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Deborah Merwin, co-owner of Feelin’ Good Health Food Store in Destin and holistic health counselor, will speak at the March 16 meeting of the Emerald Coast Meditation Society. Her topic will be "Deathbed Doula."

The meeting will start with a 30-minute meditation at 6:30 p.m. at 480 N. Co. Hwy. 393, Santa Rosa Beach, one-half mile north of Hwy. 98. The ECMS follows no religion and does not charge.

Says Merwin, “We live in a death phobic culture that encourages us to avoid and deny the reality of our own death. By ignoring the fact that death is a natural part of life we are left unprepared to face one of the most profound and sacred moments in the human experience.” Merwin has been a deathbed doula for her family and friends since 1984.

A deathbed doula is aware of her own inevitable death and uses hands-on traditions that keep her fully present and compassionately connected to the dying journey of others. She offers practical guidance and emotional support to anyone interested in thinking about, talking about, or preparing for their own future end-of life needs, says Merwin.

She adds, “The human experience is a journey through multiple realities that can bring both understanding and confusion to the seeker of personal truth. What St. John of the Cross called 'the dark night of the soul' is often a transformational phase that can literally destroy every significant core belief that was used to establish the foundation of an individual's life.

“Those of us who survive the madness and chaos of such a painful destruction of self-identity will eventually reinvent ourselves so that we are able to embrace our lives anew.” Merlin will share her own recent experience of slowly breaking through the chrysalis of old perceptions of self, and then will open the group to discussion.

Merwin is an interfaith minister, a holistic health counselor, an end-of-life consultant, a home funeral guide, an after-death caregiver, an alternative burial advocate, and a local hospice volunteer. She is an active member of the global "death positive" movement and the founder of The Deathbed Society.

The ECMS meets on the first and third Thursday of every month except July and August. Anyone who needs meditation instruction should arrive by 6:15 p.m.For information contact Nancy James, at Or send a Facebook message.

Facebook page: Deathbed Doula by Deborah Merwin after meditation
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