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Jessica Stielau

I assist individuals and families in navigating death and the dying process in a way that best fits them.  I approach life with the belief that getting ready for death helps lessen the upheaval brought on by loss and grief. I try to support people in making end-of-life plans through initiatives, planning, and a grounded presence. 

When I'm not working- I am at home in Marin California where I am a partner, a parent, an avid gardener and a lover of nature. 

My Story

I started my career as a wilderness guide. I took people up mountains and down rivers. I worked in dangerous places and my job was to keep people safe while helping them reach their goals.  As a part of being a guide, I also became a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and I enjoyed having medical knowledge and supporting people in that capacity. 

 

I was drawn to education and instruction and wanted to take the next step in my career. I became an instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) where I would learn not only to be a better guide myself but also to become a teacher. NOLS is an incredible non-profit organization that works to teach both wilderness skills and leadership with branches around the world.

 

Guiding professionally was a semi-nomadic lifestyle and as I grew older I decided I wanted to stay in one place for longer and have a career that wasn't as physically demanding and have a family.  I had always been passionate about the environment and I applied to get my Master's Degree in Science at the University of Washington focusing on fisheries and climate science. I wanted to better understand our world and our environment.

 

After graduate school, I entered the corporate world where I successfully built and grew a recruiting business that helped startup companies grow and build fantastic teams. I am currently on the board of that business, and we have helped many successful companies and people find meaningful connections and grow their businesses. The company is being managed by capable and experienced leadership, and it's time for me to focus on yet another kind of guiding and service. In this case though, the dying are really the guides- and my role is to support them, as well as their caregivers and loved ones on the end of life journey. 

I became interested in this work after becoming a mother and contracting the alpha variant of COVID-19 while pregnant during the pandemic. Our family was fortunate to survive the virus but it prompted me to evaluate what I wanted to contribute to the world in the time I have left.  I felt a lot of fear and feelings of helplessness around death. I leaned into that fear and discovered a deep desire to learn more and to help others going through their own passages. I found a wealth of knowledge, traditions, and rituals around dying. I discovered deep elder knowledge, and and modern tools, techniques, and information to help people navigate what is one of the largest milestones in their lives.   

 I want to help people live well and die well, I want to increase their wellbeing and the well-being of their families as they navigate death. This is the work. This is sacred work, spiritual work but it's also logistic and executive work.

Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.

Haruki Murakami

Contact

Feel free to reach out, with questions, thoughts, ramblings...I'm here, let's connect. 

Text or Call: ‪(415) 508-6277

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