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How Ram Dass Inspired Me to Co-Create Willow

Feb 25, 2020

Ram Dass (Of Blessed Memory), an American spiritual teacher, psychologist, author and one of my sources of inspiration, died on December 22nd, 2019. His teachings inspired me to co-create Willow.

During my training in community deathcaring, I listened to a Ram Dass lecture on YouTube (Facing Death, Ram Dass Full Lecture 1992).

In this riveting lecture, Ram Dass explained how his path toward personal and spiritual growth involved working on his fear of death. He faced this fear by being around dying people. 

He spoke in detail of being with his stepmother. “At the moment she surrendered [to the cancer] it was like watching an egg breaking. And some being emerged that was so radiantly beautiful, and present, and light, and joyful. It was a being that she—at some deep intuitive level—knew herself to be, but had never been busy being all of her adult life.“

When I heard that story, the words of the woman in the diner in the film, When Harry met Sally, came immediately to mind. “I’ll have what she’s having!” Really! I remember at that moment wanting to have the kind of experience that would render me present to my true self.

 

This was the spark that led to the creation of Willow. I saw that death could be a portal to help all of us become our radiant, beautiful and present selves. But I didn’t want to wait for people to be in their final days to make that happen. Michelle and I believe that whether you have days or decades to live, consciously contemplating your someday, one-day, inevitable death provides a powerful opportunity to wake up before your time’s up.

Pragmatic end-of-life planning interwoven with deep and personal exploration, is a pathway that will  support you to prepare for your inevitable death and empower you to “be present to your true self.” 

As Ram Dass so eloquently said at the end of that lecture:

“Death does not have to be treated as an enemy for you to delight in life.  Keeping death present in your consciousness as one of the greatest mysteries and as the moment of incredible transformation imbues this moment with added richness and energy that otherwise is used up in denial.”

What about you?

How has Ram Dass inspired your life or work?