Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying, is a double CD Gift-book containing music with spoken messages from skilled guides who have faced pain, loss, illness, or near-death while birthing a compassionate wisdom in the process. Included are the voices of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hanh, Arun and Sunanda Gandhi and others. Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy are represented as well as Native American, Confucian and Buddhist perspectives, creating a truly multi-faith resource. Woven with a customized musical score of great beauty, it creates a compelling invitation for the listener to consider the eternal questions of life.
What Graceful Passages is for:
Provides relaxation, fresh insight and a renewal of faith for anyone exploring issues of life and death.
Assists dying persons, their families and caregivers to shift from denial to acceptance
Addresses such themes as letting go, closure, expressing love, forgiveness, appreciation of life, and continuity of spirit from interfaith viewpoints.
Models compassionate communication, helping people be present with themselves and their loved ones during challenging times.
Music by Emmy award-winning composer Gary Remal Malkin enhances the delivery of the messages; the instrumental version provides an evocative meditation.
Both CDs are included in this elegant hardbound gift package. The 56-page book features transcriptions of all spoken words, as well as writings by bestselling author Sam Keen; nationally known palliative care physician Dr. Ira Byock; and The Grace in Dying author, Kathleen Dowling Singh, Ph.D. Enhanced by lovely still-life photography and an understated elegance, Graceful Passages makes an ideal gift for someone experiencing loss or challenging times. It is also excellent as a resource for caregivers and anyone in the healthcare, psychotherapeutic, healing arts, or pastoral counseling fields.
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Each year half of America will be touched by the death of a friend or loved one. Bill Moyers, whose landmark PBS series on dying aired in September of 2000 (which listed Graceful Passages as a primary musical resource) writes, "Surveys show that Americans- including baby boomers (estimated at nearly 80 million people in their late forties and fifties) who are becoming aware of their own mortality while caring for their elderly parents- are exploring issues of death and dying with new openness. Awareness is growing that we can and must improve care at the end of life." Feature articles in Time, The Wall Street Journal and other mainstream media show growing attention to this issue.
The wonder of life is often overlooked. The preciousness of being alive, of appreciating ourselves, each other, and our world, is sometimes the last thing we remember in our rush.
Despite advances in medical science, we are neither capable of preventing our transition from this world nor in control of the timing. As reluctant as we may be to approach the subject, admitting our mortality is an important step toward embracing life on its own terms. Such an acceptance can profoundly support a recognition of the moment-by-moment gift of life itself.
At any stage of life, suffering is increased by denial and resistance. This applies equally to those at the beginning, middle, or end of life. There is a need for effective, artful ways to ease the shift from resistance to acceptance, to address anyone who is going through or anticipating loss.
Our response has been Graceful Passages, A Companion for Living and Dying, a 2-CD giftbook of spoken voices and music addressing this issue. We have recorded people, among whom are foremost experts in the field of loss and transition, speaking candidly on the key elements common to the dying process, themes which are relevant at any stage of life.
These themes include: the process of letting go, elements of closure. giving and receiving love, forgiveness , appreciation of life, and continuity of spirit.
The people we have selected as speakers, coming from different traditions, share an extraordinary quality of presence which infuses their words with a tender, universal eloquence. The messages they deliver are spoken in an atmosphere of peaceful honoring.
To further enhance the delivery of these messages of acceptance, we have created music to support the psycho-spiritual transition observed in dying persons, created with the intention of gently addressing persons behind the resistance of their conscious defenses. This music is intended to provide an opportunity for all listeners to both relax and to feel supported in freely expressing feelings with or without words, thus more easily experiencing reconciliation, resolution and peaceful transitions, wherever they may be on the continuum of life.
Our sincere appreciation to the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Fund For Global Awakening, and all who have contributed financially to this endeavor. We tithe 10% of this product to hospice and numerous organizations.From the Author:
Bringing forth Graceful Passages has been a continuous process of letting go, of opening to the immensity, uniqueness and simplicity that each dying represents. The pace of surrender has been relentless, including the frequent transformation or termination of concepts, assumptions and deadlines.
I have been greatly moved by the wise beings encountered throughout this project. It was a special blessing to record all the speakers, more than we were able to include in this volume. Working with Gary’s artistry and dedication has been a true gift, as has been the extraordinary outpouring of goodwill from everyone we met along the way. Originally intended as a resource to support those exiting from this earth life, Graceful Passages has turned out to be an inspirational portal for reverently and courageously embracing this world. –Michael Stillwater
I had the honor to be with my father during his last weeks on Earth. His farewells were made with such loving presence and dignity that my perceptions of death were forever changed.
So when my friend Michael Stillwater called, I was ready for what he proposed. His own father had recently died, and the passage had inspired a vision of using music to heal people’s hearts touched by the mystery of death. Compelled by the memory of my father’s final days, I embraced the dream wholeheartedly.
Graceful Passages is an offering to all who wish to be deeply met at this doorway. I feel privileged to have worked with Michael and with such magnificent speakers and musicians to create a work more moving than I could have envisioned. Wherever you are on this journey, my hope is that Graceful Passages will inspire gratitude for the precious gift of life. -Gary Remal Malkin
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