by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
We die how we live. Yeh, I know my topic is How Can We Access A More Mindful State Of Living?
But living fully and dying well go together like PB & J, a ball and glove, or fish and water.
Here’s the silver lining to that seemingly dark cloud; there are huge benefits from accepting and addressing our mortality. ‘We die how we live’ means that we can access a much more mindful state of living in the present with a sense of relief and peace of mind—once we grapple with the issue of death.
None of us will escape the experience of loss. The fundamental commonality we have is that we will all leave this world at some point. Reality check: we have no control over when we go.
This is what I’ve learned through personal tragedies and helping many others as an unofficial celebrant through their losses.
Through that role I helped others sort out how to handle the remains, prepare a Goodbye Ritual, emcee, facilitate, perform, or speak at the services. I also helped sort out the agenda and create programs, prepare recordings and other personalized tributes as part of the event.
I was in that situation because people did not have end of life plans in order and frankly, were unable to function due to grief and heavy emotions. So they could not get anything properly done.
No Plan Adds Burden
I saw this heavy suffering firsthand many times when there was no plan in place. This is what motivates me as a Creative Memorial Planning Coach; I do not want to see YOU suffer or your loved ones needlessly suffer in that way.
I’ve heard some folks say that a plan, and in particular, a Goodbye Ritual is unnecessary. I beg to differ.
I have seen both sides to this. When there’s a plan, despite the natural grief process, the burden is lighter, and the legacy provided with a detailed plan becomes a source of comfort, and proof of a loving gesture for surviving loved ones.
No plan in place simply adds burden to those already in the vulnerable position of deep emotion. I cannot understand why anyone would dump that onto their loved ones.
Mapping out your end of life plan is important as a way of relieving burden, extra expense, suffering, and providing a loving legacy. An end of life plan is a way of leaving our compassionate mark on others and the planet (when opting for alternative, earth-friendly choices).
It saddens me when someone doesn’t care enough to get a plan in place. They don’t see how that impacts surviving loved ones. I have seen it. I don’t want people to go through that.
Impact Your State of Life
But, back to the original topic--having an end of life plan also impacts your state of life. You can relax knowing you’ve done your best, made that compassionate cause, and left your legacy through your compassionate actions.
As a Creative Memorial Planning Coach, and host of Creative Memorial Planning Facebook Group, I’m different from other end of life pre-planners because I strongly support ALTERNATIVES to the traditional corporate funeral customs.
I share about these alternative options in my private group and through my hybrid self-study/coaching program Explore, Choose, and Plan Your Creative Memorial.
I’d like to invite you to join my group. I’m hosting an exciting SUNSET SUMMIT October 26-30!
You'll learn about alternatives to traditional funerals and end of life plans that are more gentle, comforting, cost-reducing, and planet-friendly.
SUNSET SUMMIT will feature a variety of experts offering ways for preparing and transforming your Golden Chapter of life with gentler, personalized, cost-reducing, earth-friendly, and meaningful midlife and end of life services and support.
We'll have LIVE presentations from experts throughout the 5-day event. You'll hear from death educators, transition doulas, grief therapists, hypnotherapists, counselors, social workers, wellness and mindset coaches.
You'll gain empowering information on living fully, dying well, caregiver support, dealing with anxiety, midlife wellness, and alternatives to traditional end of life plans.
SUNSET SUMMIT will ONLY be available to Creative Memorial Planning Facebook Group members. So, I invite you to join the group .
Please help me spread the word;
invite anyone you feel would benefit from learning more about alternatives to traditional corporate funerals, end of life planning, and how to leave a loving legacy with less or zero corporate or religious involvement.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
How can the dark, depressing topic of memorial planning fit in with YourCreativeChord's purpose of nurturing creativity and inspiration, you ask?
How can planning a memorial possibly be inspiring and beautiful?
Fostering the energy for creative inspiration relies on the balance between practicing self-care and care for others. Nurturing inspiration is rooted in compassion for both self and others.
When you muster your bravery to even think about the difficult topics of loss, death and grief, much less take the caring stance to make a clear plan for it, you ultimately make things easier for you and your loved ones. What could be more caring? What could be a more inspiring legacy to leave behind?
Embrace The Opportunity
To Celebrate & Joyfully Inspire Others
When we think of things that inspire, we often use words like calm, peace of mind, zest for life, beautiful, passion, and comfort. Just as planning ahead for anything brings peace of mind, having your ducks in a row about end-of-life issues is a way to bring comfort, peace and calm to yourself and others. Preparing in advance can also lead to an incredibly beautiful celebration of life and an event that honors your memory. How inspirational!
The alternative is not thinking about it.
When we deny things or hide from reality, we end up suffering far worse.
You and I will experience the inevitable end that happens to everyone at some point. When you make the effort to plan, out of your love for others, you bring beauty and celebration to your life’s ending. For both yourself and surviving loved ones.
Clearly, death is a difficult subject. In our culture, the topic is mostly avoided, denied, or considered far removed from positive things like creativity and inspiration.
Loss and grief are the most intense kind of suffering. But we all must face these. How do we nurture ourselves through difficult moments if we avoid dealing with them?
Wouldn't it be more valuable to embrace our unavoidable, end-of-life issues as an opportunity to celebrate, honor, and joyfully inspire others to live even more fully?
The reason I'm creating more content offering alternatives to traditional memorials and tips for preparing memorial agendas, obituaries, and programs is because I know what it’s like without the planning there in advance. People are enormously consoled when you have something planned ahead of time and when they can follow a structure based on your wishes.
A thoughtful memorial plan and structure brings serenity, comfort, a sense of closure, and even healing to those dealing with loss.
Meaningful Creativity Can Be Born
From Both Suffering And Joy
Many people think of strategies for inspiration as always being something positive. But from my personal experience, creativity can be born from both deep suffering and great joy.
Many of my most valuable and meaningful creative expressions have come from dealing head-on with loss or through my experience of grieving a loved one. This is something that anyone can do. Addressing human pain is in sync with the heartening theme for nurturing your inspiration because we all experience it and we have the potential to create value from our suffering.
Dealing directly with death, whether our own or others, can be the catalyst for tremendous inspiration. It can also lead to reviving a greater spirit for living in the present moment. Facing loss can fuel our efforts to cook, volunteer, garden, work with animals, dance, write poetry or stories, journal, compose music, paint or draw.
Planning ahead for your memorial offers potential for the transformation of an intensely difficult experience into one of tremendously positive value, especially if you base your plans on your compassion for those who will be left behind.
The peace of mind you gain from having a plan in place to deal with memorial issues is an inspiration to those around you. In this way, you demonstrate unequivocal care for yourself and others by making things easier for everyone through your sincere effort to plan ahead.
That kind of sincere effort for others is a huge spark for inspired living.
I’d love to hear from you. It means a lot to me that my content is helpful and empowers you. Please take a moment to join the conversation below to let me know if this blog is helpful or if you have questions or suggestions!
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In my Caregiver blogs, you'll find I understand the internal struggles and daily stress as a caregiver juggling entrepreneurial life.