Death doulas: helping people face up to dying


Rebecca Green works with families and helps them to accept the idea of death. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

Dear Friends,
this is the most beautiful timeline synchronicity. After the articles about holding space for other people and holding space for yourself, now the voice of a woman who professionally is holding space for the death process. A so called “death doula”.
I don’t agree with her on – we don’t need to be spiritual – as we are spiritual beings at any time of our lives on earth, but I agree that there is no need for a sudden awareness of that fact during death – where there was no in life.  In our western culture we have long forgotten to connect with the real meaning of death and mad it a medical drama, instead of a natural occurrence of rhythms and cycles (see picture of the rhythms of death in the middle). Having choice over time and space, our companionship and approach of death, are crucial details of a self-empowered feeling.
Details that make our death a celebrated ritual. They give us the feeling of control – in an uncontrollable situation – and the dignity to take the very last in-, and out-breath as an act of free will.

May each of your breath be one of joy, gratitude and freedom – till the very last!
Blessings Edith

By Eleanor Tuck
People often seek support to bring a new life into the world, but what about when we are preparing to leave it? Rebecca Green talks about what she does: How to die: five positive steps to deal with death top five regrets of the dying, Rebecca Green is a death doula.
The woman sitting opposite me in an Edinburgh cafe is called Rebecca Green. She is in her early 40s, with a soft Birmingham accent and a gentle, smiling face. She is a nurse. But she also does something else – something that has prompted both fascination and animosity in those she has told about it. She is a death doula.
Birth doulas support women and their families through the process of a child being born. And death doulas support people during that other huge event – the one we don’t like to talk about. The idea is hardly new, but in the western world, death has become a medical matter, says Hermione Elliott, director of the charity Living Well Dying Well. The organisation is pioneering the use of death doulas in the UK. “In other cultures around the globe, and for thousands of years, people have stayed in their homes to die, looked after by their family and local community. We want to see a return to this.”
So how did Green become a death doula? “People sense that I am open,” she says. “When I was 19, a crotchety old aunt who was dying asked for me. I could tell she knew she was dying. And she knew that I knew. She just wanted to see it in someone else’s eyes – the truth of it. Then she relaxed. She was in a nursing home and no one would be open about it. She didn’t like the lying and the pretending – it irritated her.”
“Then, in my 20s, not long after I qualified as a nurse, I was lodging with a woman. She became ill, and asked me to go to the doctor with her. I think we both knew that something was happening. I was with her when she was given her diagnosis, and lived with her until she passed away. Her two sons, both friends of mine, had young babies and full-time jobs, so they couldn’t become live-in carers. There was no question that I wouldn’t do what I did. That’s how I became a death doula.”

5 rhythms of death-page-001Green went on to work in hospices, but found it wasn’t for her. “They do a great job, don’t get me wrong. I just found it all a bit holy: I’d drive home listening to thrash metal as an antidote. Some people want that, to be patted and stroked as they pass away. But others want to walk into it, to die alive – not die dying, doing as they’re told.
“I’ve never advertised,” Green says. “It’s all just word of mouth. I don’t always take payment, either. People want different things from me: it could be anything from being a companion at a bedside, to providing practical support for the family. Or aiding conversations with the person’s doctor, which will then help with making decisions about treatment. Or navigating their way through the structure of the NHS. I’ve even met up with a man who simply had a fear of death. We talked for a couple of hours, and that was it, I never saw him again.”
Although some death doulas have a spiritual approach, Green doesn’t. “Some people will hate me for this, but so be it. If a person has not found ‘spirituality’ to be useful to them before they became ill, why introduce it when a person is facing death? I feel it’s a way of avoiding the living person in front of you – and avoiding yourself. Providing a ‘solution’ to this ‘problem’ of death, with a story. It’s big business, this spirituality. It preys on the vulnerable and it’s a crutch that’s going to break when you lean on it. You have your life, your living moments, and yourself – right up to the very end. You are enough – you don’t need to be spiritual.”
Interest in – and demand for – death doulas is on the rise. “It’s because most of us would prefer to die at home, cared for gently,” says Barbara Chalmers of Final Fling, the UK’s first “one-stop shop for end-of-life planning”. “The NHS isn’t the place for that,” Chalmers says. “We’ve lost our community doula skills: the women in the past who looked after birthing and dying. So more and more people – mostly women – are training again in these skills and offering end-of-life companionship as a service. It would be interesting to work out the cost of this for the NHS, instead of them paying to keep dying people in a ward and continuing the notion that death is a medical failure rather than the natural conclusion to life.”
music_love_wideweb__470x311,0I wonder how someone who works so closely with death feels about her own mortality. “Death doesn’t scare me because I don’t know what it is,” Green says. “I suppose I’m saying that the unknown doesn’t scare me. I find the idea that one day I won’t be here any more strange and impossible to imagine.
“But it’s also a fact that I haven’t always been here – I only got here in 1969. Where was I in 1968, or 1945? I have no idea. It makes me smile to think of this.” So does that mean that she doesn’t worry about death? “No, I don’t worry about death. I worry about things like paying my bills. I wish I didn’t, but I do.”
So what does she say to people who are frightened of death? “I don’t offer any views or advice. I don’t try to prove that death isn’t scary. I can’t – I don’t know what death is. And I don’t soothe or placate people when they’re afraid, but rather walk directly into the state of fear with them, as a companion, and without going into a state of fear myself. This can be done as a conversation, as a walk outside together, and often – in fact in most cases – what we talk about is not death, but something else.”



I caught the ‘capitalism-itis’ virus… and it changed my life

photo-1429637119272-20043840c013Dear Friends,
I love this article and how perfectly it fits into these days of changing perspectives for us as a human collective. We are still under the influence of the Venus retrograde 
phase and that means a theme most vibrant in our awareness – is money. Under the pressure of, what numerology defines as an energetic year 8, our believes, pattern and values around power and abundance are coming up. That means also the meaning of money – as in this moment of time – money and power are to often a couple of abuse and manipulation.
Now we are deeply supported to step into our personal power and make reasonable, collectively and personally wise decisions. Maybe to read about the choices this author mad inspires you to find your own way of dealing with money – in your soul aligned way.
Anyway, by now there is a whole generation of Crystal Children on this planet incarnated, holding the vibration for a world without money exchange. So the question is not if this world is gonna come – the question is just how you experience the ride and how you are consciously a part of it’s creation!
Wish you strong clarity and authentic solutions when dealing with your money world!
Blessings Edith!!!

images (4)by
This blog was inspired by “The end of capitalism has begun”, an excerpt in The Guardian from Paul Mason’s new book “Post-Capitalism”. In this article, Paul Mason brilliantly packages what many of us in the ecovillage /regenerative living community have felt for a long time, that capitalism (at least as we know it today) is on it’s way out, and it’s going to happen sooner than we think.
Mason’s basic thesis is that the rise of information technology over the past 25 years has created three main forces towards what he dubs the “post-capitalist” society. First, it has reduced the need for humans to work; second, abundant and free information is dismantling the bedrock of scarcity that capitalism stands upon; and third, technology has created the means for non-market driven collaborative goods, services, and organizations to emerge.
This idea that we are on the edge of something new is something that many of my generation have felt acutely, especially in the somewhat “hippie” circles in which I travel.
Whereas our parents might think that a proper life path involves a stable job and a mortgage, most of my friends are abandoning high paying careers en masse to pursue travel, find jobs that are more meaningful for far less money, become organic farmers, or start ecovillages. To many of the scarcity mindset, making such decisions is seen as naive and irresponsible, but in this age of incredible overabundance (at least in developed countries) it seems to increasingly more people the much wiser path.

imagesRight out of college, I landed a well-paid job at a top agency in Los Angeles. The job and the lifestyle were quite cushy: a fridge always stocked with beer and wine, flexible hours, swimming pool, gym, raging company parties. Despite the fun environment and all the perks, I still felt like a cog in a machine, helping to sell more crap to people that really don’t need more crap. Because of capitalism’s dependence on exponential growth, and the environmental and social disasters that growth clearly continues to cause, the kind of bleak attitude I felt towards my work was virtually unavoidable when I stopped to think about what I was doing. Not only did my work not have any meaning to me personally, but the planet and humanity would actually be better off if I, and indeed most of us, did something else with our time.
The term Senior-itis is used to describe the decrease in motivation towards school often experienced by students who are about to graduate. What I was suffering from at my job, and what I think many of my generation are suffering from, is something I’ll call ‘Capitalism-itis’. ‘Capitalism-itis’ is a collective sense that the world as we know it is about to change, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest ourselves in the status quo. We don’t know what’s next, but we know that it has to be substantially different from the world today if we are going to survive as a species. This feeling can cause us to be unmotivated and discouraged, even paralyzed.

imagesBut don’t worry, there are many good remedies for ‘Capitalism-itis’! It is possible to turn that melancholy into motivation once we realize that opportunities abound for ushering in what’s next and starting to form the new world. This is being made increasingly possible through the same forces that Mason suggests are undermining capitalism to begin with: the free sharing of information and creation of collaborative co-creative platforms via the internet.

Websites like,,,,, and are creating ways for people to trade skills, learn about regenerative living, and support worthy organizations and ecovillage projects through moneyless transactions.

Six years ago, when I did finally sell all my things and go travel, none of these options existed. Luckily, I serendipitously stumbled upon a developing ecovillage called InanItah in Nicaragua, where I discovered a passion for natural building and community living. I ended up staying for three years, playing a pivotal role in day-to-day operations through marketing, event organizing, administrative management and conflict mediation.
I made next to no money for doing those things, but I was the happiest I’d ever been. At InanItah I met many other people who had done similar things, who had also left seemingly great jobs to travel and live more simply. I started to feel like I wasn’t crazy, like the choices that I had made, though scary and difficult and entirely contrary to society’s definition of success, were perhaps good choices after all.

images (1)That is the same feeling that I got from reading “The end of capitalism has begun”, and how I often feel from reading Charles Eisenstein’s books or learning about things like Integral Theory– that how I feel and what drives me individually is a reflection of many external and collective forces that can makes sense when you take time to zoom out and put the pieces together. That if my plans for retirement don’t involve a comfortable pension, but rather, buying land in a place with clean water and growing my own food, that maybe on the macro level as well as the micro level that makes a lot of sense, and might even be the wisest thing I could do.


The Man Who Stopped France’s Food Waste Seeks To Globalize The Law!

Dear friends,
I feel so happy and excited to be able to share this article! Finally something is happening on the food front and people start putting attention to the horrible waste of food. We need to be aware what we are doing and come back to the Native American laws to ‘only take what you need and leave the rest for the others’ and it’s time we learn sharing again!!! So much hope for this first step!! Stay tuned and be an activist of change!!!
Lots of love, blessings and full belly’s for everyone!!!
Arash Derambarsh, the local councillor who kick-started the fight against food waste in his own Paris suburb, seeks to convince other countries to follow France’s lead and eliminate food waste.

Credit: The internet was in a frenzy when France recently passed legislation making it illegal for stores to purposely waste discarded food. As many pointed out in the comments section of True Activist’s coverage, such an intelligent plan deserves to go global – and now it just might!
Arash Derambarsh, the local councillor who kick-started the fight against food waste in his own Paris suburb, has grand ambitions to convince more countries to follow France’s lead.
Derambarsh believes it is “scandalous and absurd” that food is wasted and in some cases deliberately spoiled while the homeless, poor, and unemployed go hungry.

food is a weaponAnd who can disagree? At present, the world wastes 1/3 of its food supply – and such a statistic is far from acceptable.
Arash took action by persuading French MPs to adopt the regulation banning deliberate food waste after a petition he initiated gained more than 200,000 signatures and celebrity support in just four months.
In response to the municipal councillor’s urging, the amendment was approved as part of a wider law – the Loi Macron – that covers economic activity and equality in France. It is expected to be passed by the national assembly on Tuesday, entering the statute books shortly after.
This new law will ban supermarkets from throwing away food approaching best-beforedates and deliberately poisoning products with bleach to stop foragers from rescuing the discarded products and putting them to good use.
But Derambarsh is not satiated just yet. He has plans to convince other European countries, as well as the entire world, to adopt similar bans.

food_waste“Food is the basis of life, it is an elementary factor in our existence,” he told The Guardian.
While some believe the councillor’s ambition is naive or far from attainable, he – thankfully – has not been dissuaded.
“I have been insulted and attacked and accused of being naive and idealistic, but I became a local councillor because I wanted to help people. Perhaps it is naive to be concerned about other human beings, but I know what it is like to be hungry.
When I was a law student living on about €400 a month after I’d paid my rent, I used to have one proper meal a day around 5pm. I’d eat pasta, or potatoes, but it’s hard to study or work if you are hungry and always thinking about where the next meal will come from.”
And he’s not alone. At present, around 805 million worldwide do not have enough food, or about 1 in 9. And opposite of the notion that all starving individuals live in rural Africa, both low-wage working employees and homeless citizens in developed nations face similar risk of not being able to obtain enough food.
To witness success in the plan of taking the law global, Derambarsh plans to table the issue – via the campaign group ONE, founded by U2 singer Bono – when the United Nations discuss its Millenium development goals to end poverty in September as well as at the G20 economic summit in Turkey in November. He will also share it at the COP21 environment conference in Paris in December.
imagesAs The Guardian reports, an estimated 7.1 million tons of food is currently tossed into the bin every year in France – 67% by its consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by shops. All together, the figure for food waste across the EU is 89 million tons, while an estimated 1.3 billion tons are wasted worldwide.
Perhaps the greatest byproduct of Derambarsh’s efforts is that awareness is being raised on a global level. Those who had no idea their country threw away so much food might be more inspired to utilize all their leftovers or donate their extra holiday dinners to those in need.
But don’t forget, one doesn’t need to wait for legislation to begin consuming more responsibly. You can help reduce food waste by shopping and utilizing your leftovers more efficiently. One way is to take a shopping list with you to the store to reduce the temptation of buying foods which may not be used before their best-before date; this will not only benefit your budget, but will help reduce the amount of food your household wastes.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.