TED Talk - "Not Whether, But How" - Brings Intention And Creativity To The End-Of-Life Experience

Dr. BJ Miller, Executive Director of San Francisco's Zen Hospice Project, Relates His Personal Experience Facing Death And Proposes Ideas For Living Well, Not In Spite Of Death, But Because Of It -- Now Available for Viewing at TED.com

Sep 10, 2015, 13:09 ET from Zen Hospice Project

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Discussion about the value of human centered healthcare – through to the end-of-life experience – is gaining critical momentum across America. From peace of mind to personal and institutional cost considerations, this expanding dialogue is top of mind for a large part of our population as the Silver Tsunami of Baby Boomers – viewing themselves through the prism of their own parents' end-of-life decisions (or lack thereof) – begin to age into a system where dissatisfaction pervades the conversation.

Actively engaged in this dialogue by passion, profession – and personal experience, BJ Miller, MD, Executive Director of San Francisco's Zen Hospice Project, makes the case that it's time to "design a better ending" – through approaches to care that allow life to be well-lived to the end; through the aesthetic realm in ways that preserve dignity and nurture the senses; and through changes to healthcare systems and policies. His revelations are founded in personal experience – an electrical shock sustained while a Princeton undergraduate nearly cost him his life. This same experience informs Miller's extraordinary gift for connecting with people in his palliative and end-of-life care work.

In his TED Talk, delivered at this year's conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Miller presents the case for a human-centered model of end-of-life care. Within this space, there is room to bring intention and even creativity to the experience of dying. Responding to his premise of "Not Whether, But How," Miller explores such ideas as creating places and supports where healthcare becomes about making end-of-life more wonderful rather than less horrible; and shifting our perspective on death through awareness, aesthetics and acceptance.

These measures, Miller suggests, "make room — both physical and psychic space — for life to play itself all the way out. Dying – while surely never easy – doesn't have to be as hard as it has become." 

"Having heard more than 200 talks at three TED conferences in the past two years, I can truly say that none has stayed with me more piercingly and offered more wisdom and clarity and depth, all delivered with rare humanity and calm, than the address I was privileged to hear from BJ Miller. With each passing sentence, I felt I was being ushered into a grounded, lucid, compassionate and possibly life-changing perspective on dying, living and all that sits at the center of our existence," said novelist and essayist, Pico Iyer.

TED will host a live Facebook Q&A with Dr. BJ Miller on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. pacific daylight time. Find the Q&A link at www.facebook.com/TED.

View the talk here, http://www.ted.com/talks/2325

ABOUT ZEN HOSPICE PROJECT, www.zenhospice.org
The Zen Hospice Project (ZHP) changes the experience of dying by creating space for living. Based on contemplative traditions and its nearly three decades of hands-on experience, ZHP's mindful caregiving model is the foundation of its work, delivered in its own residential hospice and through institutional partnerships, and is the basis of its educational programs serving clinicians, professional and informal caregivers, and administrators nationwide. Zen Hospice Project is based in San Francisco and is a 501c3 organization.

Video - http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/BJTed_90sec.mp4

SOURCE Zen Hospice Project