A Community Gathering with Stephen Jenkinson facilitated by Vera de Chalambert
“Not success. Not growth. Not happiness. The cradle of your love of life … is death.”
― Stephen Jenkinson
Dying well is not a matter of enlightened self-interest or personal preference. Dying well must become an obligation that living people and dying people owe to each other and to those to come. Dying could be and must be the fullest expression and incarnation of what you’ve learned by living. If you love somebody, if you care about the world that’s to come after you, if you want somebody to be spared the lunacy of what you’ve seen, you’ve got to die wise. From his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the centre of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Dying well is a right and responsibility of everyone. It is a moral, political, and spiritual obligation each person owes their ancestors and their heirs. It is not a lifestyle option. It is a birthright and a debt. How we die, how we care for dying people, and how we carry our dead: this work makes our village life, or breaks it.
Stephen teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School founded in 2010. With Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work) he is redefining what it means to live, and die well. Apprenticed to a master storyteller, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is former program director in a major Canadian hospital, former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school, consultant to palliative care and hospice organizations and educator and advocate in the helping professions. He is also a sculptor, traditional canoe builder whose house won a Governor General’s Award for architecture. He is the author of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul (a book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life, released March 2015), How it All Could Be: A work book for dying people and those who love them(2009) and Money and The Soul’s Desires: A Meditation (2002). He was also a contributing author to Palliative Care – Core Skills and Clinical Competencies(2007). Stephen is the subject of Griefwalker, a National Film Board of Canada film (2008).
To learn more about his work visit: https://orphanwisdom.com
Vera de Chalambert
Vera de Chalambert, MTS, is a spiritual storyteller and scholar of comparative religion. Vera speaks and writes about spiritual culture, mindfulness and the emergence of the Feminine. Vera holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and has mined for her soul at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and Jason Shulman’s Institute for Nondual Healing and Awakening. Her work explores the meeting place of creativity, psychology and spirituality. She is deeply influenced by Buddhist and Kabbalistic lineages and is a lover of the world’s great wisdom traditions. She offers spiritual direction and works with people in times of dissolution, transition and transformation when the old certainties shatter and we are called into the fires of the Real. This is also what she sees happening in our culture at large.