Art of Dying Volume II | Page 75

With business or urban groups , I take a much more forceful stance with facilitation because there ' s usually an intended output . Facilitating a Death Cafe takes a very light touch because there ' s no one intended output .
JON UNDERWOOD : Death Cafe attracts a really high caliber of people , amazing volunteers who , like me , are not getting paid . They ’ re passionate enough about death and dying to use their own free time to do this work . They bring an enormous amount of integrity to Death Cafe . It ' s a real privilege to work with them .
BILL PALMER : I like that it ' s not monetized . I don ' t want to make money off of Death Café because I think the kind of energy that comes with people doing it as a labor of love is the right kind of energy .
I ' m never bored in a group even when the group is boring because I just love observing the dynamics and the interactions . There ' s an increased cultural awareness about death and issues around death , which is really important to me . Death Cafe meets my need to feel that I ' m doing something that ' s worthwhile .
A lot of times people come with a particularly active issue . ‘ My mother died 40 years ago , and I ' m still not over it .’ There ' s a lot of reporting that , over time , because of coming to Death Café , they ' re able to work through some of that . I see a lot of progress in clarifying and resolving grief .
Some people come with deep philosophical and spiritual concerns . ‘ Is there an afterlife ?’ ‘ What ' s going to happen to me after I die ?’ I hear a lot of reports of some resolution of worry or anxiety . For other people it ' s " I ' ve delayed creating a will , but now because of this group I ' ve finally called an attorney and created one ." I couldn ' t possibly quantify it , but I can assure you that Death Cafe ’ s impact is profound .
JON UNDERWOOD : I don ' t think there ' s any doubt that Death Cafe is helping people , but I think there ' s a long way to go with accepting death as a part of life . A lot of the issues we face as a society can be tracked back to death , so getting to the bottom of death involves completely turning our society upside down , completely reconstituting our society on a much more compassionate basis . That ' s what I ' m in it for . That ' s what I ' m pursuing . I ' ll take it as far as I can .
BILL PALMER : I don ' t bring my politics to Death Cafe , but it ’ s a relevant issue . How you die in America , and I suspect in other places too , is , to some extent , a function of your wealth , your race , your gender . That ’ s not optimal for society . Jon talks about turning some institutions and social norms upside down . I agree with that . I don ' t know how Death Cafe does that , but I know it ’ s a good starting place .
BILL PALMER has deep coaching , consulting and training experience in cross-cultural settings . He is designated as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation and has worked for a diverse set of Fortune 500 companies and the United States military .
Bill is the founder and facilitator of Death Cafe Oakland .