Melanie Sheckels is a registered nurse and a death, grief and trauma educator/guide, helping hundreds of humans move from fear and freeze into possibility and ease. Melanie founded ‘Threshold Doula’ in 2019 after 7 years as a cardiac and hospice nurse, helping people navigate the healthcare system and dying process with greater understanding and confidence. In this episode, Melanie shares about her mother’s passing which led to stepping into this leadership. How the Western medical system relates to the dying process (and an alternative approach for regret-free transition), a reframe for ‘legacy’ and our part in the wider web of life, and ways to navigate expected and unexpected deaths. For links and show notes go to: cheladavison.com/podcast.
Listen in as they explore:
[00:04:01] Melanie relays her ‘Why’ story – her personal experience of her Mother’s passing – which played an integral role in her stepping into leadership work as a death doula as well as a death, grief and trauma educator and guide. She speaks to the conversations with her Mother regarding consent in her dying process, which allowed for her Mother to have a passing in the knowing that Melanie knew exactly what she needed and was willing to consent to. She describes how this experience created a profound shift in their previously strained relationship – allowing for deep healing and forgiveness.
[00:11:51] The cultural knee-jerk reaction of ‘extending life as priority’, how the Western medical system relates to the dying process, and how this may get in the way of having a peaceful regret-free transition.
[00:14:38] How modern human culture has created an illusioned separation from the cycle of life, and how nature can help us connect back to our place in it.
[00:20:45] Melanie’s legacy journal offering that can help us to connect to our deep inherent mattering. Head here to check it out!
[00:23:20] The possibility of reframing the capitalist, western view of our legacy and the ripples of our part in the wider web of life. Melanie shares a story of a man she was tending to at end-of-life, and how this reframing to a cyclical legacy allowed for a peaceful transition.
[00:31:17] How connecting to our own mortality, as well as practicing receiving care ourselves are key capacities for those who are doing death work in the World.
[00:35:36] Chela shares a personal story of her Mother-in-laws passing, how it was one of the most connected experiences of her life and how that experience guides her life in new ways.
[00:38:47] The ancestral healing and opportunity for connection that opening ourselves up to receiving care and being the carer at end-of-life can provide.
[00:40:50] How to navigate the healing process of unexpected deaths, or deaths without a sense of connected completion.
[00:49:30] Melanie shares some of the ways of working with her – including her offerings ‘Cry Club’ and ‘Death Jam’ – as well as where you can find more from her.
[00:56:11] How Melanie’s way of relating to the medical system is her current leadership edge, and her hopes to create more possibility for a sacred non-medical death where it’s happening.
More from Melanie
Head to Threshold Doula to sign up for the seasonal newsletter and receive your free download of the Future Self Legacy Journey, a guided meditation to connect you with your soul’s most potent, coherent essence & reveal the wisdom of your life’s journey. This is an epic tool for unpacking your legacy, navigating an existential reckoning, or beginning your end of life care planning in a resourced, life-affirming way.
This journey will help you to get clarity on your needs and priorities as you begin the practical work of end of life care planning, but the real magic of legacy work is in its power to awaken you to your power, purpose, and pleasure.
Want to dive deeper into legacy work? Check out the 30 day Legacy Journal, full of reflections, prompts, and exercises to connect deeply to the truth of your mattering and cultivate the seeds of your legacy through acts of devotion, play, service and celebration.
Want to explore these topics together in a resourced community of beloved mortal beings? Join the next Death Jam live over zoom 2/19 3-5pm CST.
As a special gift to What is Leadership listeners, use the discount code LEAD25 for 25% off of the Legacy Journal or entry to Death Jam.
Melanie Sheckels is an RN (registered nurse) and a death, grief, and trauma educator and guide who has helped hundreds of humans move from fear and freeze into possibility and ease. Her end of life doula practice, Threshold Doula, was founded in 2019 after she had spent 7 years as a cardiac nurse and a hospice nurse. As a doula, Melanie offers advocacy and guidance that helps people navigate the healthcare system and dying process with greater understanding and confidence. As a speaker and educator, she helps people have meaningful conversations about death and loss in order to foster the most peaceful, regret-free lives possible. Her clients include families, community members, and caregivers who have experienced profound loss that has made a significant impact on their lives. She believes that death is a sacred rite of passage, not a medical event. Even amidst great loss and difficulty, we each contain an inherent, unbreakable blueprint of health and wholeness that we may return to with deep, consistent care and connection.
Find Melanie here
IG – @theshold.doula
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/threshold.doula
Website – thresholddoula.com