Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about endings, as I wrap up my time at a job I’ve been doing for three years, say good bye to clients and colleagues who are dear to me, and pack up my books and belongings once again. Endings necessitate letting go, another key transition tool. This is easier said than done, of course. Letting go takes practice. Lots of practice. It’s a skill much like forgiveness. Our very humanness, our pride and ego, gets in the way.
I saw a beautiful movie Saturday night: “The Art of Racing in the Rain”. It was about the life of a special dog named Enzo, and his human companions. The story was told charmingly from his point of view. In the movie, there were several poignant scenes in which the act of letting go needed to take place. The more attached to something or someone we are, the harder it is to let go. The next day, while basking in the warm and touching afterglow of the movie, I thought about my beloved brother Alan, who died unexpectedly two years ago. I have had such a hard time with letting go, even after this amount of time. There are days when I just need guidance from my older brother, and I wish I could pick up the phone and speak to him or see him again. Monday I learned that dear friends of mine just lost their darling canine companion who was more like a person than a dog. Words fall short in situations like these.
At times we are called to let go of a treasured person, place or thing or even of the situation turning out the way we want it to. Coping with loss is one of the hardest transitions I can think of. What helps me through these rough waters is the belief that calmer waters lie up ahead. And knowing that the passage of time is the great healer. But first, before I can let go I need to feel all my feelings fully — even the messy ones: Sadness, anger, guilt and shame. I need to drift in and out of these emotions, like eddies in a stream, circling back as many times as necessary. Until finally I just open my hands and let go — Let go of the need to control what isn’t mine to control. Let go of the outcome and of getting my way. We say, “Let Go and Let God” in 12 Step Circles. Giving these hard feelings to Spirit helps me to open my hands and trust that new beginnings lie ahead.