Charles Cowling

First, an event, Dying to Live.

It is organised by Archa Robinson at Living and Dying Consciously and is billed as: Suitable for anyone facing death in the next 90 yrs… a reflective, meditative, poignant, life changing and fun weekend !

Here’s more:

We live in a society conditioned to deny death. It’s a taboo subject and is often seen as a failure or at best ‘unfortunate’. We live as if we live forever, ignoring the truth of change and impermanence. Yet the acknowledgement of them holds the key to life itself. To be truly

conscious in our lives and present to each moment means to ‘let-go’—to die to the last moment and open to the next—to live and die consciously, moment to moment. Death is the ultimate ‘let-go’. From the moment of our birth our bodies are dying, so the more we face the fears of our own death the more we are able to love and celebrate our lives now.

We will use image-making, meditation, writing and other experiential ways  of exploring these themes   To support participants on their own inner journey they  will be asked to stay in silence during the workshop.

Venue: Boswedden House, Cornwall.

Dates: 12, 13 & 14 November.

Cost: £125, with an early bird fee of just £95 if you book before 22 Oct. B & B available at £96 for 3 nighsts; £70 for two. Sounds like terrific value!

Further information and booking here.

Boswedden House

Second, a survey conducted by Jean Francis, author of Time to Go and one of the team at ARKA Original Funerals.

Jean conducts workshops on funeral planning and would love you to respond to a survey she is conducting into the importance people place on environmental considerations when planning a funeral. It’ll take you less than five minutes (I know, I’ve done it myself). You’ll find it here.

3 thoughts on “Parish notices

  1. Charles Cowling

    “Dying to Live” looks well worth knowing about, but on the website there is a comment which puzzled me, stating that we are dying from the moment we are born. Now, that’s only true in an abstract, sort of chronological sense, surely? It isn’t true on terms of our bodies. The thought that we are physically deteriorating as soon as we are born is too glum to bear, and happily, it’s not so.

    Even Bertie Wooster’s brain was more use to him aged 23 than it was aged 3. As for the mighty Jeeves…

    I’m right in with the general movement around here to live with the understanding and acceptance of mortality, as the only way to live fully and well and to face death enfin, but it doesn’t help to exaggerate, I feel.

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling

    A very good point, Thomas. The success of a funeral depends on where WE are, before, during and after the event, not where the body ends up or in what container or how it was transported there. Indeed, I left last year’s Green Funeral exhibition with a sadness about the point being pointedly missed, and about this ‘fresh and unblemished’ approach being allowed to become stale already for want of attention to its real heart, which lies a long way from any natural burial venue.

    I was celebrant at a ‘woodland burial’ hosted by a local co-op FD, where the wicker coffin, shouldered but without a liner, left the outline of the dead body visible with the sun behind, and where the FD’s first words to me were: “How long are you going to take over this, because we’ve got another funeral across town to hurry on to.” As with all in our lives, even positive attention to just the exterior leaves the inside, where the business of living and dying actually happens, gasping for breath. Too much emphasis on the body of even a really good funeral leaves its spirit vulnerable to exploitation and absorption by convention and tradition, as happened to, for example, the organic food movement – do we really want to see ‘contemporary funerals’ wrapped in plastic and on sale at Tesco in the future?

    Let’s get away from this ‘green’ image before it comes back to haunt us and stains us permanently green.

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Perpetua's Garden

    (My comment on Jean’s woodland burial survey)

    The environmental is A consideration in funerals but it should never become “the main thing”, just as cost is a consideration but not the all-important one. A funeral is after all an enormously important event in a life.

    Much of the recent interest in woodland burials stems from our society’s confusion and denial with respect to mortality, as well as from the awful or at best meaningless experiences we have had with modern funeral providers. Woodland burials have thus become a fresh and unblemished way to approach this topic again. In that respect, it has importance.

    But the human element must consciously be kept paramount in all this. Otherwise, funerals may become mere opportunities to recycle human nutrients, as they are in Huxley’s Brave New World.

    That would be a huge and tragic irony – that those who aim to save humanity’s physical environment have ended up selling off her soul for its sake.

    A middle way must be found.

    Thomas Friese
    Founder, Perpetua’s Garden

    Charles Cowling

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