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Movie Monday: Threshold Celebration

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I cannot believe how amazing my life is sometimes. This weekend, I rolled lazily out of bed after a night of dancing and excellent hang out time by the fire (to say good-bye to our amazing Skillbuilders. Moment. Of. Silence). I moseyed on up to the kitchen to fix my self some eats and then sauntered, tired and worn up to Taj II where I had the pleasure of attending the Threshold Celebration Symposium.

Here is a livestream of the event for ya, which helps to convey the amazingness of the vibe.

And voila, the symposium speakers for the Creating Community Connections around the End of life Journey, just in case you want to know more!

Cari Burdett

Cari Burdett (organizer, vocalist)

Cari Burdett is the inspiration behind this community event and is director of Lila Music Centre, where she leads the Threshold Singers and other music making joy.
The initial spark behind this celebratory symposium was to introduce the ‘Threshold choir’ to the larger community and to collaborate and meet others in the greater community who work with the end of life journey; as it can often seem like a lonely road to travel. As soon as the pieces started to come together, it was clear that there are many diverse and beautiful ways that one can find comfort and support for the end of life journey right here in the Cowichan Valley. It is very exciting that we are all coming together to inspire and support each other in this important and sacred work.
Cari leads the Threshold choir where people of all ages come together to enjoy the benefits of singing, to create harmony and pure joy, to experience singing for others in need whether at bedsides in the hospital, in care homes, for memorials and/or during vigils. Everyone is welcome to join the Threshold singers, all levels invited to come and share in the magic of singing. Cari is mother of three young beauties and performs in many styles from classical, to folk and improvisation. More information here www.joythroughmusic.com


Jan Alexander (Threshold Choir)

Jan is the director of two Threshold Choir singing groups, one on the Sunshine Coast (Sechelt), the other in Vancouver. Both choirs have been meeting for about two years and sing regularly for those who are sick or dying, or in need of deep nurturing & healing song. Jan brought this work to Vancouver, after singing for three years with the Threshold Choir in Santa Cruz, CA. She found the sacred songs and compassionate voices brought her profound healing and solace after the loss of both her mother and sister. Spirituality has always been one of Jan’s deepest inspirations, and this is evident in her work. She holds a Master of Arts in Creation Spirituality with Matthew Fox, additionally she’s had experience living in a women’s monastic community. In the past few years she has also had the opportunity to learn more about home funerals by attending two workshops in California with Jerrigrace Lyons of Final Passages. Besides the leading the choirs, Jan is passionate about her full-time work as a Teacher-Librarian in Vancouver public schools.


Chris Bertin (Musician, Moonrise Music, Instrument Maker)

weaves magic into his music and his hand built instruments. His journey as a musician began when he touched a drum for the first time 20 years ago and has taken him on a powerfully transformational journey all over this continent, having blended his unique percussive style to many musical genres; rock, folk, funk, jazz, world beat, and electronica; he now focuses more on music as a healing modality and brings this intention to any musical sharing he is involved with.
Chris lives in the Cowichan Valley with his wife Ali and their three beautiful children. He teaches and leads a percussion ensemble, Deep Percussion and often hosts events that are geared towards the healing and transformational power of music. His work can be seen at his website: www.moonrisemusic.ca


Elli Boray

Elli’s openness to the end of life journey is born out of her war experiences as a child and her ongoing relationship with her friends on the on the dementia wing. “They might not speak , or make sense , but their feelings are all there. Yes, they can love!” Her background in rituals includes both children and adults. Mandalas are part of her spiritual journey: “From LOSS to JOY and GRATITUDE …”


Susan Blackwood (Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant)

is a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant with Pathways Ceremony. Within her work she calls upon a wealth of knowledge and resources of ceremony to create a unique experience for her clients. Susan has worked in groups and individually to create a safe environment to mark and celebrate a rites of passage. She also is also an Integrative Energy Healing Practitioner living in Victoria, British Columbia. She has been involved in the Alternative Health and Healing field for over 20 years.


Stephen Faulkner (Home Care)

Stephen Faulkner was born and raised in NZ and received his medical degree from the University of Otago before moving to Canada in 1981. He has lived and worked as a family doctor in Duncan for 30 years but has recently semi retired for medical reasons. His interests over the years have included flying (he was a bush pilot in NZ), all areas of conventional health care (anaesthesia, obstetrics, emergency medicine, geriatrics, palliative care, aviation medicine, opening Duncan’s first Walk-in clinic), men’s health and spirituality, First Nations spirituality (especially the Cowichan longhouse traditions), natural building, the life and poetry of William Blake and exploring the nature of the human condition and human consciousness through poetry, music and walking in the woods.


Amy Hanson (Bodyworker & Vocalist)

Amy Hanson is a ARC Bodywork Therapist and Threshold Choir member. She has had twenty years experience bringing open understanding, revelation, clarity and peace to clients in many aspects of life. Her personal journey of grief began 25 years ago with the passing of her sister to cancer. It was a turning point and inspiration for her own healing. The arduous path of little support and perceived alienation developed in her a enduring compassion and understanding for those experiencing their own grief. Currently, she enjoys singing with the Threshold Choir at every opportunity and is passionate about offering deep healing sessions from her Shawnigan Lake home. www.AmyHansonBodywork.com


Gretchen Hartley (Cowichan Valley Exec. Dir.)

has worked with the Cowichan Valley Hospice as Executive Director for the past seven years. “It has been a privilege to be able to support the work of hospice volunteers as they companion people through their end of life and grief journeys. I am constantly awed by the heart and skill that Hospice volunteers bring to this precious work.”
Gretchen has an M.S.W. from Carleton University and before Hospice worked in services for women.


Ko Chen Hawkes (Art Therapist)

has been interested in this process of dying, “Crossing the Threshold” fo some time. Having participated in wakes, prepared the wake box with supplies and anticipated her Mother death’ she was determined to have this experience be as natural and harmonious as possible. Having taken care of her Mother for 7 years, when she passed this April at the age of 98 all the preparation came to fruition. The slide presentation is result of this experience.


Dorothy Heath (Healer, Vocalist)

is a local musician and healing arts practitioner. She plays improvisational inspirational flute and piano music and sings with the Threshold Choir. She is happy to offer comfort and support to people through music and song. In Corvallis, Oregon she worked for Hospice Services providing massage and included song and music in her sessions. She has recently opened Station Street Healing Arts with a team of other healing art practitioners in downtown Duncan. There she combines her love of music and art with other healing modalities, including Reiki, Massage, and Acupressure.


Rev. Elaina Hyde-Mills (Spiritual Care at CDH)

Elaina is professionally trained in ministry as a Hospital Chaplain and has been employed in Health Care for 20 years at a number of different hospitals. Her services are available to everyone as time permits. She is also an ordained priest of the Anglican church. Her job is not to persuade or to proselytize, but to practice deep active listening, so that the patient’s own spiritual strength is accessed, and the patient’s internal process of spiritual and emotional healing is activated, within the time available. She is also trained in various healing modalities: body and energy work, Healing Touch, Reiki, Anointing through Touch, Bereavement Counseling, Psychology, Counseling, as well as Christian healing practices. She acts as a liaison with the community spiritual and religious leaders to address patients’ spiritual and religious needs. She is the Chair of the Palliative Team at CDH.


Shelley Kuecks (Hospice)

is the Client Services Coordinator at Cowichan Valley Hospice Society. She did her volunteer training in 2006 and began working as staff in 2007. She was drawn to Hospice because she wanted to strengthen her awareness of death as a natural part of life…a part that must be acknowledged if one is to live fully. She has always been drawn to working with people and finds that being in the hospice setting gives her incredible fulfillment in that area, both in working with clients and with getting to know the amazing volunteers. She is the parent of two older teens who gives me plenty of practice with the communication skills I’m constantly learning.


Marnie Lamb (Bedside Singers)

Singing was an integral part of Marnie’s childhood through choirs at school, church, and summer camp. However as often happens when people grow up, she then lost touch with the musical thread of her life. After earning an Honour BA in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario in 1977, Marnie worked as a medical secretary in Ontario before moving to Victoria in 1998. She rediscovered her love of singing by joining the Gettin’ Higher Choir in 2000, and subsequently became a Victoria Hospice volunteer in 2005. Marnie was able to combine these two passions by co-founding the Songs of Passage bedside singing pilot project at Victoria Hospice in 2007. Since then, the Bedside Singers have become a well-respected member of the patient support team at Victoria Hospice.


Annette Lampson (Vocalist)

Annette lives in the Cowichan valley with her family with three children. She trained as a solo singer and conductor in Germany, and now works at Glenora Farm as a director for the Music Program for Adults with Special Needs, which includes a beautiful, perfoming Hand Bell Ensemble. She also runs courses in Choral Singing, teaches voice to all ages and, and gives performances in classical and folk styles. She is certified in Therapeutic Singing according to the School of Uncovering the Voice, and has sung at the passing of friends and family, and at memorial sevices. She is looking forward to sharing some songs that are very close to her heart.


Sara Marreiros (Vocalist)

Sara Marreiros is an inspiring singer who talents are known for her Fado singing, in her native language of Portuguese. Sara is active in collaborations using vocal improvisation as a tool to awaken the heart. Her singing initiatives with healing and singing for those in palliative care include singing in Sound Journeys events in Vancouver, singing with Laurel Murphy at the Callanish Society in Vancouver and most recently with Deep Listening – sound journeys with local Cowichan musicians. Sara Marreiros lives in the Cowichan Valley and is happy to share her voice in this event. www.saramarreiros.com


Pashta MaryMoon

Pashta MaryMoon (singing, Cindea)

is a 58 year old grandmother, whose background is in social activism and pastoral care. She is visiting clergy for hospitals (10 years) and federal prisons (20 years), and has training in general and sexual-abuse counselling. She is a graduate of the Justice Institute Mediation training, and presently training in ‘Aging and the law’/’end of life’ issues. Pashta is also singer/songwriter who originally (and wrote) for anti-war and social concerns demonstrations, and specific rites of passage. She was one of the co-founders of Songs of Passage (offering regular Bedside Singing to the Victoria Hospice unit), and then founded En~chanting Beyond to focus on supporting people who are dying outside the Hospice unit, birthing mothers, and people with dementia. Pashta is also developing a Death Midwifery Practice and a co-founder of Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives (CINDEA). She has been an active member of the Society of Friends since 1970; as well as being the Elder priestess of Kala-vi (Universalist Wicca). She has 30 years of experience in developing and leading personalized ceremonies for rites of passage including funerals/memorials/requiems.


Don Morris

serves as outreach director of the Green Burial Council in Canada.

His professional background includes body-centered psychotherapy, funeral directing and volunteer coroner and hospital chaplaincy work.

Don enjoys hiking, bicycling, photography and travel; his favorite destination – the Amazon rainforest where his dear spiritual family resides. Don believes we benefit when dying, death, human and natural ecology merge.


Adola McWilliam

Adola McWilliam (home vigil, ceremony, burial)

Born in Amsterdam 1933, Adola now lives on Glenora Farm which is part of the worldwide Camphill Community. She is a curative teacher, social therapist and a consultant for Waldorf schools. On Glanora Farm community members mostly pass away in their own house and the whole community holds a vigil for three days and nights. They keep a vigil box ready that can be lent out but the services do not extend to the wider community at this point. However, the public is invited to join in Christian Community funeral service and they are willing to give advice.


Massimo Pintus (Musician)

was born and raised in Sardinia, Italy. Massimo has been working with musical improvisation since 1997 exploring music and consciousness with trained musicians and ‘untrained’ musicians. In 2000, Massimo was a founding member of ‘Ghaun’, a music ensemble that explored musical improvisation with new music instruments. This inspired him to build and create his own musical instruments, which he is currently doing with www.gaiatoneinstruments.com. His instruments include hand forged and tuned metal works such as gongs, rods, glockenspiels and sound sculptures. He enjoys creating instruments designed for individuals and their specific needs and wishes whether for healing, work with children, performance, nature sculptures or meditation. Massimo lives in the Cowichan Valley with his three children and wife, where together they teach and make music at Lila Music Centre.


Marilyn Rummel (Harpist, composer, teacher, performer and music therapist)

studied music education, with flute as her main instrument, at Western Washington University, and taught in the Cariboo for many years. She began studying harp about 30 years ago, and has since studied harp in Canada and in Paraguay. After playing for the last months, and moments, of her mother’s life she pursued the idea of Therapeutic Harp, bringing Tina Tourin’s International Harp Therapy Program to Island Mountain Arts in Wells, BC. about 10 years ago.

Since moving to the Cowichan, Marilyn has become a busy teacher, composer, publisher and performer, and is looking forward to more time and opportunity to explore Therapy work with the harp.


Hazura Sangha (social worker, poet, multifaith support)

was born in Punjab, India, in a traditional SIKH family. He completed masters degree in Sociology in 1963 and immigrated to Canada in 1987 and worked in the Ministry of Social Services until 1996. In the wake of 9/11 episode, he worked in a Multifaith group through Duncan Intercultural Society. In 2002 Hazura was awarded the BC Multicultural award and Cowichan Valley Volunteer of the year in 2003. He is also the author of 3 punjabi poetry books.


Erica Schade (Green Burial Land Trust Conservation Project, O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE)

was Green Burial Project Assistant this last winter at O.U.R. ECOVILLLAGE. She had the pleasure of working with The Land Conservancy of BC and The Green Burial Council, in the planning and opening ceremony of the Commemorative Conservation Scattering Grounds at O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE. She continues to be an advocate of all matters Green – including Land Conservation and sustainable end of life practices. When she isn’t involved in Community Projects or Politics, Erika can be found honing her artpreneurial skills – with her most recent en-devour being to design an Eco-friendly Jewelry Collection. www.erikalaurendesign.com


Alison Smith (Palliative Home Care Coordinator)

has been a nurse for over 35 years. She graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with diplomas in both Psychiatric and Registered Nursing. After working in a number of hospitals in BC, Scotland and New Zealand, Alison decided that she would like to venture into nursing in the community, so she enrolled at the University of Victoria and obtained a degree in nursing. She then headed to an “Outpost Nursing Station” in Northern BC. In 1986, she returned to Vancouver Island, having obtained employment with the Ministry of Health (now Vancouver Island Health Authority) in Home Care Nursing. It was here she felt I had found her calling. For the past ten years, she has worked at the Palliative Care Coordinator for Home & Community Care.


KaaSay Nancy Watters, MA, CCC (Therapist)

is a member of the Wooshkitan Eagle clan of Southeast Alaska, as well as a psychotherapist, vocalist, Reiki Master and sound therapist in private practice. In 2005 she founded the Sacred World Song project so that people could experience the healing power of music and world chant. Recently she has been using the pure, penetrating tones of Alchemy quartz crystal singing bowls, blended with her improvised vocals, to create soothing, heart-opening music that brings deep relaxation. She offers bedside singing, private sound therapy sessions, workshops and concerts through http://nancywaters.com.


Ted Wright (Bopoma Music)

Ted Wright’s love for Shona music began with Marimba Muzuva in 1993. He has been a teacher of marimba, mbira, chipendani and gumboot dancing for many years, organizes the annual Zimbabwean music/dance gathering Nhemamusasa North (held annually at O.U.R. Ecovillage), and teaches workshops, school groups, and ongoing classes as director of Bopoma on Vancouver Island. He has travelled to Zimbabwe three times, studying and performing with many of Zimbabwe’s top traditional musicians. During his time in Zimbabwe Ted played the mbira – the instrument of the ancestral spirits – at spiritual ceremonies and gained a firsthand view of how the spirits of the dead are integral in the communities of the living.


Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.