PO Box 1216, Crestone, CO 81131 informedfinalchoices@gmail.com

CEOLP/IFC Events for October, 2017

CEOLP/IFC Events for October, 2017

Celebrate the Crestone End of Life Project’s ten years of service to the community by joining other community members in a series of special events this month sponsored by CEOLP and IFC (Informed Final Choices, CEOLP’s educational outreach arm.) Learn about CEOLP, share experiences, thoughts, and feelings and explore your own relationship to death and dying, and gain valuable information on end-of-life issues.

Sunday, Oct. 1, 11 am to 1 pm: Cremation site tour. Meet at 11 a.m. at the fellowship hall for the Little Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church. We’ll begin with refreshments and a screening of the 20-minute film, Open Air, by Adam Sekuler (about Crestone resident Robin Ross’s 2015 cremation), followed by a guided tour of the cremation site. Free.

Saturday, Oct. 7, 11 am to 1 pm: Cemetery tour. Meet at the fellowship hall for the Little Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church. View the film, A Family Undertaking, with refreshments, followed by a guided tour of the Crestone Cemetery. (Rain date: Oct. 8) Free.

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2-4 pm: Death Café. (beginning promptly at 2). At the Desert Sage Restaurant. Join us for tea, cookies, and conversation with friends, neighbors, and even strangers, to share your thoughts on that which is common to us all: mortality. This is an opportunity for intimate conversation in a warm and inviting setting—no agenda, no philosophy, and no pre-determined outcome. To register or for more information, call Malina Feder at (719) 256-4211 or Gussie Fauntleroy at (719) 256-5367. Visit www.deathcafe.com to learn about the Death Café movement, its origins and goals to support open conversation to address end-of-life concerns. Free.

Saturday, Oct. 28, 10:30-4:30: Contemplative Arts workshop. [Location TBA]. A rare opportunity to explore in depth our experiences, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes toward dying and death, using simple art materials, imagination, and heart. “Art & Dying: Embracing Mortality Through Art,” a hands-on and contemplative event, will be co-facilitated by artist and art educator Noah Baen, and Anrahyah Arstad, who was trained as a social worker and family counselor and is a practicing psychic and lifelong educator. Periods of meditative quiet and reflection are interspersed with immersive, even playful forms of art expression. Life-cycle celebrant Patricia Eagle, former leader of the Alamosa Threshold Choir, will bring in a dimension of song. “We’ll use the senses to get beyond mental thoughts and concepts and engage heart and spirit in an exploration of personal questions as we sink deeply into the emotional and spiritual levels, and the unknown,” Noah says. No art or music experience is required. The workshop provides a safe, open, supportive and non-judgmental environment that honors and shares the diversity of people’s experiences and attitudes. $35 includes all materials. Snacks and beverages provided; participants should bring a bag lunch. Pre-registration is required and space is limited to 12 participants. Scholarships are available. For more information and to register, contact Noah at (719) 256-4182, (917) 392-6962 or noahbaen@yahoo.com.

Saturday, Nov. 4: Advance directives workshop and registration party [location TBA]. 11-12:30, free screening of the 30-minute documentary, Speaking of Dying, followed by informational presentation on advance directives. CEOLP registration party, 1 to 3 pm. Registration packets will be available and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. Light refreshments. A copy machine and notary public will be available, allowing you to complete the CEOLP registration paperwork in one sitting. A $10 donation is requested for printing/handling and a $5 charge for notary services. Please bring with you the addresses and phone numbers for your physician or caregiver and next of kin or family members or legal guardians who will act as your representatives. For more information, contact Stephanie Gaines at 588-7415 or ceolp.info@gmail.com, or Denise Peine, (303) 828-7041, (719) 256-4644 or rabinalense@hotmail.com.

A new book by Caitlin Doughty, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, includes an entire chapter on CEOLP.

“The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with ‘dignity.’ Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.”
The author will be at the Denver Public Library Oct. 21, 7-9 p.m. for a book signing and talk. https://www.denverlibrary.org/communityevents
Visit Caitlin’s website for a full schedule of book tour and author talks around the country. http://www.caitlindoughty.com

Life Cycles—Yizkor memorial candle settings by artist Shahna Lax

 Flame tree topaz Forest emerald Alhambra carnelian

Chaim, the Hebrew word for “Life,” is structured in the form of a double plural. Just like yadaim, “hands,” and oznaim, “ears.” (And yes, mayim, “water,” has the same form). The single word for LIFE carries an intrinsic implication of two lives. Does it perhaps imply an internal and external reality? Does it speak to this life and a life hereafter?

These are the thoughts that circulate as I’ve been working on Yizkor candle settings.

Mishlei (Proverbs) 20:27 speaks of the soul: Ner Havaya Nishmat Adam—“The candle of Havaya is the soul of a human being.” In our tribal tradition, consequently, a candle has come to symbolize a soul. The yahrzeit candle brings the memory of a fragile life to the fore and accompanies that memory with the recognition of the continued life, in whatever form, of that beloved soul.

So, I have begun creating these Yizkor candle settings—a simple concept that provides a place setting for that memory candle with a kind of meditative focus that reinforces life. Made from copper and cedar, they are a small addition to the world of hidur mitzvah –“Beautification of the Connective Tissue between ourselves and the Source of our being.”