Present To Dying

A community based contemplative care program for beginners


Present To Dying is conceived as a 4-week immersive and sequential program aimed at improving our community’s capacity to be present to and serve as compassionate companions for the people in our lives who are facing death, which includes us – at some point or another.  


Present to Dying will be conducted as a Council Practice, also referred to as a sacred wisdom circle.   In our circle we will be cultivating the capacity to speak and listen as beginners, from the 3-centers of mind ~ heart ~ body.   We will engage in direct experiential practices intended to deepen our awareness of impermanence, loss, realization of interconnectedness, and our own goodness.  


We will learn what to expect as death draws near, and what tasks and opportunities exist that are inherent to dying.  We will contemplate how we think and feel about our own death and our own dying, and how we would want that to unfold.  


Ultimately we hope to support the growth of empowered and compassionate companions, intimate with death, resources to themselves, and resources to those in their community.   

retreat content summary

Week 1  - The Contemplation of Dying  (Saturday, April 6th)

            1. OPENING OUR COUNCIL: the vehicle by which we cultivate deep listening

            2. EXERCISE: How do you want to die?

            3. PRACTICE: The 9 Contemplations: Our ever present relationship with death

            4. CLOSING COUNCIL:  And preparing to meet again

Week 2 – Bearing witness  (Saturday, April 13th)

            1. EXERCISE:  Bearing Witness to Dying & Exploration of the Three-Centered Awareness

            2. PRACTICE: Ubumuntu ~ Part 1,  Seeing our goodness and interconnectedness

            3. TOOLS: Tools for Compassionate Companioning*

            4. TOOLS: What we can expect as the End of Life draws near*

Week 3 – The Experience of Loss (Saturday, April 20rd)

            1.  EXERCISE: The practice of Birth and Death

            2.  TOOLS: Coping with Loss ~ oscillating between loss and restoration and the 9 Cell                                    Bereavement Tool.

            3. PRACTICE:  Ubumuntu ~ Part 2, Releasing our Hearts

            4.  EXERCISE: Writing our Eulogy and other reflective practices

 Week 4 – The Experience of Death & Compassionate Action  (Saturday, April 27th)

            1. PRACTICE: The Practice of Dying ~ the dissolution of the body at death

            2. TOOLS:  Opportunities in the 11th Hour and Care of Vessel after Death         

            3. PRACTICE:  Grief and Forgiveness ~ our final practice

            4. CLOSING OUR COUNCIL ~ reflections, graduation, invitations, and dedicating our merit.

 *We are grateful to Joan Halifax PhD, Dr. Ira Byock MD, Mr. Frank Ostaseski, and  Barbara Karnes, RN for their inspirational tools and guidance.   

Join us for our NEXT COUncil retreat

2024 Spring Course Dates:  Beginning April 6th,  then continuing on April 13, April 20, April 27.  

Each Saturday we will begin promptly at10:00AM and conclude at approximately 2:30 - 3:00PM

(Please plan to arrive at the Olympia Fig Tree between by 9:50AM). 

Location: Olympia Fig, 1713 State Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98506

Parking: Located in the back of the Olympia Fig and on State Avenue

Registration Process: Two ways to register.   

(1) Please print and complete the PDF registration form below and include the course fee and return to the following address.  Hospice Without Borders, 1713 State Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98506

(2) Contact us using the form below and we will return your message and arrange a time to complete the registration over the phone. 

Course Registration Fee:  Registration is $50.  This small fee covers the cost of the entire cost for the course and includes the Saturday sessions, all course material, and a nutritious  (and delicious) vegetarian lunch served at each of the 4 Saturdays. 


Once we process your registration, we will contact you by email to confirm you plan to attend and provide you with course introduction details that will help prepare you for the course.   We hope to see you in April! 

April 2024 Present to Dying Registration Form
Please download and print the 2024 registration. Answer all questions as best you can. You can return the registration via mail or dropping in our mail slot at: Hospice Without Borders, 1713 State Ave NE, Olympia WA 98506 You can also scan your completed registration and email to: or
Present to Dying - 2024 Registration.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB


If you have additional questions not answered above, or you wish to register for the course over the phone as described above, please feel free to contact us using the form below.  One of the course leaders will contact you in 1-3 business days.   

Note: Please fill out the fields marked with an asterisk.