Paddington Basin pop-up death café: Mysticism, Reincarnation, and communicating with the dead.

Mystic Moon moored on Paddington Arm
Mystic Moon moored on Paddington Arm

This pop-up was co-hosted by psychotherapist Josefine Speyer, who runs monthly death cafes in Hampstead and Death Salons in her home.

Common themes in the group were an understanding of mysticism, a belief or interest in different forms of reincarnation, and experiences of communicating with those who have died.

During the introductions, one participant spoke about her life-long struggle with the desire to ‘go home.’ It was only as she matured that she was able to understand how her preoccupation with death impacted her life. ‘People thought I was completely mad and in danger of committing suicide. But thinking and talking about death has always been natural to me. Fortunately, I now am part of a community that accepts how I feel about it. That has made a huge difference.’

Another participant empathised with her. ‘I have always felt the veil is very thin, and at times it feels like I have one foot in this earthly world and the other in the world beyond. It doesn’t make being here very easy though.’

‘From the moment we are born, we live with death beckoning to us,’ said one participant. ‘It’s important to understand that.’

Continue reading “Paddington Basin pop-up death café: Mysticism, Reincarnation, and communicating with the dead.”

Pop-up death cafes on Mystic Moon, my narrowboat

I am thrilled to be setting off on my narrrowboat Mystic Moon this April to offer pop-up death cafes along the river and canal IMG_0176systems throughout the spring and summer months.

I am passionate about helping people to talk more honestly and openly about IMG_2221end of life issues, and equally passionate about the UK’s inland waterways.

So, it’s a perfect combination.

I am also 62, fit and healthy, but I realise unless I do it now, the opportunity to fulfill this long-time dream will disappear.

I have no idea what lies in store. But it’s fun (and a trifle scary) to have this golden opportunity to throw myself open to whatever may happen. So, I will be blogging about my adventures, and also about the pop-up death cafes.

20150125_120818Mystic Moon is a beautiful 50 foot 1995 vintage Braidbar narrrowboat, lovingly cared for by her previous owner. He reluctantly sold her to me as he had recently remarried and needed more space for joint children and grandchildren. I am so grateful to him for his kindness and generosity during the sale, and delighted that he was so pleased to learn about the pop-up death cafes.

I will be starting from Bradford on Avon (where Mystic Moon is currently moored), offering the first pop-up café on the Bradford on Avon wharf below the lock, on Thursday 9th April, between 2.30 – 4.20. (Please email me to book a place) This pop-up café will be co-hosted by Liz Rothschild, funeral celebrant, green burial manager, and director of Oxford’s Kicking the Bucket Festival.

I will be in London during May, and moving up to the Grand Union via the beautiful Oxford Canal during June, so give me a wave if you see me trundling along on Mystic Moon.

If you would like to book a place for a pop-up death café, do email me for locations and dates. Please note that Death Cafes are not recom20150125_120831mended for those who have been recently bereaved. Please also be aware that coming aboard will be entirely at your own risk, and access for those who are disabled is very limited.

For more information about the cafes, please go to the Death Café website.

Depending on the location of Mystic Moon and safe access, you can book Mystic Moon for a pop-up Death Café near you, or I am happy to run them on shore. Just get in touch.

Lord Layard’s Action for Happiness, and the wisdom of Carl Jung

Last week was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me.  So, while I applaud Lord Richard Layard’s enthusiasm for launching his Action for Happiness movement this week (inspired by Gretchin Rubin’s Happiness Project), I do wonder whether those in the government pursuing this agenda understand just how complex, contradictory and sometimes dark the pursuit of happiness can be.

In fact, I doubt that many of us are capable of maintaining a constant state of happiness (I hope that’s not what Lord Layard is intending).   For example, today’s BBC news – Two British men shot dead in Florida; Girls behaviour in schools deterioating;  Deadly attack on Afghan ministry; Japanese facing nuclear crisis from crippled Fukushima plant. I haven’t even got to what’s happening in Libya –  shows that human nature is simply not constructed that way. The dark side will out.

Continue reading “Lord Layard’s Action for Happiness, and the wisdom of Carl Jung”

Professor Brian Cox, God, and the Universe

It’s Professor Brian Cox who dunnit for me, in the sitting room, with his BBC series, The Wonders of the Universe.

His extraordinary programmes have fundamentally changed my understanding of God. Although I have never been a practicing Christian, I have always had a profound belief in God as an external force.  By this I mean an omniscient intelligence that guides and nurtures me. My interpretation of this God-like presence is very personal, but it has given me great comfort in times of despair, and has provided a moral cornerstone for how to live my life.

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Does belief in life after death really matter?

I received a message on the answer phone last Thursday from BBC1’s Sunday morning programme, The Big Questions. Would I be interested in taking part in a live debate about life after death?  I immediately called back, and spoke to a breathy young researcher.

‘I’ve got your name because of the research you’ve done with Dr Peter Fenwick on death and dying,’ she told me. ‘Do you believed in an afterlife?’

‘I’m not sure,’ I replied. ‘But I don’t think it really matters. I believe the way we die is far more important.’

Continue reading “Does belief in life after death really matter?”

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