Introduction

Introduction
Introduction

In the end, people don't view their life as merely the average of all its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people's minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life maybe empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves.  — Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

This workshop invites participants to begin exploring their own emotions, experiences, and perspectives on death and dying in a safe, covenanted group. Using strategies such as brainstorming of euphemisms, sharing quotes, discussion, and meditation, participants are invited to begin to share stories with one another about what can be a difficult topic.

Participants will begin creating a loose-leaf notebook journal. To encourage them to decorate and personalize the journal, create and personalize your own. As you prepare to facilitate this session, add to your own journal quotes that speak to you or stories that come to mind, so you can model this for participants.

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Provide processes and activities to help people express thoughts and feelings about death that they may be unable to express directly
  • Guide participants into learning the art of listening, or “listening with the ear of the heart”
  • Provide a variety of perspectives on death and dying and invite participants to identify ones that most speak to them
  • Invite participants to begin exploring their own emotions, experiences, and perspectives on death and dying.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Get to know one another and establish a covenanted group
  • Start a personal journal for creative journaling and for collecting handouts and other readings
  • List euphemisms and slang words for death, listening for what this indicates about what people are unable to say directly
  • Explore perspectives on death and dying from public figures past and present, popular culture, and literature
  • Begin to contemplate their own emotions, experiences, and perspectives on death and dying.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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