157. The Art of Dying Well with Katy Butler

Our culture shies away from talking about death. But Katy Butler, author of The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life, argues we have an obligation to think about what constitutes a well-supported death. In this episode, Yael embarks on a thought-provoking, important, and timely conversation with Katy. In their discussion, Katy shares ways we can honor the death process relationally, practically, medically, emotionally, and spiritually, both for ourselves and those we love. 

Listen and Learn:

  • How we can honor death in the time of Covid-19
  • What it means to die well
  • The value of longevity versus quality of life
  • What is slow medicine?
  • Ways to infuse sanctity, even in a hospital room
  • What is an advance directive?
  • The importance of cleaning up our emotional legacy
  • Using ritual in virtual ways (The Bathing and Honoring Ritual)
  • How we can cultivate hope when prolonging life becomes tenuous

About Katy Butler: 

Katy Butler

Katy Butler is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, and bestselling author. Katy Butler has written two groundbreaking books about the end of life and is a thought leader in the national movement for medical reform. Her newest book is The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life. Her first book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, a national bestseller, was named one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2013 by the New York Times.

Katy’s writing has appeared in The New YorkerMother JonesScientific American, AtlanticTricyclePsychotherapy NetworkerBest American Essays, and Best American Science Writing. She has taught writing at Esalen Institute in Big Sur and at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. A Buddhist, Katy was lay-ordained by the Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh.


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Episode 157