I’ve been running ManTalks for almost a decade and I’ve met a ton of amazing people who can speak truthfully and bluntly. But no one speaks carries their truth as authentically as Stephen Jenkinson. I find a lot of what Stephen says is medicinal: you might not think it tastes great, but damn if it isn’t what you need to hear. This is a deep dive into why things are the way they are. Fear of submission, love of consumption, death-phobia, the commodification of trauma, endings, what the pandemic tried to tell us, and so much more.
This is from a series I produced recently called The Wisdom of Elders, featuring experts on elderhood and culture to discuss what an “elder” actually is, where we are as a species, how we got here, and where we’re headed. Basically, what the f*** happened?
Culture activist, teacher, and author, Stephen Jenkinson teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, co-founded with Nathalie Roy in 2010, convening semi-annually in Ontario, and in northern Europe. He has a Masters degree in Theology from Harvard University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Toronto. Apprenticed to a master storyteller when a young man, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, was a program director in a major hospital, and an assistant professor in a prominent medical school. He is also a sculptor and traditional canoe builder, whose house won a Governor General’s Award for architecture. Since co-founding Nights of Grief and Mystery with Gregory Hoskins in 2015, he has toured across North America, the U.K., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
His new book, A Generation’s Worth: Spirit Work While the Crisis Reigns, sets out to learn liveable answers. Dying and death, love and matrimony, money and soul, aging and elderhood, drawn through the eye of a pestilential needle: this is the spirit work, and that is the crisis. https://orphanwisdom.com/a-generations-worth-spirit-work-while-the-crisis-reigns
He is also the author of Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, the award-winning Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, Homecoming: The Haiku Sessions, How it All Could Be: A Workbook for Dying People and Those Who Love Them (2009), Angel and Executioner: Grief and the Love of Life (a live teaching from 2009), and Money and The Soul’s Desires: A Meditation. He is contributing author to Palliative Care – Core Skills and Clinical Competencies.
Stephen Jenkinson is also the subject of the feature-length documentary film Griefwalker, a portrait of his work with dying people, and Lost Nation Road, a shorter documentary on the crafting of the Nights of Grief and Mystery tours.
Connect with Stephen:
-Latest book: https://orphanwisdom.com/a-generations-worth-spirit-work-while-the-crisis-reigns
-Griefwalker documentary: https://www.nfb.ca/film/griefwalker/
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