Friday, October 9 , 2015, 1:45 pm | Fair 88º

Hospice of Santa Barbara Forming Group to Explore Having ‘A Year to Live’

By Kelly Kapaun for Hospice of Santa Barbara |

What would you do if you had one year to live? Based on Stephen Levine’s book, A Year to Live, Hospice of Santa Barbara will host a yearlong group open to all interested in the community, exploring how to live life more carefully, as if it was ending.

Participants will have the opportunity to intimately explore the life they are living and ways to enrich their life, by looking closely at life and death issues. Please bring your book to the group. Suzanne Retzinger, Ph.D., will be facilitating.

“We don’t often think about death until it’s upon us, or upon someone we love,” said Suzanne Retzinger, Ph.D., Hospice of Santa Barbara bereavement counselor and group facilitator. “When they tell you that you have a few months to live, there seems to be a lot to do. ‘A Year to Live’ is an opportunity to live our lives in more fully and mindfully, to increase our awareness of what matters most, to savor each moment and to change what we might regret.”

The group will follow a "syllabus" developed by Levine focusing on different assignments throughout the year. Assignments include reflections, mindfulness practice and guided meditation.

“We will review our lives with a foundation of gratitude and mindfulness, to heal that which can be healed, before it is no longer possible,” Retzinger said. “One goal is to reduce fear we may have by facing death rather than turning from it. We can learn to meet our living and dying with mercy.”

This ongoing group will be held on the first Friday of every month starting Friday, Feb. 7; enrollment closes after the first session. The group will meet from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Hospice of Santa Barbara, 2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100. There is no cost to attend.

For more information or to join, contact Soledad at Hospice of Santa Barbara at 805.563.8820 x110. This group requires registration prior to the first session and attendance to all sessions.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 700 children and adults every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on 11 local middle and high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.

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