We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Bareham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Helping to prepare my mother’s body after she died was such a powerful, transformative experience for me, I wanted to create a way for people to care for their own dead rather than give it up to a funeral home. I knew it must be possible since we had been doing it ourselves up until the turn of the century and I also knew that in giving it over to the funeral industry, we had denied ourselves a powerful opportunity to face our own fears and phobias around death and also to begin the grieving process in a healthy, integrated way.
I just wanted to help empower people to reclaim their personal rights and hopefully have more meaningful lives because of it.
What should our readers know about your business?
Sacred Crossings has evolved over the past 15 years. I began as a Home Funeral Guide offering guidance and support to families who wanted to care for their own dead with a home funeral. This evolved into offering death midwifery support to individuals and their families who wanted to know why a home funeral was important, what were the benefits and how they should prepare. This naturally included coaching individuals toward a conscious dying experience; helping them to put their things in order, offering spiritual support, guided meditations etc. As more people contacted me, it became obvious that I could not do this alone, so I began teaching conscious dying and home funerals and trained others to help me in the field.
Surprisingly, the teaching was instantly popular with a wide range of students coming to classes for many different reasons. Sacred Crossings became ‘The Institute for Conscious Dying’.
As I continued working in the field as a home funeral guide it became more and more clear that I needed to become a licensed funeral home so I could offer not only conscious dying and home funerals but also cremations and green burials, hence the Sacred Crossings Funeral Home.
The biggest challenge has been breaking through the collective death phobia and encouraging people to open up the conversation and be open to experiencing this powerful, life changing experience of home-based after death care. And finding ways to operate when the funeral industry in general is very fixed in it’s beliefs and practices. I just kept going because I knew that the experience of a home funeral both spiritually and emotionally was absolutely worth fighting for.
I’ve learned that you have to marry yourself to your business and look at it like any worthwhile relationship – it takes time and effort and flexibility – you have to be open to let go of somethings and stand your ground in others. You just cant quit, even for a few weeks or you loose the momentum.
I want the world to know that you don’t have to be afraid of death -that death education should be compulsory for high school students and that caring for your loved-one’s body is a powerfully healing process.
Please check out sacredcrossings.com.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to the beach! Walk Venice boardwalk, stop off at Casa Del Mar or Shutters – rent bikes and bike down to the Marina.
Shop along Main St. and Abbott Kinney
We would hike Temescal Canyon and visit the Self Realization Fellowship to walk around the lake and meditate in the temple
Drive up the coast and maybe stop off at Geoffrey’s for drinks and watch a sunset.
Maybe take a tour of cool, historic buildings downtown.
Catch the ARtWalk at the Brewry
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The National Home Funeral Alliance – homefuneralalliance.org
All photos by Sacred Crossings