Organizing a Memorial Tribute for Someone Who Was More Spiritual than Religious, or Someone Who Practiced Blended Traditions? Read On.

Whether you’re planning for yourself or someone else, here are some great inspirations for all the elements of a more mindful funeral or memorial (or farewelling, as we like to call it). We’ve broken down the ideas into various categories to help you create a beautiful, personal event that reflects their values and how they lived. 

 

If you’re planning a mindfulness-focused funeral or memorial now, and you’d like a lot more guidance, support, and inspiration, take a look at our Farewelling Planning Toolkit. It was created and curated by our team of experts and editors to offer planning and budget tips, a customizable checklist, readings, music, and photos to inspire your planning based on the style and ambiance you’d like to create―it’s all about honoring your loved one in a truly special way. And we’d be honored to help.

 

Mood.

A mindful memorial may be spiritual-but-not-religious, or completely without spirituality. It may have a simpler, more intimate feeling and may be somewhat more casual and unique in format than a traditional service. 

 

Location.

Whether there is an actual burial service or a post-funeral memorial event, a tribute centered in mindfulness or spirituality may take place outdoors in a natural environment, indoors, or even entirely virtually.  Here are some examples of locations for a mindful  memorial service:

  • Green Cemetery
  • Nature Preserve or Trail
  • Local Park or Garden
  • Lake, Mountain, Forest or Beach
  • Camping or Picnic Grounds
  • Home/Backyard
  • Poetry Center or Arts Foundation
  • Wellness or Spiritual Center
  • Yoga Studio or Loft
  • Rooftop

 

Decor.

Since mindfulness is rooted in the senses, create moments to encourage reflection and even meditation. Local flowers and greens, stones and branches, and even feathers can make lovely adornments woven into a willow or bamboo casket or laid across a burial shroud. Large pails of softly waving grasses may be perfect for a memorial taking place in a meadow. Scented candles, incense or sage, or even glowing lanterns can add atmosphere for creating a sacred space.

 

The Spoken Word.

Choose readings that pull from philosophies or teachings that were important to the person you’re honoring, whether more spiritual or simply meditative. Here are some examples, but you can find many more, along with music and mood boards, in our Toolkit.

 

Farewell My Friends

It was beautiful

as long as it lasted

the journey of my life.

I have no regrets

whatsoever save

the pain I'll leave behind.

 

Those dear hearts

who love and care

and the heavy with sleep

ever moist eyes.

 

The smile, in spite of a

lump in the throat

and the strings pulling

at the heart and soul.

 

The strong arms

that held me up

when my own strength

let me down.

 

Each morsel that I was

fed with was full of love divine.

At every turning of my life

I came across

good friends.

 

Friends who stood by me

even when the time raced by.

Farewell, Farewell

my friends.

 

I smile and bid you goodbye.

No, shed no tears,

for I need them not

All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad

think of me

for that's what I'd like.

 

When you live in the hearts

of those you love,

remember then.

you never die.

 

~Rabindranath Tagore

 

Warm Summer Sun

Warm summer sun,

Shine kindly here,

Warm southern wind,

Blow softly here.

Green sod above,

Lie light, lie light.

Good night, dear heart,

Good night, good night.

 

~Walt Whitman

 

Sound and Music.

The soundtrack for a mindful gathering might include soft instrumental tunes, chanting, or just favorites of the person you’re honoring. To open and close a ceremony or a moment, consider chimes, a harmonium, or Tibetan singing bowls. If the event takes place indoors, you might choose a playlist of natural sounds--birds or rainfall, for example. Signing as a group (think The Beatles’ “In My Life,” for example) can also be a beautiful way to gather energy and emotion.  

 

Photos, Objects and Details.

Create an altar at the service and fill it with photos and objects that were dear to the person who has died. Ask friends and family to bring an object as an offering. Print a photo of the one you’re honoring and add a quote, mantra or poem as a memento. 

 

You may also choose to scatter ashes or place ashes into a body of water. If so, you'll want a biodegradable urn, and possibly one that can float softly as a part of the ceremony.

 

Food and Drinks.

Breaking bread and sharing a meal together can be powerfully healing. Set a long table at their favorite restaurant, or host a potluck picnic in the park immediately following the service. Or just invite everyone over for afternoon tea and snacks, where you can gather and share stories.

 

Activities.

Singing, chanting, and telling stories are all great activities to encourage remembrance and community. If you’d like to host an active memorial, you could add in a guided meditation or ask their favorite yoga teacher to lead a candlelit class in their honor.

 

Another lovely idea is to give each attendee a biodegradable message leaf and ask them to write a message and leave it in nature, either at a site you have created, or somewhere they prefer--a garden, beach, etc. The messages will become one with nature over time.

 

Keepsakes―for Others and for You.

  • Keepsake Favors for All the Senses. If you want to offer a small gift to those who attend the farewelling, consider a candle, or lay out baskets of seed packets, tree saplings, organic teas, or local jams or condiments. Gifting people something that will evoke a sweet memory is a great way to wrap up a truly personal tribute.
  • Special Keepsakes. For yourself and other close loved ones, there are a number of modern memorial products. Parting Stone creates a collection of beautiful, one-of-a-kind smooth stones out of ashes. You can share these stones with others or use them to accent your home or garden. This beautiful healing goddess necklace can be worn or used as beads for meditation.

 

If a mindful memorial was important to your loved one, let us help you honor their values with substance and style. Our Farewelling Planning Toolkit guides you with inspirations, advice from experts and answers from our Concierge Team--even suggested readings, music playlists and a budget tool to help you know where to spend and where to save.

 

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