"An Ancestor Worth Coming From"
Hello Dear Friends,
Today I share with you once again some of the wisdom - or perhaps you might say, the curious viewpoint - of the phenomenon and very human entity that is Steven Jenkinson. I hope you find something here that lights up your heart in one way or another (I think you will). Take a look, a read, a think. . . and as always, feel welcome to reach out to me with your thoughts.
Every blessing to each and all. Here you go:
Steven Jenkinson feels that "what modern Western people suffer from most is culture failure, amnesia of ancestry and deep family… no instruction on how to live with each other or with the world around us or with our dead or our history”
Steven earned a divinity degree from Harvard University and for a time was director of palliative care at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. But in 2010 he gave up a notable career in what he not-so-fondly calls “the death trade”, and founded Orphan Wisdom, a alternative-culture school for “the skills of deep living and making human culture”.
He is a Canadian writer, known for his provocative, anti-death phobia stance and is a strong advocate of cultural grief literacy; He says our well-being
It is rooted in knowing history, being claimed by ancestry – two things we have lost much of.
Contrary to what our death-fighting culture tends toward, from his book “Die Wise; A Manifest for Sanity and Soul”
(P. 309) “Dying is a time for untying the knots of strength, competence, and familiarity that have bound us to our bodies.”
Read that one again: UNTYING.
(P. 378) “Loving and grieving are joined at the hip, for all the beauty, soul, and travail that brings. Grief is a way of loving what has slipped from view. Love is a way of grieving that which has not yet done so. We would do well to say this aloud for many days, to help get it learned: Grief is a way of loving, love is a way of grieving. They need each other in order to be themselves.”
More quotes from Jenkinson:
“Grief is the midwife of your capacity to be immensely grateful for being born.”
“Not success. Not growth. Not happiness. The cradle of your love of life … is death.”
“It is not dying that is traumatic, it is dying in a death-phobic culture that is traumatic.”
In the piece you will read below, might there be something in the prayer that your deepest heart or widest self wants you to explore or simply know today?
Steven Jenkinson’s Prayer for the Dying:
“I make a prayer now to your old ones,
to those whose face you never saw
and voice you never heard
and name you haven’t known,
that they remember you
while you try to find them remembering you,
that they come at the proper time to gather you in,
that they whisper to you the truth that you haven’t been alone,
and won’t be,
that they know the hard friendship of the ending of days;
I make a prayer that all who were there at your making
will be there for your gathering in,
that their hands will be there just by your opening hand,
to make a home for your sorrowing heart and for you;
I make a prayer that your house and your people
will be blessed by your coming and your going,
that the day will come
when they will boast of for a while having known you,
and will marvel at the WAY of your going out from among them,
and that you might be reason enough for them to continue for a while,
and that in the days to come
you will be claimed as noble,
as an ancestor worth coming from.”
I have shared these before, but I renew the invitation to check them out again:
If you are moved by his words, please consider
SUPPORTING STEVEN'S WORK - BUY HIS BOOKS:
CLICK HERE TO VISIT HIS ONLINE STORE
The National Film Board of Canada's award-winning documentary "Griefwalker" (mentioned elsewhere in this blog, and listed on the resources page) is well worth a watch for anyone alive - for we will all find our selves in need of befriendment of death at some point.
Here is a trailer for the film:
I am wishing each and all an ever deepening friendship with the process of death and dying and an embracing of grief as the magnificent gateway to an ever more delightful dance with life and living, and the LOVE that is at the center of it all!
Live Heartfully, Friends.
With Love Always,
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Rev. Maya Massar