We nurture a community that celebrates the sacred wholeness of the human spirit, honors diversity in all forms, and embraces the final season of life.
The mission of CCLD is to create a community that embodies living a meaningful life through inner exploration and growth, service, and community-supported end-of-life care.
To live consciously you must have the courage to go inside yourself to find out who you really are, to understand that behind all of the masks of individual differences you are a being of beauty, of love, of awareness.
When Christ said, “The kingdom of heaven is within,” he wasn’t just putting you on. When Buddha said, “Each person is the Buddha,” he was saying the same thing.
Until you can allow your own beauty, your own dignity, your own being, you cannot free another.
So if I were giving people one instruction, I would say work on yourself. Have compassion for yourself. Allow yourself to be beautiful and all the rest will follow.
- Ram Dass
It is said that facing death is like holding up a mirror to the ways we live. Death allows us to really see, to glean meaning from existence. To feel connected, empowered, and alive! Because CCLD embraces death as a part of life, this community is remembering how to live consciously, and to infuse life with love rather than fear.
- Hannah Fowler, Director of Education
Aditi Sethi, MD
Dr. Aditi Sethi is a hospice and palliative care physician, end-of-life doula, and musician. Featured in the forthcoming film The Last Ecstatic Days, Aditi is an emerging and important voice for shifting our culture’s understanding and approach to dying, death, and bereavement care.
Founder and Executive Director
Director of Operations
Courtney Smith (Volunteer donating their time to CCLD)
Courtney Smith, started her career as a music therapist in the realms of both birth and death. These early experiences, along with her work as a Certified Nurse Assistant, Hospice volunteer and trained death doula as well as a 20+ career in social services has imprinted upon her the sacredness of the entire life cycle and the importance of community. Courtney is supported by her lifelong practices of meditation, Kundalini yoga, shamanic studies and ancestry work. She currently facilitates and supports the emergence of the Center for Conscious Living and Dying through strategic planning, organizational development.
Hannah Fowler, RN
Hannah Fowler is a hospice nurse, end-of-life doula, facilitator, and educator who brings conscious living and dying practices to individuals and organizations across the US and internationally. Hannah is the Impact Producer for The Last Ecstatic Days feature film. Hannah is on the advisory board of the Completed Life Initiative and faculty with the Conscious Dying Institute.
Director of Education
Sheri Kay (Volunteer donating their time to CCLD)
Sheri Kay is an organizational coach, facilitator, and end-of-life guide. She has positively impacted hundreds of businesses across the country through heart- centered communication practices and values-based systems. More than anything, Sheri is passionate about developing individuals and communities toward their highest potential.
Director of Resident and Volunteer Services
David Case (Volunteer donating their time to CCLD)
David Case has been a developer of innovative communities for over forty years. He is particularly drawn to projects that create social impact while working with people he loves that share in the joy of the process. His role with CCLD ranges from safekeeping the Sanctuary property to supporting Aditi and the team to help keep the vision flowing, effective, and daring.
Leah has over a decade of experience leading development teams at growing non-profit organizations in the United States and around the world. In this capacity, she has played a lead role in raising over $15 million to support the work of good causes and sustainably funding the growth and expansion of the organizations she works with. She is supporting CCLD in donor acquisition and management, grant research and grant writing, and fundraising strategy.
"My son, Ethan, was blessed to be taken care of by this community who came together to care for him 24 hours a day for 15 days. I have never witnessed so much love and caring. Food, music, massage, acupuncture and healing touch were all provided. Since I am from NY I did not have anyone here and this community became my family. Ethan said when he was transferred from an inpatient hospice to a home, that he found his community. He was so grateful for all who helped him transition. I can still see his joy coming out of the ambulance to be with a loving community at the end stage. We are eternally grateful for all who helped!"
~ Linda Rothman
Greg is licensed as a Registered Nurse. At age 15, he experienced what he thought would be the moment of his immediate death. The transpersonal, mystical state-of-being he experienced transformed his perspective of consciousness and guided his choices regarding his “work” in this life. Accordingly, his more than 40 years’ nursing experience has included serving within various healthcare realms: acute care, critical care, emergency care, air-medical transport, hospice, and integrative healthcare. Coinciding with his nursing practice, he was invited into a Traditional indigenous Medicine apprenticeship, following his Teacher Will Rockingbear for more than 13 years until Rockingbear's crossing. He is now recognized as a Medicine Elder in the Way of traditional healing. An embodiment of these teachings he received from his Teacher is..."I would prefer that you don't just take care of me. I would rather that you Love me."
Prema Sheerin is a healer, life coach, spiritual mentor, and teacher who draws on 40 years of wisdom training with elders from cultures around the world including the Vedic and Wixarika shamanic traditions. Prema tends to those facing their own death as well as to those grieving all kinds of loss. She is an ancestral lineage healing practitioner, which includes bringing support and wellbeing to recently-departed souls as well as to those long gone. Prema brings care, curiosity and compassion to those experiencing any of death’s many facets. You can find her at premasheerin.com.
Casey Sharpe, MD
Casey Sharpe is a physician specializing in palliative care. He earned his doctorate in medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch before completing a four year residency and specialty training at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Casey currently works with veterans and their families at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Asheville, and is clinical faculty with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Asheville. His professional interests include the phenomenology of illness, narrative medicine, the nature of suffering, and the cultivation of well-being near the end of life.
Paul is the founder and director of Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, a 501(c)3 mental health organization that connects people in the US and Canada to affordable psychotherapy. Paul has worked in the mental health field since 1996, focusing on projects committed to improving mental health services for lower-income individuals and families. Before beginning his own private psychotherapy practice, Paul spent five years as a counselor and supervisor at Esperanza, NY, a community-based agency designed to implement procedural reform throughout the juvenile justice system in New York City. A graduate of Naropa University’s Contemplative Psychotherapy program, Paul practices Jungian-informed psychotherapy and resides in Asheville, NC.
Tonya Fortune Smith
Tonya Fortune Smith is a Senior Legal Analyst, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Fulfilled Consulting LLC and End-of-Life Doula along with her husband, Floyd. Tonya serves as the Treasurer for the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance and is currently on the Board of Directors. She resides in Charlotte, NC and is a West Virginia native.
Tonya has over a decade of experience in end-of-life care. She also holds a certification in Thanatology and Master’s Degree from Marshall University. She is very passionate about the death positive movement underway in our society. Her core values are to educate, honor, and advocate for options and choice for ALL humans at end-of-life as well as widen the narrative around death as she seeks to honor sacred traditions, remove stigmas around death, empower collective grieving, and create a safe space for BIPOC communities, connection, and support.
Melissa Scheiderer is an independent management consultant with more than twenty years’ experience leading initiatives and managing projects at values-driven companies, within mainstream and impact finance, as a social entrepreneur, and with non-profit and philanthropic organizations. Currently, she leverages deep experience in financial analysis and managerial economics and operational management and systems design expertise to manage projects focused on scalable economic innovations creating systemic change and a regenerative future economy. In addition, she works one-on-one with independent and social entrepreneurs to help scale their projects efficiently while maximizing both profitability and impact. A Bay Area native and graduate of the University of Southern California, she is now based in Asheville, NC, the traditional lands of the Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East) people.
Brent Beam is a psychologist in private practice in Asheville, NC. He brings an extensive background in men’s mental health and over 15 years of clinical experience to bear on his professional passion: guiding high-performing men to slow down and be radically present in their work and relationships. In 2015, he founded Asheville’s first psychotherapy practice focused exclusively on men’s well-being. Prior to that, Brent was a staff psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan Medical Center. Learn more at brentbeamphd.com.
Ana Prendergast is the owner and managing attorney of Prendergast Law, in Asheville, North Carolina. A graduate of UNC-Asheville and of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Ana has been working with elderly adults and their families since 2007. Her focus is on guiding families through their estate and long-term care planning needs, including elder law and guardianship issues, advance directive and end-of-life planning, post-death family issues, estate and fiduciary litigation, Medicaid and VA Benefits Planning, estate and trust administration, and special needs planning. Ana particularly enjoys working with families seeking compassionate guidance on the transitions that come with aging, including housing and care decisions, and difficult conversations about end-of-life choices.
Ronald, a retired social worker, lives in Black Mountain with his wife Carla. His career included directing two mental health centers and a psychotherapy practice. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards. His career being mainly in Colorado made settling in the mountains of NC an easy choice. He has had a long term interest in mysticism and death and dying as a portal to transformation.