraid of death;
and I didn’t want to read your book. I had it on my desk
for some time. However, my colleague here had read it and she
kept pestering me. She told me that
it was a very good book and that I should at least pick it up
and have a look. I finally picked up your book and read it.
And Maria, I’m so glad that I did: Your book has truly
helped me to be less fearful about death!”
I share this story as
a way to let you know that The Last Adventure of Life
is not a scary book. In fact, some have told me that it’s
one of the most loving and gentle books about death that they’ve
ever read. If you read it with an open mind, it may help you
in the following ways:
1) It could help you
face and overcome some of your own fears around death, grief,
and the afterlife. There’s a beautiful story in chapter
4 that you may want to begin with. It is about a young man who
has a “visitation” from his grandfather who allays
his fears about death through a powerful, joyful, magnificent
burst of laughter (pp. 49-50).
This book could also help you
go deeper in your spiritual life and assist you to clarify what
you actually believe and how you want to live the rest of your
life. One grieving reader from the UK shared,
“Rarely has a book captured
my attention so immediately and inspired me to want to make
radical changes in my behavior and conduct in life. …I
don’t know what Maria Dancing Heart’s purpose for
writing this book actually was – but for me it’s
brought about enlightenment. She skillfully talks about the
character traits that we all possess and can develop (with a
little effort) …I was struck by the clarity of the message,
which essentially for me was "Go on, live a life -- not
an existence!" ... Somebody once said that we're not humans
having a spiritual experience, but spirits having a human experience.
How quickly we can lose the essence of life if we're not aware.
How quickly we forget that our happiness is in spirituality,
and not in material possessions.
I feel that I am now equipped
to live a more complete and happy life! (George Savva)
2) Did you know that many dying
people are “dying” to talk about death? If you are
a caregiver, assisted living resident, or a family member of
someone who is ill or dying, this book could help you become
more comfortable with “starting the conversation”
around a topic that is still taboo in much of our culture. You
will come to have more sensitivity and ease to help others around
you in a graceful, loving, and gentle way. At the most critical
time in a person’s life, many families tend to tiptoe
around the most important topic that needs to be talked about
openly – usually because of some old, outworn fears.
You may even be able to assist
someone in becoming so proactive around this topic that you
help them complete their lives in a good way and create a good,
more conscious death – instead of an “unconscious
death” that simple happens with no thoughtful planning
or deeper awareness about what’s happening.
3) Finally, The Last Adventure
of Life will teach you some very practical ways to lovingly
assist someone who is approaching death. One woman who does
therapeutic music with those who are dying shared
that this book is “one of the finest introductions to
hospice” that she’s every read. It is a “treasure
house of hope and healing” another has said.
In this book you will find a
smorgasbord of inspirational stories, poetry, prayers, meditations,
and suggestions that will show you how to listen to and speak
with the one moving through great change – sometimes approaching
death. When a person is very close to death, they are usually
not so interested in food. Instead of cooking for them, you
can show them other ways to appreciate the senses besides taste,
like touch, smell, and hearing. You will find a rich collection
of body-mind-spirit healing/relaxation modalities, especially
in chapter 11, that will help you and your loved ones face change
and transformation in a loving, meaningful way. These include
modalities such as massage, music, essential oils, acupressure
(simple fingerholds, for example), guided meditation, and acupuncture.
Who knows? You, as the caregiver or family member of a loved
one who's dying or very ill, could find these relaxation modalities
particularly important for your own self-care along the way!
"Your natural state is
that of Foreverness." -- Abraham – Hicks
Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund
is an author, transformational healer, U.C.C. minister, and
end-of-life coach. Her book, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE,
is an inspirational resource book, a unique work that brings
together material from all walks of life. It is assisting people
who desire to face the end-of-life -- and all kinds of change
-- with courage and hope. Many spiritual traditions are represented
here. Maria shares from her rich experience with hospice that
has opened up her own spiritual life. She also was born and
raised in Japan, so she has an expansive, multi-cultural perspective.
Anyone facing death, grief, or a transition of some kind would
find her book and resources helpful. (Maria is also preparing
to publish a 2nd book at this time: The Most Important Day of
Your Life: Are You Ready? It’s coming out in late May/early
June and you may now pre-order!)
For more information
on Maria’s work, see her website at: www.changewithcourage.com.
She also posts articles as the National Transitions and Grief
And for healing tools wrapped in beautiful Japanese style furoshiki
(cloth bundles) to help you and your loved ones through change
of all kinds, see www.soulbaskets.com.
You may also call Maria at (425) 361-1953 or (888) 409-6123
to order her books and/or Soul Bundles directly through her.
- by Rev. Maria
Dancing Heart Hoaglund