Frank Ostaseski's 'Five Invitations'


Originally published at:


If I believed in a God, I would say that hospice and palliative care workers are doing His work in a way that most clergy never will. They do such good work, and transform a time filled with uncertainty and looming grief one that allows you to experience the power of an awful moment and connect with the person making his exit.

I hope that this book helps fix American society’s screwed-up attitude toward death, consensual euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Our country’s public culture is so infused with fear and superstition that it extends right to the very end of life.

I also liked the trailer’s point about making death a presence in and part of life instead of ignoring it. When I move and have a bit more room in my home office, I’m planning to keep a memento mori skull near my desk to keep things in perspective.


-Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing

That’s a hard one, no doubt.


Ironically, these Zen monks don’t believe in God either!


I was moved by this TED talk by BJ Miller. Miller shares what he learned about hospice and palliative medicine, especially at the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco. My favorite bit:

[at the] Zen Hospice Project, … we have a little ritual… When one of our residents dies, [we wheel] the body out through the garden, heading for the gate, we pause. Anyone who wants — fellow residents, family, nurses, volunteers, the hearse drivers too, now — shares a story or a song or silence, as we sprinkle the body with flower petals.


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