About this Death Cafe
Located in the theater-centric town of Ashland, Oregon, Laurel Miller and Marla Estes offered two intimate Death Café gatherings in 2013. Early in 2015, end-of-life mavens (= specialists/ facilitators) Selene Seltzer and Laurel Miller came together to discuss and explore community members’ expressed desires to discuss death and dying and also to aid and support their service to the community. Thus Ashland Death Café was revived. The word spread and others with End of Life, Hospice and psychotherapy group experience volunteered their time, energy and facilitation skills to serve those interested.
With 6 facilitators and 45 attendees, our first Death Café was held June 23, 2015. We were all, attendees and facilitators alike, touched by the willingness and sincerity of those in attendance to be transparent and honest in a group of mostly strangers. Over and over we heard how refreshing it was to be welcomed and deeply heard when everyone spoke of their interests, experiences and concerns.
Interest continues to grow. We limit the number of attendees to 55 to keep the groups small and intimate, and there is often a wait list. We continue to receive feedback from our attendees encouraging us to offer more events.
About Laurel Miller, Selene Seltzer, Julian Spalding, Pat Fitzsimmons, Jennifer Mathews, Michael Cecil, Judy Dolmatch, Judith Milburn
• About Our Facilitators •
Laurel is passionate about working with people, young and old, around end-of-life topics. She completed the Anam Cara Program at the Sacred Art of Living Center. She volunteers with Compassion and Choices working with individuals and their families as they make their end-of-life choices. She’s a member of the Southern Oregon Hevre Kadisha. She leads workshops that support the participant’s desire to explore themselves and the mystery of life and death. Also a seasoned mediator, an independent coach and facilitator, Laurel is dedicated to supporting individuals and the conversations that they need to have before they are no longer able.
Selene is a Clinical Healthcare Chaplain specializing in Palliative and End of Life Care in private practice in Ashland OR. She offers psycho-spiritual counseling, mindfulness and somatic (body-based) support and training for those facing illness and injury, life transitions or loss. Through groups, classes and private sessions, she helps clients, their families, and healthcare providers optimize emotional, social, spiritual wellbeing and quality of life. She is passionate about having conversations about “What Matters Most?” and providing “whole-person” support and care to those wishing to live as well as they can, for as long as they can. Find more info at SeleneSeltzer.com.
Julian Spalding is a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant© with CYCLES OF LIFE, conducting personalized ceremonies to mark life's milestones (www.cyclesoflife.biz). He serves on AARP Oregon’s Diversity Advisory Council, sits on the board of Ashland at Home and is co-founder of Rogue Rainbow Elders. He is an enrolled member of the Osage tribe of Oklahoma. He lives in Talent with his husband Terry Brown. Julian publishes poetry at http://julianspalding.wordpress.com.
Pat is currently the volunteer "on-call" chaplain for Asante Ashland Community Hospice and has served with the organization for the last seven years. He is ordained as an interfaith minister and spent 18 years living, working and teaching in intentional spiritual communities. Pat has continued his education here in Oregon completing four modules of the Richard Groves, Anam Cara training. Pat says: “I see myself as an ‘anam cara’, a soul friend and companion. I am ineffably drawn to abiding in the mystery of the moment with those in the dying process (and aren't we all)."
Jennifer is a writer, consultant and laughter yogini with a passion for uplifting the human spirit. After her life-partner died in 2011, she began sharing her experiences of death, grief, joy and optimism to support others on their journeys (JenniferMathews.com). Jennifer works with the community outreach and training team for the award-winning film Death Makes Life Possible. She's been facilitating conversations about death and the afterlife in various communities around the country. Her home base is Mount Shasta, CA.
Michael was born 1935, a Canadian from British Columbia. Moved to Ashland 1998. Executive with a global non-profit organization for many years, is now retired. He has counseled many people during final life stages. He found that personal near-death experience brought many valuable insights. On staff with School of Lost Borders sessions on the Practice of Living and Dying, Michael has facilitated many workshops, including a series on Elderpresence and has been an energy healing practitioner for many years.
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker, practicing in Ashland since 1988, with a specialty in life passages and trauma recovery. She teaches and performs Playback Theatre, improvisational theatre based on audience stories. She facilitates Zegg Forum, a group process that values authenticity and aliveness. With the death of her mother last year, she immersed herself in a process of exploring end of life issues, loss and grief through literature, media and ritual. Judy attended her first Death Cafe this year. It was so meaningful that she was motivated to become a facilitator for the Ashland Death Cafe.
Judith is a psycho-spiritual, Jungian oriented depth psychologist particularly concerned with making peace with one’s inner depths and learning to love ones self unconditionally, as the way to live fully and prepare for conscious dying. She says, “Death, has presented itself to me viewing my great grandmother lying in her casket in her darkened living room, hearing my grandfather before he died say he was hearing the angels sing, brushing my Mother’s hair moments after she had died, and sitting with my brother as he released his last breath. I am a student of this Great Mystery."
Contact the organiser of this Death Cafe