Death and Dying – Presence 2

As stated, both life and death require our presence, showing up in a way that speaks of meaning and engagement. Unfortunately, the shadow side of presence can also occur in death and dying, life and living.   In the shadow side of presence, we do not show up. We instead ignore, deny, and push engagement of ourselves and others to the side.

When we lack presence, we harm ourselves, as we are not engaged enough to exert our power. When we are partially present or completely absent, we suffer through feeling discouraged and disconnected.  The lack of presence is one way people attempt to cope with death and dying, either their own or those they love.  The thought goes, “If I am not present, than I can not suffer.”  Even in pain, death, just as life, asks us to show up in the best way we can.  Not for the benefit of others, but for our own benefit.  We can, through our presence, acknowledge that death, and in turn life, matters.

What is to be gained by a lack of presence around death and dying?      


Do you think people struggle to be present for both death and dying and life and living at the same time?   

Death and Dying- Presence 1

Death and dying tend to awaken different states of presence in people.  One person may be very demonstrative in his or her expressions of grief.  Someone else may choose to be more reserved. Still, another may become angry.   We can not assume how we, or others, will be present, or “show up”, in death or dying. The state of presence surrounding death and dying is a manifestation unique to each person. The same way we respect each person’s choices in life and living, we must do the same with their chosen state of presence in death and dying. 

What states of presence may be invoked by death and dying?


  How can we honor the different states of presence that death and dying may elicit- in ourselves and others?

Death and Dying- Choice 2

Each person is free to make his or her own choices in life and in death. We may become judgmental of ourselves and others, thinking life and death must happen in a certain way.

Choices around death and dying may not be seen as choices at all, but rather prescribed actions that someone “must” follow.  These prescriptions may arise form one’s religious beliefs, culture, or family views.   Any and all choices around death and dying are neither “right” nor “wrong”, neither “good” nor “bad”.  The same goes for life and living. Both states ask us to embrace the possibility of choice.  

Do you feel options exist for honoring death and dying, in yourself and others, or do you have certain expectations that must be met? 

How does the honoring of choices in death and dying reflect how we honor choices in life and living? 

Death and Dying – Choice 1

Thinking about death and dying is a wonderful reflective mirror for life and living. For when we contemplate death and dying, we are asked to also assess the decisions we are making relative to life and living.

The examining of choices also extends to those around us.  Often death and dying can bring up an examination of how a person chose to live his or her life or is choosing to handle death and dying.  This examining of choices includes, if the choice presents itself, how we plan to manage and handle our own death and dying.

What choices would you like to be able to make relative to your own death and dying?

How much fear around death and dying is tied to the perceived lack of choices for ourselves and others?

Death and Dying – Intro 2

We can count our lives through our breaths.  Whether we are contemplating our own lives, or witnessing the beginning or ending of another’s life, the breath signifies life and all the potentials contained therein. 

Your first breath and your last breath mark the time given to you for life.

If life is bordered by the first breath and the last breath, the question becomes,

what are you doing with the breaths in between? 

Death and Dying- Intro 1

The agreement between birth and death is set, whether we consciously carry this agreement in our awareness or not.  Within this initial agreement, we will often seek amendments and modifications.

If we can not disentangle the agreement between birth and death, then, we can at least, we reason, stave off death.  In this way, we feel a sense of control related to death.  Some will take this sense of control and be driven to make decisions they hope will prolong their lives.  Of course, others may attempt to modify the agreement between birth and death by making decisions in the opposite direction, ones that can potentially shorten lives.

What actions do you take, or witness other taking, in an attempt to modify the agreement between birth and death?

Death and Dying Ascend and Transcend Overview

Welcome to Ascend and Transcend for Death and Dying.

Although this may seem to be a strange topic for our Ascend and Transcend work, in many ways, Death and Dying is one of our the most powerful teachers we will encounter in life. We will use our experiences with Death and Dying as we apply the steps of the Arc of Transcendence- Choice, Presence, Awareness, Ascendance, and Transcendence.

On the journey of life, we may believe our paths differ, and in some obvious ways, they do.  However in a most profound way, all of our paths converge to the same place, death and dying.  From the moment of our birth, we are all moving towards death. 

In many ways, our awareness of death and dying, and our shared experiences, can awaken within us a capacity for evaluating and understanding our lives and how we are living.  Perhaps our greatest teacher in how to live is the knowledge that life must, invariably, end. 

What is one thing that you think death has the desire to teach each of us?   

For further information, please refer to the following:

“Category” Link on right-side menu to find all Death and Dying posts



To obtain copy of Ascend and Transcend for Death and Dying:

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Welcome to Ascend and Transcend

Hi! I hope you enjoy this opportunity to explore the Ascend and Transcend program!

The Ascend and Transcend program was developed, initially, for use in the classroom with my college students. The Ascend and Transcend program is based on the Arc of Transcendence, which deals in a step-by-step fashion with the concepts of Choice, Presence, Awareness, Ascendance, and Transcendence.

Over the years, I found the Ascend and Transcend work was transforming the classroom experience for my students and myself. The more I got into this work, the more I could see applications across a number of issues. The Ascend and Transcend topics listed speak to the possibilities of this type of work to transform our lives.

I would love if you wanted participate in any or all of the Topic areas listed, as they are added over time.

If you would like more information, please see this Youtube introductory video: