Walking Into That Good Night: Exploring Our Relationship With Dying & Death
A place to stay untouched by death
Does not exist.
It does not exist in space, it does not exist in the ocean,
Nor if you stay in the middle of a mountain.
– The Buddha
“Awareness of death is the very bedrock of the path. Until you have developed this
awareness, all other practices are useless.”
-the Dalai Lama
Physical death is the ultimate rite of passage that we are preparing for on some level throughout our life. Sometimes this “preparing” looks like denial; sometimes sudden illness or life-threats surprise us into looking squarely at the inevitable truth. The more consciously we can turn our attention to our mortality, the more able we are to turn our life’s focus toward that which truly matters to us during this one precious lifetime.
In today’s world we carry the challenge and opportunity of making important health decisions with modern medical advances. This changes what our “dying” may look like, and necessitates significant conversations with our loved ones, as well as soul searching within ourselves. Some of the questions that arise may be: how do these decisions affect my loved ones? what are my biggest fears?, my greatest hopes?, what is my relationship with chosen death or suicide at a certain point in my dying process?, how much am I in control?, and how does the certainty of my own mortality inform my living and even infuse my life with meaning and beauty?
There is no final answer to these and many more fertile questions, rather an opportunity to deepen our organic, creative relationship with death that matures as we do. We will come together and be in conversation with the land, each other, and ourselves about our mortality, expectations and fears, relationship with mystery and the unknown. We will individually discover what arises from the tension of being life-filled, while inevitably walking toward our death.
Night walks under a very full moon will be the solo time each day, culminating in an overnight solo. During this time you will explore and cultivate your own personal tools for walking in the darkness.
We will also have the wonderful addition and support of mask-maker, elder, guide, and wildly creative friend Joyce Harvey-Morgan, who will be bringing into our week the ceremonial making and decorating of our Death Masks, which can be initiated in the night.
Additional course details & Materials
PROGRAM LOGISTICS: We will meet at 2:00 pm on Sunday, March 24 at our basecamp at Mesquite Campground in Death Valley where we will camp together for the week. Each day we will meet to listen to the stories brought back from the night walk solos, and we will sit in council to explore our relationship with death/life. A more detailed logistical letter will be sent out a few months before we meet. We will finish by noon on Saturday, March 30. ADDITIONAL FEES: Each car must purchase a Death Valley entrance fee ticket. We will split the cost of the campsites that we reserve. Camping fees to be determined. Maximum size: 10 people
You will be responsible for bringing your own food and equipment, though we can provide some gear if needed. We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently. You will need to bring shelter and clothing suitable for a full range of inclement weather.
To address safety concerns during the pandemic, please contact us regarding our current Coronavirus protocols as well as any current travel restrictions. These protocols may affect how you are able to travel to the program. Please note: As of May 2023 there are no longer any vaccination requirements for international travellers seeking entry to the USA.
To learn more about our commitment to regenerative relationships please visit Cultural Relations.