This is my father, twelve hours before he passed away.
He wanted to die in his own backyard. While my family and I were able to get him discharged home from the hospital, we lacked the knowledge and logistics to fully meet his wishes.
Based in the ancestral lands of the Hinónoʼei (Arapaho), Tsistsistas (Cheyenne), Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), and Očhéthi Šakόwiŋ (Sioux) tribes, also known as Denver, Colorado, where I was born and raised. Outside Rites strives to create a culture where conversations and activities involving human death are integrated with the more-than-human world and embraced as a part of nature.
What is an End-of-Life Doula?
An End-ofLife Doula, sometimes called a Death Doula or Midwife, is a non-medical person who facilitates advance care planning, legacy projects, vigil planning, and more for individuals (and their families) who are nearing the end of their life. While the name of this role is relatively new in modern culture, it's important to note that this role has existed in many indigenous cultures around the world by various different names for hundreds of years. Outside Rites is specifically focused on facilitating and assisting access to nature during this period of time based on studies that promote nature as a means of providing physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort at the end-of-life.
What is Ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy is the blending of psychotherapy with ecology. Based on an expanded view of Carl Jung's collective unconscious, the idea of world, or ecological, unconscious holds that there is an aspect of the natural world inherent in the human psyche and that human interactions with the natural environment can be seen as unconscious needs and desires. Ultimately, ecotherapy is about reclaiming a balanced relationship with the natural world and all of the organisms that share the earth. Outside Rites and Corpse Pose Yoga are focused on fostering a reciprocal, healing relationship with the natural world that acknowledges humanity's impact and potential within that relationship by facilitating nature connection (indoors and outdoors), wilderness immersion, and mindful movement techniques for individuals and groups.
What is Yoga?
The oversimplified answer is that Yoga comes from the sanskrit word yuj meaning union, or unity. With ten years of experience as a white yoga teacher in Western culture, I am well aware of the many ways that the practice of yoga has been mistranslated and misrepresented into the context that most Americans understand it - as a form of physical exercise. Therefore, I feel it is of deep importance to define my relationship with yoga here. I have learned from many teachers, in many settings and understand that the term Guru comes from a longer phrase in sanskrit: guru-shishiya parampara, meaning teacher-student lineage. In the West, the term Guru has often been misappropriated and used to refer to anyone that has an exceptional amount of knowledge about a given topic. However, in spiritual teachings from the South-Asian subcontinent, a Guru is often revered as a living saint. There are very few of my teachers that would actually ask to be revered on this level, and even fewer that I would be willing to worship as such. I have no interest in being anyone's Guru, and I am also not a personal fitness trainer. I am a yoga practitioner with the knowledge and skills to share the tools of my practice with others who may find them of personal benefit. Specifically, I have found certain aspects of the Yoga Sutras and philosophy of yoga to be helpful in overcoming personal struggle and suffering. Corpse pose, also known as savasana, is said to be the most important part of any postural yoga practice because it brings the body and mind to a state of equilibrium and invites transformation from a practice of effort and control to a practice of grace and surrender. Corpse Pose Yoga emphasizes these qualities and embraces the tradition of yoga as a practice of consistently confronting and accepting one's own mortality.