Approved for Continuing Education

Approved by NCBTMB for 21 CEUs for massage therapists.

Approved for 21 contact/clock hours of continuing education credit by the Continuing Education Institute of Illinois in collaboration with the University of Illinois Department of Family Medicine for the following professions:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Counselor-Professional/Clinical
  • Dentist/Dental Hygienist
  • Dietitian/Nutritionist
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
  • Nurse (APN, RN, LPN)
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Occupational Therapist/COTA
  • Physical Therapist/PTA
  • Psychologist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Social Worker

Course Description

When we know ourselves, we are so much more able to meet others exactly where they are.

This course is not about death.  And it’s not about massage therapy.  It’s about life.  It’s about how to invite more joy, more clarity and more simplicity into your life and heart… no matter what your job.

Opening to the Mystery is designed to invite you to deeply consider and even to befriend your own mortality.  Cal Cates will combine a variety of experiential, interpersonal, and individual exercises that support deep inquiry and consideration of emotions and ideas about living and dying.  This course provides guideposts that will lead you to embrace an honest relationship with life that will allow you to be more fully present not only with people who are dying, but also with all of the people in your life.

This course will be beneficial for any person who wants to have more access to their own wisdom and to cultivate deeper, more authentic relationships professionally and personally.  Certainly, if you spend time at the bedside of people who are dying you’ll find you have more comfort there, but this course is not just for people who feel drawn to or already work in hospice care.

Past students have said that their experience in this course enlivened their practice, shifted stuck relationships and helped them to see and to love their family members/spouses in a different, more open way.

Dates & Times

Opening to the Mystery is a live, 6-day online retreat.

We will meet (via Zoom) Monday, February 8th - Saturday, February 13th, 5:00PM - 8:30PM (Eastern) each day.

The course includes individual and small group exercises, reading and journaling, discussion and lecture. It is a highly-interactive exploration of authenticity, presence, and mortality that will include much more joy than you will expect!

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Course Description

    • Dates & Times

    • Recommended Reading

    • About the instructor

  • 2

    Day 1 (Monday, February 8, 2021)

    • Guided Visualization

    • Suffering: The Four Noble Truths

    • Seeing Purely: Guided Meditation

    • Atisha's 9 Contemplations: Contemplations 1 and 2

    • HOMEWORK: Day 1

    • If You Prefer Smoke Over Fire by Adyashanti

  • 3

    Day 2 (Tuesday, February 9, 2021)

    • Physiology of Dying

    • Dynamic Questioning

    • Grief

    • 5 invitations

    • HOMEWORK: The 5 Invitations (pick one) and article

    • The Good Short Life by Dudley Clendinen, New York Times, 2011

  • 4

    Day 3 (Wednesday, February 10, 2021)

    • The 4

    • Contemplations 3 and 4

    • Know Stillness, No Burnout

    • Body Appreciation Meditation

    • Homework

    • In the Service of Life

    • I said to my body...

  • 5

    Day 4 (Thursday, February 11, 2021)

    • Life Before Death time for story

    • Dynamic Questions

    • Contemplations 5 & 6

    • Homework

  • 6

    Day 5 (Friday, February 12, 2021)

    • Drawing Selves

    • The Five Remembrances/Charnel Grounds/Body Farm

    • Contemplations 7, 8 & 9

  • 7

    Day 6 (Saturday, February 13, 2021)

    • Jack Kornfield Forgiveness recitations

    • Intuition 2020

    • Forgiveness 2020

    • The three centers


Instructor & Executive Director

Cal Cates

Cal has been teaching and developing curriculum for massage therapy courses focused on hospital-based practice, oncology massage and end of life care since 2007. Their experience in clinical practice in hospitals around the US has informed their teaching style greatly. Cal is clear that massage therapy is healthcare and feels a personal commitment to inviting students to consider themselves as integral to a whole person healing process. Their favorite thing about teaching healthcare providers is the ability to blend nerdiness and authenticity to create opportunities to be more effective, more human and more flexible.


A transformative training

Clara V

It was a pleasure taking Opening to the Mystery online. It’s a transformative training, and the online format doesn’t seem to change that. The opportunity for deep reflection has served to really anchor and enrich my practice with patients (and myself) at end of life. The connection with other participants amplifies that experience as well, as do the readings. Easily the best CEUs I have ever taken.