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A Compassionate Death

Emily Nelson
Founder of Be A Tree Cremation

Lao Tzu says "The words of truth are always paradoxical.” Nowhere is that more true than in death. The great paradox is that there is no life without death. Many of us spend our lives avoiding that deep truth from fully sinking in. We live as though death will never knock at our doors, which paradoxically doesn’t allow us to fully live our lives.

The implications of resisting death are vast, but one is very simple: we don’t die with compassion and choice. 

Approximately 80% of Americans would prefer to die at home but in reality, 80% actually die at a hospital or nursing home. If we premeditate our death, we can vastly increase the likelihood that we die where we want and under the conditions we want. We can tell the people we love what we want and create the legal documentation to support those choices. 

We can’t stop at the dying process, either. What will happen to our bodies? If we don’t contemplate, document, and talk about this, we may end up defaulting to a choice that doesn’t align with our values. (More Here) 

We’re thrilled to bring the conversation on death to Karuna at our upcoming online course, Karuna Live! A Compassionate Death: with The Death Wives and Be a Tree Cremation.

Over half of Americans are interested in green funeral options, but many end up with conventional burial or cremation because we don’t take the time to investigate other possibilities. First, it’s important to know that conventional burial and cremation are not compassionate choices for our earth. A fire cremation emits about as much C02 as a 600-mile car trip, while burial at most cemeteries requires a casket in a concrete vault, simply to keep the ground flat. To achieve this, we’re burning enough steel each year to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and enough concrete to build a highway from San Francisco to Portland. 

If being compassionate to the earth is important to us, there are other options like water cremation and natural burial which can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the death of our bodies and help us nurture the earth in the process.

Compassion and choice in death requires difficult conversations, and that’s where the skills Karuna Training teaches can be a tremendous support. Those conversations can be navigated with care and safety which leads to a deeper connection with ourselves and our loved ones.

We’re thrilled to bring the conversation on death to Karuna at our upcoming online course, Karuna Live! A Compassionate Death: with The Death Wives and Be a Tree Cremation. 

In this Karuna Live, we will explore:

  • A brief history of funeral and body care practices in our culture
  • Emerging green options and the possibility of home funerals
  • How to evaluate a choice that’s right for you


Save your spot and don’t miss out on this important conversation.

Article written by emily

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