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It Starts with Being Aware and Curious

Mar 01, 2022

“Conscious health, personal care, and final wishes” is Willow’s topic of focus this month. It’s also the name of a Willow Workshop™ that takes participants through three foundational exercises in the 7 Tools for Making Sense of Life & Death workbook. 

Being touched by death changes us.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your past informs your present. In this workshop, you begin by exploring how your past experiences with death and dying have impacted you. You may realize that experiencing someone else’s death was the first time you considered your own mortality. Being touched by death can change how you live your life, your relationships with others and the planet. On a pragmatic level, your past experiences with death and dying may influence what you want or don’t want to happen when you experience health decline and approach the end of your life.

What does “conscious health and personal care” mean?

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of having your advance care planning in place. By that we mean knowing in advance what treatments or care you will want when faced with choices around medical procedures, health care or comfort care. Thinking about this now is important, as you never know when you could get sick or injured and become unable to speak for yourself. And even if you could speak for yourself, you may be too stressed or tired to articulate what is important to you at that time. 

To document or not to document? 

Not everyone agrees that documenting what you’ll want down the road is a good idea. 

Here is my main takeaway from a recent article titled, Advance planning hasn’t improved end-of-life care, some experts say. They’re getting pushback. 

If you create a document about the kind of care you want for every kind of situation you may find yourself in, it’s still possible that your instructions won't be followed. However, the exercise of thinking and talking about relevant health and person-care goals and values is what will prepare you—or the person you assign to speak on your behalf—for your future health decisions.

And this is precisely what Willow’s foundational workshop provides. We ask heart-centered questions to get you pondering. It’s the warm up that gets you motivated to dig deeper, either with your health-care provider, or others who will care for you. It all starts with being aware and curious.

Finally, there are your final wishes.

In the final wishes exercise of this workshop, we ask you to ponder some key questions to get you thinking about what’s important to you regarding your after-death care. Questions include:

  • How would you explain your beliefs about what happens to you after you die?
  • What meaning do you ascribe to your physical corpse, and how do you want others to relate to it (or to you) when you die?
  • How would you like your community to engage in caring for you after you die?

Every time I led this workshop, I heard participants share profound “a-ha” moments in every exercise. If exploring these topics in community with other life-and-death ponderers appeals to you, please check out the upcoming (virtual) Willow Workshops led by licensed Willow EOL Educators. 

If you want someone to guide you or your family through exercises like these, and tailor the process to your specific needs, check out the Willow EOL Educators around the world who would be glad to help you.  

Hoping these possibilities serve you well,

With all my love,


What about you?

What planning have you put in place, and how do you feel about it?