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The Parallel of Life and Death
with Karen Bellone
(Season 2 | Episode 73)
The Parallel of Life and Death with Karen Bellone
Karen is an “end-of-life Doula.”
There are many parallels between birth and death. We celebrate birth, but we fear death. As an end-of-life worker, Karen sees her role as one of helping and demystifying death. So we can bring our best and most authentic selves to our own death, and to be present for those who we love who are dying.
As a filmmaker, Karen has found that her visual art could be used as a tool to help many have a better death.
She says in this interview that once you start looking at death, you start to see death as a completion. And a gateway to something that we do not understand. I am certain that you will get a lot out of this interview with a truly remarkable woman.
An End of Life Doula: Karen Bellone
Karen Bellone, MFA, is a Certified End-of-Life Doula and Death Educator. She has a private practice, in NY’s Hudson Valley, where she is an integral part of a worldwide community that is reigniting the wisdom of death within our modern lives. Prior to embracing her passion for end-of-life work, Karen has had a long career as an award-winning filmmaker and internationally collected photographer.
Karen received a BFA in Film Production from New York University, and did graduate work with the world-renowned Actors Studio, through their inaugural program at the New School for Social Research. After training and becoming certified with INELDA (International End of Life Doula Association), Karen worked with an innovative hospice in Los Angeles where her skills as a death doula were developed and broadened. In addition to working with patients in various stages of their life journeys, she was responsible for training the volunteer staff, nurses and other hospice and medical professionals to bring more understanding, humanity and compassion into their work with the dying.
Karen spoke regularly with groups, such as the Alzheimer’s Project, about the role of the doula at end-of-life, and the space that can be held to bring about ‘a good death’. She believes strongly in the ability to demystify and assuage the fear that surrounds death in our culture and to foster safe passage for the dying, as well as to aid the families and loved ones through grief and bereavement.
As a visual artist and storyteller, Karen acquired a multitude of skills throughout her career that unlocked a deep passion for the healing power of visual and auditory perception on human consciousness. She integrated these strengths and resources into tools to bring aid and comfort for those imminently facing their mortality. Working with somatic and sensory awareness, Karen utilizes visual, sound and meditation therapy, personalized guided imagery, and commemoration of the sacred in the form of ritual, legacy and memory work, in order to bring comfort – physically, emotionally, spiritually to celebrate and commemorate the life of the individual. In addition to her ongoing private practice, Karen is currently directing a feature film about living American artist Michelle Stuart, whose work also engages with the elemental and ineffable nature of existence.
Resources for You
We want to provide you with support and many many resources for your own Open Nesting Journey. Our resource page has so much to offer as does our private discussion group on Facebook about queerness and other topics of interest: