Thursday, 9 May 2013

Death Cafe Santa Cruz, California with the Santa Cruz Threshold Group

The Santa Cruz Threshold Group warmly invites you to a Death Cafe, date TBC in June or July. We held our first Death Café on April 21st.

The Death Café movement, which began in England in 2011, has the following objective: “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” (see

There will be refreshments and sharing about death in a nurturing, peaceful, and safe environment.

Please join us.

Please email Joya Birns (joyabirns @ to let us know if you'd like to find our more / attend.

The Santa Cruz, CA Threshold Group Biography:

The Santa Cruz Threshold Group is comprised of 8-10 core members from several spiritual streams (including Anthroposophical, Buddhist, Jewish) and with varying degrees of experience (social, legal, medical, practical, personal) in end-of-life matters. We meet monthly and are committed to holding an evolving, open and life-enhancing conversation on all matters related to death and dying with dignity. We all feel that a denial of death deprives us of one of the most valuable aspects of human experience and connection. We are grateful to Jon Underwood for providing a framework for a wider conversation in our community through the Death Cafe movement.

Joya Birns:
Being like most Americans - lacking in understanding of death growing up - when my husband was diagnosed with a very rare cancer 4 years ago, I decided it was important to face it squarely, learning more about it and the new awarenesses surrounding natural death and dying I had heard about in recent 
times. After attending a local workshop on the subject in spring of 2011, I called together fellow attendees to go further in exploration together. We named ourselves the Santa Cruz Threshold Group. Meeting and discussing all aspects of the subject together has helped me become a better caregiver for my husband as well as to realize I am really in this to prepare my own death, which I intend to make as conscious as possible.

Craig Wiggins:
I first encountered death around the age of ten when aged aunts and uncles passed on. The unreal atmosphere and hush-hush way of dealing with the situation gave way to a more natural atmosphere when I ran into The Christian Community and the Anthroposophical movement in Holland in the 1980's. No strained use of code words, no tensions about laying out a loved one for a vigil at home or in the chapel; there were open-hearted conversations about the path towards death and the experience itself whether horrible or peaceful. I experienced powerful moments during funerals when the true being of the deceased became present through rituals, biographical contributions, artistic engagement. Helping dying and death become a more welcome stretch of our path through life is one of my personal and professional goals as a resident of the 21st Century and as priest in The Christian Community.

Holly Blue Hawkins:
Holly Blue Hawkins, a member of a Chevre Kadisha (Jewish burial society), counsels and teaches on the practical and spiritual aspects of conscious dying and sustainable burial. Last Respects Consulting is the expression of her deep commitment to furthering awareness and preparation for the end-of-life journey.

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