Through the practice of life regressions and my experience during and after the Nepal earthquake in April 2015, I became interested in death, loss and grief. When I returned to Spain for the celebration of my brother’s wedding, I needed some time to settle down and reconnect with my roots, a time to integrate a 2 and a half year trip through Europe, Morocco and Asia and to settle everything lived during my stay in Nepal, where I dedicated all my energy, time and love to supporting young people who lost their homes and/or family after the Nepal earthquake.
After several months of living in Seville I received a call from a stranger, offering to meet in order to explain a community development project with people who are facing the end of their life. When I inquired more about the project I felt as it came from heaven directly for me, and this is how I started being part of it, and the project part of me.
Curiously, the day I started working with the project I also started the Training in the Cultivation of Compassion, an 8-week program to integrate tools to deal with our own and / or others’ suffering. That day I knew that someday in the future, I would become a compassionate instructor.
As time has passed I have found a vocation, something that vibrates in my heart: accompaniment during the end of life and death. I have realized the importance of this last final phase for our life, not only for those who leave, but also for those who remain; and death is really the great teacher.
The end of our life, in general, is a moment of reflection, of forgiveness, of closing portals and / or pending issues. But why waiting till the end of life to forgive, thank, value, close…?
Being aware of our mortality, having death integrated in our present moment, allows us to live a fuller and more present life.
Cuando regresé a España para la celebración de la boda de mi hermano, necesité un tiempo para asentarme y reconectar con mis raíces, para integrar un viaje de 2 años y medio por Europa, Marruecos y Asia y sobre todo para asentar todo lo vivido durante mi tiempo en Nepal, donde dediqué toda mi energía, tiempo y amor a apoyar a jóvenes que habían perdido su hogar y/o familia tras el terremoto de Nepal.
Después de varios meses de enraizamiento en Sevilla recibí una llamada de un desconocido, ofreciéndome cerrar una reunión para explicarme un proyecto de desarrollo comunitario con personas al final de vida.
Cuando indagué más sobre el proyecto sentí como si este propósito hubiera caído del cielo directamente para mí, y así es como me adentré a ser parte de él, y él parte de mí.
Being in contact with illness and death has taught me that the most important thing is to be present here and now, that the future does not exist, that our final day can be today, or tomorrow, that we must live each day as if it were the last , trying to be satisfied with ourselves every night when we go to sleep, because each night is a little death, a disconnection from our ego and each day is a gift, a new opportunity to continue learning to love and be happy.
During these years I also continue with my permanent study on death and contemplative accompaniment in the face of suffering, through practical meditative readings. I have had the privilege of learning from great people who have become my teachers such as Frank Ostaseski, professor of Buddhism, international lecturer and leader in care in the processes of dying; Joan Halifax, Zen Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, caregiver with long experience in accompanying dying people, or Rafael Mota, palliative care doctor with more than 20 years of experience and president of the Spanish Society of Care Palliative of Spain.
I feel that promoting compassion and assimilation of our own impermanence is, today, urgently needed, in a society where we turn our backs to on death, where we do not want to face suffering face to face and, consequently, the fact that we are not prepared to face something like death, which will come for everyone.
“Everything ends, nothing is permanent“, is the great truth of nature, integrating this truth is the key to happiness, even more in difficult times. Integrating and transmitting this great teaching is part of my learning journey with accompaniment at the end of life and death. Shanti.
Descalzos al Bosque means Barefoot in the Forest which is the union of souls´ result, the fusion between the feminine and the masculine and the alliance between the earth and the sky.
In this fusion, Shanti contributes with the spiritual work through Yogic, Tibetan and Vedic practices, and Ivan contributes to the transformation work through the practices that connects with nature.