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George Harrison’s Lesson of Dealing with Facing Death

In the HBO two part documentary, George Harrison: In the Material World, we learn that the late member of the Beatles, George Harrison, developed an interesting practice that prepared him for a most frightening event that took place in his house on the evening of December 31, 1999. 

That evening, says Olivia Arias, his wife, the Harrison home was invaded by someone who was later reported as being in a state of psychosis. From Olivia’s recollection, she and George feared that death was certain.

Fortunately, after the vicious encounter with the intruder and numerous scars to prove it, the two survived. As the wounded couple later recounted the story to each other, Olivia recalls George stating how he hated the thought of dying “like this,” but somewhere in the midst of the violence he felt ready to do so if such was the case.

Likewise, Olivia echoed something similar in the documentary. She mentioned that for a moment it felt like this was how it was all going to end. And as much as she hated it, she, too, moved into what she had “been preparing for all this time.” But what was this thing that mysteriously softened the way for a potential path at such a crucial time?

I found myself captivated by the couple’s familiarity of letting go, or as the late guitarist put it on one of his songs, “The Art of Dying.” As I watched the documentary, I was fascinated by how this couple, which had what society would consider everything, developed a muscle for detaching.

The art of letting go really begins at birth. The forces that exist tell us that it is time to leave our warm, cozy space. At a moment that can seem like an eternity for mothers, the infant is introduced to a new environment, colder temperatures, nameless touch, and diverse sights and sounds. Little does the baby know that this startling event is the beginning of a constantly changing system.

Throughout every stage of life, we are continuously moving toward another phase that we will have to relinquish in due time: our first crush, best friend, college years, partner or spouse, children going off to college, career changes, and retirement. Obviously, death is no exception.

I believe this is what George and Olivia practiced that evening. More than just a conceptual understanding, the couple had cultivated a deep ability to unfasten the chains that tie us to things and people that were never meant to remain forever.



Guest blog post by Kevin Quiles, M.Div., M.A., LPC practices mindfulness and psychotherapy in Roswell, Georgia.

He is the author of Spiritual Care to Elderly and Dying Loved Ones and Conversing with Death: to Build a Better Now and Future. He also developed the practice of Conversing with Death Therapy ®. For more information, go to kevinquiles.com.

Kevin has authored 2 online continuing education courses for Pedagogy Education.

The Role of the Hospice Caregiver, this online course reevaluates the basic understanding of caregiving to achieve balance in this altruistic trade and provides the necessary tools to help the caregiver maintain a healthy balance in the field while providing quality service to patients and their family members.

Whether one is moving into the field of hospice for the first time or is well-seasoned as a professional caregiver, he or she has a significant chance of encountering some surprising hindrances that could mentally eradicate the caregiver’s emotional balance.

The Spiritual and Religious Makeup of the Hospice Caregiver, the purpose of this course is to examine how the healthcare professional’s spiritual and religious makeup influences the role he or she plays in the field of hospice. In studying the fabric of knowledge that transcends science, the course neither labels one religion or practice as good or bad, nor does it deny any claims of spiritual experiences or awakenings. The primary objective of this course is to lay credence to the psychological and cultural factors on spiritual and religious development, and to understand its strengths and limitations as it interacts with the prioritizing value hospice takes in serving a religiously diverse community. Questions the study will entertain here are as follows:
  • How do the professional’s absolute beliefs come about in the first place? Here the development of religious or spiritual ideas is explored only from cultural and psychological perspectives.
  • Are there strengths and limitations to any one perceived universal spiritual or religious belief as it works alongside an organizations’ mindset to deliver equal care to all faiths?
  • How can the professional work around an organization’s mission to a religiously or spiritually diverse community without feeling like he or she has compromised convictions?

While the subject of spirituality or religion is often handed down in hospice to the chaplain, every discipline is still at the forefront of the tugs and pulls fueled by one’s set of beliefs. Thus while this course can benefit all the disciplines, including the chaplain, the audience here is primarily the licensed nurse.

To learn more about Kevin’s courses click on the course titles above, education may also be purchased for an organization by emailing sales@pedagogy-inc.com or giving us a call at 903-871-2150.  Facility purchases of education always include the use of our Learning Management System that allows you complete control and oversight of education.
Posted: 2/16/2015 12:26:44 PM
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