At some point in your life you may find that you have come to an end.
You may realize that the life you have built no longer makes sense to who you are becoming, and no matter how you rearrange the furniture of your everyday existence, there is a deeper longing for significant change.
After listening to many people’s life stories I have learned that this is a common human experience, and yet it can feel very lonely.
If you feel like a part of your life is ending and you are in the in-between space, may these three touchstones be a lighthouse to you on your journey.
Gather Your Bearings
Allowing things to end and then gathering the courage to begin again can be rattling, even when it is purposeful. We may try to control the pace of things, the shape of love, the impact of change.
We can try to rush through the discomfort and the strange impasses of “no longer” and “not yet,” where the work we do cannot be measured in the ways we like to measure work.
I’ve come to understand that when one chapter of your life ends it is OK to stay in the weird in-between space while you gather your bearings and say goodbye.
You can stand in the debris of your old life for a bit and thank all that once stood up straight and strong, but is now just rubble at your feet.
It can take a few days, weeks, months, whatever feels natural. It can be a ritual. A Thanksgiving. An experience in and of itself. It matters.
Look, there is the friendship that helped me set healthier boundaries once it was over. Look, there is the home where I fell deeply in love. And here is the job I thought I wanted but that actually had nothing to do with who I really am. All dust now at my ankles. Thank you. I love you. You’ve shaped me. Goodbye.
Then, once it’s time to move forward and you know it (and you will know it!), you must let go. Like really let go.
Keep your heart in the present and eyes toward the future so all of the new beauty can circle you without the residue of clinging to what was. You are worth the pain it will take to let it all go. I say this from personal experience.
I used to be terrible at letting go. I would hold onto people, cities, memories, scents and songs and fill my mind and heart with them so much so that the new life that was trying desperately to emerge couldn’t get through. It was only when I took a giant leap and let go like it was my job that I understood how awesome and natural it is to let go.
Holding on is when things mutate, gather dust, grow strange. Letting go feels like freedom.
It feels like deep air in your lungs after years of shallow breathing. When you let go and feel like you are falling through air, just remember that you are not alone.
We are all called to begin again at some point in our lives and you are part of a tribe that has heeded the call and changed their lives.
This may be the most difficult of all because it means you must believe in your dear intuition, that sturdy compass that made you change your life in the first place.
You must trust that beauty and love are always on their way. You must trust that if you let go and begin again you will be met with the circumstances and experiences you need to thrive.
You must trust in your ability to be brave amidst great uncertainty. You must trust that you have what it takes to change your life and that the deep knowing in your heart will not lead you astray.
This trusting lives inside of your body, not your mind. When your mind becomes fearful because it wants to keep you safe, move your body and breathe deep into the knowing that you came to Earth for a reason and you are meant to live a life that feels true to you.
Endings are natural in the cycle of life and a beautiful opportunity to begin again with purpose. We can recreate ourselves over and over again throughout our lives, and we must in order to grow into who we are becoming.
If you are navigating an ending, I salute you and I am excited for you. May the journey be fortifying and full of light.