Death as a sacred teacher with end-of-life Doula Arlene Stepputat


In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, Catherine chats with end-of-life Doula Arlene Stepputat. When her father died suddenly four days before her 12th birthday and right before Christmas, Arlene’s journey with death and dying began. By the time she turned 38, she had lost friends and family through everything imaginable — suicide, murder, accident, illness — and she was nearly killed by a drunk driver herself. Listen in as she shares with us some of her journey and how it brought her to truly understand death as a sacred teacher.

In this episode you’ll also hear:
– What it’s like being neighbours with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry
– Growing up watching the Broadway hits as part of school field trips
– How the grieving brain affects us physiologically
– What an end-of-life doula does and how they help support families
– Why Arlene is passionate about putting death back in its rightful place as a cycle of life… and so much more!

Join Catherine’s membership The Happiness Lounge here

Connect with Catherine here:

Connect with Arlene Stepputat here:
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This podcast is produced by Nikki O’Brien from Quintessential Being



Read Full Transcript


Hi, welcome to the happiness hive Podcast. I'm Catherine Bowyer, and I am completely fascinated by people and what motivates them. I've spent the past three and a half decades specialising in mindset and human behaviour. And I've helped 1000s of people to create happy and amazing lives. And now I am super excited to be chatting with women from around the world who I have secret. And to be honest, not so secret crushes on their women who inspire me. I'm intrigued as to how they do life and what makes them tick. I want to find out the magic formula that makes them who they are. And at the end of the episode, I'd love for you to say, I'd like a little bit of what she's having. The conversations are real and raw. They're full of passion, inspiration and lots of fun, and nothing is off limits. So grab yourself a cuppa or pop on your trackie and go for a walk and join us for today's chat. There may just be that pearl of wisdom you need to hear. So let's shimmy on over and get started. Today is absolutely going to be such a beautiful chat with my new friend Arlene stipitate. I met Alan only just recently through my spiritual psychology programme. And we were in one of the practice groups together and I instantly knew that I wanted Elena's a guest on my podcast because she has such a interesting story and life and I just want to find out all about that. So welcome Arlene to the happiness hive podcast. How are you?


I'm good. And I'm for me just for your viewers being in America. It's still Sunday. You know that that whole time thing is is always interesting.


Yes. Where a decade where a day from the future. We're coming to you from the future. Yet whereabouts are you in America.


I live in Santa Barbara, California, which is about 90 miles north of Los Angeles. It's often called the American Riviera because it's a Mediterranean climate, and it's kind of ocean and mountains. And kind of the rich and famous. There was a soap opera years ago about Santa Barbara and right next door, the very next town over just like 10 miles away is Oprah Winfrey lives there. And she enticed me again and Prince Harry to live here. And my invitation for high tea has gotten lost in the mail. So I was gonna ask you if you Yeah, I don't know what's happened. I have to check with the post to see why I haven't been invited.


Invited. Do you bump into them? Do you see them around? Do you see?


Not but they have been cited around town and actually there is a Polo Club. One other city down not too far away. It's you know, little villages kind of nestled together. And, and actually Harry had played polo here before. And of course, you know, making being from Hollywood. I'm sure she had been to Santa Barbara because we're only 20 miles away. It's a two hour drive commuting. So commuting distance they could commute to Lausanne, many people do commute. We have lots of Hollywood people here in this, you know, area. So it's kind of fun.


That's fun. That's fun. Yeah. Have you always lived in Santa Barbara?


I have not. I grew up on the other coast of America on the East Coast, and was born in a little state. You know, we have 50, a little state called New Jersey, which was right next to New York State and right next to New York City. I grew up about 15 miles from New York City in a very small town. But my mom had been raised in New York City. So I actually grew up going into Manhattan. From the time I was a young girl. So I actually saw my first Broadway show when I was six.


Oh my gosh, that is just such a bucket list for me that we I've been to America to the West Coast. And I've been to Hawaii but the East Coast is definitely a bucket list for me and Broadway. Oh my goodness. First one at six. Actually, my first mine, certainly not Broadway in Australia. But what was the first show that you saw? Do you remember it's


a show people wouldn't know was called Destry Rides Again. But during high school because we were so close. We would have field trips where in the morning they would take us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then on a Wednesday afternoon we'd see a matinee so I saw you know man of LaMancha and Les Miserables bla and just all the Broadway shows and it was a school day.


Wow. Oh my gosh. So jealous. My first great life. Yeah, my first one was Jesus Christ Superstar. Ah, I love ya. I love that. So what did you do growing up there? What was growing up like, like for you?


Well, I'm an only child, my parents were married 11 years before my mom got pregnant, just because they couldn't. And so I was I came in as a very loved child, unwanted child and had a charmed childhood, I would say in a small village in a small town. And then my dad died when I was quite young. Yeah. So he died very suddenly. And I know from from you that you had lost early. And so that changes everything. Yeah, sure. does. I mean, for any of your other listeners, you know, having a death of a parent.


How old were you?


I was 11 years old. My dad died four days before my 12th birthday. And 20 days before Christmas.


Oh, bloody hell mine was my mum died the day before my 12th birthday. So were the members of that same club. Yeah, your parents.


While I think I'm probably older than you, what's true is that people had no idea how to deal with children in Greece. And so because it was the holidays, because it was my birthday, people just gave me gifts. And my mother was in shock. It was quite a sudden death. Her mother lived with us my grandmother. So anyway, what I will say is that I grew up very quickly, I started working when I was 12. And at the same time, in particular, in high school, I also wanted to do everything. So I was like, in the high school band, and then the drama club, and I worked 20 hours a week, and I was a straight A C student, and I took care of my grandmother. You know, I did all of those things. Because I wanted to, I wanted to have a teenage life. And I had these adult responsibilities. Yeah, I did. That's


interesting. Wanting to do it all. And being a straight A student, I was reading something the other day are laying that, because I wasn't a straight A student, I was up until when mum passed away. And then I was reading something the other day that was saying that grief, and the trauma of losing someone is the equivalent. And please don't quote me on this, but like having a brain injury for some people in that that grieving brain affects us physiologically. And looking back on that I can say that's absolutely what happened. For me, it's almost like, it's not that I couldn't read, but it was just a real struggle to, to study. So it's sounds like your journey was, you know, being a straight A student doing lots wanting to be involved.


I wanted to be a good girl and make life easy for my mother. So I did everything I could to not get in the way to not cause any trouble, too. She had enough to deal with. And so and also, you know, in high school, I wanted to go to college, and I knew we didn't have money. Yes. So then it was like, Well, if I get good grades, maybe I can get a scholarship. So I was very driven. Yeah. That's cool. To be good.


Yeah. Yeah. And did you go to college? What did you study in college?


I did. And that's interesting thing, too. I went to a college that was local, because I didn't realise my mother was gonna get remarried. And as an only child, I was really her caregiver to with with she got sick. Anyway. So what I studied was, again, my age at the time, women were primarily geared towards school teacher, yes, secretary or nurse. So nursing was not for me, not my mother's older sister had been a very successful executive secretary and ended up marrying the bank president, and she saw no reason why I should want to go to college. So she was very strongly against it. But to my mother's credit, she wanted me to get an education. And so I became a teacher and I studied teaching and English as my primary area with drama as a secondary thing, and then remedial reading was just coming into its own where people understood so I took that as a teaching credential as well. And I was able to get a teaching job as a remedial reading teacher when I first started,


and did you stay teacher for was that your career as a teacher?


Did you? Well, yes and no, my first year. So when I was doing a prep practicum as a as a student, I was in an alternative high school where it was much freer kind of environment and I really liked that. Then I got my first teaching job. up, and it was very strict. And I was very naive. I didn't know how to play politics. I was hired for maternity, it was a whole bunch of things. So I had a bad experience after that first year, and I decided I wouldn't go back to public schools, you know, the state. I ended up working, I had in college, worked on a hotline, I've always been interested in psychology. And so through my career, I worked as a teacher in a facility for people who had psychiatric illnesses, but we're out released from facilities and home. So I taught there. And then I ended up teaching an alternative high school, in inner city, New York, New Jersey, where kids had flunked out of the private of the public school system, maybe were in trouble with the law, maybe had gotten pregnant, you know, whatever. And chose to go to this school, which was called independence High School. And so I taught there for a number of years. And then I went on, I got more interested in people's lives. So I went on to work with underserved youth in lots of ways. So I ran group homes and all that. So but I have my master's is in community education and family education. And I would say I still do that.


Oh, yes. You know, there's so many parallels to what you're talking about, like, it's not exactly my journey. But there are certainly parallels there. as well. I studied Adult and Community Education that I never thought I would, that was something that just came about when I started working a job opportunity opened up. My husband worked. He's a teacher. He's a industrial art, so does wood work and metal work and design. But there was a period of time that he worked in a school for underprivileged kids, and he said to help set up their young mums programmes. So for girls that had babies young, he helped to set up that programme, as well and working with some of the underprivileged kids. So it's, yeah, lovely. He's working with kids with disabilities at the moment, which is just beautiful to say,


but I want to say something, if I may, yes, when I was 10, there was a to Sir with love without if people haven't seen that with Sidney Poitier. And there was another book out called up the downstair case about inner cities. And when I was 10 years old, and of course, there were rioting riots in the United States. And I wasn't, I was, for one of those riots, my home was three miles away. Even though my community was not integrated, it was very close. Anyway, all that to say that when I was 10, I got a very clear message that I was supposed to teach in inner city. I was 10 years old. And I said something I'm gonna do that. And I did.


Wow. How did that play out for you? So when you were 10, you had this message? Did you just was that in the back of your mind that? Or did you? Or was it in the front of your mind?


Well, yes, I think I think it was kind of in the back. But I knew that the first step to teach anywhere was to become a teacher. So that's what I pursued. So when my aunt was saying, No, you should be a secretary. I'm like, No, I'm going to be a teacher. So that was step one. And then, you know, things just evolved as they should, you know, if I had stayed in the public school that I was in, that never would have happened, that was more of a middle class community. So I've really come to understand that everything works in a purpose in that I just have to trust the timing of stuff. And so yeah, so I taught inner city for four or five years easily.


Yep. And it isn't it I learned about being open to opportunities. And for me, it's a balance of creating opportunities, but also being open to opportunities that come forward for us, as well.


Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, and I have to say, I had another interesting opportunity. So this summer, before I was going to college, I was at the beach. And I met a girl who was a cheerleader in high school, and was a couple years ahead of me. And she said, Oh, what are you going to study? And she was at the same university. And I told her, I'm going to do English. And she said, Well listen, as an English major. All the teachers teach mythology and literature, you have to take it, but there's only one teacher you should take it with. And that's Dr. Barrett, like, don't take it from anybody else. And she said, you're gonna work as hard as you can, but she will change your life. And I heard her and I took that class. And she was right, because that woman taught mythology as the evolution of human consciousness. And so I got exposed to things I had never heard of in my Live at 90.


Wow. Isn't that good that that person came into your life to let you know that message?


Was she was a messenger. Yeah. And you know, this was we met at a beach far from both of our homes. We were probably 50 miles away. So yeah, but I listened. And I think that's the other thing. Yes. Sometimes you get the messages, but you have to listen.


Yes, yeah. So how did that change your life? Then the things that you're exposed to at 19?


Well, it really, you know, I have to say, when you asked me how I was raised, my parents were both faith filled people. Yes. My mother had been raised Catholic, did not work for her. My father had been raised Lutheran at the time they got married, you know, they couldn't get married. In the Catholic. I mean, there's all these roles. And so they decided when I was born, to raise me in a different church that neither one of him involved in, which was a Methodist Church, and it was a very loving experience. And I went to Sunday school, and I learned all these different things. And I would say, by the time I was seven team, and I used to sing in the choir, which was the only way I really felt the connection was through the music. But I heard these people who had great faith, and I wanted it, but I didn't know how to get it. Yeah. And I wasn't getting it in the church, except when I sang, which is why I sang for all those years. So in answer to your question, that class did change my life because she opened up a whole world of thoughts, and, you know, union archetypes, and mythology and understanding all of that, and we read hero with 1000 faces before Bill Moyers was a name, you know? And so, what it did was, it just kind of woke me up, like, oh, my gosh, there's so much more. Yeah. And so I kind of followed wherever she guided me as a spiritual director, you know, so she, I remember Pierre of a lot, who was the head of the Sufi movement, did a huge thing in New York City, at the Cathedral of St. John, the divine. Well, I was 15 miles away, I could go to something like that and see whirling dervish, and you know, just kind of you're 19 years old, and it's like, oh, my gosh, so it changed everything. Yeah, in a very


good way. Yeah. For me, a similar journey was through my studies studying psychology, that I got exposed to a whole lot of just things that I would not not ordinarily have been exposed to. So let's fast forward some years. So So growing up, what are you doing now? So tell us about the end of life. doula. I know we're kind of doing a very Yeah, we're cutting out a whole lot of chunk. But I would love it for our viewers because what is the end of life doula Elaine.


So, you know, the truth is, and I at the risk of sounding somewhat sexist, but women have always been the ones to take care of the sick and the dying, as well as welcoming the children's just always been our domain. And I would say, maybe 30 years ago, women were changing the way birth was done. And so midwives and birthing, doulas came to the fore. And so an end of life doula, there's many similarities between the coming into life and leaving life in a reverse process. It's unpredictable, you need a lot of nurturing all that stuff. And so an end of life doula is a non medical person. So we don't do anything medical, that helps prepare the person and their family for the process. And it can start with a perfectly healthy person that hasn't, for instance, done in America, we call it an Advanced Health Care Directive. Like do you want to be resuscitated that kind of thing else is the same I think houses Yeah, so it's having that conversation. Well, do you want to be cremated? Do you want to die? And I'm a big advocate of if you're over 18, you need to start thinking about those things. Because it's not just people, older people that die. It's everybody. And it's also part of it is putting death back in its rightful place as a cycle of life. Yeah. It's been so medicalized in our country, and probably yours as well. Yes, yes. You know, we're death is the enemy. So doulas, help people befriend death. And then as people get into the dying process, we do all kinds of things to support the family and the person and they can be everything from sitting vigil and their dying days. I'm working with a family right now where I'm supporting the wife, her husband's dying of brain cancer, but I'm also helping her put together his ceremony and what she wants and working with what he wants and just and listening to her about her life and you And so it's a beautiful opportunity. And then on the other side, when someone actually passes, we can do ritual help people do ritual washing of the body or blessing the body. And then we can, you know, do ceremony there too. So it's a beautiful opportunity. And some people do it as a profession. And I am lucky enough, I've been in death and dying field for a very long time. I work with five other women in in our community, we are able to offer it as a loving service.


Yeah, that's beautiful. When we talked about that, that's absolutely beautiful. So a loving service means that people don't need to pay for that service. Right are able to offer that for them. Right. So is that part of a community that you is it an organised community that does that? Or?


Well, it's a week I organise it with my six women. I started the doula and I do want to say to your to your listeners to that there are end of life doula who get paid and should get paid. I'm like, it is a profession. And there's lots of ways doulas are integrated working in hospitals and hospices in our community. This is we're a small community, and that's how we're doing it here. So yeah,


yes, I'm aware that there are people that do that that is a profession, like it is a business. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.


And it's becoming more and more of an awareness as we are growing and changing our attitudes about death and dying. And I have to say that COVID Put death in our face in a way that nothing else had. So doulas help pick up a lot of the gap of the trauma of what happened to people.


Yes. And I remember when we were chatting, Elaine so your people can find you at dying in grace.


It's dying yet, and there is actually a tab about end of life doula is that would explain more in depth, the different roles that doulas


Yes, yes. So, so dying in grace. And when I first met Elaine, she said, I don't know if you recall this, but it's also dying in grace is about living in grace. It's a part of this cycle. And it's about helping people to, you know, navigate that, that journey. And like you said, then it's not just about the people who are dying or end of life, but it's supporting their families as well. And I think, from my ex, my dad passed away last year, and that my two brothers and I, it was a, it was a tough process. You know, he was unwell for quite some time, he had moved into a nursing home. And then the final stages were very sudden, like they were, you know, a week. And it was that whole vigil. And we sort of navigated that. But it would have been nice to have a somebody to lead us through, you know, but that did have his advanced care plan in place, which made it so much easier for us that we just enacted what he his wishes were so that made it made it so much easier for us. Yeah. All right. That's,


and I'm sorry for your loss, because losing the second parent is tough.


Yes, it is tough losing a second parent.


Maybe because there's no buffer anymore. It's you. My mother died when I was 38. So I was kind of an orphan in the world. And I wasn't married or anything. I had no brothers and sisters. I mean, it was quite an interesting experience. And but it was all part of the preparation so I can do what I do. Now.


You mentioned before our lane that you have spent a lot of time around death and dying. Tell me more about that. So how did you get into being an end of life doula?


Well, it was an evolutionary process. So like you my first experience of death came very suddenly, when I was young. Then when I was 19, I went to the UK as an exchange student for a semester, which was a Adeleke in my experience, and had a wonderful time. And one of my mates, British friends, new girlfriend really tight, was unfortunately murdered. Like, right, the last week, I was in school and the national national news in England, and I was 3000 Miles Wait, well, 6000 miles away from everyone. And so having violence touched my life, that was something and then not wanting to tell my family so I had all that to deal with. And then, you know, as life went on, I had a period where I lost almost everyone in a very short time. And I also worked in New York City during the AIDS crisis. Yes. And I helped start a programme for babies who were dying of AIDS. Oh, Lee Wow, yeah, because they were border babies, no one wanted to they lived in hospitals, people were afraid to touch them and change their diapers. And we just realised they needed to be loved before they died. So all this experience of death coming to me in rapid succession, and everything is suicide, a car crash, just a bunch of different things. I kind of said, I need to start to befriend this. It's not going away. It's part of life. And so I started to first work with my own grief from way back, and, and the University of Santa Monica really helped me deal with it on levels that I didn't even know were inside of me. So then, so I was in education until I came to California. And then I started volunteering with a local hospice. And I think you would resonate with this, I heard on the radio, a new programme a hospice was doing it was called, I have a friend. And they were recruiting mentors. And the mentors were for children who have lost a parent, but you could only be a mentor, if you lost a parent with your child. And as soon as I heard that, I thought to myself, I must do this. I could have so used that. So that got me in the hospice world. And I've been involved with it ever since I worked for the Alzheimer's Association for a while that also is a one way journey. So when doulas became more of a thing and hospices, I started to pursue it and had a friend who ended up saying, well, I'll give you a free training, I trained for this international group of of doulas, you're perfect. Why don't you just go through the training and that that's it?


Wow. What do you not? To me that sounds like that's your path. And that you'd sort of listened like you were saying before the opportunities you'd listen. But following would it be a calling? Elaine? Is it a calling?


Oh, doing end of life is definitely a calling? And if you talk to folks that work in hospice, or oncology or something, if they say I, I didn't choose it, it chooses you. Yes. You know, because it takes Well, first off, you know, and some of your listeners may already be cringing, because just even talking about death is not a polite conversation. No, you know, so. So to work in it. It's really such a privilege, it is such a great honour to be at this in the Celtic say, where the veil is thin, you know, so it's like, the worlds are very spirits very present. When babies come in. It's very magical. And if you've ever been when people are taking a left, there's a, there's a, a gift in that, if you can see it, you know. So it's definitely


when you when you say that my dad volunteered with palliative care. So he answered some training, which sounds similar to what you're probably not as much as what you've done, but he would visit people in hospitals and just volunteer and just be there and sit with them and talk with them. I don't think


people need that they need that. And a lot of times because there's such an adverse reaction to sickness and death, and people say, I don't know what to say that they don't go, yes. And it's when people really needs to be heard the most. What would your


advice be for people who do have loved ones who are nearing, you know, at the end of life in the final stages? What would be some tips for them to navigate that fit? Because for some people, it is very confronting. And do you have any pearls of wisdom? Well, like you said, just be there.


If you're a caregiver, for someone to be sure that you also take care of yourself that you allow yourself to have some respite, that you're also gentle with yourself that you find moments of joy, working yourself to exhaustion, erodes the relationship. Yes. So there's that, to realise that to get to the loving that you share with that person, and if the person is passing and you don't have loving with them, it's a great opportunity to just forgive it anyway. Yes. So understand that they did whatever they did, doing the best they could. It's a it's a beautiful time to celebrate. And remember and laugh. I mean, you you know, one of the things we do as doulas is help people set up their vigils. Like how would you like the room to be you know, I have a friend who's a doula and she said I want a chocolate fondue. I want a bottle of be risky and I want people coming in and telling jokes, you know, I'm happy. I'm glad I'm good, you know, so, but I would also say get support. If you're if someone you love is is dying, please speak to other people, there's bereavement counsellors, like get support for yourself. Yeah. And cherish this time and don't get caught in the small stuff.


I would I was talking to a girlfriend just yesterday about about that getting smoke caught in the small stuff. You know, there's bigger things at play there.


Well, and the thing is that there's a term that we have learned you and I in our in our course of study, and I love it and I and that's allowing the person who's dying, the dignity of their process, absolutely their process. It's their dying, it doesn't have to look the way I think it should. And especially as a doula. I don't know how it's supposed to go. Yeah. I don't know what the family is supposed to do. I have to just surrender to be used and support.


Yeah. And I think it's also useful. And this is what you're talking about that you do in your your practice, but for people to think about those things in advance, because it's very stressful to have those conversations in the present. You know, when people are new the end of life. Can I ask you, Elaine, how early? Did doulas get involved in that end of life? Is it? Is it? Is it when people have got weeks to live? or days or years? Like what's the I know there's no normal around that. But how does that work?


So when do I get in? When


did you when did the doula get involved?


Yeah. Well, it's it's interesting, I think we get involved. Most of the cases that I have gotten involved with either have come by referral from a hospice, or a referral from someone who knows of my work and talks to a family and said, Hey, we know this, these people that could come help. So it's usually at least when there's a serious illness or perhaps a diagnosis. But it often is, as it's taking its course. So I often get involved when people are already enrolled in hospice. Yes, yes. And in America, you're eligible for hospice, when it looks like you might have six months or less to live. So that gives you a timeframe. That being said, you know, people live beyond that, you know, longer than that, but, and it depends. I've worked with a family. I did a lot of work with a woman who's whose husband was much older than she is. So he's like, 95, and she's 70 or something. But they got everything in place. He's still chugging along, and she'll call me when something changes are nice, right? Yeah. So it was just the preparing in a conversation. So it really is a case by case. Yeah,


that's cool. That's really good. That's really good to know. And we do have end of life, doulas in Australia, we certainly have birthing dollars, we do have end of life, and they're varying. I think the ones that I'm familiar with it is a paid service. But yeah, it's possible.


I'm just lucky enough to not have to do this. But


that's lovely. So that sounds like it's calling for you. What are some things that fill your cup? And that's probably part of what fills your cup? Is that the honour of being with people, the end of life, but what are some other things in your life that that kind of spark joy for you?


Well, I have to say that from the time I was a little girl, being of service to others has always been a linchpin in my life to the point where I actually ran volunteer programmes for other people to help them be of service. So that brings a great amount of joy to me being of service in in ways that are meaningful to me. Animals have always brought me great joy. We I've always had animals. We have two dogs and a cat right now, but we have a little menagerie we feed. We feed the wild critters outside so we see bunnies and skunks and raccoons. You know, so there's that. I recently went to a Donkey Sanctuary, where they were saving donkeys. So anything with animals brings me


great joy paying.


Nature brings me great joy. sandbar was a gorgeous place. And so that beauty of the ocean and the mountains and plants and sunsets, that kind of stuff. I am blessed to have an amazing marriage. Yeah, and I have grandchildren and my husband had son so I'm a mother labour LIS grandma, which I highly recommend, I didn't have to birth anybody that I still get to be a grandmother.


That's nice. Yeah, that's good. Yeah, it


just kind of worked out that way. So you know, my friends bring me joy. Just watching people grow. You know, we net because of our studies. But But what being in a place where I watch people go from this to this? Yeah, that is just magic. That's what I love. Yes, I love. It can't get enough of it. I and I've been doing that for 26 years or something.


And that's a yes. And you know, when you started out and talking about the the teaching, and from a 10 year old, you knew that you were going to be teaching in certain areas. So that teaching is about helping people to develop and grow, and just to be their best. That certainly is sparks my joy, as well. Do you have daily practices


that you do? Yeah, but a lot of daily practices. Well, one is spending quiet time every day, just internal. I'm in a church that calls it spiritual exercises. So it's like an internal chanting. So spending time with that, spending time reading sacred literature, and also praying for people that we do a thing called calling in the light, so standing good intentions. And there's a lot of things that are sort of so integrated into my life at this point, that they're just second nature. And then in our school, there are also other practices that we've learned that help us so when I go to bed, I say a prayer of gratitude. I do a gratitude journal. And then I set a bedtime intention for more guidance to what am I supposed to do? When I wake up? It's my first prayer is, you know, us, me, here I am. Thank you. What do you want me to do today? So kind of like, yeah, that's why the book ends, you know,


yes. My practice, similar in the morning, I have sort of setting intentions and in gratitude, and in the end of the day is reflecting on the day and what I've been grateful for. And then what, what I would like assistance with for the following days as well.


Yeah. And one practice that I think is Tina's, it's probably a harder one is when I find myself and upset, you know, in the course of the day, when something doesn't work out the way I think it should, is taking the time to see what that experience has to teach me. Yes. And to heal from the part of me that's judging that it didn't go the way I thought it should, or you didn't do what I thought you should do, to see what I can glean and heal inside of me. And so that's a practice that I apply when it shows up.


Yep. Yes. I was just thinking about that, as you were saying it. For me. Yes, it's when it shows up. It's like, Ah, what's going on here? Why am I reacting when I'm out of sorts? What's that bringing up for me? Is that coming from? Is it you know, an old story and old pattern? Or is it actually something that still needs some attention and healing, but the first place I go to is, that's interesting. Why is that doing? What, why am I reacting that way? And sometimes, that's all I need to do. Sometimes, I just get the insight going out, okay. Other times, it's just like, why am I responding? Right? Like that person, you know, something, this situation, I feel really triggered by that. And what I've changed our lane is, I've stopped saying, the situation has triggered me, or the person has triggered me to, I have been triggered by that situation, or I have been triggered by the person. So I'm taking ownership. But it's not about you. It's not about the person that whatever they've done, it's about, oh, how am I responding to that? Why am I being triggered the way that I'm being triggered? So that's a change in my just how I approach those situations.


That's a big change. I mean, it seems like it's, you know, that's a huge shift. Because it it's, it's like you said it's taking responsibility, and those practices that we're both talking about, you know, they are not easy ones to cultivate. And, and so lots of people do morning prayer and evening prayer, but there's like it's kind of what you do in the middle there in the course of your day that is, so I would say you know, the practice that I work with daily is to just be consciously loving.


Yes. Yes, yes, loving towards yourself, loving towards others, and not yet other people. But you've talked about other animals in the nature as well. It's just, it's just kind


of accepting. Yes. Accepting what is I'm not happy that it's 110 degrees right now. But that's being upset about it being hot. It's not going to change it. So I might as well just cooperate with


Elaine was yes. Alan was saying at the beginning of the chat, so it's 110 Fahrenheit. For those here in Australia. That's about 4344 degrees. So that's hot. And it's you normally don't get those. Oh, it's record breaking here. Yes, yeah. We could go down a whole different. Nope. But we want to know, I mean, what's next for you? What's next?


Well, you know, one of the things that I have this practice of doing is following guidance and not knowing why. So I got very strong guidance to take a course in the local community college in journalism. So I have enrolled, and I have had my third class in general, I've taken three classes in journalism. So I am not quite sure why I'm taking this class. I'm not sure if it's to be on the campus. I'm certainly older than the instructor, much less the other students. I want to learn. I mean, I like to learn and see what that is. But I have a sense that something else is going to be revealed during the course of the semester. That's gonna say to me, oh, that's why I did that.


Yeah. That's interesting. And just before we do in, there was another example of that where you said, you became a chaplain with the local fire service, didn't you? And that was one of those. You weren't quite done. Tell me quickly about how did that come about?


Well, it was during COVID. I was trying to dispose of some prescriptions. And I went to the local sheriff's office, which had a Dropbox and it was COVID. No one was really around. Another car pulled up. It was someone I knew who was a chaplain. We're chit chatting. And I felt as if I was in a cartoon and spirit filled in the bubble. And I said to this person, how do you become a chaplain, anyone? I would love it if you became a child was not on my radar screen at all. It was from someplace else. But I followed through and I became a chaplain with the fire department. And one of my roles is to comfort people who have recently, I mean, like, immediately lost someone, you know, my son just overdosed. And they call in the chaplain. So it made no sense to me. I had no idea what the job was. I just followed suit. And and I'm also seeing ways that I'm to improve the programme.


Yes, yes. And do you know, that gets back to just trusting and accepting and following and letting it unfold? How? Sometimes you don't know the reasoning for it until down the track? So it'll be interesting with the journalism what?


Yeah, well, I think there's a some kind of quote, it's like, take the leap, and the net will appear. Yes, yes. Yeah. And so I've learned through my life at this point it I mean, even coming when moving to California, it made no sense. It was just like, move. So it's like, okay, well, I've been kind of doing that. And I would really invite your listeners to trust that message. Yes. I love it without trying to understand it. Just kind of lean in.


And allow, allow. Yeah, I'll just quickly, where can people find you again?


So dying in Is the website. The email is simply Arlene, ar l e, n, e at dying and Please,


all questions, whatever the lovely, that love to


hear from you happy to be international. In your community to


Yes, yes. Thank you so much, Elaine, for that. I really appreciate your time and hugs and happiness to you.


Yeah. Thanks so much, Catherine. This is lovely. I look forward to seeing you again in class.


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