Show 55 – Living deeply and dying well with Stephen Jenkinson

With counseling and ceremony, Stephen Jenkinson guides individuals, couples, families and communities through all the human sufferings, sorrows and confusions in life. He’s been doing this for a quarter century. After an apprenticeship to a musician storyteller he worked with dying people, their families, and with those unsure how to grieve. As a programme director in a major Canadian hospital, an assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school and an educator and advocate in the helping professions, Stephen Jenkinson consulted to palliative care and hospice organizations. He is revolutionizing the way we think about grief and dying in North America. Stephen Jenkinson is a spiritual activist, teacher, author, ceremonialist, sculptor and traditional canoe builder.

This show aired live Sunday, January 2, 2011 8 to 9 AM Eastern Time on CFRU 93.3 FM in Guelph, Ontario, Canada


We begin our conversation with a quote from Stephen’s website

“A culture addicted to security, comfort and ‘be all you want to be’ makes no time in its public or private life for sorrow or uncertainty or the end of things.  To a culture like our own, grief is mostly medicated or resolved, and our hearts elbow our lives out of the way in their headlong search for safe landings and getting their needs met.  But what would our culture look like and how would our children think of us fifty years from now, if we began to honour and teach grief as a skill, as vital to our personal and cultural and spiritual life as the skill of loving?”

Stephen tells us about teaching grief as a skill, softening our hearts, having reverence for life, and loving as if it not going to last.

About Wendy McDonnell

5 Responses to “Show 55 – Living deeply and dying well with Stephen Jenkinson”

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  1. Marci says:

    Hey Wendy;

    thank you so much for doing this show. Wow, did it hit home for me. Although my grief hit two years after my Dad passed,( because of taking care of my Mom )I have never hid my grief from my girls. And there have been some really tough times over the last 10 months or so. To hear how our society hides this process when in fact they have no idea themselves what should come natural is amzing to me. Of course having gone through this so recently and relating so well to what this gentleman spoke of, everthing he talk about made so much sense. We have become a society who is afraid to show their feelings a really say how we are. Now, the hard part is to teach each other the opposite. Very touched by this.

  2. Ann says:

    Dear Wendy;
    I am a palliative care consult nurse and have attended a few conferences where Stephen presented, and participated in a very small way as a consultant/reviewer during the development of Griefwalker. I just listened to the podcast and want to congratulate you. I remember often being left speechless and in deep thought listening to stephen, and as I listened to this podcast, I wondered…Oh God, how is she going to regroup her thoughts to carry this interview for an hour..but you did!!! So again, congratulations!

  3. retaylorgem says:

    I have just been introduced to Stephan by a friend who watched GriefWalker. I am a new subscriber. I enjoyed your interview and will listen to it more than once. I believe the unniverse has made me aware of this concept and I feel I must pursue.

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