Posts

Quilts of Atitlan

There is a woman who has lived her at the Lake for over 40 years. She was raised in the United States but now says that she is Guatemaltecan. She is short, about the size of an indigenous woman and even dresses as an indigenous woman. But her thick...

The butterfly mujer

In Guatemala, in a small town near Lake Atitlan, there is a nature reserve. In a small part of the nature reserve, there is a butterfly dome. I had visited once before and was so charmed by it that I wanted to visit again. The day started out with...

A visit to my gravesite

Donna Belk texts to Ellen Macdonald, Eloise Woods Natural Burial Park Hi Ellen I saw you drive by when we were leaving the woods. It was around Wolf Lane when I saw your car, and I couldn’t roll down my window fast enough to hand wave to you. I...

Last Words

Roundhouse Writing Group 6-4-18, prompt “Write about questions you have for the universe.” “I love you so much, sweetie. You have your whole life ahead of you; years and decades of life to live. I wish I had wise words to share with you and offer you guidance, wisdom...

Roundhouse Writing Group

4-8-18, Prompt: It wasn’t exactly dark … It wasn’t exactly dark and it wasn’t exactly time but she still decided to do it. She had waited until she was sure she wanted to go through with it. But once she decided, she was ready to make it happen. The...

Qigong

One of the delights in my life is qigong. ‘Qi’ or ‘chi’ meaning spirit, energy or life force, and ‘gong’ meaning skill or practice. It is one of the tools I use to bring myself into balance when I am feeling weary or downtrodden. It helps me experience the...

Spiritual characteristics

What are some characteristics of a spiritual person? by Raz Patnaik 1. Very Cool, calm and collected 2. Usually introvert 3. Very contemplative and reflective 4. Very self-satisfied and contented 5. Detached from worldly attachments & emotions 6. Is not materialistic 7. Non-reactive, non-aggressive & non-judgemental 8. Is very...

Update 2018

True to the way of life, things have been changing for me. I am still involved in death and dying work / conversations / teaching but I’ve added another piece to bring more balance in my life. And that piece has to do with living in beauty and joy. ...

Artesano Wine & Cheese Restaurant

What a lovely lunch we had at the Artesano Wine & Cheese Restaurant, San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala. TWENTY-EIGHT different types of Guatemalan cheese! And plenty of wine to go around! Shared this cheese platter with 6 friends. The sense of community and the richness of having friends just...

All Guated out

This is a photo of me all Guated out. I have on my Guatemala pants with my Guatemala shirt (tailored for my short stature). Walking stick, backpack and cool trekking shoes complete the ensemble. Come visit Guatemala and I’ll help you get Guated out too!

Hope Energy

Roundhouse Writing Group, 1-8-18  Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala She set the stones in a circle. These would be the protector stones of the outer circle. They would define the space of the ceremony and also act as witness and holders of the story. She had selected some of the...

Red hanging flower

Santa Cruz, Guatemala — This red flower is one of the favorite flowers of the local hummingbirds. I can look out my window and see them lining up to take a nibble of this flower’s nectar.

Textile museum

San Cristobal, Mexico — sweet city. Fantastic textile museum there (traditional dress of the Mayans). LOTS of great restaurant choices. Colorful outdoor cafes as well as you can see by the photo below. And, of course, the colorful colonial Mexican architecture. Can you see the tiny little Donna on...

The Great Luminous Spiral

Story for Lake and Bay “It started a long time ago when the merpeople were first finding their way in the sea. They didn’t have permanent homes, but only swam from one underwater location to the other. Sometimes they would stay in the valleys between mountains, and sometimes they...

Tell your friends not to stand in chairs

Bay Story 11-15-17 Once upon a time there was a three-year-old girl name Katie. She was very smart and very strong. But sometimes she didn’t listen very well. Katie went to visit her Grandmother and her Auntie. They loved to have Katie come and visit and would always make...

Four generations

Four generations of family My mother, Mary Jo, in red Me sitting on arm of chair My daughter Amy behind me And my granddaughter Lake in front This was during a 2014 visit to my mother who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease. Just a small tiny...

“Going Out in Style”

Just finished reading this wonderful book, “Going Out In Style: A Guide to Planetary Departure” by Marcia Beachy, M.S., L.P.C. It is an excellent read with some very far thinking perspectives, and some very practical tools for us to use here and now. I especially enjoyed the chapter on...

Please Dance at My Funeral

I recently saw this book and thought it was right in alignment with the work that I do on death midwifing. There are far too few resources on the topic of speaking about death and planning for the deathing process, so I am sharing it as a resource to...

Why We Need to Talk About Death and Dying

By Judith Johnson, The Huffington Post, August 17, 2010 Both individually and collectively, we are paying an enormous emotional and financial price for being silenced by our society’s taboo against talking about death and dying. Other societies educate their members about the reality of death and the processes of...

Transitions for Mom

I recently met with siblings who were trying to decide on what actions to take concerning their mother. She was currently in an assisted living facility and had declined to the point where she was now bedridden and requiring 24-hour care. The underlying issue was trying to decide what...

A Blessing for Death

Below is a Celtic blessing for death, from the book Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue. He is my favorite poet and I am so sad that he died. I keep thinking, “How could he leave me?” A Blessing for Death I pray that you...

Takes two to pray

I recently presented at the annual conference of the Association of Death Educators and Counselors. I did a secondary presentation to the local Funeral Consumer Alliance affiliate while I was in Kansas City. An elderly gentleman, about 87 years old, attended the workshop. He said his wife had Alzheimers...

Michelangelo’s St. Peter’s Pietà

When I was 16 my parents FORCED ME to travel through Europe with them and visit art galleries and cathedrals. Or that’s what it felt like at the time, that I was being forced. I did not realize how much of a blessing it would become to me. We...

Don’t shut them out

Here are some words by Quaker writer, William Littleboy, from a piece he did in 1917 tittled, “Our Beloved Dead.”  I feel this is a very appropriate posting since today is Easter Sunday. Don’t shut them, your loved ones, out of your life as if they were gone indeed....

Loving life AND death

Found this beautiful (5 min) youtube video from some of the leading thinkers on the topic of death and dying. It has been my experience, and is reflected in this video, that the more one studies and prepares for dying, the more one appreciates and loves both Life AND...

Grief educates

I just finished leading a weekend retreat about death and dying. Part of the workshop was going over the “5 Wishes” document where people can consider different things that they want as they die. We also discussed the article I wrote, “Signs of Approaching Death.” If we know what...

Dying: You can’t do it wrong

As a hospice volunteer I am blessed to be included at the end of people’s lives. My daughters and friends sometimes ask me how I can do it …. thinking that it is icky or heart-wrenching. But to me I am the one receiving the benefit … not necessarily...