Dying into Life: A Yearlong Experiment in Renewal, Self-Compassion, and Courage
What if we were to compassionately turn toward the truth of our mortality?
This being human is filled with wonder, grace, connection, awe, joy. And yet the urgency of living can distract us from our connection to the relationships, values, and causes that nourish us most. With mortality as our teacher, what might we discover in the space between life and death, love and sorrow, trance and intentionality?
Jan. 29, 2022 – Jan. 7, 2023
Time: Scroll down for complete class schedule.
– Monthly sessions alternate between 8-10 a.m. Pacific & 2-4 p.m Pacific (Convert time here)
– Teacher-led practice gatherings also provided
Choose your price (USD):
$1170 (Lend a hand)
$730 (Need a hand)
This yearlong experiment for CDP graduates is a rare opportunity to immerse in what matters most to each of us by embracing the truth of our own mortality. This course, which is taught through the lens of mindfulness and self-compassion, is inspired by Stephen Levine’s A Year to Live and Frank Ostaseski’s Five Invitations.
In this course, we’ll explore:
- What specifically makes my life, this one life, worth living?
- What is my relationship with my mortality, and death in general?
- What unfinished “business of life” is calling for my attention?
- What holds me back from taking my full birth?
- What freedom might be on the other side of fear?
- What is my place in the family of things?
- What impulses to creativity, connection, love, and joy might I be forgetting?
- How can self-compassion and mindfulness support me?
- How may I serve? What is mine to do?
Elements of the course:
- Monthly, 2-hour teacher-facilitated sessions (see schedule below)
- Optional monthly hour-long, teacher-led practice sessions on the current month’s theme. These will provide both new and familiar ways of relating with the course material.
- Optional peer-led gatherings (strongly encouraged; we will offer ideas and facilitate connections where needed)
Live, online, synchronous sessions:
Teacher-guided live sessions take place the final Saturday** of each month at alternating times. This schedule was designed to accommodate the greatest number of participants across the globe, from the Americas to Europe to New Zealand. We ask that you attend as many sessions as you can within the compassionate confines of your time zone. Sessions will always be recorded for the confidential viewing of those who are not able to attend.
|Jan. 29, 2022||Mortality as Teacher: What is Mine to Do?||8-10 a.m. & 2-4 p.m.*|
|Feb. 26, 2022||Befriending Impermanence||8-10 a.m. Pacific|
|Mar. 26, 2022||Cradling Fear, Cultivating Courage||2-4 p.m. Pacific|
|May 7, 2022||A Good Day to Die||2-4 p.m. Pacific|
|May 28, 2022||Life Review: Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Making Amends||2-4 p.m. Pacific|
|June 25, 2022||Living and Dying in Community: Ritual and Service||8-10 a.m. Pacific|
|July 30, 2022||Who or What Dies?||2-4 p.m. Pacific|
|Aug. 27, 2022||That Curious Veil: What Comes Next?||8-10 a.m. Pacific|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Earth, Water, Fire, Air: What Happens to Your Body?||2-4 p.m. Pacific|
|Oct. 29, 2022||Leaving Your Mark: A Will, a Memorial, and an Obituary||8-10 a.m. Pacific|
|Nov. 26, 2022||All We Need is Already Here||2-4 p.m. Pacific|
|Jan. 7, 2023**||Saying Goodbye||8-10 a.m. & 2-4 p.m.*|
*These two classes cover the same material. Please select the one that best fits your schedule.
**Note exception: There will be no December class
- By its nature, this course explores a variety of rich, sensitive topics. Full-hearted participation will invite both fierce and tender self-compassion. Teachers will filter all discussions, activities, and meditations through a lens of self-compassion and choice, but most crucial to your safety will be your personal practice and your personal emotional support, whether a therapist, a chaplain, counselor, trauma-informed meditation teacher, etc. We ask that applicants take an objective look at the course outline and consider whether this is the right time in life for a deep dive into these life-affirming, but potentially activating topics.
- This is a journey we’ll take as a community. As such, each person’s presence supports the shared experience of their classmates. Please put live classes and practice sessions on your calendar well in advance and attend them as often as you are compassionately able and as time zone permits. We’re keeping the class small so that we can practice loving, connected presence with one another. You matter.
- This is a uniquely engaged and active course. There will be specific homework offered each month, and participants’ wholehearted commitment to regular meditation practice will support and enrich the experience. Peer-led gatherings (we will share ideas and facilitate connections) are also strongly encouraged for deep engagement with the material and assignments.
- Participants agree to read the following prior to the course:
Note: This course is contingent on minimum enrollment. In the event that the course is cancelled, you’ll receive a full refund of your registration fee. We will contact you prior to the start of the course if it is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment. Otherwise, please assume the class is going forward.
Meet the Teachers
Aimee Eckhardt, CDP Creator and Certified MSC Teacher
Durango, Colorado, United States
The call to explore dying is as fierce as the call to explore living. My life’s journey has presented me with many rich opportunities to contemplate death, and I bring those discoveries with me to this course as my muse. I’ve worked as a media witness to five executions in the death chamber of a Texas prison, and I spent time as an EMT in a busy emergency room where dying was a common occurrence. But perhaps my ultimate learnings have come from profoundly personal familial losses. It is through this growing intimacy with dying that I have come to internalize the fragility of this life. I aspire to look directly at what is here, to open to the mystery of what I cannot understand, to leave no curious stone unturned. As finite as this body is, I delight in asking myself and those who come along for the experiment of Dying into Life: This life is short; with great compassion and respect, what is ours to do?
Tina Gibson, CMSC Teacher Trainer, CDP Team Teacher
I’m called to this ongoing exploration around death as strongly as the moon the draws the tides. I was born with fear in my very waters, and early on in life I sensed both the pull to feed it and the danger of feeding it. The integration of dying into my living, nourishing loving and connections, this medicine seemed to be the antidote to fear. Growing up in a big family, where there were always extras in the home meant witnessing dying. As an emergency paramedic, I was with dying a lot. I realised my respect for death, the lack of fear around it, how I saw the lessons for living within it were foreign if not fearful for many – another sweet paradox of life. With humble curiosity, patience and support I look forward to walking this year with you.
Tracy Ochester, PsyD, Psychotherapist and HeartMind Coordinator of the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
From an early age I’ve carried an awareness of endings into new beginnings – ever since I learned from my sweet mother that dust was tiny bits of things falling apart. But discovering our shared nothingness and everythingness is a more recent revelation that has been both liberating and connecting. I’m enlivened by the mystery and emboldened by the opportunity to explore it together in community.
Tracy Ochester is Heart-Mind Coordinator for the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness. She’s also a psychologist, Certified Mindfulness Teacher and Mentor, Registered Yoga Teacher, a student of Compassion Cultivation, and an aspirant of Embodied Activism who believes that mindfulness can be a pathway for learning the fundamental skills necessary for personal and collective wellbeing.