OPENING TO LIFE,
OPENING TO DEATH

A 3-month death mystery course

"Contemplating death five times a day brings happiness."
-Bhutanese saying

We live in a culture that is profoundly afraid of death. Most of us spend our entire lifetimes trying desperately not to think about – much less face or make peace with – the inevitability of death. This avoidance, however, only keeps us locked in fear, unconsciousness, and reactivity.

 

It is only through turning to face death with open, undefended arms that we can truly experience the joy, beauty, ecstasy, and full richness of our human lifetime.

 

Over the span of this 3 month course, Opening to Life, Opening to Death, ten students will be guided through the full process of preparing for and making peace with their own deaths.

 

Whether or not you are at all close to the time of your actual death, are going through a significant life change (birth, death, marriage, divorce), are in the midst of a transformation of self, or are longing for such a transformation, this course will support you, through ritual and intention, in your own evolution, bringing you into joyful intimacy with the state of being alive as you intentionally reckon with death.

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The Course

Over three months as a student you will journey through:

  • Preparing your will and medical dictates

  • Cleaning your life to prepare for your death

  • Preparing burial and funeral plans

  • Completing unfinished business and making amends

  • Creating a legacy project – investigating the meaning of your life up to this point

  • Deeply enjoying and experiencing the unique gifts of life, your physical body, and consciousness

  • Listening to and reading death and dying materials as you prepare

  • Ancestral lineage – exploring what your life has meant and will mean in the arc of your lineage

  • Illuminating the shadows and difficult patterns that you might wish to die with you (or before you)

  • Identifying and cultivating the brilliant seeds you have planted with your life for your descendants (genetic or otherwise)

  • A ritual death

 

Group sessions will prepare the cohort each week for the assignments and individual work ahead, bringing in techniques and teachings that will be helpful in the work (such as heart-centered meditation, toe-tapping, shaking the bones, breath work, and shamanic journeying).

 

Individual sessions will offer students support in processing and working with what is being excavated and emerging as they walk this path*.

 

The final death ritual will guide students through their passage of transformation and into the next phase of their lives.

*NOTE: Additional one-on-one sessions with certified therapist and integration specialist Courtney Loving are available for those looking for further support. Reach out to Naomi with any questions about or to arrange these additional sessions.

A maximum of 10 students will be allowed to register for the course

 

The course will take place between January 7 – April 8, 2023 in person in the Wood River Valley, Idaho

 

Students will participate in:

  • Opening weekend (5 hours)

  • 2-3 hour group sessions every other week for the three months

  • 1 one-on-one session with Naomi every month

  • Weekly assignments, including a daily meditation practice

  • An individual, guided, ritual death with Naomi at the end of the course

 

Cost: $2,600 per student*

 

*NOTE: Payment plans are available, if needed. One-on-one sessions with Courtney Loving can either be traded for your monthly one-on-one with Naomi or added at as additional sessions at extra cost.

Meet your guides

This course will be led by death doula Naomi McDougall Jones, with additional teaching offerings and optional added one-one-ons with therapist and integration specialist Courtney Loving.

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Naomi McDougall Jones is a storyteller, changemaker, and certified death doula. In all of her work, she seeks to support individuals and our society in healing forward from the most damaging features of our past and weave a bridge to a more beautiful future using the power of story and the richness of the intergenerational life-death cycle. Naomi has written, acted in, and produced two award-winning feature films. Imagine I’m Beautiful (2014), collected 12 awards on the film festival circuit and Bite Me (2019), was released via a paradigm-shifting 3 month, 51 screening, 40 city Joyful Vampire Tour of America that took the country by storm. Naomi is an advocate and thought leader for bringing gender parity to cinema. Her writing on this has appeared in The Atlantic, Ms. Magazine, and Salon.com and she gave a virally sensational TEDTalk, What it’s Like to Be a Woman in Hollywood, which has now been viewed over 1 million times and can be seen on TED.com. Naomi’s first book, The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, debuted as a #1 Amazon bestseller and received an electric critical response, with The Christian Science Monitor calling it, “...an outpouring of passion that will change the ways in which movies are seen,” and is now available wherever books are sold. Naomi is currently at work on her second book, Light in Broken Places: What I Learned about Womanhood, Whiteness, and Writing from the Ghost of Ernest Hemingway. She is a Founder of The 51 Fund, dedicated to financing films by women. Their film, Cusp, won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. 

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Courtney Loving, LCPC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Integration Specialist in private practice in Ketchum, Idaho. Prior to practicing in Idaho, she worked at an Untied Way Agency in Columbus, Georgia serving a diverse population including Military families from Fort Benning. Courtney has certifications in working with Trauma, specifically using Havening Techniques, Emotional Freedom Technique and Trauma Resiliency Model. She also has advanced training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.  Since moving to the Wood River Valley she has also partnered with Higher Ground, serving veterans and their families as a mental health partner. Future interests include working toward her certificate in Psychedelic assisted therapy and weaving her passion as trauma specialist with psycho-sensory modalities and indigenous medicine. Prior to becoming an LCPC, Courtney worked as member of Actor’s Equity as an actress.  She is grateful to combine the many life skills and experiences gleaned from a lifetime working in the theatre in her practice as a therapist.  As a therapist and performance coach, these skills allow her to  develop programs dedicated to teaching theatre skills to enhance authenticity, communication, compassion and intention. Previous coaching clients include attorneys, physicians, corporate leaders, managers and educators. Courtney finds the common denominator in all clients to be a longing for connection, comfort and compassion. So whether counseling, coaching or consulting, he  skills as a Licensed Professional Counselor and an actress combine to help people wanting to take the necessary risks to grow.