February 4, 2000
Subject: Mystical Files #3: Graceful Passages + LightShift 2000 latest update + The New Group Consciousness
Here is first some information about a wonderful musical and spiritual work I warmly recommend to you. The music is really awe-inspiring and the soul-soothing and enlightening messages chosen are just as good. A much needed instrument of awakening and preparation if you are approaching the transition point into the life after life. I've personally met Gary Malkin and Michael Stillwater, the music composers and designers of this unique creation of Art/Heart, and I can vouchsafe for their integrity and commitment to achieving their life mission of assistance to others.
Love and blessing to all of you
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
Here is some material taken from www.gracefulpassages.com
Wisdom of the World, Volume One
an interfaith audio resource for those in transition and all who care for them
* Provide an opportunity for anyone undergoing loss at any phase of their lives to gain perspective and comfort.
* Assist dying persons, their families and caregivers to help make the transition from denial to acceptance, and from anxiety to peace.
The wonder of life is often overlooked. The awareness of the preciousness of being alive, of appreciating ourselves, each other, and our world, is sometimes the last thing we remember in our rush of activity.
Simply acknowledging the inevitable can be healing. Despite advances in medical science, we are neither capable of preventing our transition from this world nor in absolute control of the timing. As reluctant as we may be to approach the subject, admitting our mortality is an important step toward embracing life on its own terms. Such an acceptance can profoundly support a recognition of the moment-by-moment gift of life itself.
Those working with the dying observe that suffering is increased by denial and resistance. This applies not only to those who are dying, but also to their families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. This principle extends to all of us, at any stage of life.
There is a need for effective, artful ways to ease the shift from resistance to acceptance. We believe Graceful Passages has the ability to address anyone who is going through or anticipating loss, whether through physical death or otherwise, in a profound way, using the contemplative awareness of death as a focus.
Our response has been to develop a CD of spoken voices and music addressing this issue directly. We have recorded people, among whom are foremost experts in the field, speaking candidly about key elements of the dying process. Themes include:
¥ the process of letting go
¥ the elements of closure
¥ the importance of giving and receiving love
¥ the benefit of forgiveness
¥ appreciation of life
¥ continuity of spirit
The people we have selected as guides, coming from different traditions, share a common quality of presence which infuses their words with a tender, universal eloquence. The messages they deliver are spoken in an atmosphere of quiet honoring. To further enhance the delivery of these messages of acceptance, we have created music to support the psycho-spiritual transition observed in dying persons, created with the intention of gently addressing persons behind the resistance of their conscious defenses. This music is intended to provide an opportunity for listeners to both relax and to feel supported in freely expressing feelings with or without words, thus more easily experiencing reconciliation, resolution and peaceful transitions.
The Need for Graceful Passages
A letter from Ira Byock, M.D.
Those of us working in the field of end-of-life care are often frustrated by the limited expertise available to assist people with the emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges that an expected dying represents. Even in clinical settings in which sophisticated symptom management is available, these deeply personal aspects of dying are often neglected; that is, unless the person's distress reaches disruptive or psychiatric proportions.
Graceful Passages is a unique resource for people who are facing the prospect of dying. This CD makes the wisdom of experienced clinicians, counselors and spiritual advisors available to anyone who is confronting life's end, either themselves or within their circle of family and friends. In contrast to our medical response to people who are dying, the listener's feelings need not be pathologic before Graceful Passages would have value, nor must this soothing resource be prescribed. Instead, Graceful Passages offers anticipatory guidance that is appropriate for anyone who is interested in exploring their personal mortality. Having listened to the CD, I can attest to the power of the words and music to comfort, build confidence and connect listeners with their own inner wisdom.
Together, Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin embody an integration of musical prowess (in both composition and performance) and a working knowledge of intra-personal dynamics related to illness and loss. These qualities have been richly applied in conceiving, editing and producing Graceful Passages. The resulting combination of tone and text is at once authentic and aesthetic.
M.D. author, Dying Well director of the Palliative Care Service in Missoula, Montana director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Program Office, Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care past president of the American Academy of Hospice Palliative Medicine
We are dedicated to help relieve suffering through shifting the cultural view of transitions. Rather than dread this time with fear and denial, we would honor transitions as an inevitable part of our lives to celebrate.
With this paradigm shift, a variety of accompanying challenges which plague end of life care in its current form may be addressed. For example, the reluctance on the part of physicians to assign or release a patient to hospice for palliative care even though they are in the end stages of a life threatening illness. Likewise, the reluctance of family members to admit to themselves that their loved one is dying, thus missing priceless opportunities for reconciliation and connection. When one considers what it takes to provide so-called heroic measures to preserve life at all costs, regardless of quality of life, the social and financial consequences are staggering.
Graceful Passages offers a simple yet very targeted response to the widespread denial of death in our society; through gently addressing this issue in an artful, aesthetic way, we hope to support a change in attitude towards this crucial subject.
Below are a few of the responses we are receiving weekly from listeners to our first volume.
Deeply moving. Touches the soul and makes contact with the universal. Should be in everyone's CD library.
Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. author Getting the Love You Want
By the very nature of change, passages are not usually embraced gracefully. Life threatening illness and death present opportunities for resolution, forgiveness and peace. Graceful Passages is a guiding light which helps one to navigate through the darkness, mystery and fear surrounding issues of transition, death and dying. Let the words and music of Graceful Passages open your heart and comfort your soul.
Stephen Hosea, M.D. Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine Santa Barbara, CA
A moving, heart opening piece of work addressing psychological and spiritual issues which every human being needs to open to in their development.
Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. author At the Speed of Life
In the midst of a burgeoning movement to transform America's long-held denial of dying as a natural part of life, this CD emerges as an intimate tool for compassion, awareness and support- both for the person facing their transition, their families, and their caregivers. If death is the doorway to our most profound destination, Graceful Passages is a timely, essential resource for those upon the journey.
Steve Simon Producer of the major motion picture, What Dreams May Come
Too often people do not have the support they need in facing the personal issues that surround death. There is a profound relation between understanding the nature of peaceful dying and searching for meaning in life: peaceful dying is as much about living well as it is about dying well.
Daniel R. Tobin, M.D. from Peaceful Dying, Perseus Books, 1999
How wonderfully welcome to my ears and soul! The music is truly beautiful and extraordinarily moving- it provokes a soft open heart.
Joan Halifax Founder/Director, Upaya Institute
Graceful Passages, recognizing the movement from life to death as a period of rich and sacred transformation, accompanies that spiritual grounding with wisdom and compassion.
Kathleen Dowling Singh, Ph.D., author of The Grace in Dying: How We Are Transformed Spiritually As We Die
An enjoyable diversity of theology, music and culture. I think you have truly achieved your objective of providing something that all people of all different faith journeys can appreciate.
Pastor Michael Anderson, First Lutheran, Northridge, CA
I want to sincerely thank you for your gift to this planet of Graceful Passages. This is truly a remarkable work and it has left a solid mark on my life and uplifted many of the members of my family at an important time. Dad made his transition a few hours ago. We have all had a chance to realize our own surrender to the dying process. In doing so, I sense we co-created a stronger family bond as well as a deepening of the knowledge of who we are. And, I believe we will all cope better over the next few weeks. My mother started sleeping properly after listening to Graceful Passages. This was about 9 or 10 days ago. A few other people in the hospital, mainly staff that were attending, got to hear certain passages and everyone who did, expressed an uplifting.
Graceful Passages is a wonderful experience. It prodded me to pay attention to my distractions. On a deep and profound level, I recommitted to the profound messages of unconditional love and mindfulness that are essential to serving the dying and bereaved. I think this consciousness is vital to those of us in Hospice leadership as we struggle to maintain the spiritual uniqueness of hospice cared in an increasingly regulated and costly health care environment. I trust your work will continue to enrich myself and others.
Gail M. Rink
MSW Director of Community Counseling and Education Hospice Services of Santa Barbara
What a gift you are giving to people in their dying time and to their families! This is spiritual work of the highest order. Congratulations.
Founder, Wisdom Circles
I have just listened to Graceful Passages and I am deeply touched. My heart is wide open and tears are flowing. Thank you for creating this magnificent work. I support you with my love, my prayers and my good wishes.
Facilitator Human Awareness Institute
To find out more about how you may order this wonderful CD please visit www.gracefulpassages.com where you will find more information about the musicians who created this extraordinary music, Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin, as well as on the people who assisted them to bring this project to completion including the Guides of Graceful Passages (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hanh, Lew Epstein, Fr. Maximillian Mizzi, Arun, The Very Rev. Alan Jones, Tu Weiming, Jyoti the Mother and Rabbi Zalman) who lent their voices, and much much more.
If you wish to place an order for a CD of Graceful Passages, you may call
888-242-6608, or visit the website at www.gracefulpassages.com