23 Jan Endings and Beginnings
“Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” – Dalai Lama
We use certain dates as “end” dates, and others as “start” dates: birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s… We started to work, we started to diet, we stopped smoking… Last week I learned a new word. Next week it could be something else I learned. Endings and beginnings can be very good for our minds, our spirits, and even our bodies —like when you start exercising. It takes one to have the other. And yet, many people are afraid to end something that needs ending, and are even more devastated by unexpected endings.
There is a certain art to the way we approach these changes, so they flow rather than paralyze us. Ellen Goodman, an American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, has said “There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”
Not an easy “trick” to learn, since most of our lives we learn the total opposite: hold on to this person, stick with this job, stay in this house, keep this, keep that. No one ever teaches us to “let go”. And few things can be as toxic to our wellbeing as holding on to the past, to grudges, to anger, to resentments.
I see interpreters around the country doing just that: angry because someone else got a job they wanted, resentful of others they deem “less worthy” yet get paid more (or accept lower rates), unhappy with their present situation and constantly waiting for something to change (but not actually doing anything different so the change actually materializes.) Of course we have all been in that place at one point or another in our lives. And there are certainly many things that need changing in our professional world. The question is: are you dumping all kinds of negative energy around you that is completely useless in bringing about the changes you want? Or are you focusing all your positive energy on the things you actually want to bring about in your life?
If you want better working conditions, for example, is there something else you are afraid will come to an end, and are unwittingly refusing to let go? If you want to go back to school and get an advanced degree, are you so sad about something that might end that you are inadvertently holding on to that something?
New beginnings require new endings. Endings require closure. Closure comes when you let go. Only then can we live in the present, enjoy it, and be happy.
And since this is my first post for 2015… I wish you all many happy new beginnings all year long!