Choices at the End of Life: Contemplation and Discussion
with Nealy Zimmermann & Mary Lang
Contemplating death brings immediacy to our practice of meditation. Traditionally it is one of the most powerful ways to turn our minds to the truth of the teachings.
Yet how often do we imagine what our own death would be like? Polls show that 70% of Americans say they want to die at home, yet 70% of us die in hospitals or long term care facilities. Sixty percent say they do not want their families burdened with difficult decisions, yet 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes to anyone.
Please join the Shambhala community for a facilitated contemplation and discussion of this issue. The evening will include an informative overview of advance care directives, the importance of designating and expressing your end of life wishes to a health care proxy or advocate, and most importantly, practical tools for how to begin a conversation about end of life choices. Meditation, contemplation and small group discussions will deepen our exploration of the topic.
Facilitated by Mary Lang and Nealy Zimmermann.
This is the first of a three-part series on End of Life issues. The second (Sunday evening, April 28) will be on the difficult conversations that often accompany illness and death, and the third (late June or July) will be on Buddhist teachings and rituals about death and dying. Feel free to invite family and/or friends to these events.
Nealy Zimmermann was the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care for four years before her recent move to the Boston area from New Haven, CT. In the 1990’s she helped develop a prison hospice program in the Connecticut Department of Corrections and over the years coordinated a number of trainings, worked on the curriculum and helped train inmates to be bereavement and hospice volunteers for their fellow inmates. She has been a student of Shambhala since the mid 1970’s.
Mary Lang is a senior teacher and meditation instructor at the Boston Shambhala Center and for the past seven years has worked in Senior Services at Jewish Family & Children’s Service. She has been a student of Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 1973.
Below are links to informative sites regarding this subject:
The Conversation Project, spearheaded by Ellen Goodman, former journalist at the Boston Globe, and Len Fischman, President of Hebrew Senior Life:
The Last Chapter: End of Life Decisions—an hour long documentary
Massachusetts site for MOLST—medical orders for life sustaining treatment