I Helped 40 People Befriend Death, Here’s 5 Big Takeaways

Ethan Lipsitz
6 min readJun 27, 2022
Souvenirs from Camp Death

For the last year I’ve been talking a lot about death. I’ve hounded my community, making ridiculous videos and emails trying to convince them that confronting death makes life more meaningful. Through all the songs and silly messages, I convinced about 40 people to join me for 2 seasons of Camp Death and the 2021 Death Rituals to close out the end of last year. These three workshops consisted of 2 weeks of email prompts including journal exercises, rituals and meditative practices alongside group calls, accountability buddies and some cool swag.

In my ongoing conversation with death as a person living beyond brain cancer, I learned a lot through experience that supported my approach to designing these programs. I also realized we all live multiple lives in one lifetime and there is a constant cycle of death and rebirth happening concurrently all around and within us.

As the host and producer of Camp Death, I’ve gained some valuable insights around how we relate to mortality as an access point for growth and living on purpose. Here’s 5 big takeaways from our work:

1) Grief Is A Constant State And So Is Awe

Grief is omnipresent. You may feel this to be especially true right now. Look at the news and we’re bombarded hourly with death, dis-ease and grief. We’re also all grieving parts of ourselves that are no longer alive or true. They may be old relationships, past eras of our lives or even mindsets that have shifted. Grief is the sadness that comes when innocence, joy and ease die. That sadness is everywhere in everyone who’s lived long enough to lose something they cared about.

I created the Death Lifecycle to help folks better connect with the phases of mortality all around them. In the cycle I refer to Awe as the flipside of Grief and Death. If grief is the effect of death, awe is the effect of rebirth. It is a feeling of gratitude, of presence and of surrender to the beauty and true ecstasy all around us. Even in the darkest winter, there is still a patch of sunlight that shines through the clouds, a smile from a stranger, a fire crackling its ancient tune keeping us warm.

In any given moment we have the capacity to find our grief and draw our attention to it. Our bodies…

Ethan Lipsitz

Ethan Lipsitz is an artist, host, brain cancer survivor and love extremist dedicated to elevating actionable love in every aspect of life.