What is a Living Funeral?
A Living Funeral, sometimes referred to as a Mock Funeral, is a guided meditation class that’s designed to give participants a fresh outlook on life. This 2-hour class is led by End-of-Life Doula, Donna Baker. The sessions are typically held at yoga studios, dance halls and other open, roomy locations around Columbus. During the pandemic, we are also offering sessions online, via Zoom.
Why are Living Funerals important?
Living Funerals are intensely personal and offer a soulful way to confront your own mortality while gaining acceptance and understanding of your life as a whole. These classes have become popular in some parts of the world as a way for people to symbolically start a new life. Participants have a wide range of interests; from the recently divorced, to those contemplating a geographical move or career change. Some attendees have just started a new family, while others are becoming empty nesters. In some cases, participants have been diagnosed with a life-changing disease or have recently lost a loved one. No matter where you are in life, the session evokes gratitude and acceptance.
Where did this idea originate?
In recent years, it's become a trend to conduct a mock funeral service as a way of better understanding and appreciating life. The original Living Funeral sessions were held in Seoul, South Korea, and were designed to trigger a fresh start for the people attending. Thousands of South Koreans have chosen this approach as part of a country-wide motivational program provided by employers. In Thailand, mock funerals are seen as a kind of rebirth and have been incorporated into addiction treatment programs that encourage attendees to let go of the past and begin anew.
What's the difference between a Living Funeral and an actual funeral?
Living Funerals are for the living. They do not involve coffins nor do they impose exorbitant costs and waste. Living Funerals are for anyone who is curious to face his or her own mortality through guided meditation. The ceremony's intention is not to function as an actual funeral where family and friends are invited to celebrate the end of a life. Instead, it is a deeply personal opportunity to reflect and exam life choices. Participants will be given an opportunity to write their final words and will be guided through a death meditation that strips away all earthly attachments.
Is this private or will others be around? Can I invite friends and family?
The online ceremony is offered privately, one-on-one; just you and our guided practitioner Donna Baker. We occasionally offer group sessions for up to 8 participants. It is first-come, first-served and open to the public. You're welcome to invite anyone to sign up and attend the group session with you although some prefer not to share this intimate experience with those they know personally. In that case, booking a private ceremony may be what you’re looking for.
Do I have to be at the end of my life to experience a Living Funeral?
No. This ceremony benefits any person who is curious to face their own mortality and practice letting go of earthly attachments.
What should I wear/bring to a Living Funeral?
For online sessions, you'll want to dress comfortably and find a quiet space before logging on to your computer/phone. We will email a PDF with all of the instructions on how to prepare and build your personal memorial prior to class. If you attend in person, we recommend a yoga mat or comfy blanket, a writing instrument and your curious heart.