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a presentation of ... Creative Healing, LLC

                                   Opening The Heart Of Western Medicine

Transcript - Conscious Dying: Start With the End in Mind

Interview with Tarron Estes

Download "Practice for Death" Here

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Hello and welcome to End of Life University. This is your host Dr. Karen Wyatt. And with me today is Tarron Estes. Tarron is an associate clinical faculty with the Watson Caring Science Institute of Boulder, Colorado. She is the lead facilitator for the Human Caring Program, a caring science healing modality training for medical professional systems such as Kaiser Permanente and the Veterans Administration Medical Systems.

She has taught internationally in Cambodia and Thailand as Yoga Master and Healing Artist in Residence at various resorts. Her specialization is transformational learning, an experiential education model that unites personal development at the deepest healing level with organizational development at system-wide levels to produce life transformation for individuals, families, and clinical professionals as well as culture change for organizations.

Tarron's educational programs use a variety of healing modalities including dream translation, body oriented healing tools such as intensive activities in breath work, emotional release, forgiveness, spiritual connection, and grounding in the unitary field of consciousness. Her “Best Life Care Visionary” has been used in long-term care, hospice, and health care organizations to inspire and manifest purpose in life, fulfillment in relationships, and conscious end of life care planning and practices.

Tarron is also the owner of ElderSpa Innovations, a caregiver training and senior community innovation consultancy that focuses on supporting bedside caregivers in nursing home settings to be authentically present, create healing environments, develop caring relationships, and fulfill the healing needs and desires of families and elders nearing end of life. ElderSpa Innovations creates a new model of holistic care and services matching the lifestyles of baby boomers who want their families to experience comforting palliative care and spa treatments and environments for their parents and themselves.

Systems who complete the certification for elder vision care adopt a trademarked model of education and marketing that informs and transforms perspective families, staff, and community members. Tarron, I want to thank you so much for taking the time out to be here on this call today and thanks for sharing all of your wisdom with us.

Tarron Estes: Thank you, Karen. And I love being in conversation with professionals and healers like you who are really interested in bringing transformation and healing for people, families, and caregivers at end of life. It's such a blessing to be able to hold space and just stand in presence with people who are in service. And I learn so much every moment and every day of my life from being in relationship with people who want to be in the work.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Well, that's a perfect way to start our call together because that's what we're here for is to learn from one another, and then hopefully provide learning for all the listeners out there who are tuning in today to this interview. And Tarron, I was hoping that you just start off by telling us a little bit about your personal story. I'm just wondering what it is that draws you to be involved in end of life care.

Tarron Estes: Thank you. I'm beginning to just understand that people are really interested in stories. And the truth of a story is very personal and if we were all telling the story of something that we heard or saw, it would be very different from person to person. But stories are really a part of – I think the deepest part of the learning process. And as I'm asked to tell my story, I'm learning more and more about how I ,came to be in this work.

The first level of process for me in coming to this work was living in a really small community of about 1,200 people and that serviced a county that had maybe 5,000 people in total in all of the health care systems for our little county were in the county seat where I lived in Smithville, Tennessee. And my mother, who was not a trained clinical or medical professional, was called because of her devotion and her ability to care for people.

She was called frequently to be at bedside for people who were sick or dying. And I was with her a lot in that setting and just sat with her while she attended and witnessed I guess what I would call, Karen, "a normalization of the progression of life through death". And the tenderness and the care that my mother brought to people and their families during that time was just something that obviously stayed with me and has given me the breath and sustenance to be able to do this work.

And I'm also not a medical professional and have discovered over the years that the thing that I'm called to do is actually to bring the transformational education and my ability to actually support caregivers to understand their own healing gifts and offer that up because I saw my mother's ability to do that without any kind of training. I trust very deeply that we all have those healing gifts. And I saw my mother's come out.

So that was the first thing, and additionally we had two or three funeral homes in a little town, and people just showed up. It was most of the social affairs of the town that I lived in were built around church, school, and health care. And when people died, we heard it on the radio. And everyone – all the women in the town cooked meals and they showed up at the funeral home before, during, and after. And people ate together and told stories together. And it was just a part of the weaving and the fabric of life. And it was just like they were major events.

And this is a really funny part of my story is that one of my girlfriend's families owned one of the funeral homes, and I think it was probably the most successful one in town. It was utilized a lot. And we went to the same church, and after church and sometimes after school, I would go home with her. And we played in every level of the funeral home, from the basement to the third floor, from the embalming room to the chapel, to the room upstairs where they had caskets. And we played in them and we hid in them and we were all over the place.

Very mischievous and just our curiosity was leading us into every corner of what was happening there. So we saw the heartbreak of family members and friends and the sensitivity and the honoring of people picking out how they wanted their people to be cared for after death. And it was a very, very powerful experience for me. And again, it was a normalizing experience. So I've had very early encounters with death and dying and illness that helped me not feel fearful of coming closer to people encountering death.

And then in my study I've done several different certifications and alternative healing practices and, like I said earlier, transformational facilitation and learning for organizations. And the heart of my work has been in using several different access points and healing to support individuals to really somewhat let go of their own challenges and life's imprints in order to come into their purpose and be healing in whatever way they were meant to be in the world.

And so I worked a lot with non-health care organizations in the beginning, like Shell Oil and Texaco and organizations that were more corporate and industrial. But the work that I did with them was all in leadership and facilitation of transformation of learning.

And then eventually after having worked with one of the country's major long-term care companies with 25,000 employees over a period of 18 months, I really understood deeply that in that particular industry, that particular element of the health care industry no one was addressing end of life. And in fact, it was a taboo to talk about death and resisted as if that was not an aspect of what they offered.

And when I left that body of work I knew that my purpose was to bring caring and healing to people who are serving in long-term care and nursing homes and health care so that they could touch and reach out and bring healing to so many other people who were living the last years of their life in institutional care.

Currently I've been working with the Watson Caring Science Institute for the last almost five years. And it's just been one of the greatest blessings of my life to have been near the work and the person of Dr. Jean Watson who's bringing caring science work and purpose back to the nursing profession.

So that's the trajectory. And last year I made a deeper commitment to do the work that is specifically in conscious dying education and care, and created the Conscious Dying Institute in the beginning of spring of this year and have been offering programs and transformational education for conscious dying care since June.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: That's just a wonderful story, Tarron. And I love that you used the word "normalize" that your experience as a child of being able to sit with your mother in the presence of death normalized that whole experience for you so that I'm sure when you were working with a long-term care facility, it seemed completely unnatural --why would they not address death when they're taking care of patients who are in the very last stage of their life.

And that's a wonderful story that points out how desperately in our society we need that normalization. We need to bring up our children with an awareness of death and dying so that we can have family conversations and discussions about it and not have it something that we need to hide or keep secret or that we don't talk about.

Tarron Estes: Yeah, it's so important. And Karen, maybe three or four years ago I would've continued to say it's such a taboo in our society. No one talks about it. It's pushed under the table. And indeed that's still true, but I would imagine that this is – perhaps I'll say is it a part of your experience as it is a part of mine now like in the last year, especially, I think, people are more and more not just willing but desirous of being able to have the conversation.

And what I notice in my own work, I think because of what you just commented on earlier, the normalization of the process for me, I believe my ability to stand in that without fear – or fear of death or fear that people won't receive an opportunity to talk, I truly believe that individuals who carry the open-heartedness and the invitation to be intimate with conversations on dying, those of us who are called to host those conversations, also carry the ability to allow people to speak freely and not be so afraid of conversations and the kinds of communications that are important to have for ourselves and then between the members of our families.

It's really quite an honor to be able to just stand present and ask simple but direct questions about what we want and what we need and what's the gap between where we are now with that and how far we need to go to make sure that we can get there. I know there's no way to determine how we die really. I mean, it could happen at any moment.

We can't control that, but I do believe that having intention around a vision and having intention around operationalizing that, and really making it real by virtue of having so many conversations with people make it more possible for us to have a really sacred honoring, complete, caring, healing experience during the transformational portal of death. I mean, I think it's just the most amazing opportunity in our lives to understand that death is a portal for transformation for everyone that we're connected to.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Absolutely. I would say that's one of the most significant lessons I learned through accompanying patients through the dying process in my hospice work, and that's what prompted me to write a book about it was seeing the spiritual transformation that took place in people right at the end of life and recognizing this is the kind of transformation that some of us have been working toward or longing for, for all of our lives. And it's still possible, even in the last moments of life, with the last breaths of life transformation does happen, and it's possible. And it was just a beautiful experience to behold that.

Tarron Estes: Isn't that true? It's a miracle really that in the last moments of life absolute complete healing can happen. And it draws us toward healing. Of course it happens that people don't forgive and there's still incompleteness with beloveds and family members after death. There's still something that needs to be attended to. And even then forgiveness and healing is possible.

But I just think it's one of the greatest miracles of life that in those last moments families come together and bonds between people are reunited. And the individual who's passing is calling that forth, whether they are conscious of it or not, the energy that death brings, the beauty of death really, is what does that.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Because in my mind death is the completion of the circle of life and that resolution and completion of that circle, as you said, does seem to be what calls forth healing energy and calls forth a desire to be complete and to make things whole again at the end of life.

Tarron Estes: Like I said earlier, I'm not a medical person, and my intuition often leads me into conversations that I tread lightly on and then go ahead and move into anyway. But my understanding, which is very limited at this point, of the pineal gland and its relationship to the story that we all have heard about moving into the light and toward the light at the moment of death begins to be more and more significant to me, and I become more and more curious about how that gland in the center of our forehead between our eyebrows, the one that we call the third eye, is actually built in to carry us off at the last breath, like a shooting star.

That gland produces a chemical and opens into light. And it's built into us as human beings that the stories and the myths and the near death experiences, the stories that we've heard about them – it's not just magic or it's not just myth that we actually carry the equipment, the chemical components in our body that do all the things that myth tells us that happen. I just think that's such an amazing aspect of their humanity and what the completion of life brings, as you said.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: So true. And gives us reason to not be fearful of that process, reason to actually feel hopeful about it and curious somewhat, but with anticipation of it that doesn't have to be wrapped up in fear and finding some comfort awaiting that process when it does take place for each one of us.

Tarron Estes: One thing that I like to say about this, in my own life experience with resistance that I have to any number of things where I feel like it's up to me to do something, to make something happen, I often think about my death and feel relieved that regardless of how much or how little effect I have on some things in my life that it's not up to me to die.

That my death will happen and that the promise of death in my own personal belief system, which is just different for everybody, I understand But in my belief system, when I die, I go home, and my personality and my ego don't have anything to do with that. I'm blessed and it's a built in phenomenon that I'm released.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: That's a beautiful way to put it. I just sat with my mother in January of this year when she died. And that's what she would tell me every day. "I'm ready to go home. I'm getting ready to go home." And she was so joyful about it with this knowledge that she would soon be released, as you said, and was ready to make that transition.

And it was a beautiful experience to be there with her and help her prepare for it. And that leads me to want to ask you a little bit more about your Conscious Dying Institute and the programs that you offer because I know you help prepare caregivers and families for the end of life. And I was hoping you'd tell us a little bit more about what you offer.

Tarron Estes: I'd love to, Karen. Thank you. As I said a little while ago, it was just this year that I launched the more formal programs. And the programs that I'm offering now are in phases. There are three phases of conscious dying education. And the first phase is called "Conscious Dying Immersion". And it's specifically meant to be for personal transformation versus learning about skill sets to serve. And of course, there's learning in that first program in the first phase.

But it's the pleasure and the release as a participant to be able to be in a program where the focus is on the participant and healing for that person. So there is no pressure to learn something. It's all about going through the practices that then we teach later on in the program. So being able to receive deeply a process of forgiveness, a process that was created by a Buddhist teacher named Pema Chodron called "stepping into the other person's shoes", which really does establish empathy for another person.

And looking at people, the priority of who is in our lives that we really need to complete with and then moving through this process of stepping into the shoes and feeling what it's like to be them, to carry their body the way they do, to look at the world the way that they do. And get it what it is that they either want from us or need from us or need to say from us in a process of five minutes that gives them, the participant the ability to just let go.

And sometimes forgiveness and complete healing happens in that one activity or exercise on the spot. Sometimes it happens a couple of days later. But it's one of the most powerful experiences from testimonials from people who had gone through the program. That's the stellar offering. And then in that same program I teach an adult holding process, an opportunity to experience being held completely as an adult and how, as a companion, to really get in the position, the physical body posture to be able to hold someone completely to allow relief and relaxation and emotional release.

So some of the things, Karen, that I learned early on from one of my teachers, who I will forever honor and feel blessed to have been with Reta Lawler, were really the very intimate, intensive experiences of normal human caring that allow people to break open the taboo of being physical and in confident caring communication, all of those kinds of things that sometimes we get backed up with, I'm continuing to bring forward in this work. And that's a few of the things that we do in phase 1.

And in phase 2 the program's called "The Introduction to Sacred Passage Guidance". And more of the conceptual elements of the program and theory come into play. I use more of the caring science theory in practices. We learn more about the science behind the unitary field of consciousness, the science of the energetic field of the heart of loving presence and kindness and the far-reaching expansion of our energy field and the science behind that, the science of love truly does cross barriers of time and space.

So phase 2 has more of the science behind caring and more of a look at the bookends of life, the similarities between childbirth and the labor of death. And then in phase 3 I have a program that's the training and certificate programs for sacred passage guidance. And we take the death life care map, the vision process of death life care, and go through five domains of life. We go through spiritual care, emotional care, intellectual or legacy care, physical care and after death care.

And we look at each one of those as it relates to our own life and what we need to do to move from where we are to our vision for what we would like to have happen if we had three months to live. And by going through that, I also teach the activities, the healing caring modalities that accompany each one of those domains so that in finishing the program and by going through all of those processes and domains as a participant, the participant leaves with the activities as healing that can be brought forward in their service and in their work.

It's completely non-prescriptive. There's no you do this, then you do that, and you always do this. It's none of that. It's like the person who receives this work gets connected to it from the gift that they have in themselves and more stable in what they already have to offer and confirmed in that so that going back into the world and in service is just with more breath and more presence and more relaxation and openness to just be present with someone, which is all we really can do. There are the arms of healing and the practices of healing but the center point of that is our caring healing presence.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: And so I know that you recently completed a conscious dying immersion training course, is that correct? And I was curious to know who came to the course? What kind of participation did you find in that course?

Tarron Estes: Well, the people who came were a combination of nursing professionals. Some of the nurses were actually nurse managers in large health care systems. A couple of them are nurse educators. One of them was a young woman who just had experienced so many deaths in her life before – she was, I think, 27 years old. And she heard about the training, and she just had to come because she just really didn't understand how to integrate her experience with the death of – I think over five people dying over a period of three years.

Then we had home caregivers and nursing home caregivers. We had a man who was a massage therapist. And I'm just kind of like looking around the room to see who else was there. I had a care manager for a long-term care community. And some of these people were from Boulder and some of them flew in from out of state.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: So it sounds like you really do work with a very diverse group of participants that come and then it sounds like the course ends up kind of creating itself with the energies and the needs of the people in the room as you go.

Tarron Estes: That's really true, Karen. I'm an over planner and I'm grateful that I am. So I have a really wonderful plan of activities that lead from a progression of understanding to experience. And then within that I have the freedom to just let go and bring in modalities – I use a lot of multimedia tools, lots of beautiful music, lots of messages from Frank Ostaseski from Zen Hospice, a lot of musical messages from Graceful Passages by Gary Malkin and Michael Stillwater.

I use videos and a lot of media. And I use musicians who come in and actually lead vocal expression and the ability to use their voices to sing and bring life and harmony and joy into the mix of this deep diving. It's pretty intense. But I love to bring the healing arts into the room and to mix it up so that people really get an exquisite experience.

I was so amazed and so pleased because this was one of the first times in my life that I've walked away every day at every evening from the work and doing group work facilitation feeling completely alive and revitalized. And the result of this particular group that came together is we're all still e-mailing each other. We're getting together for dinner on the 27th. We've all been sending video clips and hey, look at this. And it really formed a very strong community around the work.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: It sounds amazing. And it sounds so beautiful, like you've really put together an incredible experience for people that I have to believe must be life changing for everyone who participates in it.

Tarron Estes: I'm boldly and humbly saying that it does. It's obvious that people are healing, just opening up and the trust in the room happens really, really, really quickly. And people connect. We're doing so many practice activities together in pairs and in small groups and hearing each other speak in a circle and hearing their stories. It's an instant opportunity to grow and learn together in community. And it really is healing.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: It sounds so amazing to me. I'm very impressed that you've put this together. And I know it's still a work in progress in many ways that it's fairly new. But what are your goals for the Conscious Dying Institute? What are you hoping to achieve over the next five years or so?

Tarron Estes: Well, I have to say that I have a really amazing business partner and coach who asked me to be able to understand what is that for me? What do I really want? And the vision that I have is by 2015 to have brought 5,000 people into the work. And my real goal is to spread this to as many people who have the opportunity to touch more and more lives than I do.

I look at it this way: if the work that I do as one person in one event is with 12 people, each room of 12 people has a multitude of people standing behind them that they touch in their entire life. Who knows how many people’s lives they will touch. So, the multiples of transformational potential through this type of work is just so extraordinary.

It's just like that's what I really want do. I want to bring awareness so that people can also say what they want for the end of their lives so they can think and feel more expansively, like really what do you really what? If the passage of your life could be the most amazing thing, what would that be?

Not just dying without pain, that's just the foundation of what we need to pass. So one of my goals is to create the space in which people can actually think that way for themselves so that they can help other people expand their vision for consciousness, like exquisite conscious passing.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: And I can see your vision of this ripple effect taking place from the work that you do forming a hub in the center. And then ripples going out endlessly. And it really does have the power to bring about a cultural change in our society that desperately needs to take place.

Tarron Estes: I hope so, Karen. And I know there are so many people right now. The number of people that are coming out with wanting to do this work that have the potential and intelligence and spiritual maturity to actually lead the culture change that you're talking about – there's so many people standing ready and actually already doing this work. And every day when people – when somebody says what are you doing, I tell them.

They say oh, do you know about, oh do you know about, and they're really a lot organizations springing up. So I'm totally in for doing my part and creating the steps toward culture change at end of life. And I'm not alone. There are many, many, many other people and organizations, physicians like you who have actually made the turn to be able to say this is what I want to do.

To focus on the non-medical aspects of the dying process and our spiritual reality, which is the way in our humanity, the physiology that's where we go. We go into the quietness of our spiritual life. And I just really want to honor you as a physician for making that choice. It's a very courageous step.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: I think somewhat like you, I felt drawn to it, and once I got involved with end of life care, it felt like the place I was meant to be all along. And I felt like I had come home. And so for me, it didn't take courage as much as– once I found it, it was just acknowledging this is the right thing for me.

This is where I need to be.

And so it's been a huge blessing in my life and has made all the difference for me in my life and my growth to be involved in end of life care. And I wanted to mention, too, that most of the other speakers I've interviewed during this series have echoed what you are saying that there seems to be change is happening all around us. And everyone is sensing it and feeling much more openness to end of life issues.

Many more conversations are going on everywhere. And some of the speakers also said this is how it needs to happen. It needs to begin as a grassroots movement. It needs to begin with individuals in our society deciding I have to do something. I have to change this for myself and for my family and my loved ones and stepping out. And that will ultimately change overall our systems and our infrastructures in our society that need to change to make more space for this dying process.

Tarron Estes: There are two things that I'm thinking that I want to speak to. So I'm gonna say the topics out loud and maybe you can help me remember both of them. One is you were talking about what are my goals? And I just want to say something about another goal, which is about creating more financial contribution to caregivers. And maybe I just forgot the other one. [Laughter] But I'll just go ahead and speak to that.

There are so many people who are not licensed or not medical providers and not reimbursable who are doing this work. And I think it's an imperative that we have to find some way to create financial security and abundance for people who are stepping in and taking care of our family members in institutions.

It's, excuse me, shameful to look at how the people that are standing in front our loved ones doing their very best taking care of sometimes 12 to 15 people on a shift are cared for financially. It's just a travesty. And I really do want collaboration and support – professional support and great thinking around this to find a model that will allow our caregivers, our personal home family caregivers to be contributed to in a very meaningful and honoring way financially.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: So including family member caregivers and non-family caregivers who are coming into the home and helping out. And I know – I read a statistic that currently about 20 percent of baby boomers are caring for an elderly parent, and that number is expected to go way up because all of us in the baby boom generation, which I am in, have elderly parents who are going to be becoming less able to care for themselves over the next decade. And so I think you're right. The caregiver issue is a huge one that needs to be addressed in our society very quickly.

Tarron Estes: Right. The statistics and the demographics and the pointers are showing the fact that baby boomers are working longer in their lives and can have more energy to continue their professions and still be money earners—that’s actually one factual statistic.

But that is impacted tremendously by the 20 percent, as you say, who have to stop doing that and some of them are late bloomers and actually had just begun to reach their full earning potential later in life. And then that gets impacted and sometimes cut at the root because the inclination and the desire is to be with their families. And sometimes – not just because we want to but because the options are so dismal.

When we look at the baby boomer population and how many of us have had the opportunity to do things like go to a spa, have a massage, have counseling, have psychotherapy, do professional development, all of the things that we have been so blessed to receive. That's in our system, and we know how we've had it and will want it. And so because we know it, we want something different for our family members.

And then if we look at the national statistics on the cost of care at end of life, which I'm sure people have stated to in your programs before is 75 percent of all of the health insurance payouts for health care happen in the last three months of life.

And when we look at the kinds of things that palliative care is doing to reduce cost and improve quality of life and give us an opportunity to actually receive the care that we need, it all makes sense. It's like the thing that people most want, which is being cared for in their home and receiving spiritual attention and being pain free at end of life, is the very thing that palliative care offers. And palliative care is the very thing that reduces cost at end of life.

The studies that had been done on team-based palliative care in hospitals shows that between $6,000 and $8,000 per patient is reduced in the cost of end of life care when palliative care is delivered. Now that's a hard thing for palliative care professionals and the profession to announce because it gets into the sensitivity of oh the only reason they wanna do that is so that they can save. They don't give us what we need to live. And that whole unfortunate story around cutting costs to shear off somebody's life. That's just not the case. It just happens to be true that by giving people what they really want it costs less.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Yes, and I'm aware of a study that was done by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization that showed when they compared two groups of patients with similar diagnoses and a similar prognosis, the patients who received hospice care lived 29 days longer than patients who did not receive hospice care at the end of life.

And so as you say, it's not only more cost-effective care, but in fact studies are also showing patients actually live longer when they receive team-based care that encompasses the whole person. They actually do end up living longer. So that completely defies the fears out there that somehow we're cutting off services and denying people care at the end to shorten their lives. That's not the case at all.

Tarron Estes: And I hope that what I'm going to say right now will be received gently. One of the things when you also asked me about my goals is to move palliative care from teams to individuals, to frontline clinical professionals who are at bedside with people every day doing their primary care, witnessing them getting really familiar with them so that the care is seamless, so that the frontline clinicians have the ability to understand that some of the things that are separated in team-based palliative care, like spiritual care and physical care and emotional care and family care, social care, all of those things which are managed by different individuals on the team can actually be given out by one individual caregiver if that caregiver is confident and has received her or his own healing to the extent that they know that it's okay and that they have the capacity and the skills to offer something.

In a situation where it may be too late, it may not come quick enough, the hospice or palliative teams may not even be available in a hospital setting, some nursing homes still do not have a hospice community connected to their facility. It's just in my heart and soul and thinking really important for us to support palliative and hospice care by educating frontline clinicians and caregivers.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: That's such an interesting point. And you brought to mind for me that I know in many of the long-term care facilities where I've been associated and worked with staff, there have been a few workers in each facility who feel drawn to be with patients who are dying. And almost always a few are even known amongst the staff as oh, we need so and so to come. This is what she does. She's the person who's comfortable. She's the person who should be here and can be with the patient at this time.

And so I hear what you're saying. We need to empower those people who are already drawn to it and already have a sense of wanting to be part of that end of life care. We need to give them the tools they need and empower them so that they can offer it.

Tarron Estes: That's a really, really good point. And just kind of circling back to that's how people knew my mother in the community because she always showed up and she was then recognized. People could call on her, and that really is how it is in nursing homes or a hospital. I just have a very personal affinity with nursing home staff. But that's how it is.

They're people, young women, women, nurses, female, male, it doesn't matter what their role is or what gender they are that are naturally inclined to be with people when they're dying. And that's a blessing. I mean that already exists. And I think it would just be so amazing to have more and more people who can do that.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Absolutely. And so we're coming to the end of the hour, Tarron. So I was hoping you could just tell our listeners a little bit more about how they might connect with you? If anyone here feels inspired by the training you offer, how could they connect with you to learn about it?

Tarron Estes: You can go to my website which is That's a mouthful. [Laughter] But that's the website. Most of the information about the organization, the intention, the programs are listed on the site. And you can – my personal information, my telephone number, if you would like to have me give that, I'll be happy to. Would that be helpful?

Dr. Karen Wyatt: I don't know if it's necessary if it's on the website.

Tarron Estes: It's on the website.

Everything is on the website. And just to know that there's an upcoming Sacred Passage Guide Certificate program in Boulder, and it starts on February the 20th and goes through the early morning of the 26th. And then I have several three day workshops for the three phases, which will start all over again after February and happen in different places in the country: Gainesville, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and in northern California, and possibly in Santa Barbara.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Well, I can just imagine that there are some listeners out there saying this is what I need. This is the training that I need to have, so I'm hoping people will check out your website and look into working with you, Tarron, because what you're providing is truly transformational, I believe, for our culture and society. And I'm so impressed.

And I was wondering if you have any last words to share. Any suggestions that you might share say for the listeners out there who are providing care to someone right now who needs care. Are there any words of encouragement and support that you might have for either workers in the field or caregivers who are at home taking care of a loved one?

Tarron Estes: One thing is be bold enough and courageous enough to touch. Don't pull back, lean in. Move on your intuition. Intuition is not rocket science. Being psychic is not some amazingly special gift. If you read the field and use the information that you're getting from the family and the person who’s dying, through the words that they say that may sound like dreams or that may sound like unexplainable events, use them as a way to continue your connection, to validate where they're at.

Listen to what the family's going through. Listen to the words that they say when they're out of the room or when they're in the room thinking the person is either asleep or unconscious. And understand that what they're going through and what the dynamics in the family are, are affecting the field of the person who's dying and, whatever you can do to facilitate completion with the family will lend a much more healing atmosphere for the dying.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: I love that you emphasize don't be afraid to touch. And that came up for me when I was caring for my mother at the end of her life because I got so wrapped up in all the clinical aspects of caring, making sure she had her medications and making sure the sheets were clean and taking care of all the external, outer aspects of giving care that I neglected in a way in the first few days to actually think about giving her just loving touch.

And there was one evening when she was getting ready to go to sleep, and I realized she, for all of her adult life, had had this routine every night of using all these moisturizers and creams on her face. And suddenly I realized that was such an important part of her life. I went to the bathroom and gathered all of her creams together, and I said, "Mom, would you like me to help you put your creams on tonight?" And she just glowed. She was so happy.

And the beauty of that moment of just touching her face and putting her creams on for her and her little eye cream and doing that for her was so precious. And I cannot tell you how much it means to me even now that I have that memory. But the essence of it was the touching, to touch her face in such a loving way was so poignant and so powerful for her and for me both. And so thank you so much for reminding me of that and for bringing that up as a suggestion to remember the past.

Tarron Estes: I have one more thing to say about that, which is one of the things that I learned in my last program. Do I have time to say anything?

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Absolutely.

Tarron Estes: So you were talking about touching the face. And one of the things that happened – one of the other powerful learning experiences for me was my grandmother was that before her death she said my name out loud, my whole name, "Tarron Janiece Estes, Tarron Janiece Estes, Tarron Janiece Estes", while we were holding hands. And then I said her name back to her, "Mary Eva Estes, Mary Eva Estes, Mary Eva Estes".

And in those moments I felt her wisdom and the transmission of her life come into me. And what I learned when I told that story in my last group was that in Native American traditions and in Shamanic traditions, the saying of the person's name when going through an initiatory experience is the transference of consciousness. That's how the teacher transmits their consciousness into the heart, mind, and soul of the student.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: That's just beautiful. And I think that's a perfect way for us to end our conversation, Tarron. Such a beautiful story.

Tarron Estes: Thank you, Karen. This has just been a very wonderful time. Thank you.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Oh, absolutely, for me as well and I'm sure for our listeners also. And I just want to remind listeners that you can connect with Tarron at her website, consciousdyinginstitute. And just go look at the website. It's absolutely beautiful. It's so artistically done and really gorgeous to behold. So please do look into the trainings if you feel so moved. And Tarron, one last time, thank you so much for giving your time today and being willing to have this conversation with me.

Tarron Estes: Thank you, Karen, for moving towards your heart's desire and purpose.

Dr. Karen Wyatt: Goodbye.

Tarron Estes: Bye-bye.

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