This week has me thinking a lot about endings.  It is the time in the rhythm of the year that many of us find ourselves saying goodbye to teachers, graduating, completing grades, and ending the routine of the school year.  We find ourselves beginning to slow our pace for the hot summer months ahead.  For some of us, these endings come with a deep sigh of relief; a triumphant feeling that a hard-fought season has come to a close.  Other endings bring with them grief and sadness that a time of expansion and growth has reached its peak. 

For me, there is an unease with endings.  It is a disruption in my routine and the status quo.  Even if we know the ending is best and it is welcome, there is still the unknowing of what is on the other side and what the future might hold.  How do we know when it’s best to end a relationship or a friendship?  When we know it’s time to end, how do we do it with grace and something other than brute force or cruelty?  And how do we know the timing so we don’t turn bitter or cling to something that no longer serves us?  These questions are difficult. 

In the therapy room, it’s a bit easier.  We plan a road map together so we know when the end is approaching.  We plan for the end from the beginning and yet it is difficult and still sometimes abrupt.  What I know is that in the timing of our endings, rather sudden or mapped out with precision, the ending becomes the beginning.  When we make room for endings and give space for grief and dysregulation over our disruption in the safety of our routine, we prepare ourselves for rebirth and beginning again.  And it is this cycle that replays itself over and over again so magnificently in nature.  On this day, I invite you to pause in your endings.  Take a moment if you can to appreciate where you’ve been and where you’re going.  Wherever is next in your journey, it will be different because of what and who came before it. 

Peace to you on your journey.


And another of my favorite poems from Mary Oliver:

Look, the trees
 are turning
 their own bodies
 into pillars

of light,
 are giving off the rich
 fragrance of cinnamon
 and fulfillment,

the long tapers
 of cattails
 are bursting and floating away over
 the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
 and every pond,
 no matter what its
 name is, is

nameless now.
 Every year
 I have ever learned

in my lifetime
 leads back to this: the fires
 and the black river of loss
 whose other side

is salvation,
 whose meaning
 none of us will ever know.
 To live in this world

you must be able
 to do three things:
 to love what is mortal;
 to hold it

against your bones knowing
 your own life depends on it;
 and, when the time comes to let it go,
 to let it go.

“In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.