Death workshops – my experience

Phil Goss, Jan Parker, JPDeath workshops give you the opportunity to explore aspects of yourself that often don’t get a voice or space.  

This week, Phil Goss, from Cumbria shares his experience of a Death Workshop. This might help you if you’re thinking about attending one.

See our Events section for Jan Parker’s Autumn courses.

“I want to strongly vouch for how valuable I found Jan Parker’s workshop ‘Death and the only beauty that lasts’ which I had the privilege to participate in. This provided me with a number of profound insights into my relationship with death, which have helped inform my professional and personal engagement with it.

“I remember before the workshop being in the midst of a busy time work-wise and wondering whether I would be able to put all of this to one side for a weekend and really focus on the topic and process involved. So, apart from feeling stressed, I was also unsure whether I was ‘in the right place’ for this experience.

“I need not have worried. Through a series of carefully planned and explained exercises, set within the frame of a meditative but stimulating atmosphere, skilfully facilitated by Jan, the whole group seemed to ease into a deeper place swiftly and smoothly, as we shared experiences and perspectives on what death ‘is’ or ‘means’ to us.

“One exercise in particular impacted on me – we were asked to write (without lifting the pen from the paper) about our relationship to death across our lives. In relation to my own experiences of bereavement, this evoked a number of connections and realisations which have been significant in reshaping my sense of self-in-relation to life and death. I was touched and surprised by how much was evoked by this, and the other, activities.

“Across my experience of the workshop I was impressed by the way Jan was able to connect with people’s deeply felt (and on occasion distressful recollection of) experiences related to death. She provided a sense of containment and safety which enabled participants to share and reflect on their encounters with, and their fears and speculations about, death.

“The Buddhist frame utilised emphasised that whatever death represents for us, it enables the meaningful ‘beauty’ of our lives to remain (or continue on, depending on your beliefs and intuitions about death) beyond the end of our life. This spiritual point of reference was unobtrusive and gently offered, leaving us each to set it alongside whatever beliefs or ideas we have about this.

“I would thoroughly recommend this workshop to anyone who is looking for a space in which to explore this vital area of being human, so often overlooked. It would also have professional relevance for people who work in health and care related fields where support for people dealing with bereavement, or their existential questions about death, regularly feature.

“Counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health professionals, and those who offer pastoral support in a faith based capacity, would also find this workshop most valuable.

“Jan Parker’s work offers a unique gift in helping us to know what death can really mean to us and to those we work and live with.”

Thanks Phil.

See more reviews of Jan’s Death workshops here.

If you attend a course like this – please share your experience with others on Final Fling. Email us.

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