Beginnings and endings?
I have always been really good at beginnings.
Eight days after high school graduation, I took off for a year in Japan - and didn’t look back. In my 20’s I left university for opera school and relocated to Toronto, with nothing but $500 borrowed dollars in my pocket and the dream of a singing career. Years later, with a three year-old in tow, I embraced the creation of a new life in Spain. Most recently, I decided to pursue my long-held dream of being a therapist. And here we are...the first day of a new year: unbelievably, 2019.
I have always been really good at beginnings. Endings, not so much.
I remember - finally an adult! - followed out to the curb of my childhood home, my mother waving me away until (both literally and figuratively) I turned the corner. I’m usually one of the last to call an evening - a dear friend recently had to use his ‘dad-voice’ and negotiate with me: ‘OK, one more record, and THEN I’m going to bed…’. I’ve had to set up a special clock making sure it faces me in sessions to stop me consistently going over time with clients...
This is the time of year for beginnings, but everywhere I look I can’t help seeing endings. Relationships, dreams, projects: 2018 itself.
What happens if you lose faith in the power of beginnings? When it feels like you might be stuck in an ending - forever? What if the best foot you’ve put forward into beginning remains mired in the morass of something never-ending? How do we embrace endings in order to free ourselves to begin again?
Intrinsic to endings is loss. Beneath loss is grief. And grief can be tenacious - certainly mine has been. I have found that hanging onto my grief prevents new beginning from happening.
So: why? Why do I hold onto something that continually brings me pain?
What if letting go of my grief is the final loss? In other words, what if holding onto the pain of grief allows me to keep the connection alive?
Mourning and loss. Grief comes with any loss that is incontrovertible, like a death of a loved one or the end of a cherished relationship. For me, equally painful have been the loss of dreams, or visions of roads not taken. But though our particular songs of loss be multifarious and diverse, the refrain remains the same: we must let go to make space for something new.
My clients and I talk often about polarity: can two things be true at the same time? Can I want a new beginning and at the same time be reluctant to let go of my grief? I believe I can, and I think the trick may be to be patient with myself as I traverse this limbo.
Maybe Chekhov’s said it best: ‘Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit’. Even if you are not where you ultimately want to be, is it possible to appreciate - or at least honour - where you are right now?
So whether this time be barren or fruitful, my wish for you this holiday season is to embrace your endings...with the knowing that - when you’re ready - a new beginning is right around the corner.
I will endeavour to do the same.
What ending are you experiencing? What beginning are you working toward? Please consider sharing below.