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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Preparing for Your Own Good Death and Life

A year-long facilitated journey exploring life and death

December 2018-November 2019
This workshop series spans 1 year with 12 sessions (one per month)

at Earthaven Ecovillage
near Asheville, North Carolina

A Program of the Center for End of Life Transitions

Class full
Email us to get on waitlist.

Exploring life and death

For most of us, death will be years or decades away. With life though, we know that nothing is absolute, that nothing is permanent, and that the form that we call our body will eventually die. By contemplating our own dying and death, we lessen our fears and prepare ourselves for the transition that each of us will take.

The more we engage with death, the more comfortable we become with it. The more comfortable we become with death, the more we are liberated from our fears. And the more we are liberated from our fears, the more able we are to live a good life. This class is just as much about living a good life as it is preparing for a good death – as the two are intrinsically linked.

How will you carry out your last years, months, and days?

Topics Covered

  • Review of Advanced Care Directives
  • Identifying Your Spiritual Beliefs
  • What Do You Want to Accomplish Before You Die?
  • Letting Go (fears, possessions, attachments, resentments, etc.)
  • What You Want Your Loved Ones to Know?
  • How Might You Be Supported Before Death and Beyond
  • What Does a “Good Death” Mean to You?
  • Planning Your Funeral
  • Ceremonies
  • Much, much more…

Class Dates and Times

This is a year long workshop that meets once a month. Each class is 3 hours. By enrolling in this workshop, you are committing to 12 classes (only 2 classes can be missed).

Classes are Saturday of each month from 10am-1pm.

Class 1: December 1, 2018
Class 2: January 5, 2019
Class 3: February 2, 2019
Class 4: March 2, 3019
Class 5: April 6, 2019
Class 6: May 11, 2019
Class 7: June 8, 2019
Class 8: July 13, 2019
Class 9: August 10, 2019
Class 10: September 7, 2019
Class 11: October 5, 2019
Class 12: November 2, 2019

Cost and Attendance

Cost: $65/class ($780 total)

CEOLT requires the 1st two sessions to be paid in advance ($130) and then participants can pay for each subsequent class on a monthly basis.

Each participant is committing to pay for all 12 classes even if not in attendance. Any missed material would be shared with you if you were absent. (only 2 classes can be missed)

Registered participants would be allowed to attend the first 2 classes to see if it's a fit for them. If it's not a fit, they do not have to continue and would not owe money for the remaining 10 classes. Before beginning the 3rd class participants will be given a contract committing to the remaining journey together.

(NOTE: it's important to do your best to assess if you can commit to this class in its entirety before registering because even if people drop out after the 2nd class it cannot reopen to new people. The class will continue with only the remaining original registrants. This is a financial risk for the facilitators, but they are willing to do it given the nature of the work and that a one year commitment is a big ask.) 

About the Facilitators

Caroline YongueCaroline Yongue is the director of the Center for End of Life Transitions, a death care midwife, and a doula for the dying. After a long spiritual search, she committed to a Buddhist mindfulness practice in 1990 and has since become a lay Buddhist minister in the Soto Zen tradition. In 1995, Caroline began working towards a greater understanding of the death and dying process when she discovered her own fears around the transition and journey that everyone will take.

Caroline feels blessed to participate in the life transitions of families and individuals, moments that have deeply touched her heart. She believes it is a gift and honor to be part of these transitions.

Ruth Ostrenga is an educator with the Center for End of Life Transitions, a death care midwife, and a doula for the dying. She has been training in Soto Zen Buddhism with her teacher, Nancy Spence of Anattasati Magga Sangha in Asheville, NC, since 2000, and is ordained as a lay Buddhist minister. Ruth finds her greatest reward in working with CEOLT is guiding families through the process of home funerals and tending to their loved ones in the home after death. She is honored and privileged to work with families in these settings, which are so profoundly intimate and life affirming, even in death. CEOLT work continues to allow Ruth the opportunity to keep her heart open to all that life presents.

Location and Accommodations

Founded in 1994, Earthaven Ecovillage is located on 329 acres in culturally rich, biologically diverse western North Carolina, about 50 minutes southeast of Asheville and 30 minutes southeast of Black Mountain. Home to 80+ residents, the community is dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture. The Conference will take place within the forest as well as in the community’s beautiful, hand-built Council Hall.

What to Expect

The Earthaven community is off-grid, which means it sources its electricity from the sun (via solar panels) and water (via two small hydropower stations). It’s very easy to unplug once you arrive, because most cell phones don’t get reception in the forest. (Landline phones are available in the Council Hall for short phone calls or emergencies). The springs and creeks that traverse the land help welcome and invite you into the flow of what is happening in this serene forested setting. Being at Earthaven offers a balance between comfort and adventure.


Several accommodation options are available for attendees on the land and in the surrounding area if desired (not required).

Camping: Only available April-November. Participants can camp in the forested Earthaven campground. Most campground sites are designed for two-person tents; some can accommodate larger tents. Several Camper Van or RV spots (no hookups) are also available. The campground offers drinking water, a tarp-covered kitchen with propane burners for cooking and heating water, and an outhouse with a composting toilet and hand washing station. A flush toilet is available in the Council Hall nearby.

  • Camping cost per person: 1 night $35, 2 nights $50

Private Indoor Lodging: Provided by Earthaven community members, options range from solitary huts and cabins to private rooms in a community member’s home. Although the spaces may differ, all are simple, hand-built ecospaces that will have at least a bed and a composting toilet nearby. Some spaces will be centrally located, while some will be within a 5–15 minute walk of the village center. An outdoor shower in the campground will be available if your accommodations do not have their own shower. Please indicate your choice in your registration and online shopping cart.

  • Private indoor lodging for 1 person: 1 night $80, 2 nights $125
  • Private indoor lodging for 2 people (shared bed): 1 night $120, 2 nights $187.50

If you have a preference or need for a particular lodging arrangement, please indicate it when you make your booking and we'll do our best to place you accordingly.

Eva's Testimonial

Off Site: Most visitors who choose not to stay at Earthaven find lodging in Black Mountain, roughly 30 minutes to the northwest, which is the closest town providing standard rental options. Situated between Black Mountain and Earthaven, approximately 20 minutes away, is The Light Center, which offers modest accommodations and a guest kitchen. Other possibilities for traditional lodging include Bat Cave (25 minutes from Earthaven), Lake Lure (35 minutes from Earthaven), and Asheville (50minutes from Earthaven).

In addition to the many hotels and motels that are available, you may want to consider Air B&B or VRBO if you’re looking for something closer to Earthaven than a city center can provide. Greybeard Realty may also be able to help in finding a fitting accommodation.

How to secure your space

Class full
Email us to get on waitlist.


Cancellation Policy

If you cancel, you may transfer your place in the program to anyone of your choosing, who will need to register online. You can also donate your place to someone who would not be able to participate without financial assistance.

A 50% tuition refund is available until November 1, 2018.
After November 1, 2018, there will be NO refunds.

If SOIL cancels this course for any reason whatsoever, 100% of your tuition will be refunded.

Contact info@ceolt.org with registration questions.

Experience a developing ecovillage for yourself!

Most of SOIL’s classes take place at Earthaven Ecovillage, giving participants a hands-on, skill-building immersion within an authentic community-based, village setting. Tours of Earthaven are also available on a monthly basis, a great way to dip your toe into this long-standing, intergenerational social experiment.

Learn More
COVID 19 Response: SOIL is publishing resources and deferring all programs to 2021.Read More
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