As Above so Below

As Above so Below



What is Death?  I’m going to show you why learning about the one thing, that every single one of us will inevitably doDEATH – can make you happier, healthier and more alive.

I would like to help you discover the key which will unlock the Universe you have been too afraid to visit.

Few things in life are certain – Change and Death are.

“Death is the destination we all share” -Anon



by  Trypheyna McShane

We are blessed to be able make creative choices at every point in our lives so why would we not choose to do the same for our death and dying.

As co-author of a book published by Allen& Unwin entitled The Intimacy of Death & Dying – Simple Guidance to Help You Through I would like to share some insights gained on my own journey in the company of death & dying.

The book offers a range of stories and guidance on a number of different ways that people have dealt with death & dying and in the book the concept of using one’s creativity to help face some of our darkest moments is included in a chapter called Creativity in Grief

Why does creativity matter?

When I found that my friend, and sister-in-law, Trish (whose story you can read in the book) had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer I became intimately involved in something I had no knowledge of, and something I had never even contemplated before,. Although I committed to be there to support her I had no idea what that involved. In those moments I so wished that I had been forewarned or taught some of the things that I would need to know in order to understand this process intimately. Ultimately it was my intuitive creative expression which kept me from falling into the fear of the unknown.

My request to you is that you choose, in this moment, to undertake your own research about death & dying rather than be forced to do it in a crash course when there is neither time nor choice to do otherwise.

Many times people find themselves embarking on these journeys with no ‘road map’ personal stories to relate to, nor any previous training about death. We do not discuss death in our schools or even in our intimate conversations around our dinner table.

Why do we keep children in the dark?

We will teach sex education and how to bring a new life into the world, but we will not speak of death or discuss how we would like to leave this life, or how we would like to support our loved ones to leave. We keep our children as far away from the experience of death as possible in order not to frighten them. And yet without any prior knowledge or discussion on the topic of death, when death does present itself to us, often unexpectedly, we have no context in which to place it and it can become very frightening.

‘When it happened to me, I felt as if I was the only person in the world who didn’t know anything about grief, a bit like a conspiracy, as if grief was a club I hadn’t been allowed into’ 

‘I would have liked the opportunity to have thought about it before it happened to me. Then perhaps it wouldn’t have been quite such a shock. Its part of the way our society doesn’t cope very well with death and loss, that it’s something we don’t talk about. And it was like a whole area of truth that was concealed from me, and is concealed from everybody – until it happens to you’ (‘Fay’ – Good Grief – Experiencing Loss – Carol Lee)

 Ask yourself what would like your connection to death and dying to look like?

Can love make a difference in the process of dying? Absolutely and one of the ways in which we can allow ourselves the expression of love is to allow our creative soul to speak. Allowing ourselves to be creative in the face of pain and grief can often help to transform the experience into one of immense growth and sometime even joy.

One of the fascinating stories in the book is called Till Death us do Party where Tony Narracott’s tells his own story of his ‘Awakening’, the wake held for him before he died. Maybe you could consider how you might hold your own wake and use it to leave support for the world to be able to continue doing what is closest to your heart. Read Tony’s story of the party held before he died and start to think creatively about how you might want to leave a legacy of your own.

Allow yourself the opportunity to complete an Emotional Will where you can bequeath some things that hold special emotional importance

Leave an Emotional/Heart Will

to you such as a precious life memory, your grandmother’s favourite family recipe, your favourite joke or a precious piece of wisdom that has helped you to live an honourable life.



Design your life so you have used every last moment until it ends

As the people at Life Art suggest, doing a Bucket List is a great way to remind ourselves that our time is finite, and that we never know when it’s all going to be over. It helps us to make sure we do the things we dream of. It is good for us to look at what it is that holds us back, to think beyond what limits us, and determine to make sure you are going to do at least a good number of those things you dream of.

So what’s on your list of top ten things to do before you bite the dust, fall off your perch, give up the ghost, pop your clogs, or you guessed it, kicked the bucket? Remember that old saying…not one died saying “I wished I spent more time in the office”

Here are a few ideas, some more adventurous, some smaller, that you could consider for your Bucket List

  1. Cook a feast for 10 best friends
  2. Read all the books on my bookshelf
  3. Learn the guitar or something else of interest to you
  4. Visit the child we sponsor
  5. Sleep under the stars
  6. Grow some vegetables
  7. Give a few days support to a charity
  8. Ride a Harley
  9. Go hiking on your favourite trail
  10. Sky Dive or Hang Glide

Now it is over to you. Ideas may come to you immediately or it may take a few days ….. don’t rush it, but remember not to let this opportunity slip by.  Aim to write something, even if it is only one event or action, and then take the action needed so that you can cross it off your List .

Design your own funeral – perhaps even leave a legacy for the Earth

In terms of your personal preference for your funeral, many details are discussed in the book. It is advisable to know ahead of time what is possible, legal and permitted within the area that you live. Discussion with key people, sharing what your desired outcome is will enable you to gain advice and instructions as to how to achieve it.

More recently, with an awareness of the health of the planet people have been opting for ‘green’ funerals, using cardboard or other materials that breakdown easily in the earth, for their coffins.  Some people choose burial rather than cremation to avoid toxic fumes and place the body into the earth to grow a tree, supporting flora and fauna, rather than a headstone. With today’s technologies it is now feasible to mark the placement of the tree with a GPS system. Cremation or burial are a completely personal choice and there are no restrictions as to what can be done with the ashes as they pose no health risk.

What do you imagine will be said of you when you have left? 

Start writing your own obituary to help you live the life you dream of

At the Living Years site you can not only create a site for someone who has already died but also create a site for yourself where you can start collecting together the photos and words, music and video’s that you feel tell of the life you are proud to have lived as well as your wish of other things you want to achieve.

Make sure to leave all the details of what you wish for your death in a place that will be easily found and acted upon when you are no longer there to organise it. As J.K. Rowling the author of Harry Potter says: After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next adventure”.

Where shall we sail to next?

Plato said: “To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear is as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know.”

Honour the life of someone you love who has left

On page 215 suggestions are made for creating a memorial by honouring someone’s life story, on the internet through pictures and words. Go to Living Years site which gives you the ability to share the beauty of someone’s life with people across the planet.

In the chapter Creativity and Grief you can read of how when Liz was devastated at loosing John, her husband of over 50 years, it was organised for a portrait to be painted of John with his ashes embedded in the paint. Liz kept that painting with her for the remaining years of her life saying she felt John’s presence beside her at all times and it made her feel safe.

There are many different ways of honouring someone you have loved, either through creative expression you create yourself, or through directing someone else to create what you envision for you. Give your creative mind permission to think outside the box you may have previously constrained it to. Simone de Beauvoir was right when she said: “From the hour you’re born you begin to die. But between birth and death there’s life”

If you would be interested to do something of this kind and want help with how to do so please do make contact with me to discuss how you might create your own unique and honouring artwork, or commission me to do one for you.

Email me:  Or visit me at


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What is Death?

The Intimacy of Death & Dying - a truly inspiring book helps you to understand death while it en-courages you to live every day of your life with gratitude and passion.

My friend Jen gifted me with your wonderful book shortly after my mother died. I'm so grateful to have and share it. Blessings Tiffany

“The Intimacy of Death and Dying is a truly amazing book which offers much practical guidance around death. Kate M