Endings help us encode. They provide a conclusion and embed the gift of finality, allowing the opportunity for new ideas, relationships, and seasons to be imagined, created, renewed, or reborn. But the beauty of endings only exists when they exercise their utility in being definitive. In other words, the endings have to actually happen, which is how most people or organizations find themselves stuck in an inevitable perpetual cycle of readdressing things that should have been put to rest. With a better understanding of endings, what they are, and how to utilize them effectively, we can finally take those steps of progression, elevate to our highest potential, and birth new beginnings.
"It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over."
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
How do you know when something is over– when you are done with a relationship, issue, or task? This three-step approach helps you put the finishing sentences on old chapters so you can write new ones.
Name it. Call out what's happening. There is power in the spoken word– giving thoughts and ideas life. When you say that something has ended – to speak it and name it – what you're doing is breathing life into your intentions. Saying, "Today, I am ending xyz. This is the last time I'm participating in xyz." sets the stage for transformation. It's the first step in action.
Explain it. Describe what's ending, what's not ending, and what you want to happen next. Whether it's old thoughts and ideas, behaviors, or relationships, providing details sets the scope for what's ending and what needs to occur to have a healthy beginning. This action anchors the ending to something real. Being able to perfectly describe it makes everything clear and focused, thus attainable. Ambiguity is best friends with chaos.
Claim it. Giving honor to what's ending, whether good or bad. If the ending is something negative, then radical acceptance, understanding that you're preparing for something better, or taking away a lesson provides closure for less-than-ideal situations. For positive endings, planting a temporal marker makes for a golden milestone you can always reflect on. Ceremonial celebrations like throwing a go-away party when you move locations are a perfect way to tie a nice bow on those memorable career moments.
Endings are beautiful, especially when you understand that they aren't linear but a cycle, inextricably connected to new beginnings and opportunities. The same way autumn's beauty is the transition of lively, vibrant green trees to burgundy and gold foliage; the same way we lay things to rest in the same soil where seeds are planted to grow and flower, this understanding allows us the chance to be done with moments, ideas, or actions and accept and understand them, and to be receptive to whatever new season or revelation is around the corner.
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