A Natural Ending
Saying goodbye is not easy for most of us. It’s fraught with fear and anxiety and worry about loss, about the future, about anything that is our touchstone of discomfort. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way to say goodbye and accept change gracefully – even welcome it.
Being able to say goodbye with ease and grace – to people – to projects – to whatever is ending gives a feeling of peace, but also a feeling of control – of our lives and our destiny. In this final tactic, where we say goodbye, I’ll touch on endings and beginnings and finding peace in the inevitable.
I invite you to take a deep breath, get centered and come on this journey of goodbye and the power that lies within.
Why do we find it so difficult to say goodbye?
To end things? Did you ever consider that some things just have a time to end? That all things have a life span and there is nothing good or bad about that? Some relationships are just over at some point. That doesn’t have to have judgment attached – it can just be. Some businesses have a life span – so be it. Some projects have a limit. Some ideas we hold on to would serve us better to let go of. We all certainly have a life span. Why then, shouldn’t everything else? It’s just the natural way of things.
Some endings we can control and others seem to happen to us. As with so many things, how we accept those endings is what makes the difference on how we perceive them. How they affect us. We can choose how we react and how we think. And, we can also feel whatever comes up by not letting the emotions rule our behavior or our decisions.
When you get still and really take the time to be quiet and look and listen within, you know the answers. You know because answers come bubbling up – seemingly out of nowhere. They come from your deep reserves, your inner knowing. You may not always like the answers, yet chances the answers are correct. Just as you may not always be able to control the outcome of a situation, you can control how you respond to it.
Learning how to discern what is in your power to change and what is not can give you tremendous peace of mind. This includes knowing when something needs to end and knowing how to do that gracefully and with dignity and ease.
What You Accomplish Becomes a Part of You
Things change form. The form doesn’t always look like you expect it to.
We often try to control and get very attached to outcomes. How they should look and what they should be. If we get so attached to one idea of what ‘it’ should be like, we often miss the beauty and opportunity of looking at life differently. You can have an answer to your deepest desires, but if it’s not in the package you envisioned, you might walk right by.
Whatever you do, whatever you are part of, love and embrace it right now for what it is. Tomorrow it may change, be different or go away. It’s part of the life process. We know this instinctively, but we don’t always pay full attention. There is no forever – in any of it. The better we get at accepting that, the better we are at embracing and fully living in the present – which is, after all, ALL we really have.
Think of an experience or a group you were part of – even a relationship that changed or went away. At the time you were in the peak of it, in the thick of it so to speak- you probably had no concept that it would end or change. When it did, it may have been your choice or someone else’s. Either way, it stopped existing in the form it once had. That’s what happens, to all of us. It’s the process of life. Looking at that situation in retrospect. Do you think you would have done anything differently had you known it would end? Would you have valued or appreciated it more? Perhaps.
Endings and change can be sad. Whatever you experienced inside that relationship or situation becomes a permanent part of you, of your life experience. It makes you who you are. It lives on, even in different form. When you can let go with ease and move on, you allow the natural paces of your life to play out. When you resist that change, you not only live in the past – which in reality no longer exists, you don’t get to participate fully in the present and be part of the rich fabric of new experiences.
Let it Ebb and Flow
It’s a wonderful feeling when you can accept the natural beginnings and endings and flow of experience and let it just be what it is, without expectations. I know, you’re probably thinking: I’M NOT THE BUDDHA! I know – none of us are, but we can choose a little piece of this experience in every situation and then ‘stitch’ them together to live a more and more fulfilled, peaceful and prosperous life that is defined by ease and grace and knowing.
Sometimes it’s a simple as starting to clearly define what is in your power and what is not and letting go more easily of what is not. You gain nothing by holding on to that you can’t control and you know it can’t bring you happiness, or peace. When you let your truth speak, you can live in peace – a wild peace that ignites your heart and lets your truth sing out and touch you and guide you. You can have that. It’s yours for the asking and the asking is about paying attention, being mindful and making choices that serve you.
Letting go in this way does NOT mean letting go of your desires, your goals or your plans. It just means you change the experience, you look at it differently; maybe change your path and what defines the experience for you – both in your heart and in your mind.
Time to Close the Book
We could all learn something from the great Buddhist saying “you must close the book”. Like the book, things have a natural end.
What if we entered life situations with that same knowing, that same acceptance? Then we accept too, the pain or the feelings of sadness or loss- they’re part of the contract we made. If it seems overly simplistic – this analogy to the book – what if you allowed that? Is it so far-fetched to see how you could let things flow gently by, without putting up resistance? What would that feel like to you? What sensations come to mind? What words? Anything that you associate with freedom? With peace of mind?
Imagine yourself gently closing the book when you’ve completed the final chapter. We often feel a sense of loss at the end of a great book – the characters have become part of our life – we don’t want to leave them. Yet, we know we must and that it’s the agreement we made going in. For hundreds of pages and that many hours, we get to be part of the world between the covers. Then, leave it we must.
Saying Goodbye with an Open Heart
If you can make a clean, clear and distinct end, your create closure you feel good about and can embrace. You say good bye, but you do it with an open heart and a clear mind. Bottom line – you accept. You accept, you accept. Can you ever say it or feel it enough? The serenity prayer comes to mind here:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can.