What is Mindful Mortality all about?
Some people facing a life-threatening illness or surviving a near death experience report a sense of peace, calm, absence of fear of dying. Hospice workers are often asked if they find the work depressing only to respond that they are inspired by it. We don’t have to wait until the end to find focus and meaning in the fact that our life span is limited.
Rather, by being mindful of our mortality, we can heighten our appreciation of life, soothe our fears, promote healing of past wounds and losses. Through preparation, we can reduce hardship for ourselves and our loved ones at the time of death.
Mindful mortality experiential opportunities were developed by Rob Spencer, M.D., to help us achieve these goals.
“The essential task of hospice care is to help people near the end of their lives to live as fully as possible for whatever time they have left. Palliative care expanded this goal to help anyone facing serious illness. ‘Mindful Mortality’ is designed to adapt some of the same tools and techniques to help those of us who are not even sick (yet) to live our lives as fully as possible now, today, while we are still alive and well.”
Often there are profound secondary benefits as well. For example:
Groups may feel more bonded together in shared purpose and can therefore be more productive with less conflict.
Healthcare workers embracing their own mortality can better address their patients’ needs.
Younger people starting on their paths may appreciate the perspectives and wisdom of those at the other end of theirs.
All of us can achieve a more enlightened sense of purpose and meaning, enabling our presence in the world, long or short in time, to be a source of growth and joy.
Mindful Mortality creator and facilitator, Rob Spencer, M.D., has been involved with end-of-life care for over 30 years and is board certified in anesthesiology, pain medicine, hospice and palliative medicine.
“Alleviating pain and other symptoms is just the beginning. The real goal with patients is to help them and their loved ones live as joyfully as possible. Why not help people who are not in pain and not even sick to do the joyful living part? That is what we hope to accomplish with Mindful Mortality.”