How to Experience Life and Death without Running from Either – The Story of My Dog Josie

My dog, Josie (beagle), the star of many of my youtube videos, died on Thursday, February 26, 2015. We mercifully put her to sleep after her long battle with cancer and other diseases, which were greatly affecting her heart and liver.

Early that morning, my husband called me with distress in his voice, “Josie collapsed, you need to come home.” She was doing her usual stubborn refusal to come inside when my husband called her name. As he walked towards the desert sand outside our backyard, he watched her collapse. I’m sure it scared him. I could hear the fear in his voice. I came home quickly and we both took her to the vet. Almost immediately the vet suggested putting her down. He said she might have a week left but it would be a tough week for her. Before we put her down, we wanted to give her a great last meal, the kind she loved but couldn’t have most of her life – a greasy cheeseburger and fries. After walking her to a nearby fast food place, we watched her gulp it down as best she could with her energy so low. She seemed to love it!

Back at the Vet’s office after her last supper, they took her into the back to give her a strong sedative. As they brought her back, she was completely limp and in a dazed state of what probably felt to her like total relaxation. As the doctor shot her full of the drugs that would end her life, tears were rolling down our eyes. We watched her take her few last, very short breaths and then she was gone.

Having gone through so much death in this last few years (with the passing of my mother, grandmother and then, before that, several good friends), I felt open to the grief. I knew that just jumping back into work would have been a way to push it back down. But I’ve worked with many people who suppressed grief for decades, only to suffer long term effects. Instead of going back to work, I drove to a quiet place and cried and kept attention in my body and throat, resting with the waves of sadness, which seemed to fill up the entire universe, and then dissipate back into the calm, peaceful space of the moment.

As the waves began to subside and I returned to work, I saw ghost images flashing everywhere. I would see Josie everywhere I went – at work, at home. In these moments, you could say that it was mindfulness, as I watched each image come and go. But the experience of it was not a practice. It was just seeing my girl Josie flash in my awareness in the same way she used to do when she was alive. Maybe it’s the brains way of discharging grief or even celebrating her memory.  Every time a wave of sadness would come up, I would bring attention directly into it, riding each wave out until it fell back into the ocean of peace. The waves continued for the next day, with long stretches of a deep, inner/outer peace between them. This was the same way I experienced the grief of my mother’s passing last October.  It’s like the waves are just like these precious family members or pets.  They come, they are welcomed and loved, and then they go, leaving no trace – only a deep peace, acceptance and love that cannot truly be put into words.

There is something powerfully freeing and healthy about grieving consciously and openly and not running from it in any way. It would have been so easy to medicate or cover up those waves of grief by distracting myself with work or even food or some addictive substance. But none of that made sense. Feeling the grief fully was the only thing that made any sense at all.

Grief is really just love, disguised as sadness and loss. It is showing us that the universe and our interconnected lives within it are held together by love. Love is the very foundation of human life and our relationships with each other and our beloved animals, and even with all sentient beings if our heart is open enough to love that deeply.

Once again, I have seen that the line between life and death is really no line at all. The moment of breath and the moment of no breath have no real separation between them. This is why today I celebrate the passing of my good friends, my mother, my grandmother and now my baby girl “Josie.” I’m glad for them to have found the deepest peace in death. Our loved ones never really leave. We know them through our thoughts, emotions and sensations while they are living. And upon their deaths, we still know them in this same way. In that way, they never truly die.

Death is nothing to be afraid of. Grief is nothing that needs to be avoided. It is merely showing us how much we are capable of love –

big, big love – big enough to fill the universe. Big enough to include the life and death of all forms. Big enough to include all the thoughts, emotions and sensations that arise with each of those forms. Big enough to include the death of our own selves, without fear.

Dear Friends – Live today as if you will never die. You won’t. Just ask Josie! She is probably running all around earth now sniffing everything she didn’t get to sniff while she here on earth with us and loving it all! And even if she is not doing that, my thoughts tell me that this is what she is doing. And that’s the only way I can experience Josie in death, just as it was the only way I could experience her in life.

May you rest in peace, during life and death, with a love so big that your heart can’t handle it, so big that it breaks when you face the death of those you love, so big that you grieve fully and consciously when they die, and then move onto experiencing your own life and death fully and consciously.

"Working with Dan has been nothing short of transformational. His open heart, honesty about his personal experience and permission to be real and not hide have helped me unlock those qualities in myself. And that has been a total game changer. I've been truly blessed, not only to have him as my KI Facilitator, but also as my mentor. Without a doubt, working with him has helped me to show up authentically, helped sharpen my tools and made me a better facilitator than I would've been on my own. I can't recommend him enough."
Darby Totten
Certified KI Facilitator

Dan McLintock is a Certified Facilitator, Trainer and the Co-Developer of the Kiloby Inquiries method/approach the New Model of Recovery along w Scott Kiloby. 

A Jacksonville, Florida native, Dan graduated Flagler College in 2004 with B.A. in Theatre Arts and English Literature and has played music professionally in bands for over 20 years. But his true passion lies in sharing the context, possibility and practicality of healing, awakening and release. 

Dan has worked one-on-one with clients in and out of the Kiloby Center since 2017 and has an unconditionally loving and earnest approach to healing trauma, dissolving the drivers of addiction/suffering and unhooking long-held toxic beliefs about ourselves, others and the world at large. 

He’s also worked intensively, side-by-side with Scott Kiloby for the past three years to develop the transformative tools of the Kiloby Inquiries as well as the principles and approach of the “New Model of Recovery” rooted in unconditional love and non-judgment. Much of this approach was borne out of Scott and Dan’s work with each other on their own personal traumas as well as their work with clients at the Kiloby Center. 

Scott and Dan have simplified, demystified and condensed some of the principles and practices of eastern/non-dual spirituality into an easily accessible set of tools most anyone can understand, learn and utilize to free themselves from their own suffering. 

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Valerie Vinger is a thriving survivor of life’s painful challenges and growth opportunities. She has worked with 12-step programs and is currently a 13-year stage-III cancer survivor. Her cancer recovery journey started with the traditional “cut, poison, burn” approach but eventually led her down a natural path to healing her body, her pain and suffering, and her buried emotions.

Valerie first stumbled upon Scott Kiloby at a workshop of his in Boulder, Colorado in 2012, which she says is one of the most transformative experiences she’s ever had. She is filled with gratitude for the person she has become through her journey with cancer recovery and with the Inquiries, which she describes as “coming home to myself.” She loves working with people who are ready for relief from their pain and suffering.

Julianne Eanniello is a Certified Trainer and Facilitator of both the Kiloby Inquiries and the Unfindability Inquiries (formerly called the Living Inquiries). She is also a Certified TRE Practitioner, and the developer of the somatic movement process called Natural Flow Movement. She works with clients all over the world on virtually any topic, including spiritual seeking, stress, anxiety, depression, pain and health related issues, traumatic experiences, repression, relationship issues, and general unhappiness with ourselves and our lives. She does this through online sessions, deepening courses, workshops and facilitator certification training.

About Julianne:

For most of my life I’ve wondered who I am and why I am here. As I was growing up, no one else seemed to be talking about these things, or even thinking about them, so I buried it deep inside and tried my best to fit in the way I was “supposed” to, all the while feeling like there was something desperately wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

In my early thirties, the death of a young relative left me feeling hopeless and helpless, wondering what is the point of life if we’re all just going to die anyway? This launched me on a search. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, I just knew that there was a longing – a desperate longing for something that actually made sense about life. I learned several alternative spiritual and healing techniques. I meditated. I read books and watched videos. I eventually learned of non-duality teachings, and I read more books, watched more videos, and even sat with several ‘awakened’ teachers. Yet I was still searching, something still felt missing. I was looking for the key that would unlock the mystery of me and of life.

In my early forties, I developed a chronic health condition that left me unable to work for several years, and most days barely able to get out of bed due to extreme fatigue, brain fog and pain. I lost my banking job, and eventually lost my home. I saw a multitude of doctors to try to find out what was wrong with me, and used every tool in my metaphysical and alternative medicine toolkit to try to heal myself. My seeking became even more intense, and I was looking for a way to escape my pain.

In 2009, I met Scott Kiloby. Since I started working with him and doing the Living Inquiries, the seeking for enlightenment has stopped, and the question of ‘who am I’ is no longer relevant. My victim stories around my health started falling away. Once I started looking at my experience through inquiry, everything changed. I stopped chasing something ‘out there.’ I no longer seek some future state of happiness or peace. This is not to say that I don’t have problems, or ever experience pain. Quite the contrary. I still use the inquiries regularly, and now there is much less avoidance or resistance to what I’m experiencing. I experience more and more freedom in the present moment, exactly as it appears.

Having trained with Scott, I was one of the first to be certified as a Senior Living Inquiries Facilitator and Trainer in early 2012. In 2014, I moved to CA and became a business partner with Scott at The Kiloby Center for Recovery, where we worked with people suffering from addiction, anxiety, depression and more for the next 8 years.

I can’t imagine my life without these inquiries. They saved me from myself. If you are still suffering, searching, longing… I encourage you to give this a try.

As a young child I saw a picture of Jesus gazing lovingly at some children around his feet. I immediately longed for the unconditional love I saw in his gaze. At the same time, I was being read fairy tales, like Cinderella, and came to believe that romantic love would satisfy that longing for love.

So, I married my handsome prince at age 19. But then, by age 29, I found myself alone, as a single mother, with four young children. I was devastated and convinced that something was terribly wrong with me, to have ended up in such a predicament. 

I had learned to love and please others, but not how to love and respect myself. I was a “good girl,” and repressed my urges to have my own needs acknowledged and met. A wise teacher later told me, “We need to love everyone, including ourselves.” This was an amazing revelation for me!

Learning to meditate helped immensely to bring moments of peace, while I was sitting still, though I was still being triggered regularly in my relationships. Finally, the Kiloby Inquiries taught me how to turn my attention inside in daily life – towards the trapped thoughts and emotions I’d been running from – so that I could face and release them. It was like some tender, lost children began coming home, to take their rightful place in my inner world. 

I am honored and excited to be able to facilitate these wonderful inquiries for others.

Sumitra lives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with some of her family. She has four grown children and six grandchildren. For many years she lived and worked in a yoga retreat community in California, and has taught yoga, meditation and Compassionate Communication in addition to facilitating the tools of the Kiloby Inquiries (since 2013).

Sumitra also loves working with couples and others with relationship challenges in a simple (though not always easy) deep listening practice that allows each person to be truly heard and acknowledged.

Alina is a certified KI facilitator & a founder of Presence Alchemy – An advance mindfulness platform dedicated to liberating suffering & limiting core beliefs through Kiloby Inquiries & non-dual awareness. Presence Alchemy was born eight years into Alina’s embodiment journey of an inner shift from ego to wakefulness. Alina works one-on-one with clients, hosts online intensives and training, and organizes local retreats & workshops.
Alec Rodrigues has been certified to facilitate inquiry since 2015 and brings a keen sense of intuition to his work. He believes that in connection, the deepest healing takes place, that the mirror of relationship is the best crucible for transformation. Through rest and inquiry, Alec has found the empowerment to meet others authentically and stop running so damn fast from the seeming “ordinariness” of life.

He currently lives in Washington state with his girlfriend and works as a training assistant for the KI Personal Mentorship Program, where he empowers enrollees by teaching them the KI tools.