The Last Adventure of Life
The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor
Findhorn Press, 2008. 263 pages. ISBN 9781844091379
This is a collection of inspirational stories, poetry, scripture, prayers, and resources. These pieces come from all walks of life to help the reader acknowledge the unity and interconnectedness of all. It has been aptly called “a book for healing and prayer.” People who may especially appreciate this book are:
- Individuals who are preparing for the mystical and transformational process of death, and their family members and friends
- Hospice workers and volunteers who deal with death and dying on a regular basis
- Bereaved persons dealing with a death, or with any major transitions in their lives
- Those spiritual seekers who are waking up to the fragility of material things and desiring to tune in to their spiritual nature
- Baby boomers with aging parents who live longer but often are dealing with chronic illnesses that debilitate or handicap them
Because Maria’s work in spiritual and bereavement care with hospice honors the interconnectedness of all things, this book has a universal perspective and appeal. Anyone interested in the mystical Oneness of All could appreciate it; it is also likely to assist those desiring to go deeper spiritually. This book includes inspirational stories, poetry, scripture, prayers, and guided meditations. It also has chapters on grief and relaxation/healing tools, and a wealth of reference material. It is a “treasure trove of hope and healing,” reframing the experience of death as a new and exciting chapter in life.
I loved reading around in your book, The Last Adventure of Life. It is so chock-full of resources and prayers and stories. I am reading things out of order and am currently really enjoying the chapter on Trust. Beautifully written.
It is skillful advice from a revered hospice worker who speaks from the deep experience of a true heart.
This is the most genuine, information-rich, readable, and hopeful treasury of reflections on living and dying I have had the pleasure of reading, written by a seasoned hospice counselor with the melodic name of Maria Dancing Heart, whom I suspect is actually two parts angel and one part spiritual counselor/hospice worker. Like the author’s moniker, the poetry, stories, prayers, meditations, resources, sample teachings, inspirational readings, and support for the “last adventure of life” in these pages dance with love and compassion—and always reframing the experience of death to one of transformation. …
If there were a master manual for living, this book would be first on the required reading list.
As a seasoned Hospice Social Worker, I have read countless textbooks, nonfiction books, references and novels about death and the dying experience. When I picked up Maria Dancing Heart’s book, The Last Adventure of Life, I knew I was meant to read it. It felt good in my hands. Her warmth and support radiated off every page. The volume of compiled wisdom and information that this special book contains will support and serve anyone who lives with death and dying.
As a professional the book sensitized me. As a human being it expanded my faith and offered me comfort. I said to myself “Wouldn’t it be great to meet this author!” Little did I know, when I was a Guest Speaker at a local seminar some time later, the author would be in the audience! She came up to me afterwards and introduced herself. She was just as compassionate, wise and wonderful as the book led me to believe she was. I don’t know if this is a testimonial for her book or for her, but either way she makes life – and the last adventure of it – better. It is a privilege to know Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund and to have read her book.
In looking through your book, I see there are many marvelous sections to share as reflections with our staff. We will enjoy taking turns reading them to each other. I know we will learn from what you offer. It is always wonderful to know others are looking to improve end of life care within our culture. I look forward to gaining insight from your vast experience.
My 18 year old daughter died in a car accident in July and I have been seeking solace in books to try and heal. This book is one of a couple of the best books I have in my library that are my favorites and that I find myself giving away to others to help them heal as well. I found Maria’s book last month just perusing though a new age bookstore and read it in a day. It is such a lovely, calming and inspring book all at once. It is a gift of knowledge and peace that has been a blessing in my journey to find peace. I am looking forward to reading Maria’s other book, starting today since they arrived together.
I am utterly grateful to Maria Dancing Heart for her wisdom to listen between the spaces of stillness as the beauty of the universe answers our prayers for the dying…
The book is lovely … strong, loving, practical. … It resonates deeply with me and I am honored to have been able to share in its birth in a small way.
The Last Adventure of Life is phenomenal. You’ve written a heart-warming, inspiring, informative book that fills an important void. This book carries a vital message and it deserves to be published. I would be honored and delighted to be the literary agent for this outstanding book project.
I have searched through many books to use as a text for my “Death & Dying, Life & Living” class. I sought to go beyond dry, sterile, pedantic and information crammed books which were ultimately fear based. I chose The Last Adventure of Life because it is reader friendly, alive, a resource and repository of hope, kindness, and love.
I have found Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund’s book The Last Adventure of Life very helpful just to pick up and read any place in it. A supportive resource of understanding, guiding experience and calming love. A positive guide for trouble shooting what’s happening to my wearing out body.
Maria Dancing Heart has expertly combined the word of God, her career experiences working with hospice, and many stories and poems from a large selection of authors and individuals to put together this deep, meaningful, and informational book.
We just found out my Father has lung cancer, in the lymph nodes, and on his liver… I’ve been reading The Last Adventure of Life every day for a month now. God put it in my hands! Friday night, when my father told me, I didn’t flinch. I read him the story about Judgement (old man and white horse) and his eyes lit up. That is how we will deal with this illness! Thank you so much for your book. I was prepared and unafraid.
I have been asking God and seeking understanding about death since the painful loss of my mother and sister from breast cancer. Her book is a trasure trove of richness not just about grief, loss, and the dying, but about life itself. To receive such goodness and guidance causes me to rejoice in God’s mysterious ways. The door has opened and His conduit of love comes forth page after page of Maria’s book through her spiritual experiences with hospice patients. I am forever grateful for this valuable resource of information and Maria’s gift to humanity.
The Most Important Day of Your Life
The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready?
Bridge to Dreams, 2010. 102 pages. ISBN 9780975293218
In Buddhist thought, the day you die is considered the most important day of your life. The moment of your death is the culmination of your entire life; you want to be at the highest vibration possible in that moment so that you can move on to the highest vibration possible on the Other Side.
Maria Hoaglund’s second book, The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready?, will help you get ready for your death. You will learn about some of the best kept secrets of hospice and how you might go deeper spiritually. You will learn how expansive your life is and how lovingly, creatively, and graciously you might live it. And who knows? You just might decide–as the Celtic way suggests–to die before you die, so that when you finally let go of your earthly life, you’ll realize that it’s not an “end,” but simply a transition into a whole new way of being!
Maria has written a book that is guaranteed to open up conversations about end-of-life issues. Using stories and anecdotes, she takes us through anxiety and fears about death and dying with humor and meditation exercises to help not just when we are dying but long before the thought even enters our minds. She compares her hospice work to a near-death experience in slow motion– how she has come to see the light through being with the dying, and ends the book with 20 questions you’ve always wanted to ask a hospice counsleor.
Once again, Maria Dancing Heart has written a heartfelt and inspiring book about befriending death. Her stories and learned wisdom from years as a hospice counselor draw us into the beauty, mystery, and light of the ultimate passage of life: dying. Of the multitude of treasures that live within this slim volume, perhaps the most impactful is its contribution to the wave of awakening consciousness. Specifically, the veils of taboo and silence around death and dying that are held so dearly in this culture drop away effortlessly through the author’s words, and we are uplifted into reverence and joy for life itself–in all of its variations and conditions. And the more we can say yes to life, the more we can say yes to the most important day of our life.
Death Is a Part of Life!
We work so hard in our society today to ignore death – to push it away – to deny that it could happen to us or to any of our loved ones. We go to doctors and ask what more can you do to help me, to keep me “alive.”
Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund has a wonderful new book out. The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? is a little book, easily read, and yet full of powerful reminders that death is a part of life. As a spiritual director, I found good suggestions of how I can be present with people who are facing death. And we all face death! So there are also ways I can be more present to my own life.
Each chapter has exercises to give the reader new ways of looking at this important day of our life. And each chapter has a little bit of humor. We need to laugh at death, not just fear it.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is walking with someone in the last days of his/her life – whether that is your parent, a member of your congregation, a client, a loved one. This book is for you to help you be more present to the now in a positive way. It will help you to be a loving witness on this important journey called life, that includes death.
Click here for a review by Ann Fonfa, founder of the Annie Appleseed Project.