Sign up for our Newsletter!

Join the CEN community and stay current on news and events.

Additional Resources

Rushing River 

"I want to be alive when I die." -Anonymous

This page provides links to additional resources to aid you in understanding and preparing for conscious dying and, in the process, conscious living.

The first section below focuses on perspectives on life and death, living and dying. The following sections pertain to each of the other elements of Conscious Dying addressed on this website: Decisions, Conversations, End-of-Life Care, Documents, Ceremonies, and After-Life Care.

PERSPECTIVES ON LIFE AND DEATH, LIVING AND DYING

All of my life is a dance
Nancy C. Wood

All of my life is a dance.
When I was young and feeling the earth
My steps were quick and easy.
The beat of the earth was so loud
That my drum was silent beside it.
All of my life rolled out from my feet
Like my land which had no end as far as I could see.
The rhythm of my life was pure and free.
As I grew older my feet kept dancing so hard
That I wore a spot in the earth
At the same time I made a hole in the sky.
I danced to the sun and the rain
And the moon lifted me up
So that I could dance to the stars.
My head touched the clouds sometimes
And my feet danced deep in the earth
So that I became the music I danced to everywhere.
It was the music of life.
Now my steps are slow and hard
And my body fails my spirit.
Yet my dance is still within me and
My song is the air I breathe.
My song insists that I keep dancing forever.
My song insists that I keep rhythm
With all of the earth and the sky.
My song insists that I will never die.


   © 1974 Nancy C. Wood, reprinted from Many Winters, courtesy of the Nancy Wood Literary Trust. For more poems by Nancy Wood please visit www.NancyWood.com.

 The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America

This book by Ai-jen Poo makes the point that, to enable all of us to age with dignity and security in the face of this coming Age Wave, our society must learn to value the care of our elders. .

Being Mortal

A riveting, honest, and humane book by Atul Gawande, Being Mortal shows that the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life – all the way to the very end. The associated PBS Frontline special explores the intersection of life, death, medicine, and what happens in the end.

Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

In this book, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well.

Death Makes Life Possible

In this film and companion book, Drs. Marilyn Schlitz and Deepak Chopra present a wealth of teachings, practical guidance, and exemplars on how to turn this taboo topic into a source of peace, hope, connection, and compassion, and thus to transform the fear of death into an inspiration for living and dying well.

Griefwalker

This documentary film by Tim Wilson is about Stephen Jenkinson, who has made it his life’s mission to change the way we die – to turn the act of denial and resistance into an essential part of life, thus indicting the practice of palliative care itself.

Oliver Sacks says he has terminal cancer

In this New York Times essay, Oliver Sacks explores … “how to live out the months that remain to me,” because “I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can.”

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying  

The most prominent expert on Tibetan Buddhism in the West, Sogyal Rinpoche, offers in this book a profound book that reveals the nature of the mind and its manifestations and offers pure enlightenment.

Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead

This book by Normandie Ellis presents one of the oldest and greatest classics of Western spirituality, suggesting that the divine realm and the human realm are not altogether separate. 

A Year to Live  

In this book, Stephen Levine teaches how to live each moment, each hour, each day mindfully--as if it were all that was left.

We honor the passing of this extraordinary man and pioneer of the Conscious Dying movement. Stephen passed on January 17, 2016. Stephen and Ondrea produced series of “Couch Talks” from their home in New Mexico. Here is his final talk before his passing. WATCH HERE

Final Crossing: Learning to Die in order to Live

In this book, Scott Eberle, a long-time hospice physician, brilliantly weaves classical Rights of Passage work with the physical process of conscious dying.

Final Pose: A Practice in Dying 

In this short documentary, a yoga teacher gives her final lesson — not about living a good life, but living a good death.

Let Me Die Laughing

In this poem, Mark Morrison-Reed says that, “We need to learn to live with death, and to understand that death is not the worst of all events.”

“The Farewell Party”: laughing together before dying, an award-winning Israeli film

In this award-winning Israeli film, an eccentric group of elderly retired people employ a special "death machine" to humorously rekindle the debate on euthanasia.

1. DECISIONS

So to Speak 

This profound song by Sting articulates a decision to die without medical intervention.

Final Exodus

A guide, with blogs and resources, to creating documents and discussing thoughts on what one might want at the end of life with partner, children, physician, minister or priest, and other close people.

2. CONVERSATIONS

My Gift of Grace

A conversation game for living and dying.

The Conversation Project 

The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Included on the website is a Starter Kit for advance planning.

Death Café 

At a Death Café, people drink tea, eat cake, and discuss death. The aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their lives.

3. END-OF-LIFE CARE 

On Our Own Terms

In this PBS series, Bill Moyers goes from the bedsides of the dying to the front lines of a movement to improve end-of-life care “on our own terms. 

International End of Life Doula Association

End-of-life doulas enrich hospice end-of-life care.

Doulas ease transition for patients, families as death nears

Local experience with end-of-life doula care in North Jersey.

Death with Dignity National Center

Their mission is to promote Death with Dignity laws that provide an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements to end-of-life care.

Center for Advanced Palliative Care

CAPC provides palliative care-related videos and podcasts for the education of both professionals and the public. 

Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices is committed to helping everyone have the best death possible. They offer free consultation, planning resources, referrals and guidance, and across the nation they work to protect and expand options at the end of life.

Our unrealistic views of death, through a doctor’s eyes

In a Washington Post op-ed, physician Craig Bowron says that, for all its technological sophistication and hefty price tag, modern medicine may be doing more to complicate the end of life than to prolong or improve it.

Brittany Maynard’s Family, Compassion & Choices Partner With California Lawmakers on End-of-Life Option Bill

In the spring of 2014, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard learned that she had terminal brain cancer. She opted to move to Oregon in order to end her life legally and her story has been a catalyst for bringing Death with Dignity to California.

Complexities of Choosing an End Game for Dementia

Mr. Medalie’s directive also specifies something more unusual: If he develops Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, he refuses “ordinary means of nutrition and hydration.”

Helping dementia patients avoid premature death

This article from the San Diego Union-Tribune draws lessons from the movie Alice for caring for dementia patients.

Circle of Friends for the Dying 

 CFD will oversee the establishment and maintenance of a home-like residence with an emphasis on comfort and quality of life for the terminally ill with a prognosis of three months or less to live.

4. DOCUMENTS

U.S. Living Will Registry

The mission of the U.S. Living Will Registry is to promote the use of advance directives through educational programs, and to make people's health care choices available to their caregivers and families whenever and wherever they are needed, while maintaining the confidentiality of their information and documents.

5. CEREMONIES

Stay tuned for links to come.

6. AFTER-LIFE CARE

The Natural Burial Cemetery Guide

This is a detailed and illustrated listing of over 125 cemeteries in the US either complete (303 pages) or organized in one of four regions, Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Each edition includes introductory material describing green burial and the different ways cemeteries practice it, and explaining what to expect in a cemetery entry. Regional and state maps indicate the geographic locations of cemeteries using color coding.

Forget Coffins – Organic Burial Pods Will Turn Your Loved Ones Into Trees

The idea of coming full circle and returning whence we came from is one that appeals to many of us, regardless of our faith (or lack thereof), and this is an idea captured perfectly by this beautiful new burial method developed in Italy.

What to Do With Our Bodies After We Die

In this Huffington Post blog, Katrina Spade observes, “The problem of what to do with the bodies of our deceased will mushroom rapidly as the baby boom generation ages. And why should country dwellers be the only ones who can return their loved ones' bodies to the earth in a personal, gentle way?

The Green Burial Council

A national organization dedicated to promoting green burials.

National Home Funeral Alliance

Offers information, training and advocacy for those interested in providing home care of a loved one after death.

Solstice Glass

"Glass jewelry and cremation memorials hand-blown by a glass artist with over 15 years’ experience."