The Promise of
Leavings aren’t always hard. There are times, in fact, when
they are cause for celebration. For example, if you’ve been
working yourself up to move on from a job that has become stale and
boring, the day you’re able to walk into your boss and say, “Enough!” is
a happy day. Or, when you’re finally able to kick a bad habit,
you feel powerful, liberated.
But the one thing goodbyes do have in common is that they are
a process, often an invisible one, and sometimes difficult. A friend
recently shared that, after
a long absence, she returned to the church of her childhood. But rather than
that sense of belonging she remembered as a child, she felt alienated, the
smiles of the congregation seemed forced, the music she once loved
sounded hollow. Someone
else I know recently attempted to rekindle a relationship with an old flame,
only to find that the spark had gone out, the connection was gone. You can
also outgrow aspects of yourself, personality traits or ways of
being in relationships
that once identified you strongly, but now have come to feel old and tiresome.
Change is the only true constant in life, and all of us are always
whether we’re aware of it or not. The hallmark of relationships that can
stay together through time, are those that can flex and adapt to these changes.
When that doesn’t happen, moving forward may leave you no choice but to
If you find that you are at the end of a cycle, here are some
steps to help move through the transition, into a new season of
Step 1: Pay attention to your feelings. Even if this is
a goodbye that you know is right for you, it is normal to have
of feelings: anger, sadness, fear, to name just a few. Make time
and space for all of it—journal, take quiet walks—and
know that this is what paves the way to eventual acceptance.
2: Live empty for a while. That in-between space of knowing
what you’ve left, but not knowing where you’re going,
can be filled with feelings of risk, uncertainty—yes—but
is also a time of great opportunity. Resist the temptation
to fill the void. Instead take the time to think about these
What life circumstances have gotten you to this place?
Where do you need to take responsibility?
Where did you let yourself down?
What choices affirmed you?
Step 3: Explore what you want
now. As you spend time getting to know the self you are becoming,
consider the way you would
things to be now. Notice the things that give you energy,
and attract you. Make conscious intentions for what you’d
like to create, what new things you’d like to explore.
Most importantly, believe in the power of life to renew itself,
the promise of every
Until next time…