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We spend all this time imagining we’re going to get ready for our dying. And I think it’s kind of an absurd idea, to imagine that at the time of our dying that we will have the strength of body, the emotional stability, and the mental clarity to do the work of a lifetime. It’s an absurd gamble. We should do this work now and that includes those of us who are not dying. Our aging parents for example. Be with them now. Tell them you love them now. Waiting is full of expectation. Waiting for the next moment to arrive we miss this one. Waiting for the moment of dying we miss all the moments in between. Hold death out there. Shine a light on it. Hold it out there as a way of reminding you to attend to what most matters.
Frank Ostaseski is a Buddhist teacher, international lecturer and a leading voice in contemplative end-of-life care. In 1987, he co-founded of the Zen Hospice Project, the first Buddhist hospice in America. In 2004, he created the Metta Institute to provide innovative educational programs and professional trainings that foster compassionate, mindfulness-based care. He’s also the author of The Five Invitations