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Creative Fun and Games With The Grim Reaper!

Embracing DEATH as the ultimate source of inspiration to propel you to greater heights of creativity, insight, and intelligent living than ever before!

This article looks at how the inevitability of death can be used to spur us on to greater creativity, lead us to live our lives more fully, and use our minds to understand the world and each other better. For creative people, death is as paramount as life in the creative processes of art and innovation... . Now grab the cold boney hand of the Grim Reaper as he leads you into the Valley of Death where you shall find salvation and some of the best creative ideas you've ever had!

I've got some shocking news for you. We're all gonna die! Aaaaaaagggggghhhhh!

Okay, so maybe that isn't so shocking after all. I mean, we all know that, right? Aunty Mabel died. You've had three pet dogs that died. You've been to a funeral. You've seen dead birds in the garden. Maybe you've even seen a dead body. Eeeeuuurrgghh, the sallow waxwork look of the empty shell!

Like shit, death happens. It's happening right now as you read this. Somebody somewhere had just breathed their last. Brain cells are dying right now (not because my writing is so so crap, just because that's what has been happening every day since you were born).

We are used to thinking of LIFE as a creative force. We think of ideas as bursting with life. But life is a process that involves death. They are symbiotic. A processing and recycling of energy and materials. Death, destruction, dissolution, and the vacuum... gives rise to the opportunity for the new. At the exact time that someone is dying NOW, someone is being born. Life and Death travel together and are part and parcel of Creation and the creative processes.

Death and Life: creatively working together

Life is the new. Death is the elimination and transformation of the old.

But DEATH has been ignored, particularly in the West. Death is treated like one of those fair ground games where you have to hammer the rabbit back down into it's hole every time it's head pops up. When death pokes it's nose into our lives, we are shocked, distraught, and overcome: but waste little time, as our grief subsides, slamming the door in it's face. We don't want to think of death. Death represents an end we don't want to face. The end of "me" as I know it. Or the end of loved ones -- and the searing pain that loss brings.

But DEATH is not to be ignored. The Grim Reaper has his place to fill, and he does not come without some gifts to compensate for his fearsome presence. Used rightly, the awareness and respect of death can transform your entire existence. Death could be THE catalyst you have been looking for. The one thing that will spark an unheralded revolution in your thinking. A presence in your life that will spark an incredible transformation in your consciousness, and bring wisdom, insight and intelligence to all your days. Death may yet prove to be your finest mentor guiding you to the creative life that is your true calling.


The Grim Reaper's Guide To Living Creatively

Reaper's Guide To CREATIVITY

It is my duty to remind you of your contract. In signing up for LIFE, you accepted the clause of DEATH. Death is your payment for life. If I give you a free gift, you will not look after it as well as you look after the gift that you paid a billion dollars for. Without a payment, there is no value. Death is the price that makes you value Life.

...Or it should.

The trouble is you've been denying death. You've ignored me, the Grim Reaper. But I am patient. And I come to all. I carry a glittering scythe to remind you: your life is yours (so live it!) but your death is mine!

But I am not a cruel being, despite my cruel countenance and the apparent cruelty of my work. I want you to have the best life that you possibly can. I want you to live as creatively and passionately and fully as possible. Then when I come for you, you will be full of wonderful experiences and treasures of a life well-lived. And I shall hear your story with delight, rather than the pity which I feel for those who half-live and squander the immense and priviledged opportunity which life is.

Here is MY guide to becoming more creative, thinking more creatively, and creating a life that you LOVE:

Death is the Finsh Line, the end point, so create the lifetime you want!

Death is the Finishing Line 
Death is the full stop at the end of your life sentence. Death gives meaning to what your life is saying about you. Recognise and acknowledge that you are 'racing' towards death. Let the knowledge and awareness of this End Point be with you every day. You are searching for your destiny? Well, here it is. You are destined to die. But the destiny of your life, what you do while you are living, is within your own hands. It is up to YOU to create it. You must innovate a life so splendid that your ultimate destination (death) is rendered inconsequential. Live richly. Create wisely and abundantly.

A Life Chart showing average life expectancy and amount of time you've got left!

Your Allotted Time
You only have so much time. And you don't know whether that is four score and ten, a lot less, or a lot more. Best then to think that your life time is precious and savour every moment. Make the most of every minute you have. Organise your time wisely. Use time management products, systems and programs in order to function at your best, utilise your creative time efficiently and ensure that you have enough TIME to reach all of your goals. Tip: Create a life chart like the one pictured above. Work out the average life span of people in your country, town, or family, and create a chart with that number of years on it. Then fill in all the squares of the years you have left. And remember that there is no guarantee that you will actually live that long. Life's a bitch sometimes -- and we fall over a cliff, get run over, get sick or get shot when we least expect it. (Also remember in the later years you may not be as physically able to do all the things that you want to do.) So create your chart, and tick off the months and years that have gone forever. Let the reality of your death, and your diminishing time, spur you to get off your butt and get serious about living your life, creating what you want, and making a difference somehow. Tip: Use the Death Clock to get another guide to how much life you have left.

Perspective Reframes Lives
Death puts everything into it's proper perspective. Knowing that, YES, you will die, and that everyone you love or know will also die, really reframes your mental picture of life. Death aligns your values, helps to eliminate false values and brings your true values into play. What are YOU here for? What is important to YOU? What do YOU value most?

"I am in the present.... That is what I am called upon to serve, and I serve it in all humility."

~ Igor Stravinsky, An Autobiography

Appreciate Your Life More
This is IT! This is all that you know. All your religious beliefs and philosophies about life after death may be based on lies, or ignorance, or wishful thinking. But HERE is this LIFE! Here is this opportunity, right now, to create, to make, to think and to do. You are gloriously empowered to be creative now, in your life, in the time that you have got left. For your sake, make the most of it: live it! Live in the present, enjoy every moment. How can you make it even better? Do your answers. Love it to bits, love every moment, and make it splendid. Fill your days with more and more magical moments. Moments where you feel turned-on, blissed, deeply joyful, grateful, connected, inspired, creative, dynamic, and overflowing with LOVE. For what else is there? And what better than to feel great and to enjoy your moments? Value every one of them.


The symbology of the scythe is that it cuts us ALL down

Symbol of the Scythe
The Grim Reaper's scythe cuts us ALL down to size. In Australia, they have an expression, Tall Poppy Syndrome, which entails a habit of cutting down to size people who 'get above themselves' (usually this means snobbish or arrogant people rather than successful people). It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, what success you have achieved, or who you know, death is coming to harvest you. Death puts the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous (that we have all been hypnotised into wanting) into perspective. In the light of death's inevitability for everyone and every living thing, we are shown what is really important to us as individuals and as a human race. Re-examine your thoughts about people you envy and things you think you want. Does death throw those people or things in new light? Also, what can you take the scythe to in your life? What can you cut out, or cut back to size, so it no longer dominates your life? Can you be the Grim Reaper to old outworn attitudes, negative thinking or unwanted habits? Is it time to swing the scythe and cut those timewasters out of your life?

Compassion and Love 
Compassion is a natural response as you open to the reality of death and the fear and pain associated with it. We all feel the terror of death, the instinctive desperate clinging to life. Even the most fervent believer in a Heaven, or life after death, will experience a moment of sheer terror when their life is on the line. The awareness that death is coming to us all, and to all those we love, means we share a collective experience. Even the bullies, cheaters, and the people we most envy feel scared by the prospect of death, and will feel the pain and loss of those who are their friends and loved ones. Death is the great unknown. If we knew exactly what happens during and after death, we probably would feel better prepared to meet it. But all we have is reports from people who have had a death-like experience (the so-called Near-Death Experience), and the scriptures of philosophers and religious leaders, and the scientific reports of what happens to the body upon death from the observer's point of view. This amounts to very little to you and me... and the fear persists. Greater still in many respects is the grief we feel when someone we care for dies. And the idea that this could happen to our loved ones is a source of immense pain.... Let that pain drive you to make the most of every minute you are with your friends and family. Celebrate them, feel gratitude for their presence in your life, and let them inspire you to do great works of art, industry and success. Throughout history, great thinkers have been inspired by their muses: lovers, family, or friends. Get real with life and death. Put your relationships in the proper perspective. They are temporary gifts, chances for you to love and be loved. Let your love for life blossom in the face of the coming death. Life is so beautiful, so valuable, so finite....

"All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill."

~ Buddha

It's YOUR creation
Death brings you into focus. Without the awareness of the reality of death, your life is blurred, muddied, wasted. Death is like a punishment that sobers you up and makes you get serious about life. You've been drunk on the ignorance of death, and you are not clear about your place or your role. But knowing that you will one day die, and that with every breath you get closer to your death, forces you to look at what you have. And what you have is the opportunity of life: right now. And what is that opportunity but a time and a place in which to create abundantly. You don't know what comes after. All you know is what is here right now. How do you want your life to be? What do you want to change? What problems need solving? You are the focus point of creation. The thoughts, decisions and actions you make will create the life you live. You are responsible for your life, for your world, by virtue of being alive. The very fact that you are alive puts the responsibility for life right on your shoulders. As you look around and see all that needs to be done to help make this place a better world for all to live in, ask yourself this: If I don't do it, who will? You are here to create....

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Legacy Thinking
You are going to die. But you can leave a legacy of great works. Your legacy may be an investment fund that you have carefully built up that will support your future generations. Or wonderful artworks, inspiring writings, or scientific breakthroughs that you have come up with. It might be that you have raised money to help fund a cause. Or you leave a philosophy that helps even one person feel happier than they did before they stumbled across your thoughts. To leave a legacy that immortalises your memory, ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What can I CREATE that will outlive me?
  • What do I want to CHANGE and IMPROVE for others?
  • How can I MAKE the world a better place for others?
  • How can I MAKE a difference to someone else?
  • What message do I want to CONVEY to future generations?
  • How can I REPRESENT what I most value in a painting / novel / sculpture?
  • What can I DO on a large scale that is most in line with my most important values?
  • How can I make what I DO today so special that it grows in value tomorrow?
  • How can I do my WORK to the HIGHEST and BEST of my ability?
  • What can I do today that will continue to be of value into the future?

The Life and Death of Ideas
Walking about the countryside in the early summer, you are struck by the abundance of life. And there is very little sign of death. Perhaps the odd roadkill, a few bones in a field, a cat carrying a dead mouse. Where are the millions of dead bodies of animals, birds and insects? They have all been reprocessed and recycled. They have been eaten, or rotted away into the soil, and become food for plants. Things die and are transformed into other things. Are you carrying around the carcasses of dead ideas? Have some of your beliefs and attitudes long since given up the ghost and now just stink like rotting corpses? See if you can reprocess and recycle old ideas and old beliefs, expand them, combine them with other ideas to make new ones. Let that which has died become something else. Use your creative power to recycle, reprocess and renew, generating fresh ideas from the fertilised ground of your mind.


In this article, we have looked at how having an awareness of and appreciation for DEATH, can act as a stimulus for inspired creative living. The Grim Reaper's advice is to savour life, use your precious time wisely to live creatively, passionately and dynamically. He offers tips, strategies and attitudes which can cause a revolution in your creative thinking and cause you to ramp up your creative efforts to the best of your ability and talent. We're all going to die... but until that day let's live as fully and richly as we possibly can. Let's attack the problems and challenges the world faces at this time with all the creative ingenuity and innovation that we can muster. And let's LOVE this life -- for it's the only one we've got!

WANTED: What do YOU think? I'd love your feedback on this article. Email me: wily[at]wilywalnut.com


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