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PURCHASE Talking To a Stranger part 1 & part 2
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If you cannot attend in person, then you can pre-purchase the recording which will be sent to you after the event, to purchase a pre recording you will be required to set up a free account.
NB YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE A RECORDING OF PART 1
If you missed part 1 on 15th September 2022, then you can purchase the recording here. You will be required to set up a free account.
Workshops Coming up
WORKSHOP FOR MEN
FACING THE FOUR HORSEMEN: Exploring Male Mysteries Through Times of Change and Crisis
A Residential Workshop for Men with William Ayot & Simon Roe
EarthSpirit Centre, Nr Glastonbury, Somerset.
February 26th 2023 – March 2nd: Sunday – Thursday
Facing The Four Horsemen
OTHER WORKSHOPS click here for dates and info, such as
- Anger Rage and Relationship with Sue Parker Hall
- Working With Shame with Sue Parker Hall
- Lives of Quiet Desperation: Therapy for Men with Simon Roe and Lee Stagles
- Go Tell It On The Mountain: Storytelling for Healing and Change: Michael Harvey
- Attachment Informed Couple Therapy with Nicola Jones
- Working With Couples – 6 modules that can be taken individually, or do all and get a Certficate in Couples Therapy with Nicola Jones or Julie Newberry
- Pesso Boyden Personal Development Workshops with Juliet Grayson
PURCHASING BOOKS BY WILLIAM AYOT AND JULIET GRAYSON: SPECIAL OFFER
Recordings of other webinars you may be interested in
Resources mentioned during the Talk
Talking to the Stranger:
Death as a Natural and Normal Part of Life Part 2
Yet Still the Viking
(To the Ancestors — In Time of Breaking)
Help me to live these days of my life
As if each raw dawn were my last.
Make me less harsh, less indignant, less bitter,
More forbearing, more careful, and more kind.
Help me to make good the ills I have done
And to do the things I have left undone.
For I have done less than I would have done
And this world is little better for my life.
Give me heart, and grace, and help me to bless.
Grant me quiet in my living and in my dying.
And if I should quail on the last starry night
Allow me yet the rage to make a good end.
© William Ayot
To the Gravel Bed
I spoke with Paul the other night.
Easy with death, calmly waiting.
Not that he was keen to leave,
“Looks like I’ve run out of road,”
He said with a smile in his voice
That made me want to hold him.
We spoke awhile about our times,
Of summer nights out on the land,
Campfires (nothing too emotional),
Sharing our hopes of building a life
Out of the shambles we had created.
And then, as he chuckled, I recalled
One evening, driving up from Dorset,
The red sun foundering behind us,
When he quietly said, “You can do it,”
And in an instant changed my life.
There’s a weariness you can feel,
A torpor, buried in the marrow.
And yet life still insists upon life —
Forcing the dying salmon to leap
Clear of the falls, to swim to the last,
To the gravel bed of its undoing.
As I began my tender thanks,
My old friend rallied, calling the shots.
“I’ll see you around,” he said. “Maybe
In the spring.” The next morning
They called, to say that he was gone.
© William Ayot
Dr Chris Seeley
My friend back home is dying of cancer.
The lesions in her brain are multiplying,
to the point where they’re crowding out her life.
In a week or two, or maybe a month,
we will be attending her funeral service,
which is sad, because it’s less than a year
since I performed her marriage ceremony.
She’s lost the use of her left-hand side,
her hair is going, and she looks like a child,
but what is remarkable about this woman,
is the way she’s decided to meet her end.
She says she wants to face death, artfully,
so every day she writes a short story,
paints an image, draws a tiny doodle
or sends poems to those she loves or admires.
Like a Catherine-wheel, sparking off ideas,
floating her dreams down the river of the world,
this woman is reflected in our dark waters,
a comet blazing a trail of beauty.
So, my question is this — Where’s the juice?
Where is the joy, the ‘diletto’ in your life?
My friend, in extremis, made a choice
to live out her time in artful connection;
but it’s not about art, nor even about courage.
It’s about the deliciousness of being alive.
© William Ayot
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Just about now, when you’ve got it mostly right,
When things are sorted and stowed away neatly,
A hot, giddy feeling comes over you,
Which becomes a full-on perception of falling,
a plunging, plummeting, sense of ground rush
That wrenches you awake – as if from a dream.
But Death’s black hat’s still there when you wake,
On an empty chair or moving through a crowd,
Hung on a hook in the hall when you get home.
Familiar, constant, a part of your life now —
A low-key presence no longer denied.
And then you begin to give your stuff away
Little things to kids, as if you were practicing,
Then larger objects that once seemed to matter:
Those spoons, that vase which meant so much,
The precious book you thought you’d never part with.
And your soul begins to open like a flower,
Warmed by the everyday loveliness around you,
Revelling in tears, and wrapped in old stories,
Secrets consigned to a boundless silence.
So much to let go, so little left to say —
You smile as the black hat inches towards you.
© William Ayot
Between Trembling & Dancing
If I were to die on the road tonight,
a middle aged man in a lonely hotel room,
I wonder what my eulogist might say,
in my final appraisal, my last three-sixty.
They’d probably drop in something kind
about me being a late developer.
I was slow to walk, and I spoke even later,
though in the end, I did find a voice,
and the courage to speak my deeper truths.
The other day, I saw the last of the aspens,
dancing on a mountain in a golden light.
I realized how little time we have, trembling
at the mercy of the fierce October wind.
I picked some leaves to give to my friends
to remind us of frailties, and the moments
that we stand, re-enchanted by the living world.
They say that it’s going to be cold tomorrow,
that a blue wind is coming out of the north.
I want to live the time that I have left,
dancing, like an aspen leaf in the sunlight.
I want to bathe in the love I found at last;
to tremble with grace, and to feel it in my work.
I want to see others flourish and step forward,
to honor their yearnings and live their potential.
And I want to affirm that it was all worth it,
that I planted an aspen on the mountainside.
And as for a gravestone – no wordy memorial –
just take my ashes to a hillfort in Dorset.
Leave me there to settle, under windswept turf,
content to rest between earth and sea and sky.
© William Ayot
He sits down on a tree stump in the garden he built,
out of waste ground, love, and a few tons of rock.
He’s alone and musing on an end he knows must come,
an appointment made by genetics and foolishness.
No longer the car crash the youth in him courted —
or the mugger in the alleyway, the intruder in the night —
but a glint of something steely rattling in a pan,
cold, medical, indifferent, a slice of the inevitable.
A part of him hoped he would live forever,
first through grandiosity, then through his art,
and lastly yearning for the finger of some god
to touch him like Adam and bring him home.
Well, that was another omnipotent conceit.
Today all that is peeled away — mid the falling leaves
the dank, dark earth, the smell of distant burning
and the barely felt trickle of a single, held-back tear.
The light is fading but the sky holds a glory
as the autumn and the evening wait for each other.
Failure and loneliness, self-pity and self-knowledge
break down in the afterglow to gentle acceptance.
He could live with that, or rather die with it —
a slow dissolution and a transfiguration —
to be small, to be nothing, to be forgotten,
to be gone yet still present, and part of everything.
© William Ayot
“Sometimes, maybe with the help of another presence that allows despair and pain to declare themselves, the dying seize hold of their lives, take possession of them, unlock their truth. They discover the freedom of being true to themselves. It is as if, at the very culmination, they have managed to come free of the jumble of inner pain and illusions that prevent us from belonging to ourselves. This mystery of existence and death is not solved, but it fully experienced.” Maria De Hennezel
Talking about the spiritual labour that goes on inside every dying person and describes it as: “an effort to give birth to oneself completely before leaving.” Michel de M’Uzan
“If I had to give a simple definition of what conscious dying might be, it is to let go of the last moment and open to the next. No life, no death. Just moment-to-moment change floating in pure awareness.” Stephen Levine
“After a loved one dies, the pain that stays with us is the love we held back.” Christine Longaker
“Through forgiving and being forgiven, we purify ourselves of the darkness of what we have done, and prepare ourselves most completely for the journey through death.” Sogyal Rinpoche
“There are no guidelines for this. Just to trust the heart’s sense of what is right. There is really no wrong in this situation. There is just love meeting the impossible in whatever way it can.” Stephen Levine
“You know there is nothing to understand [about death]. There’s no point in trying to understand. Its all a mystery. You just have to live the mystery.” A patient of Maria de Hennezel
BOOKS AND AUDIO
- Marie De Hennezel Intimate Death How The Dying Teach Us To Live
- Christine Longaker Facing Death And Finding Hope – A Guide To The Emotional And Spiritual Care Of The Dying
- Stephen Levine Meetings At The Edge – Dialogues With The Grieving And The Dying, The Healing And The Healed
LISTEN TO AUDIO OF
From The Other Side: John Burnside
about near death experiences
Info about this
Writing your own will
Create An In The Event of My Death Folder
Age concern has a Life Book in an online format that you can use to note down useful information that will help others when you die – from who insures your car to where you put the TV licence
Twenty Crucial Checks To Minimise Financial Trauma https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/death-plan/
What To Do When Someone Dies
Plan Your Funeral – Ideas
For Counsellors: Create a Professional Will
Compassion in Dying
https://compassionindying.org.uk/ can help you talk about death
The Resuscitation Council: Thinking about CPR
Do Not Attempt Resuscitation DNAR Form https://www.mysurgerywebsite.co.uk/website/J83023/files/DNR_template.pdf
The RESPECT Form and Resources .
Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment
The ReSPECT process creates a summary of personalised recommendations for a person’s clinical care in a future emergency in which they do not have capacity to make or express choices. Such emergencies may include death or cardiac arrest, but are not limited to those events.
Advanced Decision To Refuse Treatment ADRT – Living Will https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/advance-decision-to-refuse-treatment/
Use this website to create an ADRT https://mydecisions.org.uk/
This website helps you make an ADRTthat includes an Advanced Statement which gives the medical people more info about the wishes backing https://beta.compassionindying.org.uk/living-will-advance-decision/https://compassionindying.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Advance-Decision-Pack-v2.2.pdf
Message In A Bottle : For The Emergency Services to Know There is a DNAR
You can put a sticker on the front of your fridge to indicate it is in there (or on the glove compartment in your car)
There is a list of What Now questions- prompts to use if you have been given a terminal diagnosis – created by Compassion in dying https://compassionindying.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/What-now-Questions-to-ask-after-a-terminal-diagnosis-WEB.pdf
NHS Choices has a guide to end of life care.
Marie Curie offers expert care, guidance and support to people living with any terminal illness and their families.
Dying Matters has a directory of services for people in the last years of life, their families, carers and friends.
Macmillan Cancer Support provide information, advice and support for people with cancer, as well as their families and carers.
My Decisions is a free and simple website where you can create an Advance Decision document to print, sign, witness and share.
Hospices provide care for people from the point at which their illness is diagnosed as terminal, to the end of their life. Hospice care can provide medical, emotional, social, practical, psychological and spiritual support. They also support your family and friends. The NHS has information on hospices.
Stephen and Ondrea Levine have good talks on these topics, including an apologies page, where you can anonymously apologise for things
Living Well Dying Well: Training End of Life Doulas
Childhood Bereavement Network – Plan If Campaign
Life Planning Tools
The Natural Death Centre