Death: The Penultimate Passage
You cannot tune to rite of passage without eventually being confronted with the death and dying realm, for this is our grand rite of passage. I trained with Final Passages to step up as an awake companion for death and dying. Some call this the 'death midwife', in essence because this rite of passage is (astonishingly/refreshingly) akin to birth. Yet a title that includes 'death' can be problematic in a culture that has removed the dying experience from our day-to-day lexicon. The 20th century saw the rise of the industrial complex; births/delivery, deaths/funerals ANDmarriages/weddings all got swept up into this infrastructure of the modern age. This mechanistic model then precipitated a reclaiming movement which has been quietly and/or not so quietly asserting itself over the last 40 years. In effect, as a People, we 'reclaim' what we had before but didn't know we valued until it was taken out of our hands; "we never miss the water till the well runs dry".
The old joke is that 'nobody get out of here alive". True enough. But the Sufis call it our Wedding Day. In actuality, it is another becoming, and the terrain of death & dying has no shortage of gems as we turn and engage with this great journey of completion. Whatever your beliefs about the nature of the universe, a character, a personality is bringing closure to a journey that has a beginning and an end, and the more consciousness we can bring to this Transition the better we fare.
The late Robert Muller, longtime United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, used his very public platform to proclaim whenever he had the opportunity, that he intended to die as he had lived, applying his social and ecological values to every choice about how he negotiated this final passage, including the environmental choices regarding his remains.
An Ocean of Living
Let's turn around and look back
over an ocean of living
Being here at the threshold
we can see it all
All the joys that living brings
all the pains of human foibles
All the loving we came here to share
and all the grace of having said Yes
Let's breathe it all in
with this last view
let's breathe it all out
with one last breath
from; Brilliant Leaves;
Luminous Poems About Dying
by Ulla Mentzel M.A.