One Year to Live : Montreal Edition
I died a few years ago.
It was a year long process and involved traveling on a metro once a month to a cozy home where I had tea and cookies with a group of lovely people, read and reflected with them on chapters of “A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last” by Stephen Levine and other supporting materials and prepared myself for that fateful day. D-day. Death day.
This was a quasi-retreat that really took a lot out of me. I was going through the brutal end of a relationship, in therapy and quite tender. It was bittersweet in that I so looked forward to my group meetings for how simply nourishing they were. To speak openly and honestly about fears, death, childhood, my life… with complete strangers who then became fellow travelers with me in exploring the mystery of digging deeper on what it means to live and die. It felt so renewing.
But then it also felt so painful and irritating. Scary and hopeless.
At the end of it all, I managed to get through the year and what I learned from this group, Stephen’s book and the program guide, Gisele Laberge was to help me live a little more fully and to also help prepare me to be with those at the end of their lives with more presence, awareness, gentleness and awareness.
If you are in Montreal and wish to participate in the One Year to Live program, Gisele is offering sessions if and when the interest is there. It’s entirely worth signing up and taking part in this kind of contemplative work as difficult as it may be.
Below is a trailer for a film that is mentioned on Gisele’s website called “The Tightrope of Life” which deals with the subject of the taboos surrounding death in our culture. It looks remarkable and I can’t wait to see it.