Skillful Means Podcast

#39 When Nothing Lasts, Life is Precious

April 15, 2021 Jennifer O'Sullivan & Sarah Jane Shangraw
Skillful Means Podcast
#39 When Nothing Lasts, Life is Precious
Show Notes

In this episode, Jen and Sarah Jane talk about the concept of precious impermanence, an organizing principle for many Asian religions and belief systems.

Impermanence dignifies the transient nature of reality. Clinging to things as if they could be permanent is what causes unnecessary suffering in life. 

Through Buddhist, yogic, and Taoist textual references and stories, Sarah Jane and Jen demonstrate the value of seeing the world as ever-changing and uncertain. Not only is it realistic, but it compels us to live meaningfully, passionately, now.



Find the following books in your  local Black-owned bookstore:

"Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong" by Norman Fischer
"Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living" by Pema Chödrön
“The Five Invitations” by Frank Ostaseski
“A Year to Live” by Stephen Levine
“The Trauma of Everyday Life” by Mark Epstein. 
"The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace & Ecology" by Thich Nhat Hanh
"The Next in the Stream: Lessons from Nature on Being with Pain" by Micheal Kearney, MD.

Online Programs

A Year to Live course at Spirit Rock. You can also find it at InsightLA and other centers, usually offered at the beginning of a calendar year. 

Mortal with Alua Arthur (end-of-life doula, attorney, professor, and minister) and Caitlin Doughty (mortician and author). This course helps people meet their fear of death.

Sarah Jane is an end-of-life educator and doula, focusing on mindfulness practice for presence, peace, and purpose. She offers Death Cafes and a mini-course she calls Mindful Approaches to End-of-Life Matters. For more information, go to


May Dharma Book Club

Start reading the Tao te Ching and send in your insights and questions by May 1 to be included in our next episode.


You can find us on  Facebook and Instagram. We also welcome your messages at or in our voicemail box on SpeakPipe.

You can also get in touch with Jen and Sarah Jane directly. 

Don't forget! You can also practice with us live each week: