Here are 4 ways to engage with Stephen Jenkinson’s this March. We hope you find a way to connect and experience this important contemporary voice. Join us in helping build a community for this work on the central coast and in Santa Barbara.
We are excited to let our community know that Stephen Jenkinson is offering a series of events within our geography--here in Santa Barbara, down the road in Malibu and up the road in San Luis Obispo. He is the award-winning author of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, and Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a time of Trouble. He has worked with the dying and grieving for many years. His soulful vocation led to the founding of the Orphan Wisdom School, a home for his writing and teaching work, and a teaching house for the skills of deep living and making human culture. It is a redemptive project that comes from where we come from. It is rooted in knowing history, being claimed by ancestry, working for a time we won’t see.
We hope that you find an event that you can attend, and join us in helping build a community for this invaluable work. We would like to see them return year after year with more to share, about the deepest places of the human experience. The following are 4 ways you can engage with Stephen Jenkinson’s incredible work:
Griefwalker is a National Film Board of Canada feature documentary film, directed by Tim Wilson. It is a lyrical, poetic portrait of Stephen Jenkinson’s work with dying people. Filmed over a twelve year period, Griefwalker shows Jenkinson in teaching sessions with doctors and nurses, in counselling sessions with dying people and their families, and in meditative and often frank exchanges with the film’s director while paddling a birch bark canoe about the origins and consequences of his ideas for how we live and die.
When: Sunday, March 12th (Exclusive full-day session! 10am-3pm)
Where: Malibu, CA 90265, United States (Private residence t.b.d. closer to the date.)
A good death is everyone's right. The idea makes no sense in a culture that doesn’t believe in dying at all. Grief is the radical etiquette needed by a death phobic, grief illiterate time. Dying is the fulfillment, not the end, of life. From a young age we see around us that grief is mostly an affliction, a misery that intrudes into the life we deserve, a rupture of the natural order of things, a trauma that we need coping and management and five stages and twelve steps to get over.
About the Book: With lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well.
Here’s the revolution: What if grief is a skill, in the same way that love is a skill, something that must be learned and cultivated and taught? What if grief is the natural order of things, a way of loving life anyway? Though addicted to security, comfort and managing uncertainty, this culture could learn to honor, teach and live grief as a skill, as vital to its personal, community and spiritual life as the skill of loving. In a time like ours, grieving is a subversive act. Dying can be – and must be — the fullest expression and incarnation of what you’ve learned by living.
How you die is the proving ground, the cradle, and the grave for every conviction you may have about justice and mercy, about the meaning of life, about what love should look like and what it should do. Dying is not the end of wisdom, and wisdom is not exhausted by dying. Dying well is a spiritual obligation, and a moral obligation. If you love somebody, if you care about the world that’s to come after you, if you want somebody to be spared the lunacy of what you’ve seen, you’ve got to ‘die wise.’” This session begins to imagine another way of doing so.
What is Reckoning Live? Birthed from a podcast; nurtured through letters, community conversations, and a co-authored book, Reckoning (available HERE); now live and coming to reckon in community with you.
Join care activist Kimberly Ann Johnson and culture activist Stephen Jenkinson, two authors and teachers from different countries and different generations – one known for his work on death, the other known for her work on birth – for a truly alive, unrehearsed and unguarded reckoning and eldering in action. May these conversations, in troubled times, where elders are sparse, serve as some kind of a compass. Some possible topics of discussion include grief, heartbreak, spirit work, citizenship, elderhood and culture-making in a me first era.
When: Tuesday, March 14th (Door opens at 6:15pm/ Talk 7pm-8:30pm/ Book signing until 9:30pm)
Where: Corazón Performing Arts, 125 S Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290
When: Wednesday, March 15th (Door opens at 6:15pm/ Talk 7pm-8:30pm/ Book signing until 9:30pm)
Where: Santa Barbara, CA (Private residence t.b.d. closer to the date. As the event is being generously hosted in a private home, the number of seats is limited. We hope to build community to support larger events in the future, so if you can't get your hands on a ticket, stay tuned for next time or venture down the road to Malibu or up the road to San Luis Obispo!)
When: Thursday, March 16th (Door opens at 6:15pm/ Talk 7pm-8:30pm/ Book signing until 9:30pm)
Where: King David’s Masonic Hall, 859 Marsh St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
When: March 17-19, 2023
(Sessions: Friday night @7:30pm, Saturday morning 3 hrs, Saturday evening 3hrs, Sunday morning until noon.)
Where: Mount Madonna, 445 Summit Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076
Join us for the first ever in-person weekend gathering around the topics of Birth & Death Among Us with Kimberly Ann Johnson and Stephen Jenkinson at beautiful Mt. Madonna, CA. We will encounter unanswerable questions and make space for the remembering of something we may have never experienced. If you feel called to wonder about culture making within orphaned traditions and your place in it all, this retreat might be a kind of landing place for you. This time together might just make us more human.
“Being born and dying are storms. They are bigger than us, and they are bigger than what we believe, they are deities of a kind. And it seems to me more than clear that they want to be held in some kind of regard, in their own right. And it seems to me that we should be learning their ways, instead of forming opinions about them. Being born and dying are storms, and they portion the gravitas of the times. ”
“I love the exchange between you two, it’s raw and open and alive in the moment. It brings me back to this moment, like hanging with my grandparents and their friends years ago. Hearing truth. Keep it going. I hope you’re inspiring others to ‘be here’.”
Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW, is an author, culture activist, ceremonialist, father and farmer. He teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, co-founded in 2010 with his wife Nathalie Roy. With Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work), he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is a former programme director in a major Canadian hospital and former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school. He is the author of several books including the award-winning Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, A Generation’s Worth: Spirit Work in a Time of Trouble, How It All Could Be and Money and the Soul’s Desires: A Meditation. Stephen is the subject of the National Film Board of Canada feature length film documentary, Griefwalker and Lost Nation Road is a glimpse behind-the-scenes of a soulful mystery train called Nights of Grief and Mystery. He continues to tour the world, with singer/ songwriter Gregory Hoskins, with their odes to wonder, love letters for the willingness to know endings. https://orphanwisdom.com/
Kimberly Johnson is an author, postpartum care activist, trauma educator, structural bodyworker and mother. A sought-after practitioner and lead authority in postpartum health, Johnson has been working hands-on in integrative women’s health and trauma recovery for more than a decade. She is the author of the recent Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power and Use it for Good as well as the early mothering classic, The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality. She is the host of the Sex Birth Trauma podcast, where her collaboration with Stephen Jenkinson first took root, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Vogue, New York Magazine’s The Cut, Harper’s Bazaar, Today.com and many more. https://kimberlyannjohnson.com/