Unexpressed feelings weigh us down, take up space in our hearts, and keep us separate from each other and from the quiet, sacred space in our hearts. As much care as we take in pregnancy awaiting the birth of a new life, so too must we prepare for our ending days as another new beginning approaches. Our experience can be both luminous and peaceful only when we allow light to shine in the darkest corners of our being, freeing the spirit to fully embrace each breath in a state of unconditional presence.
Dying is part of living; every breath we take from the time we are born leads eventually to the last. In Western culture, we are not well versed in the natural process of dying — treating it like a medical event or something to be avoided in conversation. Many people often behave as if they will live forever and have great difficulty accepting their mortality.
William Spear helps people learn how to live deeply meaningful, fulfilling lives. He empowers those with whom he works to make conscious choices to remain healthy while acknowledging the reality of a time when life as we know it will come to an end. His rare ability to help people live well is richly complemented by his unique skills to help them die well. He counsels and shepherds those at the end of life to pass in peace, restored in ways their broken bodies cannot be.
Spear’s profound compassion is not his only resource as a caregiver and counselor. More than forty years ago, he co-founded one of the country’s first suicide prevention hotlines and free clinics, working directly with hospitals, physicians and intensive care personnel to address the needs of dying patients. In the late 1970′s, he trained with inspiring teachers such as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of the classic On Death and Dying in which she outlined her famous model for understanding the process of grieving. In the early 1980′s, he had the opportunity to study alongside Tibetan lama Sogyal Rinpoche and many other experts in palliative and hospice care and has since worked extensively in the field of palliative care with hospice volunteers and other caregivers as well as cancer patients and their families, death row inmates and victims of disasters helping each to come to terms with the end of life.
With almost four decades of experience as a macrobiotic teacher and counselor, Spear brings a profound, lifelong dedication to health and healing that results in a special gift to help the dying complete their lives, resolve their feelings, and birth peacefully into their final breath.
Spear’s approach not only includes the psychological and spiritual, but draws from an excellent understanding of the whole body processes affecting the entire circumstance [of dying] as well as the dynamics of the related social structure — be it family or friends.
- H. Robert Silverstein, M.D.; Medical Director of the Preventive Medicine Center in Hartford, CT; Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
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William’s breadth of knowledge of the sociology and psychology of dying is remarkable. He has a wealth of clinical experience working with dying people. He brings to his work extraordinary sensitivity, years of study, an appropriate self-confidence, and excellent organizational capacities. As a physician working within the medical model to remediate our attitudes towards an acceptance for the dying process, I appreciate and warmly endorse William’s work and efforts.
- Harry W. “Cap” Easterly III, MD. Richmond, VA
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Doctors are trained to think and not feel. We are unable to deal with loss and, therefore, suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The chance to express feelings, cope with loss, heal, and enjoy practicing medicine while caring for people needs to be a part of our training. THE PASSAGE workshop provides that opportunity.
- Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.; Author of Love, Medicine and Miracles; Peace, Love and Healing
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One of Mr. Spear’s strongest assets is his extremely large fund of knowledge about health and well-being… far above that of most non-MD health-care professionals.
- Robert Lang, M.D.; Associate Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Nursing; Medical Director, Osteoporosis Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Hamden, CT
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Those of us who serve as health-care professionals will benefit greatly from studying with this gifted teacher.
- Martha Clayton Cottrell, M.D.; Medical Consultant, Boston Univ. School of Medicine, Project on AIDS, Stress & Nutrition