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  • Fe Robinson

The power of ending well

I blogged recently about the cost of not having an ending, of what happens when a relationship just stops, without it’s passing being honoured. In contrast today I want to talk about the power of a well managed ending. It’s on my mind because I had a powerful experience of ending recently, with the women in the Soul Circle I attended for 6 weeks.

Eons ago, Stephen Covey recommended we begin with the end in mind. This is good advice, not only in the way of knowing what you are aiming at, but also so that you can contain whatever it is that is passing, knowing it has a shelf life and keeping the forthcoming end in conscious awareness as you move through the lifecycle of whatever encounter it is you are having.

Relationships, experiences and events change us, if we let them. So do endings. When something we value finishes, or someone we have cherished is no longer in our life, we do well to take time to notice, savour and honour how we have been changed, and what it is we have valued. We need time and space to grieve our loss, to understand and to celebrate what has passed, to feel the multiplex of emotions that an ending can bring.

Ritual is an important aspect of ending well. We need rites of passage, ceremonies, ways of marking beginnings, transitions, endings. We still have them socially in events like naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals, but we have perhaps lost our sense of ritual in other ways. They can be a helpful vehicle for us to travel the distance we need to psychologically, giving us a way marker and accelerating our process as we transition.

I was honoured to participate in a kind of ceremony as we completed our Soul Circle experience. We each offered a piece of music to the group, and as we listened to each piece we held the giver in mind, silently offering them what we wanted to as their music washed through us. It was a deeply moving experience, and I was floored by the power of our musical choices to convey so much of each of us. To hear the diversity of our ways of being, and to experience them each being so lovingly witnessed and held was quite magical.

We think of endings as sad, and they can be. They can also be transformative, energising, liberating and moving. Much of it comes down to how we approach them, how we mark them, and how we give ourselves space to be with them as a process, not an event.


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