The Practice of Living and Dying: Forgiveness, Apology, and Reconciliation

Jul 12th, 2020 - Jul 18th, 2020
Meredith Little


Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.

Nelson Mandela
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
Imagine you live in a community that has its own “Death Lodge,” a place where a dying person can rest and receive the visitors who come to say goodbye.  This is the natural place of “making it good” with your people so you can cleanly move on, and they can let you go in the fullness of completion.  An old hospice teaching says that to complete a relationship five things must be said: “I forgive you”; “you forgive me”; “thank you”; “I love you”; and “goodbye.”  This is the sacred work of the Death Lodge.
One of the great challenges we all face in life is to do this work now, when it is most needed, rather than waiting until the last days of our dying.  Call this the work of “the Life Lodge.”  If we don’t step into this lodge, if we don’t keep our relationships current, we risk being weighed down by a lifetime of woundings, angers, and regrets that make it more difficult to surrender to our death, or to the fullness of our life.  For most people, the hardest part of Life Lodge work or Death Lodge work is the giving and receiving of forgiveness and apology.  Too often we become stuck in the mire of too much memory, or we hide from ourselves in the secret of trying to forget.  But by steering clear of the Life Lodge, we risk turning into yet another cycle of anger, vengeance and victimization.
In this gathering we will explore together what the four shields of the Life Lodge (or Death Lodge) have to teach us about restoring a personal and communal balance that embraces the wounds of the past.  Where is it that we are likely to get stuck in the turning of this wheel?  And when might we forgive too soon, or apologize too shallowly?  Jewels to be found in these lodges are godlike qualities: mercy, compassion, essential self-respect, and maybe even the grace to forgive the “unforgivable.”  If you listen, today more than ever, you can hear a cry for this kind of healing—be it in the lives of individual friends, or in the biggest stories of our time.  That cry is calling for each of us to do the wrenching work of self-reflection and personal healing, which evokes the deeper levels of our humanity, offering the possibility of a reconciliation with self and others that is sacred, humbling, and ultimately life-changing.
Program informationEnrollment is limited to 11. We will meet together at the School’s basecamp in the Inyo Mountains near Big Pine, CA on the afternoon of Sunday July 12th, and finish by noon on Saturday July 18th. We will sit in council each morning exploring the theme of forgiveness and apology, spend solo time on the land each afternoon, and begin to tell the stories of the day each late afternoon. In the evening there will be small circles so that all stories are heard. There will be an optional overnight solo near the end of the week.
Please note that the School makes no provisions for meals or equipment, though we will provide a group kitchen with stoves, pots, pans and bowls, and utensils.  We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently, though the group may spontaneously choose to prepare meals together.  More detailed logistical information will be sent out a few months before the course begins.    
A note to people with limited wilderness experience: Though we will be camping out for the entire week, activities undertaken will be non-strenuous and our emphasis will always be “safety first.” We will provide a list of personal equipment that each participant should bring and we will also provide some group equipment for our base-camp. We may be able to loan limited personal equipment as needed and if we are unable, we can provide advice about what to purchase or rent.


The School of Lost Borders has created a sliding scale for all its programs and trainings in an effort to keep our courses affordable to a wide range of people. We set forth no criteria and trust that each individual will pay what they feel is appropriate.

Scholarships are available.

Tuition: $700 - $1250

Deposit: $300
(Non-refundable & non-transferrable unless seminar is cancelled)

Extra Fees: possible camping fee


Already enrolled?

You can pay the full balance for your program online using PayPal with the button below. Please note, a $25.00 handling fee will be added to your total.