Conscious Living, Conscious Dying

Canyon Sages is sponsoring a three-hour workshop with four presentations meant to inspire and empower those coming to terms with aging and mortality. The event takes place on Saturday, Oct 13, 2-5 p.m., in the Library Meeting room.

From Aging to Sage-ing: An Introduction to Conscious Aging—How do you want to live your extended late life? This is an introduction to Sage-ing, a model for living with greater awareness, joy, and contribution based on the work of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. It offers inner work to break through denial about age, transform negative images and associations with growing older, and engage in life completion through life review, forgiveness work, legacy creation, and service to the common good. It allows us to shift from Senior to Elder and to face death in peace. Dr. Connie Zweig, retired therapist, is co-author of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow, and is currently at work on The Reinvention of Age. She is in training to become a Certified Sage-ing Leader and taught Awakening the Sage Within workshops this year in Topanga and will teach it again next year. For information and to receive updates about her work:

Living in Paradox: The Yin and Yang of Living with a Terminal Disease—A terminal disease brings home the fact that we are mortal and also presents a dilemma: facing two seemingly diametrically opposed realities of living and dying at the same time. We experience more loss of control and distress, but also more profundity, beauty, and wonder while living fully conscious—eyes wide open—less existentially, and more experientially. Having faced both, we can meet death and dying as teachers, not enemies. Mitch Metzner is a hospice midwife and environmental epidemiologist who provides no-cost emotional and spiritual care to the dying and their loved ones. He is co-author of “A Guide to Home Care for the Person with AIDS” and is currently writing “The Dying: A Guide for Navigating the Anthropocene Extinction.” Mitchner is available without charge as an end-of-life guide, coach, and caregiver for the dying and their loved ones. For information:; (310) 876-4489.

Mindfulness Practices for Living and Dying—Sherry Modell, Ph.D., MFT, will teach a series of guided meditations throughout the day to help the body and mind to heal, let go, and become aware in the present moment. Therapist Sherry Modell studies the connections between mental health, physical well-being, meditation, nutrition, and nature. She has worked as a psychotherapist in Santa Monica for more than 20 years. After seeing patients struggle to exercise, live in the here-and-now, or enjoy nature, she decided to bring these practices to her patients by integrating meditation, walking, and yoga into psychotherapy. She has been teaching Thich Nhat Hahn’s meditation practices in Topanga for years. For information: (310) 993-3739.

Your Final Footprint: Home Funerals and Green Options for Death Care—This presentation offers little-known green options for funeral, cremation, and burial. Topics include the legalities and logistics of caring for a loved one’s body at home; the home vigil and funeral; natural preservation methods; and where to find non-toxic, green burial and cremation opportunities. Rev. Olivia Bareham, founder of Sacred Crossings: Alternative Funeral Home, is an inter-faith minister, certified death midwife, home funeral guide, and celebrant. She is committed changing the culture of death and dying through education, death midwifery, and home funerals. Bareham is a public speaker and currently facilitates The Art of Death Midwifery certificate training program. For more information:; (310) 968-2763. 

Due to limited space, registration is required prior to the workshop: The workshop will start on time and there will be no walk-ins allowed.


The Topanga Library is located at 122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290. For more information: (310) 455-3480;


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