Notes from the Twin Cities September Book Share

Books about death: they're made of dead trees!The September Twin Cities meeting was our 2nd annual book share, and here are the books we shared. Books are listed alphabetically by title. Where I’d put it in my notes, I’ve included who recommended which book and added their comments, so you can ask us about them later. -Eli

  • Alison’s Gift, Pat Hogan.
  • Caravan of No Despair, Mirabai Starr. Talks about her grief process after her daughter’s death. (Kyoko)
  • Coming to Rest: A Guide to Caring for Our Own Dead, Julie Wiskind and Richard Spiegel (“The guy who made it up as he went”). Also contains several beautiful poems. (Karen Z)
  • Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, Stephen Jenkinson (Griefwalker). Nancy isn’t sure if she liked it or not, but she was shocked, surprised, awed, baffled, and annoyed. She thinks it’s brilliant. A lot of hand gestures were involved. Hypercritical of medical establishment, hospice, & palliative care. Alternative vision of how to die. (Nancy, and also Dawn, who calls it an “interesting” read)
  • The Grace in Dying, Kathleen Dowling Singh
  • Greening Death, Suzanne Kelly. Becoming at one with the earth. Body-based and Earth-connected. Great quotes. (Anne A is very excited about this book). “Imagine the body as a great feast going back to the Earth.” Politics of green burial advocacy movement, how it’s connected to home funeral/home vigil community & FCA. Privilege/racism/economic accessibility issues around green burial movement, commodification of green death. (Anne A.)
  • The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, Starhawk and the Reclaiming Collective. As far as we know, the only book dedicated to death and dying from the neo-Pagan perspective.  The source of the body blessing in Passing Through Our Hands (unexpurgated version) (Eli)
  • Penroe: In Another Field Without Time, Penny Bosselman (penroe.net)
  • Stiff, Mary Roach. Getting popular with teenagers. (Jean)
  • The Tao of Death, Karen Wyatt. Based in I Ching. If we’re reading about death, we’re working with our thinking. Brand new! (Linda)
  • What Lasts Is the Breath, poems by Janet Eigner; illustrations by Steven Counsell. Poetry and art (Linda)
  • What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, Karen Wyatt. (Karen G)
  • When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi. Neurosurgeon with lung cancer chronicles his journey toward death. (Linda)

Twin Cities Meeting November 9: A Family Undertaking

What is old is often new again. Elizabeth Westrate’s A Family Undertaking uncovers a growing social trend: the home funeral movement. More often, Americans are choosing to do it themselves when it comes to burying loved ones and easing their own grief. Far from being a radical innovation, however, keeping funeral rites in the family or among friends is exactly how death was handled for most of pre-twentieth century America.
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The showing will take place on Wednesday, November 9 (please note! Wednesday meeting!) at 7 pm, at the home of Anne Murphy, 287 Mount Curve Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55105 (follow link for map). Minnesota Threshold Network meetings are free and open to the public, but donations of the heart are gratefully accepted.

Friends of the St. Paul Public Library series: (New Ways of) Thinking About Dying

MTN Twin Cities members Anne Murphy, Anne Archbold, and Marilaurice Hemlock will presenters in the St. Paul Public Library’s upcoming discussion series “(New Ways of) Thinking About Dying.”

Presented by The Friends and Health Advocates—a Saint Paul-based public health consulting group which promotes communication that bridges differences in culture, language, and class.

From ‘conscious dying’ at home, to family-designed home vigils, to green burials, dying people and those who care for them are rediscovering and redefining what happens before, during and after death. Continue reading “Friends of the St. Paul Public Library series: (New Ways of) Thinking About Dying”

Six-week Befriending Death class begins September 28

Kyoko Katayama
Kyoko Katayama

MTN Twin Cities core team member Kyoko Katayama will once again be offering her Befriending Death: Meeting Impermanence with Courage, Love, and Equanimity class at Common Ground Meditation Center starting next week!

In this six-week long class, we explore how we relate to death and dying–our own and that of others; some of the rituals and care involved in end of life; grief. We practice relating to death as a teacher and friend who can break our heart yet awakens us to live more fully.

The class is Buddhist in orientation. Some familiarity with Buddhism and meditation will be helpful. All programs are offered free of charge at Common Ground but donations are welcome. Go to the CGMC website for more information and to register on-line.

Wednesdays, September 28 to November 2, 2016, 10:30am to 12:30 pm

Common Ground is located at 2700 East 26th Street, Minneapolis (click link for map).

October Meeting: Regional Threshold Conversation; Saturday, October 15

In place of a regular Tuesday or Wednesday night meeting, we will have a regional gathering of advocates for home funerals and green burials. Home funeral activists from the Twin Cities, Rochester, Northfield, Brainerd, and Wisconsin will share visions, challenges, and plans. All are welcome.

Date: Saturday, October 15, at 10amPotluck lunch to follow.
Place: home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. S. Minneapolis 55410 (follow link for map). Phone: 612-325-2775.

gettin' stuff done
Photo from the MTN 2015 summer planning meeting. Probably taken by Becky Bohan

September Twin Cities Meeting: Book Sharing

Books about death: they're made of dead trees!

What are your favorite books on death and dying? Bring one of yours, briefly describe it, and/or read a passage (two minutes max). Or just come and hear about other people’s favorite death and dying books. You will leave with a great reading list for this winter!

At the end of the meeting, maybe folks would like to swap books.

Date and time: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 7:00-9:00 p.m. Location: 21 Rustic Lodge Ave. East., Minneapolis 55419 Contact phone: 612-823-1910 (In case GPS directs you to the wrong side of Nicollet Av. it’s 1/2 block EAST, not west, off of Nicollet Avenue)

Free and open to all!