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Growing Trend–Death Cafes in Your Neighborhood

I am so weary of the political crazies.  I am looking forward to Thanksgiving when the theater of the absurd finally draws

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The journey we all must make

the curtain.  I know this is all part of the challenging transits being visited upon the world but sometimes I just want to go fishing, gaze at the stars and imagine I smell the beautiful pine woods.  No cell phone connections, no traffic and the only sounds are wind, rain (remember I live in a drought area) and maybe a howling of some animal.  I can read as many real paper books as I want and I can sleep the sleep of the contented.  The air is clear, crisp and devoid of pollutants.

However, back on planet stress, I am avoiding some of the headlines now as the 24 hour news machines are filled with poll numbers that change by the minute.  It’s insane and, if you are not careful, you can get hooked on Act 2, Scene 3 of the theater of the absurd.  That’s why I like to look at the bigger picture, past this time of twitching and convulsions, and see what’s going on that is missed by the general public.

It has been brought to my attention that as we become more enlightened, more aware, more experienced, we are seeking answers to some of the most important questions of life.  One of these topics is the dying process.  I received many replies both via emails and on the post itself when I wrote recently about “Death Rides On Your Shoulder) (July 6th).  Thanks to you, my dear readers, I received information about a group called “Death Cafe”.  At first I thought it was a coffee shop in LA.  Perhaps connected to the Mexican tradition celebrated on the Day of the Dead.  But it wasn’t.  It is actually an idea that began in Europe and has spread to the United States.  I think it is a wonderful idea and will help open our newest frontier of the mind, the brain and consciousness and the dying process.  How do you die?   What can we expect?  Do I just go to sleep and wake up out there?  Is this all there is? Why is EVERYBODY afraid to die?  People want to go to heaven, they just don’t want to die to get there.  Just as getting rid of your baby teeth, you are going to go through the dying process.  Each of us is ill prepared.  We seem to set our financial affairs in order (some of us do) but most of us talk about “if I die” or “when I die” but we haven’t a clue as to what the heck we are doing.  Some of us with extremely painful deaths beg to die.  But  most people would say, “not yet” “I’m not ready” or “come back next year”.

To help you with this fear “Death Cafes” are coming to your area.  We have several of them in Los Angeles and San Diego area.  They actually started in the US in Maryland.  Here is an excerpt from one of the hosts:

“Death Cafes have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australia. As of today, we have offered 3358 Death Cafes since September 2011. If 10 people came to each one that would be 33580 participants. We’ve established both that there are people who are keen to talk about death and that many are passionate enough to organise their own Death Cafe.  The Death Cafe model was developed by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid, based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz

Death Cafe has no staff and is run on a voluntary basis by Jon Underwood in Hackney, East London. Also Lizzy Miles who ran the first Death Cafe in the U.S. and Megan Mooney who runs the Death Cafe Facebook page have played a significant role in Death Cafe’s development.  We remain energised by the amazing quality of the dialogue at our events and are overwhelmed by the interest we have received. “

So there you have it.  At last we can go eat, smooze and talk about death.  You can start your OWN Death Cafe in your area. This is a powerful growing trend and one that is appropriate to our times.  The more we can get comfortable with our own death–randomly selected–the more valuable we can live our current lives and make the most of them.  We realize that death is the huge change we all need to make in order to open up a fresh start.  Do look up and learn how you can host your own cafe or visit one in your area.  Please let me know.

12 responses to “Growing Trend–Death Cafes in Your Neighborhood”

  1. Hi Joel,
    Thank you Joel, great suggestion. I will attend one of these and report back. If you find one in your area, let me know what you think.

  2. Joel S says:

    Why not simply rename it to “Sunset Cafe”???…..It’ is the closing of one life experience and then a journey into the unknown!…perhaps the “Dawning of a New Day”!

  3. Hi Cheryl,

    Thank you for mentioning pet loss. This is a huge loss and many times people have to go into therapy to cope with it. 6 weeks before my son died, my cat died. It was just dreadful watching him go through the process. He became almost ghostlike in the house after he was gone. I felt him everywhere and still miss him tremendously.

  4. I agree with one of the other readers about the name being problematic. If we are being conscious about the words we speak and only use those words that describe the experience or conditions we want in our lives, bantering about “death cafes” might not be such a good idea, given the literal nature of our subconscious mind. I’m just saying . . . 😉

  5. Thank you for another provocative article. Interest in pet loss and dying has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Pet owners are learning to participate as “midwives” during the transition of their animal companion’s death process. Animal hospice and palliative care for animals and the people who love them are also growing fields. People are being educated about the death process as another journey, albeit sacred, they share with and grow from their pets’ experience.

  6. Hi Jane,
    Thanks for commenting. I, too, believe the name of the group could be an issue. When they named it back in 2011, the world didn’t have any many “terrorist incidents”. Whether they change it, who knows. In the meantime, it provides people with an opportunity to discuss death without judgment. Not all people know there is something beyond this life. Many believe it stops here. The beauty of this type of group is that it provides a safe venue to talk about it.

  7. jane says:

    Deadly – possible calamites – that is exactly what came to my mind when I read “Death Café. I get the concept, although the name could be an invitation to the sick minds in this world. For any of us who have experienced closeness during the loss of a loved and have a belief, or faith in something – we know there is something beyond this plane. The renewing life of death is a mystery.

  8. Hello Victor,

    Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your point of view. Most people don’t have many opportunities to talk about death or the dying process while they are alive and healthy. It is still a taboo subject in America and one that most people are still afraid of. The group setting is purposely set in a social cafe setting where it is comfortable for people. I am not sure conversation would go towards elevation to higher planes. Humans are emotional, feeling creatures so I am not sure they can exclude death thoughts from their emotional domains. By stuffing the subject, the potential for fear and denial only grows. NLP is one tool and not for everyone. Americans are community creatures. Perhaps, visit one of these cafes in your area and share your thoughts. I know they would welcome them.

  9. “A Year To Live” by the late Stephen Levine, who was a disciple of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross… is a wonderful and remarkable plan to create a graceful passing.

  10. Victor says:

    This is an awesome but dangerous idea of Death cafe! When I was graduating from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia two years ago I took a terrific course “Death, Dying and Grief” . It was unforgettable and pleasantly surprised journey into unknown. Not everyone believes in heaven especially in academic world whether prevalence of agnosticism is quite high. First, you have to ask yourself what you expect to see a ” wall” or a ” door” then you go from there. It is fine with me to stay within Christianity concept, but nowadays some unhinged Muslims think about suicide bombing and Hindu do not believe in flower reincarnation anymore, therefore a cafe where you sip tea and talk about elevation to higher planes can turn to real deadly blast and calamities! Human brain is a wild thing ! In a nutshell, it is imperative to maintain a positive mind set, exclude death thoughts from your emotion domain, stop buying parcels of land at the cemetery and ignore funeral homes ads! Start neuro linguistic programming of your brain cells into perfection and immortality !

  11. Great way to look at it. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Jude says:

    I’m just getting comfortable with living my life more authentically however dying gracefully may just some spice to the inevitable outcome!

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