Die Wise, A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul
A Talk with Stephen Jenkinson
by Patti Lindgren Gera
“If you love somebody, if you care about the world that is to come after you, and if you want somebody to be spared the lunacy of what you’ve seen – then you’ve got to die wise.” —Stephen Jenkinson
Hello Saskatchewan, and in particular, those of you living driving distance from Saskatoon and onto the scent of better ways for health, leadership, culture, and community.
We, in the co-founding of the Saskatoon Community Healing Initiative (CHI), are excited to announce our first offering of day-long soul-based village training experience with a visiting teacher. The Community Healing Initiative (CHI) is a conversation for waking up to what is going on in the world and responding as if the fate of all beings and Creation itself is in the care of the village.
On Monday, November 13, 2017, we present the co-founder of Orphan Wisdom School in the Ottawa Valley, also the author of Die Wise, A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul.
Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW, is an activist, teacher, author, and farmer. He has a master’s degree in theology from Harvard University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. Formerly a program director at a major Canadian hospital and medical-school assistant professor, Stephen is now a sought-after workshop leader, speaker, and consultant to palliative care and hospice organizations. As well as being the founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, he is also the subject of the documentary film, Griefwalker.
Here’s a taste of Stephen’s medicine:
“If you have ever seen a counsellor or therapist, you know that the focus seems to go automatically to your childhood and your parents, or to your personal style or lack of it, or to your ideas and your conjured personal myths. It goes automatically to you. The reality that psychology and self help grant you is the reality between your ears, as they say, your interior life, your Own True Self.
At the end of the counselling session you are released back into the sorrows and consternations and, yes, madnesses of the culture that went a long way towards giving you your personal limp and ache in the first place, a culture as utterly unchanged by your personal improvement as it was inured to your personal misfortune.
In a culture like ours, so unsure of itself, so without a shared understanding of life for its people, there are subtle, enduring consequences that look like personal inadequacy, failure of will, inability or unwillingness to live deeply. But what I’ve seen over twenty-five years of working with people convinces me that these problems or struggles are not bad psychology, worse parenting, or lousy personality development.
What we suffer from most is culture failure, amnesia of ancestry and deep family story, phantom or sham rites of passage, no instruction on how to live with each other or with the world around us or with our dead or with our history.
Any counsel worthy of the name should have culture at its core. Any counsel worthy of the name should begin to make a place in personal life for the rumoured, scattered story of who you come from, where, and why. Counsel, well done and honest, makes a home for the orphan wisdom of personal life in the life of the world. It tries to ask the questions that the Sufi poet Rumi asked of himself eight centuries ago, and it tries to answer them:
‘All day long I think about it, and at night I say it: Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? Who hears with my ear, and speaks with my tongue? And what is the soul?’
Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Not a seven-step coping strategy, not an out-clause for trauma or sorrow, Die Wise is for everyone who, hell or high water, is not going to pull off eternity after all.
Dying is not the end of wisdom and wisdom not exhausted by dying. Dying could be and must be the fullest expression and incarnation of what you’ve learned by living. It’s a moral obligation to die well. 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.
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.”
Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, is Stephen Jenkinson’s latest book about grief and dying, and the great love of life. Published by North Atlantic Books, it is a 2015 Nautilus Award Winner.
Die Wise, A Talk with Stephen Jenkinson
Monday, November 13, 2017 German Cultural Centre, Saskatoon
9:30 am to 4:30 pm, lunch included
EARLY BIRD – $125 if purchased by October 13
FULL FEE – $150 after October 13
STUDENTS AND ELDERS 60 & up – $100
Some partial scholarships will be available for the earnest with limited financial means.
Stephen’s book will be available for purchase.
For information: www.orphanwisdom.com, www.chisaskatoon.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
call Patti at 306-229-1978.
Patti Lindgren Gera is a Community Healing Facilitator with CHI, a natural healing companion for awakening souls, and a spirit in action toward a world that works with life.