As we enter the final month of 2014, I think it’s perfect time to talk about completions and endings. It makes sense that in order to embrace something “new,” we need to finish or close the “old.” Many years ago I discovered people have different patterns when it comes to closure and endings.
I was attending a personal development program at Haven, on Gabriola Island in BC, and Drs. Bennet Wong and Jock McKeen were leading the workshop. We were in the final day of the program when they started talking about the different ways people handle endings. I had never thought about this. Some people they said, leave before something is actually finished. I’d actually noticed this was happening as some people had already packed up all their things and emotionally left, the morning of the last day.
Other people they said, don’t actually leave when something is over. They hang around, dawdle, look for more connections and even leave things behind and have to come back for them. A different pattern that’s for sure. And lastly there are people who leave emotionally and physically when something is actually finished.
As you think about how you deal with endings, what’s your pattern? Do you leave early and avoid all that messy ending stuff, do you leave after things are over, wanting to prolong the experience, or do you leave when things are done and feel settled with that?
I’ve recently moved, and people have shared their moving experiences and how long it takes to settle into the new place. Again this reflects how we are handling change. Many people don’t embrace change they dread it and slow everything down, as a way of coping. They can take a year or more to hang pictures or unpack some boxes. On a smaller scale you can see your patterns reflected even in how quickly you settle into a hotel room.
As we think about winding up the year, how would you like to finish 2014? Do you feel like you are completing a year, or are you on a different “calendar?” If you have children in school, December somehow doesn’t feel like the year end, June does. And because school is part of our collective experience we can be influenced by this, even after we have left school and don’t have children in school.
The importance is recognizing that closure is important, and an essential part of embracing something new. What if you viewed December as a time to bring closure to 2014? What would you really like to finish up? If you started 2015 with a fresh start, what would really feel great to have dealt with, and fully completed? If you give yourself this whole month, and don’t get totally distracted with the Christmas “rush,” what would you want to address and how would you like to set yourself up for the New Year?
I would like to encourage you to do an “year-end review” on things, even if you are going to carry on with them. Let’s say you have an exercise program that you do. What if you took some time this month to take stock of how far you have progressed this year? We know the brain pays little attention to what is working and because it is pretty much a “problem solving system.” It notices what is not working, what could go wrong, and so on. Consequently, very little focus is put on successes, to the positive shifts that have been made. Let’s reverse this and start celebrating.
Let’s make a list of all the things you have accomplished this year. Go back to January (it sure helps if you have a diary) and remember where you were at, and what you were focused on. Write a list of all the accomplishments, big and small, and give yourself some credit. It may be that you had a really challenging year and the fact that you made it through the tough times is what you want to acknowledge. You might want to plan a little celebration with friends or family to honor the year and what each person has done with that precious time.