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“Your death is your most faithful companion.”
These words would have struck a sense of fear in me a few years back, yet as I hear them now, they wake a grief in me that is of equal parts joy as it is sorrow, filled to the brim with deep, deep gratitude for being alive. I see the ability to know this grief without fear and resistance being the exclusive qualities of being I bring to it are signifiers, I believe, of a positive direction in how I show up in the world.
Much of the changes I have gone through in my relationship to dying, to death, and to grief have been influenced by today’s guest. He was originally on the show back for episode 59 What Dying Means and he joins us again today to deepen the conversation since last we spoke. Welcome, Stephen Jenkinson. [update: Aug 26, 2021 – More episodes with Stephen are available here.]
STEPHEN JENKINSON, MTS, MSW is an activist, teacher, author, and farmer. He has a master’s degree in theology from Harvard University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. He is a former program director and medical-school assistant professor. He is the subject of the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary film, Griefwalker. He teaches internationally. With Nathalie Roy, Jenkinson founded The Orphan Wisdom School is 2010, which convenes in Tramore, Canada, and in various places in northern Europe.
He is the author of How It All Could Be (now translated into four languages), Money and the Soul’s Desires, Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, and, most recently, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble. With Gregory Hoskins and band, Stephen has offered Nights of Grief & Mystery to sold-out houses on three continents, most recently during the 26-city Nights of Grief & MysteryNorth American Tour 2018.
Stephen joins us to discuss arguments against psilocybin for the dying, death as a god, the failures of hope, the cowardice of misanthropy, and the dangers of being arrogant when facing the divine.
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- death is a god
- death is like matrimony
- death is your most faithful companion
- your death means you no harm
- the divine is not there to benefit you
- the consequences are encountering the divine aren’t supposed to be good
- the dangers of being arrogant when facing the divine
- arguments against psilocybin for the dying
- the losses of going mainstream
- arguments against medically assisted suicide
- (why I have not and will not read Michael Pollan)
- hope does not serve us as we face the environmental crisis
- proceed as if your actions have consequence
- the meaning of ‘understand’
- misanthropy is a complete unwillingness to learn
“Orphan Wisdom is a teaching house and a learning house for the skills of deep living and making human culture. It is a redemptive project that comes from where we come from. It is rooted in knowing history, being claimed by ancestry, working for a time we may not see.”
This is also where you will find a complete catalog of Stephen’s work, such interviews like this one, his books (I highly recommend Die Wise), and his upcoming events as well as many other nuggets of great content.
See Stephen Jenkinson with Gregory Hoskins and band for Nights Of Grief & Mystery
Date: Thursday, September 12
Venue: The Registry Theatre
EB link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/night-of-grief-mystery-concert-kitchener-tickets-66229555383
FB link: https://www.facebook.com/events/686962731767381/
Date: Saturday, September 28
Venue: Wolf Performance Hall
EB link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/night-of-grief-mystery-concert-london-on-tickets-63091197470
FB link: https://www.facebook.com/events/36870378376202